marlon wayans & essence atkins

Essence Atkins and Marlon Wayans in a scene from ‘Haunted House’

*The Wayans Family style of humor is one that most African Americans under the age of 40 or even 50 can relate to.

It’s reminiscent of playing ‘the dozens’ in the schoolyard with friends, or snapping on an equally talented jokester in a round-robin ‘snap session’ in a tenement hallway.

But, unlike most, they’ve been able to take that brand of humor to Hollywood and Marlon Wayans has been the standard bearer of his family for over a decade.EURweb recently had the chance to speak with him regarding his upcoming film, “A Haunted House.”

“Well, ‘Haunted House’ … we always ask the question ‘What would happen in the horror movies if they were black?’ The film is based around a black couple. It’s not a black movie, it’s just a comedy. It’s a horror-comedy, it deals with the way we deal with horror film situations,” Marlon told us.

While I’m not clairvoyant, I can imagine what people are thinking. “A Wayans in a ‘scary’ situation? Haven’t we seen this?” Ummm … no you haven’t.

The “Scary Movie” franchise was praised as ingenious by many of the Wayans’ harshest comedy critics when it was initially launched in 2000, but the quality of the material fell off the proverbial shelf of excellence after the second installment. Marlon told us that “A Haunted House” is much smarter and funnier than both the first “Scary Movie” and each of its sequels. A delicate comedy scalpel is used rather than a rusty butter knife.

“I think it’s a little more intricate than a parody because it’s not broad, crazy humor. It’s broad, crazy humor based in reality,” Marlon explained. “So, it’s a more grounded version of a parody. It’s more of a send up than anything. It came about because I was watching ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ and I thought ‘You know what would be funny? If they were black.’ I’d be screaming at the screen myself like ‘Why you going in there?! You know the ghost is there.’ I had all these ideas coming in. So, my partner Rick Alvarez and I started writing the script and I wrote myself as the starring role because I’m not going to allow myself to be an extra.”

cedric the entertainer

Cedric The Entertainer in a scene from ‘A Haunted House’

“It’s a really funny film, with such a great cast: Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, Affion Crockett, Nick Swardson and David Koechner,” he continued. “You’re going to have fun from the time you sit down until the time you leave the theater. The great thing about this movie is, when you yell at the screen, the movie yells back. This is the first time you don’t have to yell at the screen. It yells back at you.”

Unlike other parodies, “A Haunted House” will feature footage from some of the scariest films in recent memory in the body of the film. “Paranormal Activity” and “Devil Inside” are just a few film titles that have been released to the media. Marlon breaks it down for us in this next quote.

“Our scary moments actually lead you to comedy. So, we have the tension of a scare but then we lead you to some jokes. The thing about it is, we filmed this footage style. It’s the first of its kind. When we did ‘Scary Movie’ it was kind of the first of its kind. It was great when we started out with the franchise, but I don’t know what the hell it is anymore after they bastardized and raped it. I like to be the first one to the party, so I created something new and different. This is something they can’t rip. Actually, they may rape and pillage it but this is the first of its kind. It’s a horror comedy.”

A horror comedy, you ask? Indeed! These days filmmakers are getting very creative. A recent phenomenon that first gained popularity among African American filmmakers, and has since been adopted by all filmmakers, is the micro budget. Marlon, seemingly forever on the progressive curve, shot “A Haunted House” with with a conservative amount as well.

“We did it on a micro budget, and it’s not just black films. It’s films period. When you have ‘Iron Man’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ that take $100 million to make and, after marketing and promotions and all of that other stuff, and you still haven’t broke even? You do it on a micro-budget and, for the price of one of those blockbusters, you can make three films.”

Although Halloween is upon us, we’re going to have to wait until January 11, 2013 to take a walk through this haunted house. As mentioned in the body of this article, “A Haunted House” will star Essence Atkins, Cedric the Entertainer, Affion Crocket, Nick Swardson and David Koechner and is written by Marlon and Rick Alvarez. Michael Teddes is the director.

Watch the extremely stupid-funny, hilarious, gut bustin’ trailer for “A Haunted House”: