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Horror and Comedy Horror

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Who doesn’t like a good horror story? You there with your hand raised, please skip to the last paragraph while we cover the seriously disturbing stuff:

The great silent films of the 1920s were often horror movies, which may have been the inspiration for John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” (2018). When his movie opens you see an empty street, then someone tiptoeing through a ransacked store. You hear nothing, and you will hear nothing for most of the next tense and terrifying 90 minutes. You are in a post-apocalyptic America that is occupied by blind monsters who have an acute sense of hearing. If they hear you, you are dead meat, quite literally. The story centers on the Abbot family: Lee (Krasinski), Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their children, who live silently in the basement of a house in a deserted town while Lee searches for a solution. “A Quiet Place” was filmed in Pawling, N.Y., on a relatively low budget, but it was a critical and commercial success. If you saw it, you’ll recall the heartbreaking but hopeful ending and will want to see “A Quiet Place Part II” which will be released on May 28. If you missed it, go to Amazon Prime and rent or buy it, from $2.99.

“The Terror,” based on Dan Simmons’ novel, is an unusual historical horror tale that dramatizes a true story: The Royal Navy’s expedition to the Arctic in 1845, led by Captain John Franklin. His two ships head into uncharted territory, searching for the Northwest Passage, and are soon trapped in the ice. The crew faces two kinds of horror: the struggle to survive, leading to mutiny, murder and cannibalism — along with being stalked by a mysterious creature that lives on the deadly ice.  

This all sounds impossibly grim, but the writing, characterization and striking production design lift it beyond the genre into one of the rare TV shows you will not soon forget. The cast, all British actors, is superb. Ten episodes on Hulu. (Note: there is a second season subtitled “Infamy,” which tells an entirely different story.) 

I don’t quite get comedy horror. Are they two sides of the same emotional coin? Like anxiety and depression? Whatever, there are more than a few comedy/horror shows out there, and you could do worse than Netflix’s British import “Crazyhead.” 

Amy (Cara Theobold) and Raquel (Susan Wokoma) are two friends with the ability to see that some ordinary citizens are actually demons. Their mission is to hunt down these demons and exorcise them, except when Raquel is at Pilates class. 

Although the results are occasionally violent and gruesome, you are unlikely to be scared. But the two gals are fine and the blunt British humor leads to some lovely, hilarious lines. This show has been compared favorably to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a classic series that I have never watched. Yes, a shameful gap in my cultural knowledge that I promise to rectify, as soon as I take my copy of “Middlemarch” off the shelf and actually open it. Six episodes on Netflix.

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