Derren Brown – Trick Or Treat
Derren Brown is the only person who could conceivably take Aerial Telly’s woman1. Furthermore, Aerial Telly would let him because he is scared of the tiny bearded boy2 with the insane powers. While he is undoubtedly a master of psychic manipulation and distortion he bows before3 the Brown boy as the Supreme Master of the black art of Headfuck. Bank robbery, séances and Russian roulette have all been taken on and conquered and the last Trick Of The Mind series did seem to be covering familiar ground. But his comeback show Trick Or Treat is a belter, further consolidating his position as modern-day Magus and real-life Count Viper.
"Derren Brown is the only person who could conceivably take Aerial Telly’s woman. Furthermore, Aerial Telly would let him because he is scared of the tiny bearded boy with the insane powers."
The principle of trick or treat is simple enough. Thousands of schlubs to apply to get the Brown treatment and he selects half-a-dozen to make up each of the shows in this series. He offers them a card – one saying trick on the hidden side, one saying treat. Should the schlub pick treat he gets a nice psychic experience, should he pick trick he gets a nasty headfuck. Observant viewers have noticed that Trick spells Treat upside down on the cards and that it is just a question of Brown turning the card around to get the option he wants. Why bother with something as complicated as forcing?
“The guy thought the whole experience was exhilarating so fuck him – he should not have signed the consent form if he wasn’t willing to get fucked with”
In the series opener he sends schlub 1 to sleep in a photo booth, flies him into Marrakesh markets where he is woken in the same photo both with absolutely no idea how he got in to one of the strangest environments in the world in another fracking country. He wanders through the snake charmers, blaring music and carpet merchants looking like Sam Tyler at the beginning of Life On Mars.
Week two, he convinces a poor boy he is an evil ventriloquist’s dummy. This guy looked in deep distress and it was quite uncomfortable viewing. We were assured that the guy thought the whole experience was exhilarating so fuck him – he should not have signed the consent form if he wasn’t willing to get fucked with.
The best of the series so far, though, came in episode three where he gives a lovely treat to 75 year-old Anne. Not knowing the rules of poker, she is not an obvious choice to face down five of the top British poker players in No Limit Hold’em yet that is exactly what Derren attempted, simply by imparting his ability to tell when somebody is bluffing by facial clues.
In some truly remarkable footage, Anne reads the living shit out of five seasoned poker faced professionals and comes within one card turn of winning the £10,000 prize. A bad beat did for her with the long shot coming in for the relieved champion Jeff, fluking three of a kind (9s) on the turn. Jeff graciously conceded "she outplayed me on the last hand and I got lucky" All this after just one a week of training.
"The engaging self-deprecation he employs is a device to draw attention away from the fact that he is an emissary of Satan and the wing-ed ones."
It’s remarkable how Derren Brown keeps pushing the envelope in these shows. The engaging self-deprecation he employs is a device to draw attention away from the fact that he is an emissary of Satan and the wing-ed ones. It hardly matters. Spellbound as the public are by him they would happily walk off a cliff at his command. It is very wrong for one man to have this much power.4
The best thing about it: Anne the poker shark
The worst thing about it: Poor traumatised bastard thinking he’s a ventriloquist dummy
The verdict on Derren Brown – Trick Or Treat: Still edgy, dark and compelling
Marks out of 10: 8.5
1This is crazy talk – no mortal man could take Aerial Telly’s woman.
2 This is ridiculous – Aerial Telly is scared of no one and no thing.
3 Get the fuck out of here – Aerial Telly bows before no man and no thing.
4 Unless he was born with it and his name is Aerial Telly. Bitches.