GFR Deputy Editor Michileen Martin gives you his choices for the best What We Do in the Shadows episode for a Halloween marathon.
I know, I know: What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary full of vampires, vampire slayers, spirits, demons, werewolves, and more. So what episode of the series wouldn’t be perfect for a Halloween marathon?
Fair enough, but I think some What We Do in the Shadows stories are more fitting than others. Some of the following episodes just have a wealth of spooky creatures, and others work better because even though the characters aren’t celebrating Halloween, they’re wearing disguises of one sort or another.
The Simon the Devious Trilogy
What’s more fitting for Halloween than a curse so powerful it even wreaks havoc on vampires? Since the very first season of What We Do in the Shadows, Matt Berry’s Laszlo Cravensworth has waged his conflict against Simon the Devious (Nick Kroll) over the ownership of a hat made from the skin of a witch (and the skin comes from some of the more surprising areas of the witch apparently).
Their struggle begins in the inaugural season’s “Manhattan Night Club”, which ends with the hat changing hands first to Simon and then back to Laszlo after the curse causes Laszlo’s night club to burn down. It continues the following season in “The Return” when a now sewer-dwelling Simon wins Laszlo and Nadja’s (Natasia Demetriou) temporary pity and uses it to once again make a try for the hat. Most recently he appeared in Season 4’s “Go Flip Yourself”, in which we learn the vampire developed, produced, and starred in a reality show all as a way to get back at Laszlo.
Along the way we meet perhaps the most eccentric group to ever appear on What We Do in the Shadows, Simon’s entourage. Some of the more memorable members of his crew include Elvis Presley, Mr. Fifties, Blavglad the Exsanguinator, Hovark the Pit Master, The Silent One, Evil Steve, and Carol. Of course there’s also Count Rapula, who’s always ready with a rhyme.
“On the Run”
Jackie Daytona… a vampire? You must be mistaken: he’s just a regular human guy from Tucson, Ari-zonia. At least, that’s what Laszlo has everyone believing in “On the Run” in season 2 of What We Do in the Shadows.
In “On the Run,” part-time Jedi Mark Hamill comes calling as Jim the Vampire, who claims Laszlo owes him a small fortune. Rather than pay up or battle Jim, Laszlo leaves town and assumes the identity of Jackie Daytona: human bartender, girls volleyball philanthropist, and a guy way more into Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” than anyone was when the thing came out in 1988.
With a seemingly mystical toothpick, Laszlo inexplicably fools an entire town into believing in his new persona. “On the Run” is, quite possibly, the funniest episode of What We Do in the Shadows. Even if you don’t believe that Laszlo’s “costume” and the vampire-on-vampire battle that ensues render it more Halloween-correct than most of the series, it should be mandatory viewing in any marathon of the show.
Few episodes of What We Do in the Shadows are as genuinely scary as “The Curse,” but none of the real scares come from the storyline the episode is named for. While Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo, and Nadja lose their minds over a spam e-mail they believe is a genuine curse, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) infiltrates a group of fledgling vampire hunters, believing they’ve somehow located his master’s home. It turns out the place the vampire hunters are headed isn’t where Guillermo sleeps under the stairs, but it is, in fact, a house of bloodsucking undead who Guillermo isn’t acquainted with.
It’s only because of Guillermo’s recently surfaced identity as a vampire slaying prodigy that any of the vampire hunters–including Craig Robinson of The Office–survive the encounter. Nevertheless Guillermo is faced with a true house of horrors like we’d never seen before on the show.
In the second half of Season 1 of What We Do in the Shadows comes its most surprisingly star-studded episode, and its wealth of vampires is precisely what makes it so perfect for the Spooky Season. Accused of murdering Baron Afanas (Doug Jones); Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor are forced to stand trial in front of the Supreme Vampire Council, made up of stars reprising vampire roles from the big and small screen as you can see on the episode’s IMDb page.
The council includes the three heroes of the 2014 film What We Do in the Shadows upon which the series is based: Jemaine Clement, Jonny Brugh, and Taika Waititi. They’re joined by Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), Paul Reuben (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), and even Wesley Snipes (Blade) via video conference call. Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy fame even makes a cameo as Garrett, a vampire wrongly imprisoned for a crime committed by Laszlo.
What could be more perfect for Halloween than ghosts haunting vampires? In Season 2 of What We Do in the Shadows that’s exactly what we get in “Ghosts.” Each of the house’s vampires is haunted by a ghost of their human selves. Not only does this lead to one of the more sexually awkward moments in the series involving Laszlo and his spectral counterpart, but Nadja’s ghost winds up becoming a regular cast member in the form of the creepy Nadja doll.