There’s a subgenre of horror that gets no respect: the horror-comedy. Think about it. It’s either REALLY over the top, slapstick, goofy and chock full of fart jokes or it just isn’t funny or scary. It’s very hard to scare someone but it is even more difficult to make them truly laugh. I’m not talking about a closed-mouth chuckle; I mean the loud and unstoppable laugh of the insane. Not only that but it’s almost exclusively made for men. Always a set of boobs in sight, always a leading man and the women are made to look like a bunch of over inflated jokes. Well, do I have a treat for you, my horror-lovin’ ladies! Drumroll, please…………..Crazyhead(2016)!
Immediately, within the first five minutes of this British television show, I thought, “Oh my God, this is the Mean Girls of horror.” Let me explain myself. What does everyone love best about Mean Girls? Hilarious dialogue that can be repeated in every day conversation, strong female characters, silly male characters that are just there to support the women and the leads are people we can kind of relate to. This Netflix available six-episode series is everything I want in horror television. It follows Amy (Cara Theobold) and Raquel (Susan Wokoma), two very awkward women that can see demons. I don’t want to go too far into the plot because I REALLY want you to see this show. I don’t know if I have laughed this hard in a very long time. I’ll let you in on one tiny scene from the first few minutes of the episode. Amy’s roommate is possessed and they look up an exorcism on the internet. The first step of the exorcism: pee on the possessed to mark your territory “like a lion.” Needless to say, if the exorcism starts this way, it can only get better.
We need to talk about the leading ladies. At least to me, there is a clear favorite heroine here…Raquel. She’s the wise woman of the two, the one who knows what’s going on. The first time she introduces herself to Amy, she goes to pinch her arm and pinches her nipple instead. She is blunt, witty and one of the funniest characters I have ever watched. The awesome part? Not only is she a female lead, but she’s a black female lead that completely steals the show. Don’t get me wrong, Amy is hilarious too but she is more awkward, naïve and goofy. They are perfect for each other. The chemistry between these women is amazing. It makes me wonder if any of the lines that send you into a fit of laughter so intense that it makes you snort like a damn pig were improvised. I am proud of the horror industry as it seems to be the most progressive among all other genres. Take American Horror Story; it is extremely female driven and continues to be each season. Horror has increasingly shown the strength and badassery women are capable of by writing in strong characters that make it through to the end, and face that sunrise bloody and beaten but alive and stronger. A good example is the remake of Evil Dead. Ash is a beloved character but when Mia (Jane Levy) is facing off the baddies at the end, one hand removed and armed with a chainsaw, it almost gives you goose bumps. Lest we forget Maddie (Kate Siegel) in Hush; a movie about deaf woman alone in a house with a killer. If you haven’t seen this movie, get to it because it’s a true embodiment of a strong female lead.
While we’re here, can we talk about the effects? From my experience, TV show effects can be lacking. They can seem cheesy, over the top or unrealistic. The demons in Crazyhead are described to look “like they are burning from the inside,” and they nail it. When one of the girls sees the face of a demon, it is gaunt, skeletal with a glowing from behind the sunken areas of the face. It’s subtle but the effect works and it is terrifying.
Crazyhead has made me jump, scream, laugh like a crazy person and even get a bit teary and it isn’t just funny. There is the perfect balance of scary and funny. Apparently when it comes to horror-comedy, the British really know how to get things done. First came Shaun of the Dead, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, and now Crazyhead. If you want a badass horror-comedy with strong and hilarious leading women, I highly recommend Crazyhead. Similarly, if you just like leading ladies, check out this recent article about the evolution of the Scream Queen.