How Horror And Comedy Can Work Together, According To Get Out’s Jordan Peele

Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener look creepy in Get Out

It may seem like a surprising leap for Jordan Peele to go from the world of comedy to the world of horror with his directorial debut, Get Out, but the truth is that the gap between the two genres isn't really that wide. While they certainly play on different emotions, both are devised to generate specific and extreme reactions from their audiences. It's legitimately why the two flavors mix so well together, but as Peele recently explained to me in an interview, the key to creating a safe balance between the two requires a certain level of reality off of which both can ultimately play.

I sat down with Jordan Peele for an on-camera interview during the Los Angeles press day for Get Out earlier this month, and I broached the subject of the comedy/horror relationship right out the gate. Recognizing his experience in the former and his love of the latter, as well as how the two can seriously conflict when mixed improperly, I asked about his personal philosophy in handling them both together in his directorial debut. Peele acknowledge the special relationship, saying,

They're two sides of the same coin. Any really successful or great horror movie, you go and see an audience there's going to be laughter from nervousness. They're both about building the tension and releasing in some way. But most important for me, in order to achieve both of them you need to have a certain grounded-ness, a consistency. So for me it was like, 'Look, this will work if I apply this absurd story to reality.'

It isn't exactly hard to imagine how this balance could go horribly wrong -- as it's something we've seen countless times before. Thanks to being unexpected, comedy can deliver great returns in the context of a horror narrative, but an overplayed hand can result in a relaxed audience that is less responsive or reactive to scares. It's a thin line that exists between a horror film with comedy and a horror-comedy, but it's a line that Jordan Peele expertly dances on with Get Out and the end result is one of the best, thrill-filled features in recent years that also happens to feature some fantastic laughs.

Now for your viewing pleasure, you can watch Jordan Peele talk about the art of blending comedy and horror during our interview below!

Get Out, which finds harmony between comedy and horror with an awesome cast that includes Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, and Catherine Keener, is arriving in theaters this Friday, February 24th. But if you think we're done talking about here on CinemaBlend, you're way off. We have a whole lot more about the film coming your way in the next few days, so see the movie, and check back for more from our interviews with Jordan Peele and the stars!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.