Writer/director Larry Blamire (THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA, TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD) returns to the helm with this parody of 1930s-era old dark house films, presented in glorious black and white, and featuring every character stereotype and story cliché that kitsch fans have come to associate with these estate-bound frighteners. With these two new films from Larry Blamire we can continue to scratch our head and wonder what'll be next from his fevered brain. Personally, I'm left to wonder if he's part Mel Brooks, part Ed Wood, or all Roger Corman! In any event, his movies are fun, entertaining, and making enough for distributors to ask for more. Keep up the good work, Larry! (NOTE: The DVD descriptions are from CDUniverse.com)
'Lost Skeleton' creator Larry Blamire has a bone to pick
Six years ago, the low-budget sci-fi comedy THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA was picked up by Sony, became a darling of the art cinema circuit and made something of a cult hero out of its writer/director/star, Larry Blamire.Today, the highly anticipated sequel, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, and his spoof of 1930s mystery films, DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, premiere on DVD after short runs at festivals and horror conventions.
Direct to DVD? Despite enthusiastic response at screenings, the major studios no longer seem interested in his brand of "family horror films," Blamire complains.
"Independent films are fighting more than ever for screen time," Blamire says. "Even big stars are going direct to video. Hollywood's focus is to get the blockbuster out, hit it hard and get big numbers fast."
Still, Blamire's brand of deadpan humor — the point is to make sure the audience sees the strings controlling the skeleton — is connecting with older fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the irony-loving Internet generation.
"A former industry titan came to the DARK AND STORMY NIGHT premiere in L.A. and said he couldn't understand how this director he'd never heard of could fill a huge theater with people who greeted him like a rock star," says producer Michael Schlesinger, who helped persuade Sony to pick up the first Skeleton film. "Slowly, surely, the word is getting out there."
"It's likely that people will look back on the films Larry Blamire is making now with an affection similar to what we feel for Roger Corman's early work, which was similarly silly but with undercurrents of sophistication," wrote Tim Lucas, editor of VIDEO WATCHDOG magazine. "I already feel it."
Like Corman's low-cost B-movies of the 1960s, Blamire's films are models of economy. Only DARK AND STORMY NIGHT cost more than $1 million.
Skeleton lampoons science-fiction films of the 1950s, with Blamire playing a malaprop-laden scientist: "The jungle gets into your blood and builds tiny little houses of pain. You better not be there when the rent's due."
His wife, Jennifer Blaire, romps as the leotard-wearing Animala (she's an animal brought to bebop life by aliens), along with a troupe of reliable players.
Included in the cast of DARK AND STORMY NIGHT— "In a house, everyone can hear you scream" — are veterans such as James Karen, Daniel Roebuck and Betty Garrett.
Born in Liverpool, England, Blamire worked in Boston theater and was an illustrator before turning to low-budget films and Internet mini-movies.
"These are kinder, gentler spoofs than what's out there right now," says Blamire. "My films are quirky and weird but still harmless enough to bring the kids.
"If people want to enjoy torture films and such, fine, but why can't we have an alternative?"
- By David Colton, USA TODAY
Spooky retro spoofs are Wood-en, in a good way
By Tom Russo, Globe Correspondent
May 21, 2010
Local playwright/artist/B-movie enthusiast Larry Blamire toted along an eclectic skill set when he relocated to Hollywood a decade ago, and he seemed to pour much of it into his filmmaking debut, “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra,’’ a microbudgeted spoof of cheesy ’50s sci-fi. Enough people shared Blamire’s passion for Ed Wood movies and “Catwomen of the Moon’’ to earn “Cadavra’’ a studio pickup, a cult following, and the occasional follow-up opportunity, including a pair of 2009 projects alternating screenings at the Coolidge starting today.
Blamire gathers his regular troupe for “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again,’’ a sequel that ups the production values slightly, but keeps that familiar woodenness intact in riffing on the 1960 version of “The Lost World,’’ among others. Semi-coincidentally, there are also more than a few echoes of “Indiana Jones 4’’ in the film’s freewheeling jumbling of jungle adventure, sentient skulls, intelligence agents, and spaceships.
Blamire’s hero scientist, Dr. Paul Armstrong, has a bit of attitude this time, thanks to a two-year stint in the Amazon that’s left him amusingly bitter and boozy. The rare rock deposit that’s the source of his misery brings Paul plenty of company, including a government operative (Frank Dietz) accompanied by Paul’s wife (Fay Masterson), and a crook (Kevin Quinn) whose boss wants to beat the government to the prized resource. Meanwhile, average joe Peter Fleming (Brian Howe of “Gran Torino’’) is compelled to join the hunt by an insidiously nagging supernatural skull he’s inherited — the only remnant of the Lost Skeleton, which played similar mind tricks on Peter’s late twin brother in the original.
The dry-witted, foolish interplay between the characters recalls Zucker brothers standouts like “Airplane!,’’ and Blamire’s script is especially funny when shrugging off sequel improbabilities and catch-up exposition. (She-alien, annoyed: “We waste time explaining things we already know.’’ He-alien: “We waste time acknowledging that we already know these things.’’) The movie struggles to maintain its wryness past the halfway point, though, as the characters’ arrival at the deliberately unconvincing Valley of the Monsters — presented in “Superskeletorama’’ color — marks a shift to broader stuff, like the kitsch-exotic Cantaloupe People. It’s the difference between a deadpan stare and wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
This issue is a bit stickier in “Dark and Stormy Night,’’ Blamire and friends’ manic throwback to mystery-manor pictures of the ’30s. Bantering reporters 8 O’Clock Farraday (Daniel Roebuck, “Lost’’) and Billy Tuesday (Jennifer Blaire, Blamire’s wife) are among the group that gathers for the reading of a wealthy oldster’s will, hosted by the estate’s upper-crusty heir apparent, Burling Famish Jr. (Howe again). Cue thunderclaps, blackouts, murders with nary a witness, a fake-gorilla cameo, and a whole lot of bustle — screwball suspense, if you will. A lot of what we hear sounds like something pieced together with one of those fridge-magnet poetry sets. “I was myself once one of you — an idiot,’’ says resident mystic Mrs. Cupcupboard (Alison Martin) as she prepares to lead the ensemble in a seance. “The frog of uncertainty danced in my hat, too, as they say.’’ It’s a fun line, but also a case of the movie pressing so hard it’s a little exhausting. The patter and performances will grow on you, but only after you’ve built some stamina.
-From THE BOSTON GLOBE