/ Opinions / ‘Clue’ still entertains as a cult classic 35 years later
I’ve been in a mystery mood lately and decided to revisit one of my all-time favorite movies, “Clue,” this past weekend.
Released in 1985, the movie is based off the popular board game “Cluedo” and though it initially flopped at the box office, it quickly grew to be a cult classic among movie lovers everywhere.
It’s not hard to see why.
From the start, “Clue” is not only a clever murder mystery, but a hilarious dark comedy that simultaneously uses slapstick humor and wordplay to craft jokes that land immediately, and some that take a little time or second viewing to sink in.
The film follows six guests, each given pseudonyms — Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet — after they’re invited to a secluded New England mansion in 1954. When a seventh guest arrives, Mr. Boddy, it’s revealed Mr. Boddy has been blackmailing each of the other guests with secrets that could destroy their lives and that they’ve all been gathered by Wadsworth, the butler, to confront Mr. Boddy for his actions.
After each guest has been given a weapon, murder — and mystery — ensue as the guests go on a search to figure out just who the real killer is.
A large part of the film’s strengths come from its cast. With talents like Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd, among other incredible performers including Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, and Colleen Camp and Lee Ving, the movie’s characters are not only well-rounded, they’re perfect fits.
Curry’s performance as Wadsworth has been iconic over the years, with McKean, Brennan, Kahn, Lloyd, Mull, and Warren giving some of the best performances of their careers.
The movie is endlessly quoteable with lines and unforgettable catchphrases, ambiguous and smart witticisms, and a frantic and engaging pace that not only plays into some of the film’s comedy, but also make it a smarter film than it lets on.
It’s a movie that will have the audience asking whether it’s “one plus two plus two plus one” or “one plus two plus one plus one” long after any one of its endings plays.
Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]