The only way to do a blog about the FEARnet show Holliston and the Canadian Space Channel show Todd & The Book of Pure Evil is to watch a marathon of both seasons of each show and cram them into one awesome horror TV show blog!
Holliston began airing in 2012 on the FEARnet cable channel and is the brainchild of Hatchet creator (and cutie) Adam Green—who totally reminds me of Hal Sparks. It’s a sitcom about Adam and his friend Joe and their quest to make a horror film about an undead soccer team. But mostly they just hang out with Joe’s girlfriend (adorable and funny Laura Ortiz of Chillerama and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes) and Adam’s ex-girlfriend (sexy sweet Corri English of Unrest and Killer Pad).
Holliston is a spoof of sitcoms, right down to the awful canned laugh track. As intentional as it is, it becomes so annoying, but it does definitely fit the cheesy situations and hokey dialogue and actions (and it’s toned down in season 2). Adding to the fun is Dee Snider of Twisted Sister as Adam and Joe’s boss at the local cable station where they host a horror show. Dee is an over-the-hill glam rocker wannabe who is obsessed with Van Halen (he is in a tribute band called Dyver Down) and makes lewd comments (and advances) that have Adam and Joe convinced he’s gay but just won’t say it.
And then there’s Oderus Urungus, a hulking imaginary alien friend who lives in Adam’s closet and comes out to give him advice, wearing only chest armor and a codpiece thong.
Plus, every episode has plenty of horror icons as guest stars (many from the Hatchet movies), including Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Ray Wise, Parry Shen, Tony Todd, Danielle Harris, Seth Green, Sid Haig, Derek Mears, David Naughton, and Jon Landis.
However, Holliston isn’t a “horror” show. It’s simply about guys who love horror and want to be horror filmmakers. It’s a show for horror geeks that also pokes fun at the obsession. There are endless references to things only horror geeks would know, and Adam and Joe often imagine themselves in horror movie situations, like the head exploding in Scanners, the mirror face-peeling in Poltergeist, and the mattress blood bath in Elm Street.
Despite the absurdly over-the-top mocking of sitcom television and almost every episode being 45-minutes long in the first season (that’s cut to a perfect length of 22-minutes each in the second season), Holliston is totally endearing and you really get caught up in it. You’ll love the horror references and you’ll adore the charming cast. Plus, the show has plenty of sexual and gay jokes and even gory scenes during Adam’s daydreams. He also pokes fun at his own movies and the whole gang has an awareness that they are in a sitcom.
In the first season, Adam fights to win his ex-girlfriend Corri back, the girls rent a haunted apartment, the guys bathe together after getting skunked, Tony Todd moves in and totally takes over the guys’ apartment while trying to sleep with Corri, the guys try to make a trailer for their movie using schizophrenic Seth Green as their special effects guy, and the gang travels to a horror convention so the guys can give their trailer to Jon Landis.
The show totally hits its stride in season 2. The half-hour sitcom format works so much better, Adam’s writing is stronger, and the tension surrounding his relationship with Corri is the best since Ross and Rachel. Plus, most episodes have the cast getting involved in some sort of horror related situation.
Season 2 incudes the Christmas special, which is a standalone 50-minute special. The gang gets trapped in the apartment during a blizzard with no electricity or heat—and two escaped baddies on the loose! You expect the episode to be about the gang thinking there’s at least one killer in the apartment, but instead, it’s a “flashback” episode about how they all met.
In season 2, Kane Hodder comes to live with Adam and Joe (he likes to spoon with Adam in bed), Danielle Harris comes to live with them (Adam almost gets into a threesome with Kane and Danielle), they hire a hot dumb bearded cub assistant, they make a found footage horror film, Adam dates an Orphan-esque girl, the guys try to save Corri from becoming a werewolf after she’s bitten by David Naughton, Adam meet a girl on a Hebrew dating site who is a total racist, and the gang watches a Ring videotape. There’s also an episode in which the gang turns into cartoon characters to take on the Blob! This season totally rocks…and ends on a total cliffhanger! And now it looks like the show got the axe and is never coming back.
