Between the cult classic ‘The League of Gentlemen’ and the critically acclaim of ‘Inside Number 9’ there was ‘Psychoville’. Reece Shearsmith’s and Steve Pemberton’s psychological horror comedy mystery seems almost forgotten now, but it deserves so much more.
Just like ‘The League of Gentlemen’ ‘Psychoville’ see’s Shearsmith and Pemberton take on a number of roles; once seen you will never forget the Shearsmith’s hooked handed clown ‘Mr Jelly’ or Pemberton’s serial killer ‘David Sowerbutts’. The cast is fleshed out by other portraying dwarfs with magical powers, camp Nazis, an appearance from Tony Hancock, clowns performing surgery, Dawn French feeding blood to a doll to try and bring it to life and Christopher Biggins as Christopher Biggins.
Future ‘Academy Award’ nominee and ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ alumni Daniel Kaluuya also plays a leading role as Pemberton’s ‘Oscar Lomax’s’ carer ‘Michael Fry’, better known as ‘Tealeaf’.
Over two series, abridged by a Halloween special, the mystery of what happened at ‘Raven Hill’ psychiatric home, the murder of evil nurse ‘Edwina Kenchington’ and the search for her missing locket unfold. Along the way there is murder, historic serial killers in a musical number and an iconic dance routine.
The series even has tenuous links to Shearsmith’s and Pemberton’s previous and future projects; ‘Psychoville’ was the name given to ‘The League of Gentlemen’ when shown on Japanese television and the episode ‘David and Maureen’, with its one room fixed location and small cast, would go on to influence the creation of ‘Inside Number 9’.
Currently available on BBC iPlayer & Netflix this is a show that almost begs to be binge watched. The Halloween special is both scary and sunny enough to make great addition to a horror movie night.
Also I’m still waiting for someone to cosplay ‘Mr Jelly’ at a comic-con, so if someone out there could, that’d be great, thanks.