Angela Lansbury

All posts tagged Angela Lansbury

Horror, She Wrote: Jennifer Runyon

Published April 5, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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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.

Blessed with a radiant presence, Jennifer Runyon brought a delightful grace to the screen in such terror themed projects as the girls’ school slasher To All A Good Night, renowned comedy Ghostbusters and the Roger Corman produced Carnosaur. This purity made her a natural to play innocents accused of wrongdoing in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote. jennifer 6

In 1989’s Seal of the Confessional, Runyon is Kelly Barrett, a frightened native of Cabot Cove, the fictional town where many of Jessica Fletcher’s adventures took place. Sure that she has murdered her abusive stepfather, Barrett takes refuge in a church with a handsome priest (soap opera stalwart Hunt Block). Determined to cover up her crime, she ultimately resists the clergyman’s offer of help and runs away. Of course, Fletcher eventually discovers that the culprit is not the frightened young woman, but not before Runyon gets to play, thoughtfully, in the fields of wide emotion, enacting everything from elusive terror to steely determination.

Jennifer 5Scripted by Lynne Kelsey, this storyline actually is one of the long running show’s most poignant. Graced with the series’ usual down home charms and lighthearted mystery, it also reflects, subtly, the emotional damage inflicted by parental misadventure. Runyon’s bruised portrayal aids greatly here, allowing the audience to feel, fully, for her character and proving that she would have been perfect to play tortured heroines in those gloomy noir epics of the 40s.

Nicely, 1991’s Murder, Plain and Simple has more of a soap opera edge. Focusing on an Amish community ruled over by an extremely evil patriarch (Michael Sarrazin), this episode also reunites Runyon and Block. The two play former sweethearts torn asunder by Sarrazin’s devious Jacob Beiler. Naturally, Beiler winds up dead, found by Runyon’s Rebecca, a pitchfork shoved deep in his chest. Jennifer 4

Runyon glows with resigned dignity here, relieved to be out of Beiler’s controlling grasp, but glad, once she is no longer considered a suspect, to be free of him, as well. Sarrazin, who imbued such projects as The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Frankenstein: His Story with the gravity of his deep set eyes, nearly steals the show, though. He is obviously having a ball being so heartless and the scenes where he twists logic and decorum to get his needs met would make any arch daytime drama baddie proud.

Meanwhile, fans of the series should be sure to check out Murder She Wrote Fans: https://www.facebook.com/Murder-She-Wrote-Fans-120892357995729.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Stacey Nelkin

Published August 5, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

stacey scared
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.

What goes around most certainly comes around. Perhaps, cinematically, no one found this to be truer than the glorious Ann Blyth. Immortalized as the devious Velda in the classic 1945 adaptation of Mildred Pierce, Blyth eventually found herself on the other end of the victimization scale in the second season Reflections of the Mind episode of Murder, She Wrote.

As Francesca Lodge, one of Jessica Fletcher’s oldest and wealthiest friends, Blyth reacts with royal emotion as her character begins to behave erratically and soon appears to be losing her mind. Naturally, the deductive Fletcher soon begins to suspect that someone close to Lodge has watched an old VHS copy of Gaslight one too many times.stacey concerned

Enter Lodge’s daughter Cheryl, played with concerned enthusiasm by the radiant Stacy Nelkin. Best known to loyal fright freaks as the spunky Ellie in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Nelkin combines levels of true sympathy with a carefree, rock-n-roll nature here, making her seem the least likely suspect in this shady narrative.

But the terror Nelkin experiences, one rainy night, may point to a possibly sinister direction, especially considering that Cheryl’s comrade-in-arms, Carl, is played with smooth tempestuousness by Wings Hauser, well known for his psychotic portrayals in such cult efforts as Vice Squad, The Carpenter and The Wind.

stacey wingsWhile this marked Blyth’s last acting appearance, the eclectic Nelkin would go on to play the deliciously demented Christy Russell on the short lived soap Generations and the notable Rita in the Academy Award winning Bullets Over Broadway before embarking on a successful career as a relationship expert.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Lee Meriwether and Michelle Johnson

Published July 18, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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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.

Of all the things that an excess of television viewing can tell you, to never get on a ship with Lee Meriwether may be the most important! Lee 1

A co-starring role in the 1978 television film Cruise into Terror found the luscious, amber waved Meriwether seduced by a devilish sarcophagus. Her 1993 appearance on the Ship of Thieves episode of Murder, She Wrote, meanwhile, allowed her to indulge in even deadlier circumstances. As the sophisticated Leslie Hunter, Jessica’s old college pal, Meriwether appears to be aglow with love for the captain of a soon to be retired ship. But the closing circumstances reveal very sinister edges to Hunter’s character, facets that Meriwether embraces with clipped intensity.

Lee2Nicely, on this voyage, Meriwether is joined in mercenary activity by the equally stunning Michelle Johnson (Waxwork, Dr. Giggles, Blood Ties, Werewolf). Johnson provides smoothly evil emoting, as well, making this particular outing a delicious excursion for those who like their femmes with a dubious edge.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Lar Park Lincoln

Published February 13, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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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.

