Release Date: December 13, 1985
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren.
Tag Lines: “The movie that makes a scene of the crime.:
“It’s Not Just A Game Anymore.”
“Murder, madness, mystery, and mayhem. More fun than you can imagine.”
“Seven Suspects, Six Weapons, Five Bodies and Three Endings.”
“‘Clue’ isn’t just a board game anymore!”
Relevance: From birth until I went away to college, I only had one childhood home. It went through a few metamorphoses, but the address was always the same. The house had, until it was eventually knocked down during one of the many renovations, a back room that we called, ironically, the backroom. Essentially it was a play room for my sister and me. That is where we kept all of our games, toys and play things and spent hours upon hours entertaining ourselves and each other.
The room was well equipped. It had a chalkboard for when we played school, as well as a small kids’ table with two chairs. There was a large reclining rocking chair that was either used to sit and read or rock back and forth so fast and furious that there was an ever present dent in the wall behind it. On that dented wall hung pennants that my family collected whenever we traveled. At least twenty (possibly more) of them were there, strategically placed by my mother, describing such people and places like the Phillies, Hershey Park or Nay Aug Zoo. There was a large oval rug that laid in the center of the room that gave us plenty of room to play games. And boy oh boy did we play games. Monopoly, Life, Pay Day, Chinese Checkers, Risk and my all time favorite, Clue.
As mentioned many times on this blog, I love all things mystery and horror. Agatha Christie and Stephen King were my favorite authors even at a very young age. Should have I been reading such mature novels at my young impressionable age? Probably not. But the only thing it did to me psychologically was cement my love for those genres. Because Clue was essentially about murder, I thought it was the best game ever and was always up for a game of Miss Scarlet in the Dining Room with the Candlestick. I would even play the game alone. I would in my young but complex imagination create scenarios using the game board and its subsequent pieces to entertain myself. My love for the game grew more after seeing the film ‘Murder by Death’ (see 132. Murder by Death) in the early 1980’s. My imagination on the Clue board game now incorporated other characters like Sam Diamond and Jesica Marbles.
In December of 1985, the Hasbro board game Clue became a movie, ‘Clue.’ It received very negative reviews and was considered a box office bomb as it didn’t even make back its budget. I did not see the film in theaters despite really wanting to. The marketing campaign for the film was promising at least three different endings to the movie depending on where you saw it. Unfortunately that did not help the film, but it got me excited. For whatever reason, possibly that I was only fourteen and no one would go with me, I did not get to see it. That following Spring, as soon as it was released to home media, I rented it from my local Blockbuster store.
The VHS release that was available had all three endings, to my delight. There were title cards that indicated the different endings with the final one stating “But here’s what really happened.” I was beyond thrilled. I found the movie to be a great mix of slapstick comedy and mystery and loved every second of it. The movie eventually made its rounds on HBO and, you guessed it, every time it was on, I watched it. My family got involved as well. Even my mom, who was not a fan of anything scary or murder related, loved the antics as well as the actors on the screen. It provided many laughs for my family and my love for the game grew even more. There were two “Clue” VCR games that my family owned that I used to love to play them all the time. I think at one point I wanted to become a detective however that career did not pan out.
As I got older, the love for ‘Clue’ did not die off. In fact, it only grew more and more. I realized that the film had an extremely large fan base and had become a cult classic. A lot of my friends, most of them theater aligned, adored the film as much as I did and many a night was spent watching the movie (there may have been some drinking as well). It is often quoted and is referenced many times throughout the calendar year. ‘Clue’ remains a classic movie in my household and one that gets watched quite often as I now own the DVD. We own the board game as well and once in awhile I get lucky and convince my family to play. I will never tire of the “who” in the “where” with the “what.”
Today’s Thoughts: “Well, one of us must have killed him!”
I watched ‘Clue’ this morning in the living room with a cup of coffee. There were no signs of foul play, crime, wrenches or death, just laughter and great memories from my childhood. If you own the DVD, which I do, you get a choice of how you want to watch it, a random ending or the “three-in-one” ending. I always watch the latter as that is the way I originally saw it.
Any film from 1985 is going to feel somewhat dated and although ‘Clue’ is no exception to that rule, it is still a remarkably funny and entertaining film. I am nostalgic to a fault these days, and this movie makes me long for the days of all things ’80’s. The cast is beyond perfection. Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren are all wonderful as the colorful characters everyone knows so well. Mr. Tim Curry however is a stand out for me and is absolutely stupendous as Wadsworth. His recreations of the murders are by far my favorite moments and always leaves me with a huge smile on my face.
‘Clue’ is a great dark comedy, mystery thriller and one that could be watched by the entire family. It really does lean more on the comedy side and one that generates more smiles than scares. I highly recommend this “whodunit,” especially if you aren’t afraid to be immensely entertained by its glorious cast or simply laugh a lot.
Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, DVD Availability.