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Monsters: Humor and Horror Fused: Reading “The Funeral” by Richard Matheson

“The Funeral” was a cute story, sort of—more humorous than horrific. But one that I had a terrible time engaging with. Unfortunately, it took many attempts for me to read this five page short story. I literally kept falling asleep. This could be due to my trying to read it after long days of sightseeing on my adventures with my boys, but usually I can read hours and hours into the night even when tired. This particular story did not keep my attention for more than one page at a time. After about a page or so my mind wandered off without me, and I had not continually refocus.

The story is about a greedy funeral direction who is excited when a clients comes in and wants to make arrangements for a funeral with the best of everything—the most expensive room, and coffin. Until he learns that the funeral is for the client sitting in front of him—a vampire, who did wanted a second funeral because he did not much care for his first one.

“The Funeral” was a humorous story in which the vampire had his second funeral attended by a variety of horrific characters, who were behaving badly throughout. I did find it interesting how the author portrayed the funeral director who increasing took on horrific traits, appearance wise. He went from appearing shaken to being bulbous-eyed. It felt as if the funereal director was becoming by physical traits one of the monsters who he was hosting.

It appears as if Matheson is in the habit of using fairly unlikeable characters as his protagonists. And, then turning those characters essentially into the monsters of his stories in the end—an interesting approach. However, this could be the reason I had trouble engaging with the story. I didn’t have a character to relate to, or root for…or even like. I was not invested in anyway, and glad that the story was only a short five pages. Otherwise, I would have never made it any further.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.