For better or worse, it all comes down to the mother!

Nobody knows this better than the vibrant Lar Park Lincoln (Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood, House II), a devoted parent, herself, in real life, who guest starred on Incident in Lot 7, the 13th (h-m-m…) eighth season episode of Murder, She Wrote, which featured a throwback to the spookiest matriarch of all time, Mrs. Bates!lar 3

As Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher navigates the devious world of filmmaking here, it is Lincoln’s kind and spunky Caroline Pryce who offers her eager assistance. But as an unexpected murder darkens Caroline’s world, Lincoln skillfully shows both her character’s accusatory nature and overriding frustration, ultimately, making Caroline one of this mystery’s most well rounded characters.

lar 4Nicely, Lincoln is joined by several other terror regulars including Stuart Whitman (Welcome to Arrow Beach, Vultures, Ruby, Night of the Lepus, The Monster Club) as a kindly executive, Michelle Johnson (Waxwork, Dr. Giggles, Blood Ties) as a power hungry mistress and Paula Prentiss (The Stepford Wives, Saturday the 14th) as an agitated actress. Of the three, Prentiss, perhaps, has the most fun. Her Leonora Holt is a self-centered movie star, determined to learn every nuance of the flustered Fletcher, whom she is set to play (a variation of) in a movie adaptation of one of the legendary sleuth’s books.

Nicely, as the majority of the action takes place on the Universal movie lot, the iconic Bates Motel is used as a primary location. It’s a striking choice with echoes of both Norma Bates’ cackle and Milton Arbogast’s arm wheeling fall haunting every frame.
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Be sure to keep up with Lincoln, a respected acting teacher and co-star in the upcoming, deliciously titled Sky Sharks, at http://www.larparklincoln.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Cherie Currie

Published November 20, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

Cherie MSW1
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.

It may be fun to go to the dogs every once in awhile, but there is nothing, dramatically speaking, like a good cat fight! Eclectic entertainment goddess Cherie Currie certainly dives into some fur snarling fisticuffs in the first season episode of Murder, She Wrote entitled (appropriately enough) It’s a Dog’s Life and definitely comes out shining!

Best known for fronting the influential rock band The Runaways, Currie, also, had a varied acting career with roles in such horror and science fiction epics like Parasite, Wavelength and Twilight Zone: The Movie. Here, her co-stars include such genre stalwarts as Dallas’ Jared Martin (Aenigma, New Gladiators), Forrest Tucker (The Crawling Eye, The Abominable Snowman), Dan O’Herlihy (Halloween III, The Cabinet of Caligari), Dean Jones (Two on a Guillotine) and James Hampton (Teen Wolf, Hangar 18).Cherie MSW2

Playing Echo, the sarcastic daughter of a spiritually obsessed heiress (Soap’s Cathryn Damon who, also, practiced maternal witchiness in the television flick Midnight Offerings), Currie is obviously having a ball as Echo engages in verbal combat with her drunken aunt (played by soap stalwart Lenore Kasdorf). Currie, also, excellently invests the flippancy that Echo has for authority figures with a subtle comic timing and truthfully petulant sass. On the flip side, Currie and Damon do establish a natural affection between their characters, making viewers long to know more about them.

Cherie MSW3All involved (including the elegant Lynn Redgrave), though, seem to warm nicely to the absurdly fun plotline (which finds a beloved beagle on trial for murder), making this a rather delightful entry in this seminal, femme powered detective series.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Lynda Day George

Published August 13, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

linda solo
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.

I swear I never hit Aunt Agnes over the head to steal her aging Southern beau! But, at least, I am not alone when being falsely accused.

linda groupIndeed, on My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean, a first season episode of Murder, She Wrote, the divinely scrumptious Lynda Day George finds all eyes on her as the series’ grand dame Jessica Fletcher (winningly acted by the legendary Angela Lansbury) wonders if her character, Diane Shelley, might be gas lighting her fragile niece on a rocking ship of horrors.

Of course, with roles in such films as Mortuary, Pieces, Beyond Evil, Day of the Animals and Ants, George is definitely one of the high priestesses of horror for certain generations. Here, as in most of those films, she is, once again, a victim of circumstance. Her quietly gracious Shelley is merely escaping a bad love affair hence her mysterious appearance as this boat’s latest purser. belinda

Slightly reminiscent of Cruise into Terror, the 78 television film she starred in, George is joined on this outing by her Animals’ co-star Leslie Nielsen. As Jessica’s grieving charge, one of many relatives of the mystery loving maven that would be introduced over the years, actress Belinda J. Montgomery (best known to terror fiends for starring in sleazy 84 slasher Silent Madness) is on the receiving end of this story’s horror archetypes (shadowy attacks, ghostly callings and shaky pleas of sanity). She handles these chores with a liquid grace. Still, one wonders what would have occurred if she and George had switched places. Reimagining, anyone?

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror, She Wrote: Kim Darby

Published July 3, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

darby grinning
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.

coco & darbyIn 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.coco head

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!

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