I’m not a big fan of excessive gore or violence, so the real draw for me in watching horror flicks is the batshit surrealism that results when directors leave logic and decorum on the cutting room floor. Even the most serious story can descend (or ascend?) into unintentional comedy when walls start dripping with bloody memos, and old ladies start scuttling across ceilings! And that’s why I was so excited to discover The Heart, She Holler, a show that combines unsettling “Southern Gothic” strangeness with proper jokes performed by a cast of comedy pros.
[Note: The first “season” debuted back in 2011, with six episodes running just over ten minutes each… meaning I managed to watch the entire run over the course of two lunch breaks! That said, this is probably the sort of show you should ration out sparingly, to maintain its mind-boggling “WTF?” potency.]
Kristen Schaal plays ‘Hurshe Heartshe’, a psychotic, incestuous nymphomaniac who considers herself a shoo-in to inherit the family fortune (and absolute control of Heartshe Hollow) when her father ‘Hoss’ passes on… though she faces stiff competition from her psychokinetic, mind-reading sister ‘Hambrosia’ (Heather Lawless), who’s married to the town’s sheriff. Unbeknownst to the both of them, their devious Daddy secreted an infant son in the walls of his office, where he’s been growing ever since, completely cut-off from all human contact. Hoss’s plan was to have his own brain implanted into the imbecile’s head, post-mortem… but things don’t quite go his way, and he’s forced to fall back on Plan B, guiding his family’s destiny from beyond the grave via a series of strangely prescient (and interactive) video tapes, while they squabble and feud among themselves!
Obviously Schaal was supposed to be playing a grotesque caricature of a backwoods “vamp” here, but it was hard for me to ignore the bona fide hottie lurking beneath the garish make-up and ugly clothing… which is to say she still looked mighty cute dressed up as “trash”. Apparently, she’s been replaced by Amy Sedaris for the second season (which began airing on Wednesday)… but I haven’t seen those episodes yet, so I can’t really comment on how well she fills the role (or Schaal’s stripper-wear).