Friday, August 20, 2010
CARRYING THE (ANGRY VILLAGERS) TORCH FOR CLASSIC HORROR-COMEDIES
Back in January I wrote a post called “The Old Dark Anachronism” – click on the title to read that piece if you missed it. In that entry, I bemoaned the fact that a traditional “Old Dark House” comedy could not be made today that would take place in a contemporary setting. I think there’s a belief among many (but certainly not all) modern filmmakers that violence, sex and salty language have to be as “in your face” as possible, and that comedies have to be top-loaded with “pop culture references” (“Scary Movie” series anyone?) as opposed to actually writing a story that works on its own merits with characters you can get behind.
I also noted that it would be hard to make a movie with people trapped in a haunted (or allegedly haunted) house and have it be “believable” while still having the scares be funny for modern audiences, who are used to being chilled to the bone by more modern ghostly fare ranging from “The Sixth Sense” to “Paranormal Activity.”
I did make a point that traditional horror comedies could still be made successfully… if they appeared to be from an earlier time period and adopted the tropes and trappings of such classic fare as “The Ghost Breakers” and “Hold That Ghost.” In particular I cited director Larry Blamire’s “Dark & Stormy Night,” which was then making the rounds of festivals and special indy/arthouse movie theater screenings.
I’m happy to report that Larry’s film is now available on DVD for all to see, and happier still that USA Today saw fit to interview Larry and promote that fact. I’m particularly happy to read how committed Larry is to making films the whole family can enjoy. You can read USA Today’s interview with Larry Blamire when you click here.
I haven’t seen the film yet but I hope to do so soon and will post a review when I can. I am friendly with a couple of the cast-members and would like to cite their commitments to classic horror-comedy as well.
First up is the great character actor Daniel Roebuck who is writing the foreword for the book version of “Scared Silly.” Roebuck is celebrating his 25th year in Hollywood and we are all the more blessed for enjoying this versatile, talented actor’s work. I went into major detail on Roebuck’s horror-comedy credentials in a post you can read when you click here. Also be sure to avail yourself of Daniel’s official website by clicking here.
Mark Redfield has made a few straight-up horrors but his heart lies with comedy. A talented writer (and columnist for “Famous Monsters of Filmland”) and artist as well as an actor, Mark is working on a book that examines the acting craft of Laurel & Hardy. One of the chapters Mark is planning promises to examine the “scare take” technique of Stan & Ollie. I’d say that’s a huge commitment to horror-comedy, wouldn’t you? Mark is also known to do beautiful caricatures of “the boys.” He has a host of websites – the most comprehensive may be his blog which you can check out by clicking here.
The film also brings a host of other great character actors with extensive resumes. Among the most notable: Marvin Kaplan who voiced Choo Choo on “Top Cat,” had featured roles in the classic all-star comedy film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and the TV series, "Alice” and appeared in many live-action and animated TV series including several with a horror-comedy slant; and James Karen who has been in everything from “Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster” to "Poltergeist" to the '80s horror-comedy movie series “Return of the Living Dead” and may be most well-known (by face if not name) for his long run as TV commercial pitchman for supermarket Pathmark.
To check out the rest of the formidable cast, be sure to visit the film’s imdb page by clicking here, or click here to visit the film’s official site. And watch the trailer right here: