Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dark and Stormy Night (film)

In this marvelously fun film, writer, director, and actor Larry Blamire spoofs the horror films from the 1930's known as the "Old Dark House" genre. The plot is filled with silly characters and bizarre events and filmed in black and white. Many hallmarks of that genre are included: the reading of the will, multiple murders, a sinister butler, secret panels, stormy nights, stranded in a remote house, hands reaching from behind curtains, and an overheated musical score. There is even a guy in a gorilla suit (Bob Burns came out of retirement to play the gorilla).

Blamire's other films were The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (2001) and The Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2009). Both of these films spoof the sci fi films of the 1950's. On initial watchings, I found that The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera was laugh out loud funny and Dark and Stormy Night had more style (and was less funny). On repeated viewings, I find them both very funny and charming. At least one other review mentioned that the Skeleton film had to grow on him. Once I got use to his approach, I enjoy all of Blamire's films.

In making the movie, Blamire used no digital special effects, but instead used miniatures and matte paintings for effects. Blamire uses a stock company of actors, which makes his films even more entertaining to me. In the commentary on Dark and Stormy Night, it seems obvious that Blamire and his crew all are knowledgeable of vintage movies and respectful of those films.

Examples of the vintage films spoofed here are:
The Cat and the Canary (1927), a silent horror film directed by Paul Leni.
The Old Dark House (1932), directed by James Whale.
One Frightened Night (1935), directed by Christy Cabanne. Story by Stuart Palmer, author of the Hildegarde Withers series; screenplay by Wellyn Totman. From Mascot Pictures, one of the "Poverty Row" studios.

Quote from this review at Dread Central:
Blamire is a mad genius. He creates films that perfectly mimic the old sci-fi, horror, and murder films of the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties by writing his scripts as they would have been written back then complete with vintage lingo and then films them in delicious black and white. The results are both as incredibly funny and even unintentionally funny as the original films of that era seem now. They're just absolutely charming.
Some other articles online about this movie.
  • TV Tropes calls it an "affectionate parody."
  • As I was writing this post, I discovered a detailed post at The Passing Tramp website featuring several "Old Dark House" movies and Blamire's Dark and Stormy Night. Please check it out here.

18 comments:

  1. Tracy, I don't like any of the latter-day spoof-films like HOT SHOTS, for instance! They're often a waste of time. Though, I feel inclined to see DARK AND STORMY NIGHT both for the many unusual elements as well as Larry Blamire's imitations of early cross-genre films. Thanks for writing about this movie.

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    1. Prashant, I think you would like it, although it's type of humor is not for everyone. I have not seen Hot Shots, but I think this is different and better.

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  2. Sounds like fun! Makes me remember the days me and my boys would pile up in the floor in front of an old B horror movie. I have just put it in my netflix que! Passing Tramp is one of my favorite sites!

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    1. Peggy, I hope you like it. We are going to watch or re-watch some of the vintage old dark house movies soon. I agree about the Passing Tramp site.

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  3. Tracy - This does sound like fun, especially for people who are really familiar with those old horror films. I'm glad the spoof came off well :-)

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    1. Margot, we really enjoy these types of films. Lots of fun.

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  4. Decades ago in Allentown, Pennsylania I did summer stock with Dan Roebuck who is in this movie. I still have fond memories of those days. I always smile when I see Dan on TV (he was in "Matlock" for a long time) or when he pops up in some indie movie. A genuine guy who hasn't let Hollywood ruin him.

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    1. John, how cool. Daniel Roebuck was great in this, and I liked Jennifer Blaire as the other reporter. We have enjoyed seeing Roebuck pop up in other TV shows occasionally.

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  5. I've not heard of this before, but I'm always looking for films that our whole family could watch and enjoy together, and this sounds like it might be perfect...

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    1. Moira, I think it could be watched by all. It is very silly, so you have to be in the right mood.

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  6. Sounds great TracyK - haven't seen this one but in the past have really enjoyed affectionate period spoofs like Gene Wilder's HAUNTED HONEYMOON so shall definitely look it up - thank again.

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    1. Sergio, it is worth looking into. My husband and son enjoy it immensely, partly just for the humor, but partly because they know so much (more than I do) about the old, dark house movies.

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  7. Well, The Old Dark House was a spoof, as well as genuinely chilling, so spoofing it's a bit pointless.

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    1. To each his own. This movie parodied the genre of "old dark house" movies and I found it fun. I do realize that many of those movies were comedy and horror combined.

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  8. Tracy I just got around to watching this and I LOVED it! Will look for more of his films. My poor mom who has dementia was totally lost watching this with me:)

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    1. Peggy, I am very glad you enjoyed it. We have gotten lots of pleasure out of it.

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  9. Great post, Tracy and thanks for the mention! I just loved this film!

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    1. Thanks, Curt. My husband and I want to check out more of the old dark house movies that we haven't seen. There seems to be too little time to read and watch all the books and movies on our list.

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