"Demon Thingy: Book One: A Couple O' Conjurings" Book Review

Written by Tony Jones

Published by Burdizzo Books

Written by Jonathan Butcher & Matthew Cash
2017, 131 pages, Fiction
Released on December 25th, 2017


You aren’t likelier to read a nuttier book than Demon Thingy: Book One: A Couple O' Conjurings all year, and once you get your head around the absurdities of the plot, you may well think you’ve strayed into the wrong section of HorrorTalk and are reading a review of one of James Ferguson’s comics. Demon Thingy is certainly comic book in style, and the sub-genre of horror comedy is one which is notoriously difficult to get right, but this book has a pretty decent stab at it. How many supposed horror comedies have you read that were genuinely funny? Not many I would guess.

Demon Thingy is so unbelievably puerile and stupid it genuinely has a lot of funny sequences in it, and some brilliant throwaway one-liners. On a few occasions I found myself laughing out loud in my empty flat (how weird is that?) at the sheer crassness of some of the scenes. As the book is relatively brief at 131 pages, it does not overstay its welcome, and concludes before the penis jokes deflate entirely! How many fart, genitalia, masturbation, blowjob, dog shit or otherwise bottom-basement jokes can you cram into this slim volume whilst brewing a few supernatural and occult gags along the way? Jonathan Butcher and Matthew Cash manage quite a few. They don’t all work, some jokes are awful, but the authors keep them coming thick and fast and their result is unchallenging entertainment and it is easy to be carried along with their enthusiasm and filthy minds.

The sense of humour is also very British, so I wonder how well the book will travel overseas? Do Americans know ‘pillock’ is one of many derogatory terms for idiot? Do Americans drink Buckfast (a very strong fortified wine) or have any awareness of its importance to Britain’s drinking culture? Do Americans get upset when they step on dog mess in the street like the Brits do? The humour comes across as a very crude cross between Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Robert Rankin and although it lacks the subtleties and class of those authors, I still sniggered away heartily. I’ll certainly be interested in hearing how any American readers get on with this type of sewer humour.

The story takes place in a small town in the English midlands, where a group of geriatric black magic practitioners, led by Mrs Roberts, have been trying to raise a demon.  They have limited success until they summon an ‘arse demon’, which doesn’t do much apart from crap everywhere, but Mrs Roberts takes a shine to it and names him Sylvester. Elsewhere Seamus also conjures up a demon, however this is for a different purpose, harking back to a rather nasty earlier supernatural encounter. From that point on, the plot strands meet and get even more ridiculous, so don’t say you haven’t been warned. For example, Seamus must be the first character I’ve ever come across who (literally) craps out of his mouth and eats food by shoving it up his arse; so keep your eyes peeled for a very funny baked potato moment. Along the way there are lots of other larger-than-life characters, including Mr Roberts, who tries to have his wicked way with the arse demon, and don’t ask what happens to the two unfortunate burglars who break into the house of two very elderly sexual deviants.

This stupid book has lots of nice touches; Mrs Roberts meets her devil-worshiping buddies in a baker’s shop, and the group are called ‘The Baker’s Coven’ (get it?) and they have a secret entrance to their meeting room via ‘Disabled Toilet No 2’ (get it?) I just can’t begin to explain how dumb this book it, so it certainly won’t be to all tastes. It gleefully sends up many supernatural clichés, and you’ll enjoy picking up on some of the references.  It caught me in the right mood and I had a good chuckle through most of it.

But is it for you? Here’s an acid test: You see someone walking down the road and they stand on a huge steaming pile of dog shit. If you’re the type of person who has a quiet chuckle at their misfortune, then give Demon Thingy: Book One: A Couple O' Conjurings a whirl, but on the other hand, if you are saddened by their misfortune, then perhaps you should give it a swerve. Or not...


Overall: fourstars Cover
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About The Author
Tony Jones
Author: Tony Jones
Staff Writer
Such is Tony’s love of books, he has spent well over twenty years working as a school librarian where he is paid to talk to kids about horror. He is a Scotsman in exile who has lived in London for over two decades and credits discovering SE Hinton and Robert Cormier as a 13-year-old for his huge appetite for books. Tony previously spent five years writing The Greatest Scrum That Ever Was, a history book very few people bought. In the past he has written for Horror Novel Reviews and is a regular contributor to The Ginger Nuts of Horror website, often specialising in YA horror.
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