Horror, She Wrote explores the episodes of the ever-popular detective series Murder, She Wrote, featuring Angela Lansbury’s unstoppable Jessica Fletcher, that were highlighted by performances from genre film actors.
Oh, paranoia! If you are anything like me, then you are eternally certain that when that office door closes, your managers are always talking about you.
In the 7th episode of Murder, She Wrote’s first season, We’re Off to Kill the Wizard, poor Kim Darby (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Halloween 6, Teen Wolf 2, Circle of Fear) actually does have a boss that is out to get her. In one of that initial season’s best episodes, Darby plays Laurie Bascomby, the quivering secretary of the maniacally mean Horatio Baldwin, enacted with confirmed gusto by beloved character actor James Coco. (While mostly known for comic fare, one of Coco’s last roles was as a kindly, if misguided, social reformer in the 1988 prison based horror flick, The Chair.) While imbued with the trembling mousiness that viewers often expect from a Darby role, this veteran actress also supplies some layers of spine and a mild sense of humor to her role, here. Her character, ultimately, connects with the series’ grand dame Jessica Fletcher, who gladly assists her when her character is accused of murdering Coco’s.
Taking place in a haunted theme park, owned by Baldwin, this quickly moving story has plenty of shadowy encounters – and one of the best set pieces of the entire series, a huge prop head of Coco as a grinning vampire. One can only hope that item is still floating around the storage vaults of Universal Television!
On an interesting side note, this spooky jaunt also features a young Joaquin Phoenix as Fletcher’s great-nephew – but this show truly belongs to the sensitive Darby and the devilish Coco, who appears to be truly having a blast being so incredibly nasty.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!