Archive for July 6, 2008

A Larry Blamire Thing

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by dcairns

There are, like, a dozen or so of these babies on YouTube — check ’em out. Larry Blamire entertains himself making these TALES FROM THE PUB in between features like THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD.

I love the b&w video look, which is actually improved by YouTube’s low-res appearance. It reminds me of those episodes of the original Twilight Zone which, for whatever reason, were shot on tape (around season 3, I think). They have a weird immediacy about them, as if shot yesterday (making the film episodes seem safe and encapsulated in a distant era) and yet they also seem to come from impossibly far away in time…

I caught T.O.T.S.F. at the E.I.F.F. this year, and was tickled by Blamire’s goofy imagination, constant use of  Ed Wood-style garbled B-movie cliches, and The Manhattan Transfer title song. The verbal derailings reminded me of Larry Gelbart’s work in MOVIE, MOVIE. (“I saw it all! It’s a wonder my eyes didn’t throw up!”)

Dr. Applethorpe: “I not only disagree with [your theories], I think they’re insane… and WRONG.”

I did feel, as the feature went on, that maybe the spoofery was overstretched at feature length (whereas the snappy PUB shorts work beautifully). It would be unfair to say that FOREHEAD is a one-joke movie, but the kind of comic universe it sets up allows really only one KIND of joke, and one kind of tone.

But then, realising that Blamire had made not just one feature in this mode, but several, the colossal overextension of what probably should be a single comedy sketch started to seem MAJESTIC… HEROIC. I think he’s onto something.

It’s kind of as if Hitchcock, having filmed the opening of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN by just focussing on the characters’ shoes, decided to make ALL his films that way. Imagine the foot-only version of PSYCHO, or THE BIRDS. We’d only see the birds’ feet, too. Birds’ feet are SCARY.

Shadowplay salutes you, Larry Blamire!