The murder-mystery board game becomes a frantic, unfunny spoof (1985) under the direction of British TV writer Jonathan Lynn. The script recycles Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, with six guests invited by a mysterious host to spend the night in a creepy mansion, but instead of parodying the material Lynn simply surrounds it with extraneous pratfalls and wisecracks. Only Lesley Ann Warren, as a tough-talking madam, finds an effective level of stylization, using her leggy physique and wildly expressive features to create a cartoonish figure that's funny within its own boundaries. The film was released with three different endings, all of them arbitrary. With Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, and Martin Mull.
By Dave Kehr