Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More New York Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' New York Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go"

'Garth Marenghi's Darkplace' Is Horror at Its Worst, Comedy at Its Best

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire October 31, 2013 at 2:31PM

Enough with celebrating the best in horror. At Halloween approaches, savor the deliberate and glorious dreadfulness of this supremely well-made send-up.
3
Darkplace

Plenty of publications have been using the month of October to celebrate the best in horror, but the A.V. Club's Erik Adams went another way, celebrating the genre at its absolute worst. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is a retrospective that looks back at the short-lived supernatural hospital show created by and starring the titular "one-man fear factory." It's also, okay, a joke, a sublimely terrible parody of low-budget production values, inept acting and rampant ego. 

The overwritten glory of Darkplace marks Garth Marenghi himself as the show’s crowning achievement. He possesses all of Stephen King's prolificacy and none of his media savvy; he's infected with the prickliness of a Harlan Ellison, but doesn’t have the talent or insight to back it up. All of Darkplace is filtered through Garth’s myopic perspective, which was molded over the course of two Perrier Award-nominated (and one Perrier Award-winning) theatrical productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Garth Marenghi’s Fright Knight and Garth Marenghi's Netherhead

At least one of Garth's co-stars will be familiar to American audiences: His publisher, Dean Learner, played by Richard Ayoade, whose resume includes starring opposite Chris O'Dowd in the tech comedy series The I.T. Crowd, directing the Wes Andersonian coming-of-age tale Submarine and the forthcoming adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Double, and being the only good thing about The Watch. He's technically second fiddle here to Matt Holness, who plays the sublimely egocentric Marenghi. But his presence behind the camera is essential when it comes to realizing the hilarious badness of Darkplace's show within a show. Though it might seem otherwise, it takes tremendous skill to be bad on purpose, at least in a way that doesn't seem merely amateurish. From its misplaced edits to flat performances and overripe dialogue, Darkplace is perfect in its imperfections.

The TV gods have not yet seen fit to give U.S. residents Darkplace on DVD, but the whole series is on YouTube. If you'd like to hear more from the writer of "Afterbirth, in which a mutated placenta attacks Bristol," get streaming.

Update, 2/7/14: The TV Gods are great. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is now available on Hulu.



E-Mail Updates