Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Dead Funny

December 13, 2015 - 2:31 pm No Comments

Editor: Johnny Mains & Robin Ince
Publisher: Salt
Release date: 1st Oct 2014
Page Count; 224pp deluxe hardcover
Reviewer: Jonathan Butcher

Dead Funny is a pleasingly unique horror anthology, with the twist being that each ghastly tale is written by a comedian. Being a huge fan of both comedy and horror I was excited by such a prospect, and while there are some weaker tales the pace remains fun, varied and enjoyably written.

While I was expecting the stories to lean heavily towards the comedy element, I was surprised to find that there were plenty of unnerving moments lurking amidst the mirth. The collection begins with one such story, “Dog”, penned by the reliably black-souled creator of League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9, Reece Shearsmith. Risking controversy, this genuinely nasty piece revolves around a young man’s vicious revenge upon those he holds responsible for the blinding of his younger brother: a selection of dog owners, and their pets. It’s not a tale for the easily shocked and functions as a warning for readers expecting the book to be a barrel of light-hearted giggles.

Following this was another of my favourites, another bleak and laughter-free entry by Sara Pascoe entitled “Spider Remember”. Short yet far from sweet, it’s a story of love, madness and arachnid abominations. This was one of the most thought-provoking and thoughtfully written stories in the book.

While I was hoping for Matthew Holness’s entry to be a knowingly-inept tale penned in the style of his fictional horror writer Garth Merenghi, it proved to be a truly unsettling piece about a disturbed man’s relationship with his grotesque homemade hand puppet, perhaps to parallel the decidedly serious theme of mental illness.

Further highlights included Katy Brand’s unpredictable, inspired and tragically touching take on precognition, “For Roger”, Rufus Hound’s ingenious jigsaw puzzle “Fixed”, which only unveils the truth amongst the existential weirdness in its closing paragraphs, and Michael Legge’s sweetly hilarious tale of psychic crime-solving, “The Dream of Nightmares”.

As with any collection written by a large variety of authors there are a couple of weak links, but this is to be expected. While I adore him onstage, Stewart Lee’s offering “A View from the Hill” was too meandering and ended with the proverbial damp squib, and Al Murray’s “For Everyone’s Good” gave me little to chuckle or shiver about. Phill Jupitus brought a wicked immediacy to his prose in “Anthemoessa”, but a disparity between the surrounding tale and its conclusion left me with the sense that the “twist” had merely been tacked on.

However, as previously mentioned, this is a strong collection of grisly guffaws, and for the most part left me feeling extremely satisfied.

Highly recommended!

Last God Standing

March 5, 2014 - 10:07 am No Comments

Last God Standing
Author: Michael Boatman
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 416pp
Release Date: 25th March 2014
Reviewer: Andy Angel

An interesting premise here, and one that works really well. After 2000 years doing “the job he was created to do” God has quit and come to live among humanity. He is now Lando Cooper, living in Chicago and working in his Dad’s Auto supplies shop…….he also aspires the make it as a stand up comedian.

Unfortunately for Lando he is being regularly challenged by God’s from the elder pantheon (think Greek, Roman, Indian God’s and you get the idea) who want to take his place as Supreme Being. On top of all this a murderous new God known only as The Coming is on the horizon and getting closer.

This novel has a lot going for it. The idea on it’s own is a good one – God lives among us (as do other God’s and even Lucifer) but he is just a regular guy! There are several battles between Lando and other Gods and at times these can be quite epic but there is also home life (the interactions between Lando, his parents – both separated – and their partners are, at times funny enough to make your sides ache) and his love life.

So, all Lando has to do is face and beat an array of God’s, The Coming, and win the girl’s hand while not letting anyone know who he is/was. Oh, and win a slot at the comedy club night and host a TV customers show. There is, needless to say, quite a lot going on but it is to the author’s credit that at no point does it feel rushed or crammed. There are moments that will make you chuckle, touching moments and one’s to make you laugh out loud (the restaurant scene with his girlfriend and her family is a work of comedy genius in my opinion).

The other plus for me is that although the main character is God the book itself is not overly religious or preachy – just a good fun read that I will happily recommend to anyone

Supernatural Activity

August 27, 2012 - 11:25 am No Comments

Supernatural Activity
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Running time: 90 min
Release date: 13th Aug 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

This spoof by the makers of Scary Movie, introduces us to Damon Dealer, a paranormal investigator who works on the number one ‘hit’ show Supernatural Activity. With his crew of misfits, he embarks on a mission to the small town of Hicksville to disprove the existence of the Smallsquatch.
Filmed in a ‘mockumentary’ style, a documentary director follows Damon and his crew around intent on exposing the show as a hoax, but strange things are afoot in Hicksville.

Damon Dealer is suitably cheesy in a Ben Stiller way, as one would expect, and though some of the jokes fall flat and the séance scene runs on far too long, there are laughs to be had in this film. There are Patrick Swayze jokes, Blair Witch jokes, digs at The Exorcism of Emily Rose among other films and every supernatural stereotype is poked fun at.

Although it’s not the best of the spoofs, it is funnier than Scary Movie and I did find myself laughing out loud at some of the one liners. There is a certain guilty pleasure here and I have to admit that I enjoyed this film. The actor playing Damon Dealer was particularly good. Not a five star film but definitely worth a look, especially if you know your horror genre and can get the in jokes. Silliness, extreme silliness, and fun!