What’s the most metal TV show out there? No, it’s not what you’re thinking of. Or that one. The correct answer is Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil. Not heard of it? Well, unless you’re Canadian, or as well informed as us at Thrash Hits, it may have passed you by as it hasn’t hit UK TV quite yet.
Now, I’d love to tell you all about it and why you should spend all your money over on iTunes Canada to buy the brilliant first series – but an article that says, “WATCH THE FUCKING SHOW,” over and over is no use to anyone. So instead we talked to Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil creator Craig David Wallace about the show…
Without using a lame analogy like mine (Buffy meets Evil Dead at Wacken Festival) can you sum up what Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil is about?
In broad strokes, Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil is about teenagers using the power of evil to solve their teenage problems, with gory, bloody, gutty results. But it’s also about a young man facing his destiny, and how that affects his relationship with his friends, which is something I think we can all relate to in some way. I always felt that I was set apart on my own path in life, or at least trying to find that path, and I can only assume most people feel the same way at some point in their lives.
Series One featured a murderous penis, a deeply disturbing babyman, and a whole lot of bleeding from various hatches. What can we expect from Series Two?
Sandwich loving mobs, body skinners, abnormally buff, hairy cheerleaders, cavemen, invisible masturbators, a new musical, and poo. Lots of poo.
To get an idea of what a band sounds like the best way to do it is to ask about their influences – so we’re going to use the same question on you (as we’re fairly stuck in our ways.) What TV shows and movies were the biggest influence on TATBOPE?
Evil Dead. Evil Dead II. Army of Darkness. 90 per cent of Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil comes from that holy trinity. Surprisingly, it never occurred to me that they both feature evil books until we were almost through season two, but I’m sure most people just believe we ripped off the idea. Far from it. Well, maybe not that far from it, but definitely not consciously. The original short film I made that the series is based on featured the Book Of Pure Evil, but it was just a way to summon Satan and get him to do stuff for you. For the series, we got rid of Satan, so it’s all about the Book. Other influences are mostly teen movies from the 1980s, especially John Hughes movies, and 80s horror movies. And the original Conan The Barbarian, obviously, which is pretty much the best movie ever made. So that’s all movies.
TV didn’t really influence the show much, especially in the beginning. I only really got into TV because I was working on the series. I didn’t even see any Buffy until we had pretty much written season one, and then it was just to see why everyone kept telling me the show was like Buffy. Then I had to stop watching it because I was worried it would make me not do things in Todd because Buffy had already done it before. But really, when it comes down to it, all these stories have been told before, and will be told again. It’s about how you tell these stories that really counts.
You have to go on the Canadian iTunes Store to watch TATBOPE in the UK. Is there any chance it’ll come to a British TV channel in the future?
I certainly hope so!
Todd is one of the only TV shows that has a clearly defined metalhead as its main character. Usually they are relegated to sidekick or one-note, joke characters – how do you feel about this, and is Todd an attempt to redress the balance?
Oh yeah, absolutely. It always drives me nuts to see anyone associated with a subculture on a tv series be a sidekick or a just a joke character. Todd from the beginning was a metalhead first and foremost, with dreams of riding dragons and slaying monsters and winning the hand of the barbarian queen. We never try to make fun of wild and over-the-top nature of heavy metal, we try to celebrate that craziness. Funny thing is, I wasn’t into metal in high school. I got into Metallica and Anthrax when I was in junior high, but by the time I was sixteen I was totally into post-punk. Fugazi and a lot of straight edge hardcore. But by my mid-twenties, I had a metal resurgence of sorts, spurred by the book Lords Of Chaos about the black metal scene in Norway in the early 90s, and then I got really into Gothenburg bands like At The Gates, The Haunted, In Flames… It struck me that metal was akin to hip hop in the way it provides the disenfranchised with an escapist fantasy, but instead of rollin’ in Hummers with bling bling, being gangsters, it was corpse paint and mediaeval weaponry and burning churches. There’s even a similarity between graffiti tagging and black metal band name logos: the more indecipherable, the better. What was my point? Oh yeah: There’s a depth to all this, a sense of identity and character that draws someone to metal, and I wanted to show that character and explore it. Luckily I found a broadcaster who was into it, and I’m forever grateful.
Lastly – what do you think is on Todd’s iPod?
My tastes tend towards post-metal like Isis and Cult Of Luna, and melodic death metal, especially the Gothenburg sound. That’s what usually ends up in the show. But Todd himself is more of a Dragonforce power metal type of guy, but with a fondness for Black Guard, Mastodon, Children of Bodom, and of course, Vagina Conqueror. We made up the name Vagina Conqueror, and thought we were very clever, then found out that in Winnipeg (the city where we film the show) there’s a band called Cunt Punisher. Now that’s Metal.