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21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Insightful, moving and often funny, Darkon is a theatrical documentary feature about a unique realm within the extraordinary worldwide phenomenon of live action role playing (LARP).

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Skip Lipman, Kenyon Wells, Rebecca Thurmond, Daniel McCarthur
  • Directors: Andrew Neel, Luke Meyer
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: PorchLight Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,977 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Varhola on November 14, 2007
Format: DVD
One of the few non-comedic movies by gamers, about gamers, and ultimately for gamers, Darkon (Ovie Productions/Seethink Productions, 2006) is a documentary that focuses on the activities of the Darkon Wargaming Club, a fantasy live-action role-playing (LARP) group in Baltimore, Maryland.

Moreso than movies of any sort by non-gamers about role-playing gaming (e.g., the execrable Mazes and Monsters), Darkon explores the purposes, positive aspects, and benefits of the hobby and the motives people have for participating in it. While it also hints at the all-consuming effect RPGs can have on their participants, it is ultimately more of an apologia for the hobby than an examination of it.

From a technical point of view, Darkon is well filmed, excellently scored, and structurally sound. One thing it does not do, however, is explain what a LARP is. Naturally, this does not matter much as far as gamers are concerned, but the absence of such explanation severely limits the value this film could have had as a tool for telling the non-gaming world about something about which it has limited awareness and little understanding. It is also a little on the long side, with multiple, interchangeable battle scenes, some of which could have been cut in lieu of some interviews with some third parties who could have helped put LARPing and RPGing in context.

A product of its times, Darkon draws as much on the genre of reality television as it does on that of documentary, with asides to the camera by its various subjects that shed light on their motivations and relationships in and out of the game. Depending on whether one likes reality TV or not, this could be seen as either a benefit or a detriment.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Driscoll on February 29, 2008
Format: DVD
Being a fan of documentaries first and foremost, and knowing very little about live-action role-playing games, I have to say that the very subject itself was surprisingly unique and portrayed in a straight-forward non-judgmental fashion. For that, I enjoyed Darkon tremendously. I am partially familiar with the same sub-culture that quotes Monty Python incessantly and throws around multi-sided die. In fact, at some stages in my life I've been among them with great enthusiasm. Let me just say that I do believe the filmmakers behind Darkon to be genuinely interested and respectful of their documentary's subject, but that doesn't automatically make the scenes of grown men stumbling about through a soccer field in suits of armor, taunting one another in melodramatic accents, any less comical. To me, the way the action is framed here in this film shows that the creators take it as seriously as the live-action role-players themselves. I wouldn't want to be introduced to this subject in any other way, so good for them.

Darkon is a Wargaming Club in Baltimore, Maryland. By this, I mean that it is a group of people who go away for the weekend to role-play with one another while dressing up in the traditional RPG medieval garb. The documentary goes over several in-game conflicts in great detail and features some closer looks at some relevant players, both in the game and outside of the game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Blake Fraina VINE VOICE on July 14, 2009
Format: DVD
This is a documentary about a group of "Dungeons-and-Dragons" type gamers in Baltimore. I've caught bits and bobs of it a few times on IFC, never from the beginning though, but I was home from work sick, there was nothing else on and it was just starting, so I tuned in. Well, what a fascinating surprise this turned out to be. Although I wasn't sure where they were going with it until nearly the end of the film, I'm glad I stuck it out. Kudos to the filmmakers.

I've always been interested in "nerd" culture. Primarily because I consider myself an honorary member of a few geeky fandom sub-cultures - The Avengers, Star Trek (a wee bit - due to my sister), Rocky Horror, The Prisoner, Renaissance Faires, slash fiction in get the idea. In the past, documentaries I've seen about geeks seemed to lack a strong point of view - "Trekkies" and "Trekkies II" sent out the vague message that not all geeks are losers and that the Star Trek fandom spawned some successful tech-heads with futuristic ideas. Big deal. "Goth Cruise" proved to be even more formless. I couldn't figure out the point of it at all, except perhaps to show the world that Goths are just really nice people in weird outfits. Well, all righty then.

In brief, "Darkon" follows the leaders of two separate counties in the "kingdom" Darkon - an anachronistic fantasy realm that has its boundaries in modern day Baltimore. In addition to chronicling the events that lead up to the epic battle between the two counties, we are also given glimpses into the real lives of the two main players.
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