It was a dark, stormy night, and I was out of the rain and inside the belly of the cozy, sticky Underground Cinema, near Spadina and Queen. Once a place for primarily Asian action flicks, tonight the Underground was celebrating the one-year anniversary of its new incarnation as an independent cinema run by a handful of young movie lovers.
As we waited for the film to begin, I chatted with the guy next to me, Dave. “Tim Curry”, I began, “isn’t he the bad guy from Annie?” Dave did not know whether it was Tim Curry that I was fondly remembering as Rooster, the scheming little brother of professional orphan tormenter, Ms. Hannigan (played by the dazzling Carol Burnett). He did, however, helpfully suggest that Curry was the lead in the 1975 Rocky Horror Picture Show. Unfortunately, that’s one major cult classic that I have not yet seen. He assured me that I should.
And now to the movie at hand: based on the Parker Brothers board game of the same name, Clue opens up onto a dark and stormy night of its own. A half dozen well-dressed guests arrive one by one at a mysterious mansion, sizing one another up, and wondering why they’ve been invited and by whom. The characters are buffoonishly yet likeably archetypal: there’s the butler (Tim Curry as Wadsworth), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), and the beplumed politician’s wife, Mrs. Peacock (played by Eileen Brennan) as well as the colonel, the saucy madam, and of course, the sexy French maid. Things get ugly when the mysterious host (by now revealed) threatens to reveal each person’s dirty little secrets. But with a crash of thunder, a flicker of the lights, and the crack of a gun, the first victim falls to the floor. Now in this mess together, the guests pair off to search the house for the killer. Suspicions and theories multiply as the bodies pile up and curious policemen and other passersby are frantically shooed away. All is revealed in a final climactic, slapsticky re-enactment of the night’s events by the gregarious butler, Wadsworth.
Clue is an entertaining romp, and was especially fun to watch as part of the most enthusiastic movie crowd I’ve ever seen. These young cinephiles were pumped - on top of being treated to a double header of free movies (1993’s Jurassic Park came on next),they had been treated to the crowd-pleasing previews for such upcoming films as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie (“opening July 1990”, a year in which most of them were likely toddling around in TMNT pajamas.)
If the movie was fun, however, the true highlight was experiencing the revitalized Underground Cinema in action. Four movie lovers passionate enough to look beyond a business model practically proven to fail have been plying audiences with a mix of unique programming and nostalgic appeal and making it work for a full year now. Here’s hoping they have many more years in them.
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I'll use this space to write about movies, bikes, communications trends, pop culture, and my adventures as a new New Yorker.