A date with the devil: Reece Shearsmith reveals source of his inspiration

As The League of Gentlemen prepare a UK tour, the co-creator of the dark comedy describes how a 1920s Swedish horror film ignited his love of black humour

A journey into the black heart of the imagination of Reece Shearsmith is not a trip for the fainthearted. But that is what is on offer this month when Shearsmith presents his favourite silent film to an audience in a Birmingham town hall, before a much-anticipated League of Gentlemen reunion tour of Britain in August and September.

Häxan, or The Witch, is a Swedish chiller from 1922. Its grainy images have fed Shearsmith’s nightmares since he saw it as a teenager late one night at home. “I must have watched it on telly at around 13,” he said. “It is genuinely unsettling and startling because the effects are really good.”

We want to make telly that makes you attentive. You can’t let our comedy just wash over you.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Are you gruesome tonight? The comedy hit splicing Evil Dead 2 and Elvis songs

In Sam Raimi’s horror classic, a man is tormented by demons and his own severed hand. All the story needed was a few tunes by the king of rock’n’roll, says Rob Kemp

By day, he was a mild-mannered examinations officer at a school near Wolverhampton. By night, he was a chainsaw-wielding maniac with a soft spot for Elvis numbers. No, that’s not a pitch for a B-movie, but the life of standup comic Rob Kemp. The 39-year-old will spend much of the next month commuting between the West Midlands and Soho theatre in London, shedding the briefcase and tie en route to re-enter the underworld of The Elvis Dead, his rock’n’roll-meets-horror one-man comedy show that became the cult hit of this summer’s Edinburgh fringe.

Hitherto, Kemp had been a specialist in “whimsical” (so he’s told) standup and was “bumping along largely unnoticed”. His only previous show, little seen, was a Dave Gorman-esque comedy lecture about hubris. The Elvis Dead (it’s a retelling of Evil Dead 2 set to the music of Elvis Presley) was dreamed up in conversation with a friend, based on Kemp’s supposed resemblance to horror icon Bruce Campbell. “There was nothing cynical about it,” he says, in case you’re thinking that the Elvis/Evil Dead mashup was a ruthlessly commercial cash-in. “I just wanted to write something that I knew my mates would enjoy.”

Related: Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead review – a gory cult classic in the making

Continue reading…

Continue Reading