Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:Series - January 2004 - March 2004
Country of origin:UK
Genre:Horror pastiche, Gore, Mockumentary style
Starring:Matthew Holness, Matt Berry, Alice Lowe, Richard Ayoade
No. of seasons:1

Man alive, this is entertaining.
The premise:
Horror writer Garth Marenghi delved into the murky world of television back in the early to mid eighties (the precise date is unclear) and conceived of Darkplace, a horror series set in a hospital of the same name, in which a gateway to hell is inadvertantly opened up during the first episode. Never transmitted, in these desperate days where TV execs are running out of ideas, Channel 4 suits dust off Darkplace for an airing, reuniting the original cast and crew for the usual talking head soundbites, and treating the viewing public, for the first time, to the majesty that was Darkplace.
And it's absolutely fantastic.
Fusing gore with goffiness, slash with slapstick, quotable lines abound even as the absolute insanity plays out on screen.
Marenghi himself is an inspiration, clearly being a very thinly veiled piss take of Shaun Hutson, humourless horror maestro that he is, but it's the interaction between the characters that is the real showstopper.
Holness is ably supported by Matt Berry as perma-tanned Dr Sanchez, Richard Ayoade as his agent, who also contributes directorial and writing duties in real life as well as Alice Lowe as Dr Ascher, some faces will be familiar to those who follow British alternative TV comedy.
Quite brilliantly getting a handle on the fact that horror is all 'A Little Bit Silly,' this parodies the genre wonderfully, something which can only be achieved by true devotees, in the same way as The League of Gentlemen managed a few years previously.
Silly, funny, sick and clever, this is a comedy gem.

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