Everybody hates when a comedy film can’t even execute good comedy. Most of the blame can be attributed to comedy films that laughs are easy to come by, therefore it doesn’t put too much effort into its jokes. But there is a niche corner in the comedy genre that rose in popularity around the same time that another genre also started to see its own ridiculousness. Welcome to the world of the horror parody film.
The roots of the horror parody are as deep as the genre itself, but it started a bit of a revival after the 1996 self-aware horror film Scream. Four years later, The Waynes family gave us the horror parody film Scary Movie with Scream as its main spoof as well as a few other horror films. The film that was obviously crude was a surprising one-hit-wonder with audiences, so much so it has since developed a cult status. The fact that this was making fun of a film that was already making fun was strangely refreshing, like a fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break, and one character that audiences seemed to love (so much so to bring him back in other sequels) was Shorty played by Marlon Waynes.
13 years later, he was back with an all-new, seemingly original horror parody series A Haunted House, which aimed to replicate the same surprise hit factor of Scary Movie. How did it go down? Well, let’s just say by the second film it was beating a dead horse.
Having to watch both films in preparation for this, it sickened me to realise how offensive the jokes in this film can be. While I’m someone who isn’t easily offended, some of the jokes that are delivered are always at the expense of some race. There’s Black jokes, White jokes, Hispanic jokes, and so on. They’re not even inventive racial slurs, but the most common, tired prejudices that we’ve heard so many times. It doesn’t matter if the slurs are dated, they use it anyway because it knows it’s playing to the lazy, immature parts of our brain.
Throughout the two films, each can probably one, honest funny moment in each one, the rest of the humour is some of the most awkward I’ve had to sit through. For instance, not even ten minutes into each film, Marlon Waynes’ character Malcolm, how should I put this… gets down and dirty with stuffed animals and dolls. What turn did I make in my life that led to the moment where I’d see a grown man get freaky with children’s toys? By this time, I imagine that when it was showing in cinemas, everyone who this film wasn’t intended for had already begun demanding a refund. Just think, at some point, Marlon Waynes wrote this scene for the first time and went “yeah, yeah I want to do this in my film, hell, this one scene is going to be so memorable and iconic, I think I’ll do the EXACT same thing for the sequel”.
In case you have no dignity and actually watch these films, it should be pointed out that although they are hideous, I do understand why Marlon Waynes wanted to commit himself to these films. In the horror genre, found footage films had become the new, cheap laughingstock on the genre, so for A Haunted House to make fun of it is grasping the opportunity. The first film is an obvious spoof of Paranormal Activity whilst the second film takes more of a stab at modern horror with its Annabelle spoof. But here’s the problem with both of them, they get mixed up in film styles they’re supposed to be spoofing. A Haunted House is shot in mostly handheld, but the handheld looks too cinematic, and in A Haunted House 2, the cinematic shots look too similar to a handheld shot, as in the quality of the picture is too good. Handheld should have that home movie feel to it, making what we’re seeing more grounded. But honestly, do you really think that the people who made this film care about how good the cinematography is? I wouldn’t be surprised if these films were a “point and shoot” operation.
These films also just pile on the jokes and don’t know when to cut to the next scene. What I’m trying to say is the scenes are far too long and jam so many jokes into it that you just want it to be over already. If an audience laughs, films need to take it as a sign that the joke worked, what the film does next is up to the writers, do they know when to stop or is there something else to add to the audiences amusement. Clearly, Marlon Waynes is delusional in thinking he was writing and delivering comic gold, when in fact, it’s never funny and it keeps taking the joke further and further as if the film thinks the audience is riving in stomach pains.
I haven’t actually addressed why I’m including both films instead of one, well because they’re the same film beat for beat and in A Haunted House 2, they haven’t learned their mistakes and just carried on as if this is what the people want. You may have tricked them the first time, but the second time people exercised caution for once in a blue moon and as a society, we can be proud that the second film bombed. Considering we haven’t had a third A Haunted House, I think it’s safe to say that the horror spoof films have gone for good. Good, I never want to hear about one again.