DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. Bantam Street, 2009. Jim Beaver, Jennifer Blaire, Larry Blamire, Bob Burns (as Kogar the Gorilla) Dan Conroy, Robert Deveau, Bruce French, Betty Garrett, Trish Geiger, Brian Howe, Marvin Kaplan, and H.M. Wynant. Written and directed by Larry Blamire.

   A Larry Blamire thing.

   That should be description enough for those familiar with The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra  (2001) and Blamire’s other delicious send-ups of films no respectable critic would deign to notice. Night, however, offers a thin patina of low-budget Class missing from Cadavra, and a script well-attuned to the niceties of old Dark House movies.

   The story line here follows the classic Cat/Canary recipe: mix greedy relatives on hand for the reading of the will; stir in a crooked lawyer, wise-cracking reporter, and a clutching hand or two, and heat until it all catches fire quite nicely.

   Don’t get me wrong, like most of Blamire’s things, Night is far, far from perfect. Often it’s not even very good. Running jokes get run into the ground, and the level of hysteria frequently rises too high for comfort. Then again, while director Blamire lavishes B-movie (1930s variety) atmosphere on this, writer Blamire sometimes forgets to be funny.

   But this is balanced by some genuine wit, rapid-fire dialogue in the Howard Hawks tradition, and an attitude of affection for the genre that puts the viewer in a receptive mood when good jokes (and there are many) do come along.

   Which may be the key to the charm of any Blamire thing; it’s done with love.