Top 10 Genre Mash-Ups
Movies produced through the studio system adhere to set formulas which are split into genres. Occasionally a studio head would pour too much cocaine down their windpipe and get the notion that grabbing two genres and rubbing them together will produce originality. More often than not they fail due to being a muddled mess of ideas without a clear direction. Sometimes they are awesome. These ten are awesome.
10. Return to Oz
This almost didn’t make the list because it wasn’t intentional. Having said that, it’s such a horrifying experience that there MUST have been someone involved in the movie that had the goal of frightening the crap out of little kiddies. Supposedly a family movie this depressing return to Oz is leave mental scars that will never heal.
9. Donnie Darko
At the outset Donnie Darko doesn’t seem like a blend of genres but instead a movie that defies all genre conventions. But as one-hit wonder director Richard Kelly pointed out it is in fact a blend of coming of age high school drama and a generic superhero story. Donnie suffers a tragedy, discovers his powers and uses them to save the day without the usual spandex and melodrama.
8. The Blair Witch Project
Rewind a few decades and the idea of combining documentary with any other genre seems absurd. There had been a few mockumentaries that set out to hoodwink viewers such as Cannibal Holocaust and Forgotten Silver. None set out to make such a pure horror experience. Whether or not is good is debatable, but it was successful at blending the genre.
7. Evil Dead: Army of Darkness
Evil Dead was a straight up schlocky horror that Raimi and crew used to demonstrate their innovative skills, such as the brilliant plank-cam. The sequel threw a bit of tongue in cheek humour into the mix, and the third in the series went all out horro comedy. Turning lead actor Bruce Campbell into a cult icon by parodying the action hero stereotype, this evolution fron horror to screwball comedy is pure gold.
6. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog
The more ideas thrown together into the mix the less likely the final product will be something special. Unless you’re Joss Whedon, in which case it’ll be awesome. Combining superhero action, musical numbers, romance and comedy into a short film presented as a blog, Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant in the lead role of Dr. Horrible. If you haven’t seen go to youtube right now.
These quintessential 80s actioners are copy-pasted more often than the original lolcat. At the time of their release, however, they broke new ground by taking the framework of your standard Arnie/Stallone balls-to-the-wall shoot-em-up and inserted science-fiction enemies. Classic.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Edgar Wright seems to have a knack for this. Already blended rom-coms with horror and fish-out-of-water comedy with action, now he’s made the worlds first action-romance. Taking the obstacles that stand between the lead and his lady and making them into evil villains that need to be battled, we get a fast, frenetic love song to geek culture that is quite unlike anything seen in cinema before.
3. Little Shop of Horrors
One the of the first movies that springs to mind when compiling such a list in the horror/sci-fi/musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show and this is due to it having such a huge following. When it came down to the short list, however, another movie emerged that fits the horror/comedy label and proves to be a better blend of the two genres. The Little Shop of Horrors is much funnier, has just as catchy tunes and is a better made film.
Witness Steve Martin as a sadistic dentist.
2. Shaun of the Dead
A romantic comedy…with zombies. It could’ve been a gimmick, but this slice of fried gold is a fresh, funny and unique (at least, it was). Never overtly flaunting the conventions of the rom-com, the basic elements form the narrative. The guy has to get out of a rut, get past his wacky friends and make the grand gesture to win back the girl he didn’t fully appreciate to begin. The obstacles in his path could’ve been anything, but they went with zombies. Brilliant.
The horrors of the Korean War presented as a comedy. If Robert Altman wasn’t involved then this may have been a disaster. Whilst comedy and war have been bedfellows in the past, such as Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and The Great Dictator, few have managed to turn the spotlight on the impact of war on the human psyche. The glib, damaged ensemble of nutjobs says just as much about conflict as Born on the Fourth of July.
Fun Fact! Robert Altman’s son composed the opening titles ‘Suicide is Painless’. The song was then used as the theme for the TV series, for which he was paid royalties per episode. When it became one of the longest running series’ in television history, Altman’s son wound up making more money of M*A*S*H than his father!