On the recommendation of Cataline Sergius over at his new blog, I tried out "Death of Stalin".

Glad I did.

Not hysterically fun, it is an exceedingly black and dark company that transforms into straight-up dark near the end, and yet has a number of moments worth a chuckle as the actors and script manage to both play it utterly straight, yet slightly ridiculous.

I'm also somewhat shocked - despite the black humor it is an utterly unfettered look at exactly how evil and kill-happy the communists were. If anything, the presentation as humor files a few edges off - I think succeeding in making it more palatable rather than diluting it. By the end it is clear that to the extent Khrushchev is a "good" guy, it is only relative to the psychopathy of many of those around him. Beria is convincingly portrayed as utterly evil to the core, and depraved to a degree that in the end shocks even some of the other politburo members.

For those who had a hard time slogging through Moira Greyland's "The Last Closet" - that depravity on Beria's part includes pedophilia. Implied - but it's made clear that, for example, he rescued one underage maid from a house-cleaning slaughter because he had other designs on her.