CRAZY HEAD

Mis­fits man’s mad malarkey.

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

Pre­pare to triple your­self, Mis­fits fans: Howard Over­man, cre­ator of the edgy E4 show, is back with an­other youth­ful genre show for the chan­nel. This time though he’s putting an off­beat spin on de­monology, rather than su­per­pow­ers. Filmed in Bris­tol, six-part se­ries Crazyhead is set in a world where the un­der­world ex­ists, and the only way that souls can es­cape be­ing trapped there is by pos­sess­ing the liv­ing.

Un­der­stand­ably, fans of Over­man’s Asbo-su­per­heroes show will im­me­di­ately want to know just how much Crazyhead has in com­mon with it. He says there are

sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences. “Ob­vi­ously Mis­fits was a comedic take on genre, and this is a comedic take on genre,” Over­man ex­plains. “It’s not as ex­treme as Mis­fits though, as it’s de­signed for an ear­lier time slot. I’d also say it’s a warmer show. Mis­fits was al­ways about five peo­ple who quite of­ten didn’t re­ally like each other, and were hor­ri­ble to one an­other! Whereas this has a real friend­ship at its core.”

That cen­tral re­la­tion­ship is the one be­tween a duo of am­a­teur de­mon hunters. Cara Theobold plays Amy who, in episode one, learns that her “hal­lu­ci­na­tions” are ac­tu­ally a spe­cial abil­ity to see the faces of the demons walk­ing among us. En­ter Su­san Wokoma as Raquel, the fel­low “see-er” she teams up with. “It’s that clas­sic buddy tale,” Over­man ex­plains. “Two lost souls who find each other, and de­spite their dif­fer­ences the world makes more sense when they’re to­gether. They be­come each other’s rocks, be­cause for the first time both of them have that per­son they can be hon­est with, and is hav­ing the same ex­pe­ri­ence as them. They can be their true selves with one an­other.”

Over­man’s start­ing point was the “funny woman” of this “straight/funny” pair­ing, Raquel. “I wanted to have this out­landish char­ac­ter who could wield a trun­cheon and beat peo­ple up but also be vul­ner­a­ble and quirky,” Over­man says. “A de­mon slayer the like of which we hadn’t seen be­fore. Usu­ally they’re the per­son telling you all the rules, whereas she’s not pro­fes­sional, is not a very good driver, is in­com­pe­tent… But she’s in­cred­i­bly love­able for it – that just makes her more real and more hu­man.”

“Raquel’s been able to see the demons since her early teens,” Su­san Wokoma ex­plains. “She’s a self-made de­mon hunter. So she re­lies on Google, and she bought her taser and her ba­ton off eBay. Since she was 13 she’s been go­ing out try­ing to waste these guys. And she’s very funny, but she’s also very so­cially awk­ward, be­cause of the world telling her that she’s crazy. So as soon as she clocks that Amy can see them too she’s like, ‘A friend! A friend!’”

The demons aren’t nec­es­sar­ily what you might be ex­pect­ing from a show like this ei­ther. “We didn’t want just a sim­ple good or evil thing,” Over­man ex­plains. “We wanted the devils to end up hav­ing com­plex feel­ings them­selves. I wanted to give them per­son­al­ity. The best vam­pire in Buffy The Vam­pire Slayer was al­ways An­gel, be­cause he had char­ac­ter and per­son­al­ity, and was con­flicted.” He’s achieved that com­plex­ity by mak­ing the act of pos­ses­sion some­thing of a two-way street.

“One of the char­ac­ters pos­sesses a sin­gle mum,” Over­man re­veals. “Now, if you pos­sess some­one who has chil­dren, what does that do to your de­mon side? Can you change and come to care for them? If you pos­sess some­one and fall in love with a hu­man, does that change you? That’s what you look for – you take a genre trope and try to do some­thing a bit more in­ter­est­ing with it.”

It’s a phi­los­o­phy he’s also ap­plied to the Big Bad of the piece – head de­mon Cal­lum, played by Tony Cur­ran (Datak Tarr in De­fi­ance and Vincent Van Gogh in Doc­tor Who).

“He’s a stick­ler for at­ten­tion to de­tail,” says Over­man, “so when he does some­thing he wants it done com­pe­tently, and he gets very an­gry when his min­ions don’t per­form! He’s a foodie, and very stylish – the guy might be evil, but he has panache! In some ways he’s that clas­sic man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, it’s just what he’s man­ag­ing is quite evil.”

And don’t ex­pect any kind of cen­turies-old se­cret or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing hu­man­ity, of the sort you of­ten see in this kind of se­ries. These girls are go­ing to have to mud­dle through on their own. “When a show starts with the line ‘A se­cret or­gan­i­sa­tion set up to fight…’ I just go, ‘Oh yeah?’” Over­man says, with a note of weari­ness. “I’m much more drawn to a cou­ple of nor­mal peo­ple mak­ing do and find­ing out for them­selves how to deal with it. What­ever you do in life, to a cer­tain ex­tent we’re all bull­shit­ting, aren’t we? Half the time you’re wing­ing it!”

Crazyhead starts air­ing on E4 later in Oc­to­ber, with Net­flix then stream­ing it glob­ally.

If you pos­sess some­one and fall in love with a hu­man, does that change you?

Five sec­onds later they launched into their award­win­ning dance rou­tine.

At least the gag was colour co-or­di­nated. The world’s most evil man­ag­ing di­rec­tor.

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