I've always loved scary things and paranormal things and things that go bump in the night, but my biggest moth-to-flame item is paranormal humor. This probably started because of ghost stories around campfires and at sleepovers when we were kids. The spooky ones were fun, but the ones I really enjoyed were those with joke endings. (The Ghost with the Ten Bloody Fingers, anyone?) Silly eight-year-old humor aside, it was the moment of surprise, that unexpected lift, that happens when you're ramped up for a scare and get a laugh instead.
Paranormal humor is something of a specific niche, though. So much of it relies on viewers and readers already understanding the tropes and classic stories that the humor is subverting. If you watch Young Frankenstein without knowing Dr. Frankenstein's original story, the slapstick might be humorous, but the movie isn't nearly as funny. (So many incredible comedic performances in that movie.) If you watch What We Do in the Shadows without an understanding of vampire mythos and pop culture, again, it's not nearly as funny. (I had to explain to the hubby what vampire archetype each character represented – he got a couple of them, but not all, and wasn't "getting" the movie.)
In a more general sense, though, the humor really does arise from that surprising break of tension, that moment when something that normally should be scary, or begins as scary or tense, is broken or subverted by the humor. Sometimes it's situational, such as the set up in Beetlejuice. Classic haunted house story that's subverted by the fact that we, the viewers, know the ghosts. We've met them. We like them. We can't be scared of them now. Or the arrival of the Olympians as cranky old gods in Tanya Huff's Summoner series. Or the absurd juxtaposition of Victorian manners and werewolves in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books.
Sometimes humor isn't the driver behind a piece, but happens in necessary moments that break up a piece and keep it from taking itself too seriously. A story without humor of any kind can really drag for me – and paranormal stories are no exception. The banter during Buffy episodes, or a dark, brooding vampire with moments of self-aware humor like Henry Fitzroy in the Blood series, or the completely awkward interpersonal relationship moments of Percival Whyborne in Jordan Hawk's Widdershins – all of these serve to give you that different sort of jolt, that moment of unexpected laughter in between the adrenaline rushes of scary stuff.
Not all of my own paranormal writing is humorous (some is, and I love writing the theater of the absurd stories), but I'd find it dull indeed if I couldn't inject some humor into serious stories of anything past a short story length.
And now, off to go watch The Nightmare Before Christmas…
Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit all of the wonderful authors on the Halloween Scare Trail! (A different prize at every stop :D )
RJ Scott - $20 Amazon Gift Card
V.L. Locey - $10 Redbubble Gift Card
Jordan Castillo Price - Ebook or Audio of Reader's choice plus JCP Swag Pack
J.L. Merrow - Ebook of both newly re-released werewolf novels Camwolf & Midnight In Berlin.
Rick R. Reed - Ebook of A Demon Inside from DSP Publications
K.A. Merikan - Paperback
Charlie Richards - $20 Amazon Gift Card
Amber Kell - $20 Amazon Gift Card
Eli Easton - $20 Amazon Gift Card and second prize of ebook copies of Gothika #1-4
Charlie Cochet - 3 x $10 Amazon Gift Cards
Meredith Russell - $10 Amazon Gift Card
Alex Jane - $10 Amazon Gift Card and Ebook from back catalogue.
Stormy Glenn - $20 Amazon Gift Card and backlist ebook.
Annabelle Jacobs - $10 Amazon Gift Card and backlist ebook
My own latest paranormal releases can be found at Pride Publishing - Semper Fae: Endangered Fae 3 and Trysts and Burning Embers: Lijun 2 (Up for pre-order.)
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.