Crazyhead episode 3 review: Shave The Cat

Crazyhead forgets its most promising strands while it takes its characters on a classic horror outing to a cabin in the woods…

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Shave The Cat

The joy of last week’s Crazyhead was Raquel’s emergence as the show’s super-powered focus and her developing friendship with Amy. It’s disappointing then, for Shave The Cat to more or less shrug off what happened at the ice-rink and split the girls up with a scattershot episode that goes off in all directions.

Raquel’s new-found powers are ignored and Sawyer’s demise is given only a cursory nod in an episode about Amy’s best friend returning from the dead.

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In good horror tradition, Suzanne came back wrong. Her first victim is the contents of her and Amy’s fridge, and her second is the walking haircut we met in episode one. Hoping to stave off future kills (who’s cleaning up the girls’ messes by the way?), Raquel, Amy and, for some reason Jake, take Suzanne to a remote cabin in the woods. 

It’s a classic genre premise but actually delivers little in the way of scares. The bathroom mirror cliche in the opening scene sets the standard for inventiveness when it comes to horror here. There’s a night-time forest pursuit, a lunging chained-up monster and the old hand-on-the-tent-canvas. If it’s originality you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Crazyhead’s heavier on the comedy than the spooky stuff, but even that was lacking in this confused outing. The sparky pairing of Raquel and Amy was missed, especially because the alternative combinations lacked anything like their chemistry. Raquel’s encounters with Mystery Starburst Man were more meh-cute than meet-cute. Riann Steel impressed once again as Suzanne, but her blood-lust got in the way of any real laughs or meaningful character development.

Meaning might just be what Crazyhead is falling down on here. Perhaps if it stopped paying such overt homage to Buffy The Vampire Slayer it wouldn’t invite unflattering comparisons. But it does, so it does. Its dialogue (revenant Suzanne isn’t vampiric but “all blood-sucky”), villain (a mayor-meets-Glory fastidious bon viveur) and even props (Raquel’s concealed weapons chest) all recall Joss Whedon’s show. 

What isn’t carried over in an episode like this one is the whole point of Buffy when it began, namely, using feminist fantasy horror to express everyday truths. A girl is ignored so much at school she literally disappears; a vicious clique of popular kids with a pack mentality are possessed by the spirits of hyenas… Older boyfriends, the power of adolescent female sexuality, domestic violence, male privilege, addiction… Buffy’s monsters meant something.

What does Suzanne’s undead vampirism mean? What does it tell us about her and Amy? For all its crude fun and refreshingly welcome diversity, that’s the side of things Crazyhead has yet to convince me it has a handle on.

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Great soundtrack though. Top marks for that. 

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, A Pine Fresh Scent, here.