Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Headless Farce Man: A Brief Discussion of Decapitation Comedy

A darkly funny scene about a guillotine execution appears in the Carry On Gang's Don't Lose Your Head (1966).

Decapitation gags were popularized in early films by Georges Méliès.  An example can be found in Méliès' The Four Troublesome Heads (1898).

But comic decapitation had occurred on stage before Méliès.  In 1867, the popular Hanlon-Lees pantomime troupe presented a sketch called "The Village Barber" in which a barber accidentally cuts off a customer's head and then works diligently to glue the head back into place.

Comic labors to reattach a head can get more gruesome nowadays.  Take, for instance, this clip from Idle Hands (1999).

More on this subject can be found soon in The Funny Parts.

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