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Jaws’ Jokes Made it Scarier

There is a great article in the July/August 2012 issue of Mental Floss magazine about the movie Jaws.

Steven Spielberg said, “Jaws should never have been made — it was an impossible effort.”

But, he and the crew persevered by using a mechanical shark, the likes of which the movie industry had never seen.  The result was one of the biggest blockbuster movies in history and a new form of filmmaking.

What I think is most interesting about the movie, however, is they way screenwriter Carl Gottlieb strategically used humor.  Before almost every appearance of the shark, there is a joke in the script.  The hope was that this humor-scare technique would keep the audience in a constant state of emotional imbalance which made the entire movie more effective.

Another movie, Tales From the Crypt, did the same thing.  The theory was that by placing humor next to horror, both would be enhanced.

So, as with the philosophy of Do it Well, Make it Fun, just because something is serious, it doesn’t mean that it can’t also be fun.  The next time you watch Jaws, pay attention to the laughs as well as the screams!

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