RHODY LIFE

Pannozzi's 'Laughing to Death' explores horror comedy cinema

By DON FOWLER
Posted 2/10/21

By DON FOWLER I met John Pannozzi a couple of years ago when he was a student at Rhode Island College. His counselor asked me to mentor him on the opportunities available in writing for publications (for which there are but few). John isn't much of a

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RHODY LIFE

Pannozzi's 'Laughing to Death' explores horror comedy cinema

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I met John Pannozzi a couple of years ago when he was a student at Rhode Island College.

His counselor asked me to mentor him on the opportunities available in writing for publications (for which there are but few).

John isn’t much of a talker, but put a computer in front of him and get out of the way.

I gave him the assignment of writing a couple of movie reviews for me, expecting to red pencil them and offer constructive criticism. John returned with two polished, profound reviews that showed a special talent and a perception that made me ask who should be mentoring whom.

For over a year, this talented young man wrote impressive movie reviews for these papers while continuing to write his blog (JohnPannozzi.blogspot.com) sharing his knowledge of movies and comic books.

He has also appeared in theatre productions at Black Box Theatre at Cranston’s Artists Exchange.

Pannozzi has now turned his talents to writing his first book, “Laughing to Death: A Look at Horror Comedy.”

If you are a fan of the movies, especially horror and horror comedy movies, this entertaining and informative book is a must read.

The book is an easy read with wonderful line drawings by Pannozzi and Tawd b Dorenfeld.

The 13 chapters begin with an explanation of the roots of fear and comedy and conclude with a bibliography and further reading suggestions that cover the waterfront of this unique genre.

Starting back before the talkies, Pannozzi tells us about Edison’s 1910 “Frankenstein” short, the first talkie, “Dracula” in 1931, and then goes into the classics, including “Nosferatu” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” in the early 1920s.

He includes background information about the making of the films, from the sublime (“Get Out”) to the ridiculous (“Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein”).

He writes about cult classics that were bombed by critics when they opened and went on to take a place in film history, like “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Freddy vs. Jason.”

John’s insight brings the subtle and at times not-so-subtle social commentary of the times to the surface.

Ironically, he refers to “Troll 2,” which most critics considered the worst picture ever made, as “The Greatest Motion Picture of All Times.” Look it up on Google and judge for yourself.

For a further look into the creative and highly organized mind of John Pannozzi, I recommend visiting his website at www.JohnPannozi.wixsite.com and his blog at www.JohnPannozzi.blogspot.com.

The wealth of information will keep you occupied well into the end of the pandemic.

“Laughing to Death” is produced by Tink Tank Animate LLC.

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