Writer, producer, director Larry Blamire’s latest film (2009) is a low budget, black and white comedy thriller. LB makes movies for little money but gets every penny back in DVD sales. If you want to know how low his budgets are, check your pockets to see how much you have on you.
His prior films include The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001), Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007), The Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2009) and this one. He also made Meet the Mobsters in 2005 but it is not as well known as the films listed above.
In Dark and Stormy Night, LB makes a classic 1930s gloomy house mystery with lots of laughs thrown in for good measure. Like all the genre films to which he is paying tribute, LB includes all the expected happenings. A Séance, a reading of the will, typical 30s era characters and spooky goings on. All the usual cast members and a couple of newbies are on hand to keep the shenanigans light and fun.
After meeting the folks, the will is read. Then bodies start to pile up as a mysterious sheet-wearing spook keeps turning out the light and stabbing anyone about to reveal a vital part of the mystery. The maid always turns on the light to reveal the victim and deepen the mystery. LB and his wife turn up in roles of lesser importance than prior films as the lead parts are spread to his ensemble group who have been with him through all his films. Also on screen are vet actors like Marvin Kaplan (he and Arnold Stang had the big fight with Jonathan Winters at the filling station in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963) and Betty Garrett. This was BG’s last film. She was long a staple of TV and film with appearances in shows like Laverne and Shirley and All in the Family as well as working with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in On the Town (1949). She died this past February at age 91 and appeared in Dark and Stormy Night when she was 89. Betty was also the Mom of Larry Blamire regular Andrew Parks, who has also had his own long TV and film career going back 50 years.
Dark and Stormy Nigh tis not LB’s best film but it’s a lot of fun on DVD for under $10. It is in black and white, although the full color version is also on the DVD. The extras include a short documentary on the film’s production and a few outtakes.
Two things are for sure: LB makes humorous films for very little money and Betty was a trooper right to the end. The perfect film for a dark and stormy night.
Rated 3.2 out of 4.0 hopes the cast will return as soon as Larry can save up another $275. For fans look for the skull of the Lost Skeleton in Cadavra in the hallway scene.