Ghostbusters

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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!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

On Ghostbusters

Published July 28, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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I should have been a Ghostbusters kid. I adored everything horror related from the time that I could remember and a comedy that featured green ectoplasm spewing spirits should have been right up my alley. But, I actually never even saw it until I was an adult. I should have been a Ghostbusters kid. But I wasn’t.

Lately, with the reboot so prominently fixated in film fans’ minds, I was wondering a bit about this and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It was too straight. Not that the ‘80s slashers films weren’t. But, at least with them, there was room for speculation among its chiseled final guys and athletic, half clothed male victims. But the comics (and comic actors) of that era – Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Steve Martin – all seemed so relentless heterosexual to me. In fact, as an awkward gay kid growing up in a small town, their humor didn’t seem designed for me at all. And, secretly, I wondered if it wasn’t even pointed at me, on occasion. Of course, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the leads of the original Ghostbusters, pretty much fell in with that crowd. Thus, the film never even buzzed around the corner lines of my interest until much, much later.

So, while I still puzzle over the appeal of such films as Stripes – as much as I want to, I really don’t get them – I have come to enjoy Ghostbusters. Not as much as those who grew up marching to its puffy white rhythms, but I have become much more enthusiastic about it as I age. I also have come to realize, especially in the wake of the rampant dismay about the female driven remake, that while the film, itself, wasn’t necessarily too straight for me, maybe some (or a whole lot, as the case may be) of its fans are.

ghostbusters_2016_watermarked_batch02_05How else do you explain the avalanche of false, negative ratings placed on sites about the film by people who hadn’t even seen it? How else do you reconcile the hatred lobbed at Leslie Jones, its black actress, on Twitter? How do else do you calculate the dismay expressed by some when its suggested that they go see the film just to guarantee that other action films starring women will have a chance at getting  green lit? Isn’t that a more worthy reason to see a film than simply because Ryan Gosling (or Kate Winslet or Ryan Reynolds) is in it and you never miss one of his movies?

In fact, it’s an especially valid reason to see the film because, as a whole, this Paul Feig reboot is solid entertainment. Granted, there is something a bit commercial and cookie cutter about it, following the original’s plotline as closely as it does. But Jones and (particularly) her co-star Kate McKinnon, as the madcap (vaguely lesbian) inventor of the bunch, are able to break out of the molds prescribed to them and do some amazingly fun and inventive work.  

And anyone who doesn’t thrill to watching women save the day while still finding ways to support each other, despite their differences, has to be a little heartless…and unconcerned about the future of America. That may be a bold statement. But, to not acknowledge the victories this film can claim for young girls, who are so desperately in need of super heroines that fit an ordinary mold, is wrong…and totally, totally straight.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan