Scary and fun: Ghost Stories creators on 'Scun'

As their new show Ghost Stories opens on the West End, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson talk us through their writing philosophy

Between them, comedy writers Andy Nyman (Dead Set and co-creator of Derren Brown's TV and stage shows) and Jeremy Dyson (The League Of Gentlemen) have worked on some of British TV's darkest moments. Now, as they bring their stage show Ghost Stories to London's West End, we ask them to talk us through "scun" – the concept of scary and fun – that fuelled their creative engine as they worked on their dark, highly secretive script.


No one gets "scun" like Disney. The seemingly perfect balance of creepiness and fun is at the very heart of this staggering theme park ride. Audacious design, lighting and atmospherics combine with a visionary showmanship, climaxing in the experience of seeing a real live (or dead) ghost sitting next to you, where you previously thought there was nothing at all. Delicious.


If you think that quote is from The Terminator, you're mistaken. It was shamelessly lifted from the glorious 1980 exploitation thriller The Exterminator, and we know that because this violent, vigilante film was one half of the first ever Dyson/Nyman double bill circa 1982. As if the sight of The Exterminator dropping a baddie into a meat mincer wasn't enough, our second choice was Lucio Fulci's zombie classic The Beyond. To appreciate the glory of this double bill you must view it on VHS and those cassettes must be carried two miles from the nearest video rental club along with the 18kg machine to play them on, without your parents realising.


When Jeremy told me he had a record that sounded like a werewolf I obviously doubted him. What a fool I was. The opening of this song sounds like UK Decay found a werewolf, provoked it and then recorded it. I remember Jeremy turning the lights off and playing it to me. I was so scared I actually cried a bit. Now that's what I call scun.


The first night Jeremy and I were working on Ghost Stories, we were writing at my flat and my family had gone away. At around 3am, bedtime, Jeremy was in our guest room and I was downstairs. What he didn't realise is that I had rigged up a magic trick that would sound like someone knocking on his bedroom wall. I left it five minutes then … bang. A couple of minutes more and … bang, bang. A second later I heard Jeremy running down the stairs, only to be greeted by my grinning face. Scun for me, not necessarily for him.


It's past midnight. The rest of the world is asleep. And the conversation turns to a story a mate told me. A true story. Absolutely. The little man-like creature caught scurrying out of a cornfield in the flash of a car's headlights; the imaginary friend who turned out to be the ghost of a dead twin the narrator never knew he had … All so strange they have to be true. And as each is shared, the creeping terror mounts to a truly hysterical pitch. There's no feeling in the world like it.

Andy Nyman & Jeremy Dyson

The GuardianTramp

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