Dark Comedy

 

This project focuses on two films in the dark comedy genre, The Quiet Family and Happiness of the Katakuris. Created by Peter Hechler, Austin Lieber, Jenna Howdyshell, and Anya Aboud.

What is a dark comedy?

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          The Quiet Family (1998)                  Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)

 

The Quiet Family

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In The Quiet Family, directed by Kim Jee-Woon, the Kang family opens a guest lodge that becomes the location for an unfortunate series of suicides and murders. From burying their dead guests to taking a hostage, the Kang’s originally innocent plan of opening a lodge turns into countless humorously criminal acts.

For more information about Kim Jee-Woon and relevant production information, click here.

 

Happiness of the Katakuris

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In Takashi Miike’s Happiness of the Katakuris, a remake of The Quiet Family, various mishaps occur at the Katakuri family lodge.  Death, zombies, and claymation are interspersed with song and dance to create a confusingly funny, dark and twisted approach to the same basic story as The Quiet Family.

For more information about Takashi Miike and relevant production information, click here.

 

The two films, The Quiet Family (1998) and Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) have a specific duality because one is a reproduction of the other. Their relation to the genre of dark comedy can be seen through their representation of the theme of misdirection, specifically through misinformation and altered perspective. To support the theme of misinformation, we will use the scene from The Quiet Family in which the police officer is mistaken for the assassin and the scene in Happiness of the Katakuris where Masayuki is stabbed and “dies.” To support the theme of altered perspective, we will use the scene from The Quiet Family in which Young-min and his uncle chase the couple who stole money from the dead man’s wallet with gardening tools. In Happiness of the Katakuris, we will use the scene in which the great grandfather offers himself to the police officers.

Although misdirection is an overall theme in both of these films, the misdirection in The Quiet Family is quite different from that in Happiness of the Katakuris. The misdirection in The Quiet Family mainly satirizes the genre of horror, as demonstrated in the scene in which the attempted rapist enters the daughters’ bedroom. In contrast,  Happiness of the Katakuris shies away from the horror-esque mood of The Quiet Family and towards a more lighthearted one, featuring frequent song and dance. Therefore, the main goal of the film seems to be to subvert genre expectations and misdirect the audience, which is apparent in the scene in which the family that arrives at the inn seems to be planning a family suicide.

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