Okay, as annoying as I find this, it's equally as interesting. In January, my roommate, Carmen, and her mother, Danielle, ended up watching High Tension. My friend and I watched it some time prior, and we found it lived up to its name. We turned the lights out, ate pizza, and watched a scary-ass movie while it began to storm outside.
However, Carmen and Danielle, throughout the film, would continuously make jokes, spoof the film, and overall just ruin the effect which my friend and I were so eager to enjoy — hence renting it in the first place. We wanted to be frightened, to be transported to that place where we could flinch and gasp.
Carmen and Danielle ruined that effect by making their own context in which they could safely enjoy the film. In doing so, they ruined its intended effect and, ultimately, rendered the film moot.
Just this weekend, a bunch of us watched King Kong. As we'd not seen it yet, the scene with the giant insects on Skull Island obviously set us off gasping and grossing and just generally being icked right out. And again, as soon as something uncomfortable takes place, again started the sarcasm and the jokes. To make light of the poor bloke on-screen being digested alive by slug-things à la Half-Life 2, was to render the scene's power over them powerless.
If they'd remained hush and watched through, the cinematic experience gains hold and you are partially conceiving of the atrocities on-screen in a relative manner. Enough to make you squirm, at least.
This also reminds me of then I attended a screening of The Blair Witch Project years ago, and the fucking kids down in front would maintain their ruccous during the 'frightening' parts of the film. It ruined the overall effect for me, for everyone else, and kept them safe from being drawn into the film and its affects. The overall design and concept of the film would have been a wonderfully frightening time, had the dozen or so teenage twats down in front kept their mouths shut and comments to themselves.
Which in effect brings us to the concept of laughter as banishment. If I try to evoke some sort of monster… please, no laughing.