Dark and Stormy Night (2011)

Directed By: Larry Blamire
Written By: Larry Blamire
Starring: Larry Blamire
  Jim Beaver
  Brian Howe
  Dan Conroy
Dark and Stormy Night

Certain films are “Ironing Films”. Ignoring any extreme ironers out there, most normal folk find themselves slogging through a mound of dull ironing on a Sunday, standing in front of whatever absolute crap programmers have decided to slap on Television; Songs of Praise, Homeward Bound 3, re-runs of Columbo and at least one film starring Steve Guttenberg. You want to watch something better, but you can’t exactly iron while watching The Exorcist or Night of the Living Dead. It appears filmmaker Larry Blamire has stolen the market for that most-unique sub-genre of films – the Ironing Film – and Dark and Stormy Night is 100% an ironing film.

Sinas Cavinder is dead and his secretive Last Will & Testament is being read out at his remote mansion, on a dark and stormy night. Gathered together is a surprisingly large number of people, desperate to know its outcome. Sadly there’s also a murderer about, at least two family curses and the only bridge out of the estate has washed away in the endless storm. As the night goes on and people are picked off one-by-one by a cloaked assailant, it becomes clear someone or something does not want the contents of Silas’ Will revealed…

Like a rollicking piss-take of an Agatha Christie melodrama, the characters who arrive are a mishmash of 1930′s American stereotypes all desperate to hear the outcome of a some rich guy’s Will. Amongst the smattering of guests are two rival journalists, a psychic, a safari guide, a cabbie desperate for his 35 cents and a surprisingly large number of people whose cars have happened to conk out in the middle of nowhere…

Larry Blamire is the King of Parody and Dark and Stormy Night is another proud addition to his overflowing vat of parodied genre pieces, including The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Trail of the Screaming Forehead. His delivery is light, good-intentioned and lovingly crafted, never being mean about the original genre’s faults and foibles. It is a homage-like parody that will not offend even the most stalwart defender of the Dark House horror genre.

The overall standard of Dark and Stormy Night is better than Blamire’s previous work, with some great camerawork, excellent costume design and some hilarious miniatures of a mansion, a bridge and a taxi “driving” across that rickety bridge. Well observed as always, Blamire has created atmosphere despite himself, and it’s an immensely watchable film.

Acting wise it’s a hoot. Yes, a hoot. The usual Blamire troupe are present, with excellent turns from the always funny Brian Howe and H.M. Wynant, whilst Jennifer Blaire and Dan Conroy excel in very different roles from their previous Blamire outings. Larry Blamire himself is on top-form as always as the loveably dumb Ray Vestinhaus and it is great to see Jim Beaver grab hold of a comedy role and provide such superb support.

Writing wise, Dark and Stormy Night is filled with Blamire’s superb one-liners – “You’re making more noise than all of China put together” – and some bonkers character names like Teak Armbruster, 8 O’Clock Farraday and Dr. Van Von Vandervon, but the film is also hampered by too many characters and some awkwardly repetitive gags that quickly become tiresome (something Blamire is notorious for, damn you Larry! *shakes fist angrily*).

The major problem with the characters in Dark and Stormy Night – and in ALL of Blamire’s work – is that since they’re so ridiculous and deliberately moronic, you have no emotional investment in them, and are completely unaffected by their plights. Unless of course you know Jim Beaver as Bobby from Supernatural, then you’ll probably jump up-and-down with excitement every time you see him…

Whilst Dark and Stormy Night is a lot of fun, unfortunately it is not the first or best parody of the Dark House murder mystery genre. If you want something you can watch when not ironing, then grab a copy of Clue (1985) and Murdered by Death (1976). Although not set in the 1930’s or randomly featuring a Gorilla, they’re in a similar vein and well worth watching.

Need to do some ironing? Can’t stomach watching CSI Eastbourne or the two billionth episode of Come Dine With Me? Then grab a copy of Dark and Stormy Night and pop it on while you heat the creases out of your pants. It’s great, knowingly silly, fun, funny and oozes personality. Dark and Stormy Night is another great ironing film from Larry Blamire.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

One Comment on “Dark and Stormy Night”

  1. Jess says:

    ‘Unless of course you know Jim Beaver as Bobby from Supernatural, then you’ll probably jump up-and-down with excitement every time you see him…’ What you trying to say? I hope you’re not talking about me there…
    *narrows eyes*
    I only got excited about Jim beaver being in it because he IS awesome – he just has an amazing voice

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