Monday, February 6, 2017

Women in Horror: Crazyhead

Amy has stopped her psychiatric medication and is adjusting to her life without them. Unfortunately, the visions that put her on them are returning. She's panicking, thinking that she's going crazy again, until she runs into demon hunter Raquel who can see what she can. After an awkward beginning, they join forces and fight the infestation of demons together while they develop a friendship, get to know each other's quirks, and generally stumble through life.

Crazyhead is a fun, quirky, and surprisingly dark show. I've seen a lot of comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I disagree. The two shows share demon hunting and fighting the forces of darkness, but they accomplish it in two very different styles. While Buffy had someone who knew what they were doing train her, teach her about demons and vampires, and provide primary sources to properly research what they don't already know. Amy and Raquel have no idea what they are doing, but try to do the best they can. They look up exorcisms online and hope that it will work. Tons of mistakes are made and they slowly build up their knowledge base together while a syndicate of demons attacks and manipulates them for a plan 800 years in the making.

My favorite things about the show are Amy, Raquel, and their relationship. Amy is a bit off kilter since she was taken off her psych meds. Having a history is seeing odd things, people tend to mock, dismiss, or mistreat her and social situations can be awkward to say the least. Through Raquel, Amy discovers she's a seer who can see unclear glimpses of the future and recognize demons. Throughout the series, Amy has her flaws as she hurts people and makes mistakes, but she always has good intentions. When it comes right down to it, she's willing to fight for her people and does whatever she can to do so. My two favorite moments with her have to do with her friends being in crisis. One is when Suzanne is a revenant trying to eat her while they are trapped in an elevator. Amy kept positive and spoke passionately about their history as friends, highlighting how much they've been through together. The other moment occurs at the very end of the series.

Raquel is a completely unexpected character. She has practically no filter and often tells the uncomfortable truth to people whether they like it or not. She can also say really odd things that are either rude, vulgar, make no sense, or a combination of all three. Like Amy, she sees a psychiatrist and isn't in the ideal emotional or mental state. Her experience in the supernatural world started in childhood because she's half demon with a demon father (who works for good). Even with her experience, she doesn't know a lot about the bigger picture and how to save possessed people because she's had no one to guide her. She lives with her brother, who doesn't know about the demons, and they have the best relationship. He's a sweet person, encouraging her and building her up when she tears herself down. Despite her outward bravado, she's lonely and doesn't have many friends before she meets Amy. Raquel also has her share of missteps, but is a true and faithful friend.

Amy and Raquel together are an interesting duo, trying to navigate this supernatural landscape that hides beneath the regular world. They are just terrible at trying to make up reasonable excuses to cover up their heroic efforts against the demons. Their ridiculous lies make me laugh because they are terrible liars and their lies are always weird and/or awkward. People don't question them just to stop being in an awkward conversation. Amy and Raquel bumble through and try to save as many people and beat as many demons as possible even when they can't see the bigger picture. Mistakes are definitely made and they fight like normal people (as in not very well). The best thing about them is how their friendship blossoms even though they are so different. They encourage each other but also aren't afraid to be critical and sometimes insulting.

The villains of the series are demons similar to those in the show Outcast. They assume the lives of the humans they possess, but they are evil creatures whose ultimate goal is to make earth hell. The big bad of the series is Callum. He works as a decorated psychiatrist (and also manipulatively counsels Raquel and Amy) whose favorite leisure activities are cooking gourmet food and beating people to a bloody pulp. Other demons are either minions or allies of his. My favorite of them is Mercy who appears to be an unassuming single mother, but is actually one of Callum's most ruthless and trusted allies. She's strong, unpredicatable, and strives to protect her human son above all else. She keeps him separate from her supernatural world to ensure he has a normal, healthy childhood. Her situation shows that the complexity of demons as her love influences her decisions and in the end supercedes the ultimate goal for her kind. She chose to save him from becoming a demon by helping Raquel and Amy at the end of the season even though she worked hard towards that goal beforehand. I hope to see much more of her in the next season.

My favorite moment of the entire season occurs at the end of the season. Raquel finds out the man she loves is a demon and her powers go out of control, opening the gates of hell. Amy tells her to not end the world over some prick because he isn't worth it. She reminds Raquel how powerful and wonderful she is with a Beyonce song and kisses her, helping Raquel regain control. This is a huge moment in the series that was accomplished with a strong female friendship based on building each other up. It's a beautiful scene that strengthens their relationship and shows that it's not a show that depends on men coming in to save the day.

Crazyhead is a delightfully irreverent and hilarious show that focuses on women and their relationships. In addition to the wonderful characters, the show looks and sounds different than similar shows. Bright colors are everywhere in the clothing and the sets, especially in Raquel's wardrobe and the bowling alley where Amy works. Elle King's songs also give the show a fun flair. I can't wait for Crazyhead to come back with a second, hopefully longer, season. I'm eager to see how Raquel and Amy are faring as more accomplished demon hunters and exorcists and as best friends. If you haven't seen it, the first season is only 6 episodes available on Netflix and it's worth your time.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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