Plus, Corri English is actually in a band and sings a beautiful song in the final episode of the show. The video is included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray, as is the video for Dee Snider’s song “Love It Down Your Throat,” which is not only dirty, it’s 80s video perfection.
TODD & THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL
Cross Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an R-rated teen horror comedy and you have Todd & The Book of Pure Evil, which is officially one of my favorite horror TV shows ever.
At Crowley High (get it?) pothead metal head Todd, his chubby friend with one artificial arm, a science wiz geek chick, and a pretty, popular chick must work together to hunt down an evil book that haunts their high school. The book of pure evil preys on the vulnerable, grants them their wish, and then makes them pay the cost of messing with it!
Meanwhile, Todd and the gang confide their in their guidance counselor Atticus. Little do they know that Atticus is actually trying to get the book to turn over to an evil cult! There are also three burnout dudes who hang in the high school parking lot and seem to be up to no good, plus Todd turns for advice to the stoner janitor, played by none other than Jason Mewes—Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame.
Every week the book lands in the hands of someone new and unleashes a different monster or supernatural enemy. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him here, but Alex House, who plays Todd, is not only great in his role, he’s adorable when he’s not wearing that metal head wig. He’s been in quite a few indie films as well, often playing gay or bi characters, but he should totally be in major films at this point.
There’s also a great supporting cast. The kids are awesome and Chris Leavins, who plays Atticus the guidance counselor, totally rules. It’s a shame that this show didn’t make it to the U.S.—it’s just too dirty, gory, and filled with explicit language to be on anything other than a cable network. But it’s better off not getting dragged onto SyFy or Chiller with all the good stuff censored out of it.
In season 1, the gang takes on a zombie goth band, a fat monster (it’s literally made of fat), “smoke clouds” that make everyone dumb, a twin jealous of her lesbian sister, a giant penis that looks like Audrey II from Little Shop, a suicidal drag-racing greaser who comes back from the 1960s, a “Phantom of Crowley High” drama queen who doesn’t get the lead in the musical because she can’t sing, and a chess champ leading a brainwashed cult.
I have a couple of favorite episodes in the first season. In a brilliant approach to a gay bullying storyline, a gay student uses the book so that all the other boys in school will know how it feels to be gay. It’s possibly one of the funniest episodes of all.
In the other episode, a girl who can’t become a teen mom no matter how hard she tries uses the book—and gives birth to a freaky looking adult-sized baby! My favorite line is when one character says, “Why would anyone want to bring a baby into this fucked up world?”
And I agree. Blech. Who would want to bring a child into today’s miserable world that we’re bringing to a quick end with hate and war masquerading as religion and by sucking the planet dry. I just hope the world holds on until I’m gone—and the rest of the Star Wars movies are made!
Season 2 starts with zombies at a retirement home! Things only get wilder from there. A girl with no friends meshes herself with anyone she touches, a baddie uses students’ skin as disguise, the gang fights cheerleader beasts, nature strikes back, the gang becomes a real life video game, an AV student controls everyone as if they are a movie, students celebrating their birthdays get their cake…and it eats them, too, and Todd is sent into a future in which his guidance counselor Atticus runs the school.
I have two favorite episodes in season 2. The filthiest episode ever involves an invisible pervert—and we get to see Todd’s bare butt for a good long time! We also get to see it in an episode in which he loses his virginity.
My other favorite episode is when the Phantom of Crowley High returns for another musical episode. The lyrics are funny and the songs totally rock—and Todd gyrates in just his jeans while singing about being horny.
The good news is that so many questions are answered in the final episode, which is satisfying since there was never a third season. The bad news is, they started new storylines that would have been dealt with in the third season.
I really cannot believe that neither Holliston nor Todd & The Book of Pure Evil were picked up for a third season. I don’t know how I’ll ever go on with my life! It’s the worst feeling I’ve had since Jessica Tate was about to be killed by a firing squad.