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Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy

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William Paul, a University of Michigan film professor, declares war on Hollywood by claiming that dumb American audiences watched movies like M*A*S*H, The Birds, and The Exorcist for the same ”gross-out” reasons they watched Halloween and Night of the Living Dead. But this baffled outsider can’t make his point in Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy without overinterpreting the obvious and misinterpreting everything else. For example, when Charlie Chaplin runs away from a big, tall workman in City Lights, the image is gross vulgarity because it’s homosexual, says Paul, who dithers into ”Charlie becomes a woman, but in the daytime world of women, he at least has the possibility of asserting himself as a man.” Even the worst of the movies Paul denigrates is better art than he is critic.