Monday, 31 January 2011

Do Ventriloquist Dolls Give You The Creeps?

A bit of a strange one this week, I think you'll agree. I'll go into this week's cartoon's thinking and its history in a little while. In the meantime I'd like you to feast your little peepers on this lot (there's a montage near the bottom). I am always astounded by the huge diversity of styles and ideas this competition encourages week after week. Go on, it's astonshing isn't it?
Ennywhey, on to this week's scribble by yours truly. To be completely honest I didn't expect any points whatsoever. After all, it's hardly a thigh-slapper is it? The theme is Ventriloquist and Paul Mahoney (last week's winner) plumped for an optional caption. I struggled a little with the caption. My first attempt was "Helg helg! Nurder!". I thought this was hilarious - at first. This eventually evolved to "Helg, helg! Call the golice!" and then on to the final one you see above. I decided that the repetition of 'helg' was excessive, but the simple 'call the golice' was funnier because it was less fussy and more straight forward AND it only uses the ventriloquist's problem consonant once. That said, the caption was always thought about in conjunction with the drawing. The image came first. Where did the image come from? Once again we are about to delve into my childhood.
When I was nowt but a scrimbleshonker to a niddlewright (I don't know. I just made it up) I was allowed by my - I now understand to be thoroughly irresponsible - parents to watch a film titled Dead of Night. It was an anthology of four stories (if memory serves) the last one of which starred Michael Redgrave (pre-knighthood) as a ventriloquist with a strange, obsessional relationship with his vent doll that tips him over into the maelstrom of madness. Or does it? Does he project his desires from the Id through the doll or is the doll actually an autonomous thing of evil in its own right? As you can see, Dead of Night was the direct inspiration for my cartoon (in the film Redgrave 'murders' his doll) and I've continued with the ambiguous nature between vent and doll. It's a doll isn't it? We all know it is inanimate. So, are we witnessing a psychotic crisis, or is the doll really appealing for help?
Brrrrrrrrrr. Sleep well!


  1. "Dead of Night" - a film so creepy it made Googie Withers . . .

    Don't forget "Magic" with Anthony Hopkins - that freaked me out!

    Good post Brendan, nice cartoon - remember Derek Brimstone's joke about the Ventriloquist and his agent?

  2. Is that the one you told me on the train? Punchline at Potter's Bar and me still laughing at Kings Cross? I mentioned that very fact on the Cartoonist's Club Forum.
    I thought Magic was a little too obvious in that the vent doll was too closely modelled on Hopkins' character.