Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace: The Horror of the Eighties revisited

“I’m one of the few people you’ll meet who’ve written more books than they’ve read.”  -Garth Marenghi

It should be noted that I’m a sucker for several things when it comes to TV: throwback style, lightning fast jokes, and intentionally bad acting. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace has all three in spades.


Released in 2004, Darkplace is a supposedly unreleased horror show from the 1980s, In which, Dr. Rick Dagless, MD (Matthew Holness) holds sway over Darkplace Hospital,  Part parody, sitcom, and mockumentry, Darkplace works primarily because the cast commits fully to the ridiculous nature of the show. Working within the show-in-a-show format with the action cut-up with present day interviews, Holness, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, and Alice Lowe fully embody their ridiculous characters.

Some of my favorite elements of the show revolve around just how bad Darkplace is supposed to be. From erratic cuts, poor dubbing, horrible special effects, and, especially, the stilted acting from Richard Ayoade’s Dean Leaner.


As I mentioned above, the level of commitment that the show invests in being bad is, in large part, what makes it work so well. In the following clip, pay special attention to the Celtic Cross oh so gently waving in the breeze…oh, and the Might Boosh’s Julian Barratt as Padre is also pretty perfect.


Its irreverent, stupid, and very very silly. But, it’s also self-aware enough to get away with a lot of jokes that might otherwise fall flat. If you like to check more of the show out, you can find full eposides on Hulu and YouTube. And “that’s about the size of it in a nutshell.”


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