Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dark and Stormy Night (2009)

Charles Ludlam, late founder of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, once wrote a play the dialogue of which consisted of the punch lines of old jokes. No, I don't remember the title. Jeez, do I have to do everything around here?

Larry Blamire, creator of one of this century's great cult classic films, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, pulls off something just as challenging and funny with Dark and Stormy Night, in which everything is a dark-old-house spook-movie cliché: plot, characters, props, setting — everything. The dialogue is a thing of beauty, comprised almost entirely of stream-of-unconsciousness non sequiturs. One character asks the butler to provide sherry for the guests, and "Bring me an iced tea sandwich."

The relatives — and assorted strangers, servants and one guy in a gorilla suit — have gathered for the reading of the will, then they start dropping like lead bon mots. Blamire's usual gang of thesps, with a quartet of guest actors who have been in movies you've actually heard of, deliver their senseless lines as if any of this had any meaning beyond tickling your nostalgia for Hollywood Poverty Row thrillers until it hollers, "Uncle!"

Blamire's talent for absurdist burlesque is immense and I'd like to see it rewarded with mainstream recognition, but if that meant he'd have to stop making these low-budget masterpieces, well, screw that. A wider multiplex audience could never love him like we do.

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