Fungus the Bogeyman
Fungus the Bogeyman book cover
|LC Class||PN6737.B7 F8|
Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) is a children's picture book by British artist Raymond Briggs. It follows one day in the life of the titular character, a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.
The book follows a typical day for Fungus the Bogeyman, starting when he wakes up and ending just before he falls asleep. As his day progresses, he undergoes a mild existential crisis, pondering what his seemingly pointless job of scaring surface people is really for. He is a member of the Bogey society, which is very similar to British society, but Bogeymen enjoy things which humans (called Drycleaners because of their contrasting environmental preferences) would not be comfortable around; for example darkness, damp, cold and over-ripe food. The book depicts the mundane details of Bogey life in loving detail, with definitions of Bogey slang and numerous annotations concerning the myths, pets, hobbies, literature, clothing and food of the Bogeys.
Much of the humour derives from word play. For example, Bogeymen are shown to enjoy eating and sharing flies in a similar way to human cigarettes; one brand of fly is the "strong French Gallwasp", a pun on the cigarette Gauloises.
Over a period of decades, a number of attempts were made to make a film from the book, which was difficult given its lack of an actual plot. In 2002 the BBC began work on a three-part TV comedy series, which ultimately aired in November 2004 and is available as a DVD, starring Clare Thomas as Jessica White, Martin Clunes as her father and Mak Wilson as Fungus. This Gala Films production with screenplay by author Mark Haddon, featuring live-action humans and animated Bogeys, was nominated for five awards. It tells of how Jessica, a human teenager, finds her way into Bogeydom and meets Fungus and his family. The family has an addition, a little girl, and Fungus' son Mould (who featured in the original book) is a teenager going through a rebellious phase: cleaning things instead of dirtying them.
A stage production, based on the book, was performed at artsdepot in North London between November 2007 and January 2008. A co-production with Pilot Theatre, the show was directed and adapted by Marcus Romer and designed by Ali Allen.
- In the BBC sitcom Men Behaving Badly episode "Babies", Gary (played by Martin Clunes) and his fiancée Dorothy (played by Caroline Quentin) are talking about having kids, and she says, "I suppose the big question is, 'Do I really want to have children with a man who still has a Fungus the Bogeyman pillowcase?'".
- The song "Bogey Music" by Paul McCartney was inspired by this book.
- Referenced in the ITV show "Primeval" during season 3, episode 5: Lester warns the team "I don't want anymore Fungus the Bogeyman".
- A picture of Fungus can be seen on the wall of the boy's room in The Snowman and The Snowdog.