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Dirk Eitzen

There is a striking divide, in the literature on comedy, between approaches that stress the social functions of humor, including social control and alleviation of social stresses, and approaches that focus on the psychological mechanisms of humor, including incongruity and arousal. These two kinds of approach have proven quite resistant to integration, because they are rooted in fundamentally different understandings of the pleasure of humor. Put simply, the pleasure of the put-down is hard to square with the pleasure of the pun. This article examines new scientific research on humor, including recent brain imaging studies, to see if there is any evidence for an empirical divide. The conclusion, in practical analytical terms, is that when, near the start of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun fails to notice that he is surrounded by zombies, our perception of the inappropriateness of the character's actions and our perception of the playfulness of the depiction are both necessarily involved in our perception of the scene's funniness.

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Sol Neely

: 82 ), Romero’s sentiment is also reiterated, to varying degrees of subtlety, throughout zombie cinematic history. Films like Shaun of the Dead (2004) or Fido (2006) satirically dramatize ways by which zombies “become distinctly more like their

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Brendan Rooney, Hanna Kubicka, Carl Plantinga, James Kendrick, and Johannes Riis

Screen Acting , ed. Alan Lovell and Peter Krämer , 75 – 81 . New York : Routledge . Eitzen , Dirk . 2012 . “ The Nature of Film Comedy, or Why Is Shaun of the Dead Funny? ” Projections 6 ( 2 ): 1 – 17 . 10.3167/proj.2012.060202 Naremore