Director - Michael Cumming
Cast - Matt Berry, Rich Fulcher
Country of Origin - U.K.
Discs - 2 (1 DVD, 1 CD)
MSRP - $24.98
Distributor - Severin Films
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Series (3.5/5)
You might think you have seen a show like The Snuff Box, but you really haven't. Sure, the Snuff Box plays around in the sketch comedy sandbox that many shows from Monty Python's Flying Circus to Saturday Night Live have used before, but Snuff Box is different. And while comparisons to the Python's and the Mighty Boosh are indeed valid, The Snuff Box definitely stakes it's own claim as a wholly originally, and totally bizarre entity.
The series stars Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher as the King of England's executioner and his assistant. When they aren't performing executions, they are in the usually found in the executioners lounge. When they aren't in the lounge, they are doing any number of things from rapping about having babies, traveling in time, to getting in fights while attempting to buy a pair of boots. The show successfully combines elements of narrative sitcoms with recurring elements with Python-esque sketch comedy, and a slew of ridiculously catchy musical numbers (I've had Rapper with a Baby stuck in my head for days...).
The Snuff Box may also qualify as one of the rudest most mean spirited comedies ever put to the screen. From the "Boyfriend" sketches where Matt Berry will find a girl he's interested in, and suddenly as soon as he finds out that she has a boyfriend tells her to fuck off (or drop kick her dog!). Because of those mean-spirited elements, the show also has an air of spontaneity to it, that many shows could only wish they had. The Snuff Box is may not always be funny, but it is always bizarre, and if you're anything like me, you will never once have your eyes off the screen as you watch these 2 wondering what they're going to pull next.
Severin Films has presented the Snuff Box in the shows original 1:85:1 broadcast ratio. The transfer does the job well, but is nothing really mind-blowing. The colors are good, flesh tones are accurate. The only complaint I really have is some issues with image softness, but this is a common thread amongst BBC Productions, and probably relates to the production itself, and not the transfer.
The audio is presented in in a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo transfer, which similar does the job. The dialogue, sound effects, and music are mixed quite well with nothing really over shadowing the other elements.
Severin put together a nice little package of extras for their release of Snuff Box. The most substantial extra is called Taking Control of Your Body and features a slew of comic celebrities from Weird Al Yankovic and Paul Rudd to Noel Fielding and Simon Pegg expressing their appreciation of the show. This is followed up by a walking tour of the locations with Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher that runs about 12 minutes, and is just proof that these 2 could make make much anything there involved with entertaining. This is followed up with a 5 minute featurette where Matt Berry discusses the Score. We then have the 18 minute Inside The Snuff Box, a behind the scenes featurette which shows how certain sketches were shot. Finally, we have a 15 minute segment called Testimonials with comedians such as Janeane Garofalo, outtakes from the series, and 3 episode commentaries with Berry, Fulcher, and series director Michael Cumming. If that wasn't enough Severin has seen fit to include a CD of the music from the series!
1) The Snuff Box is awesome.
2) It's unlike any comedy series you've ever seen.
3) If you buy it, it might encourage Severin to release more British Comedy series on DVD (like FREAKING DARKPLACE!).
4) However, the fact that Snuff Box is absolutely hysterical should be reason enough to buy this.
5) Severin put together a really awesome package together for Snuff Box with a ton of nifty extras.
6) Yes, I said nifty.
7) Highly Recommended.