The first trailer for This Is the End, released in April, was the first taste anyone had gotten of co-writers, and first-time co-directors, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg meta apocalypse comedy, and the reaction was split. Those who liked what they saw welcomed the chance to watch Rogen and his colleagues/friends James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson berate each other indoors while the Devil brings the motherfuckin' fire-and-brimstone ruckus outdoors. McBride finding it hard to believe that "James Franco didn't suck any dick last night?" Bring on the jokes.

But two hours' worth of famous people lampooning themselves? Those who weren't as responsive to This Is the End's trailer feared the worst—meaning, an excuse for Rogen and his buddies to cash easy paychecks while simultaneously massaging each others' egos.

Good news: There's no figurative dick-sucking among the rich and famous here, only jokes about it. This Is the End isn't just the year's funniest movie to date—it's also worthy of sitting alongside last year's The Cabin in the Woods in the annals of great horror-comedies. Rather than derive all of the film's laughs from tons of inside-baseball one-liners delivered by actors making fun of other actors, This Is the End applies the Shaun of the Dead tactic of playing all of the horror elements without any irony or silliness—the humor comes directly from how everyone responds to the horror. Dick jokes and all.

It's been no mystery that Rogen and Goldberg are well-educated students of all things comedy, but who knew that the longtime friends are also unabashed scary movie lovers? As the pair expressed at the Apple Store in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood earlier this week, as part of the iTunes-backed "Meet the Filmmaker" in-store interview series, This Is the End is just as informed by fright flicks as it is by laughter. Allow them to elaborate.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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