About the researcher

Creative writing is my passion. I have been teaching adult learners in our local college for the last seventeen years and like to instil the notion that everyone has a unique voice that the world needs to hear. I encourage individuals to play, experiment and enjoy reading and writing. My interest in horror-comedy comes from wanting to capture the insanity of life and find humour amidst the chaos. As Rilke suggests, 'Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.'


Researcher interests

  • Genre Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Pedagogy
  • Literary Analysis
  • Humour Theory
  • Horror Studies
  • Film and TV Philosophy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Horror-comedy Fiction

Kelly Hatley PGR researcher profile picture
Kelly Hatley PGR researcher profile picture

PhD abstract

Thesis title

Off the Hook: Blending and balancing humour with horror in a contemporary horror-comedy novel


Learning to laugh at or with your deepest fears can encourage new ways of seeing. Horror-comedy literature holds enormous potential for critical and creative study. Research into blending and balancing the two genres using the Benign Violation Theory of Humour and Construal Level Theory is yet to be undertaken. An investigation using Construal Level Theory highlights the idea that humour could create a more abstract way of experiencing horror and requires further study into the significance of this. My study seeks to examine differing combinations of humour and horror, how they blend and balance and negotiate intimacy with distance. It aims to produce a horror comedy novel, Off the Hook to exemplify any critical findings in practise, while also encouraging future writing and research in this sub-genre. Off the hook is an experiment in tone, aesthetics and creative process inspired by theory as it blends and balances horror and humour for maximum impact. The 24-hour setting of the novel begins and ends with a birthday combined housewarming party where multiple murders are carried out. The killers who attend this party ‘meet their match’ on discovering the family who they have targeted killed too. Their funeral parlour historically undertook ‘mercy killings' or ‘vigilante murders' clouding motivation in moral superiority. Who are the victims, if any? Are monsters real? How can horror be funny? And will the guests ever get to eat that mermaid birthday cake? Are all questions the novel will explore.