This weekend I dusted off a DVD of one of my favourite TV comedy show, the cult hit Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. It’s essentially a parody of TV shows from the 80′s which is intentionally made to look bad from the script and acting down to the the post production. The main protagonist is; as you can probably guess, Garth Marenghi, a self-important Horror paperback writer who; despite his own arrogant self belief, is completely inept. If you enjoy by dry, surreal and at times downright silliness this show should be for you. I leave with part of a parody press statement from the official Garth Marenghi Site and a few other sounds and colours (moving and static) which are related to the series; a series that I can’t recommend enough to people.
“Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was originally filmed in the 1980s and has since earned a cult reputation as one of the most terrifying and radical television programmes ever made. Despite this, none of the episodes have ever been seen before now (although the show enjoyed a brief run in Peru).
Darkplace was scripted and directed by the best-selling horror writer Garth Marenghi, known to thousands as the author of such classic chillers as The Ooze (can water die?), Afterbirth (a mutated placenta attacks Bristol) and Black Fang (rats learn to drive). In addition, Marenghi starred as the show’s lead character, Dr. Rick Dagless M.D., a maverick doctor battling against the evil forces lurking in a standard-sized hellmouth underneath a hospital in pre-apocalyptic Romford.
Darkplace was funded by Marenghi’s publisher, business associate and co-star, Dean Learner, who plays hospital boss Thornton Reed. The programme also features cult horror star Todd Rivers as Dr. Lucien Sanchez, and Madeleine Wool as Dr. Liz Asher (who vanished during the production and remains missing, presumed dead).
Controversy has surrounded the show since its creation, leading to rumours that the production was cursed. When Darkplace was originally cancelled, it had already claimed several lives, caused three nervous breakdowns and been subject to at least one visitation. Marenghi, however, blames the government for the show’s troubled genesis: “MI8, which is actually three levels above MI6, pulled the plug. And they did it because I knew the truth. They had files on everyone. But mainly on me.” Dean Learner, however, blames its creator: “Not since Orson Welles had one man so many fingers in so many pies, and been the chef as well. And then looked like he went and ate them all. The guy was out of control.”
(I couldn’t get the video clips I wanted as Channel 4 has taken most of them down… but you can watch whole episodes on youtube.)