There are days when Big Gay Horror Fan feels like he wants to give all the stray dogs of the world a hug and a spritely pink walk and others, when just like Charlize Theron’s evil Huntsman monarch, he wants to give this wretched world the queen it truly deserves. But – then I wake up.
Lucky Euro-starlet Lara Wendel, however, got to show both sides of those equations, cinematically, with two of her early appearances.
As Daria in 1979’s ludicrously fun Ring of Darkness (aka Satan’s Wife) the then 14 year old Wendel brings a snidely vengeful quality to her true daughter of the Devil. As her frightened mother (almost Hollywood powerhouse Anne Heywood) tries to save her from luscious destruction, Wendel connives, murders and — showers with preternatural abandon. While the copious amounts of skin that Wendel shows may rightfully bring about debates of child exploitation versus European sensibility, she ultimately grounds the film with a snotty menace and a compelling presence.
Three years later as Maria, in Dario Argento’s seminal Tenebrae, Wendel’s victim provides a memorable mid film appearance fighting off an almost supernaturally vicious Doberman while ultimately discovering the identity of the film’s killer. Her backyard end is bloodily memorable and proof that celluloid payback can truly be a major pain in the gut.
Wendel went on to play student-scientist types in 1988 in Umberto Lenzi’s Ghosthouse and Zombie 5: Killing Birds before disappearing from the screen in 1991, but her memorably brief cinematic legacy will forever mark her as one of the brightest Girl Heroes ever in Big Gay Horror Fan’s book.
Be sure to check back for a new Girl Hero each Monday –
And until the next time –
Sweet love and pink Grue,
Big Gay Horror Fan