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The Genius of Sam Raimi

His movies make laughs and scares the same thing.

This video explains the giddy rush you feel when director Sam Raimi whips up his unique blend of horror and comedy. According to video essayist Patrick Willems, his genius lies in throwing us off balance as we’re yanked between two genres that affect us on a primal level.

There’s a straight line—or is that a flatline?—from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein to Evil Dead’s Ash, and several distinct ways to push audiences to the edge of hysteria. As Willems points out, there’s nothing inherently funny in Raimi’s movies, and that’s where he gets us.