Roger Corman

All posts tagged Roger Corman

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

Hopelessly Devoted to: Athena Massey

Published December 10, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Maria Ford, Jillian McWhirter, Sherrie Rose, Charlie Spradling, Melissa Moore, Joan Severance…These are names that fans of legendary producer Roger Corman’s ‘90s output should be familiar with. The glorious Athena Massey though, was, perhaps, the most exotically mysterious of these women – and, without a doubt, the most Stanislavski-an in her approach to her roles. Whether playing a blood starved alien, an undercover police officer or a bad-ass covert agent, this beauty gave it her all.

star-portalStar Portal, perhaps the most ridiculously fun entry here, finds Massey imbuing her role of Quad Rena/Sarah with both a solemnity and a childish curiosity. Yet another reworking of Corman’s Not of This Earth, this production also benefits from subtle traces of The Terminator and, nicely, places Massey in the alien role usually embodied by a male. Massey’s otherworldly goddess is bloodthirsty – a slaughtered victim or two is hung upside down to be drained of their fluids – but she supplies enough childlike confusion and regret to make this deadly femme qualify as the piece’s heroine. Choppily processed and obvious filmed on the cheap…the love interest, played by Steven Bauer, is almost invisible to the plot…this still provides enough zaniness to qualify as a solid example of the product  that was churned out to meet the demands of the burgeoning cable market in a, regrettably, bygone era.shadow-of-a-scream

Shadow of a Scream (AKA The Unspeakable), meanwhile, truly contains some of Massey’s finest work. The plot, again, is a reworking of everything from Stripped to Kill to (the notoriously protested, Al Pacino fronted) Cruising. But as Alice Redmond, a cop who goes undercover to trap a suspected serial killer, Massey shows a wide range of emotions. Even as her character, predictably, begins to be drawn into the sadomasochistic lifestyle of the man she is tracking, as an actress she colors in all the dots of her character’s personality, showing vulnerability and strength. Despite co-stars from two major television shows, 30 Something’s Timothy Busfield and Baywatch’s David Chokachi, this is definitely her show. It’s too bad, therefore, that the ending comes off so abruptly, almost leaving the audience confused as to who the killer is. The answer may be far too predictable for some, but Massey’s skill here is never in doubt and, as previously mentioned, this serves as an amazing showcase for all of her many talents.

terminationNice believability is also supplied with Terminaton Man, another low budget epic about a commando squad trying to stop a Serbian terrorist from unleashing a deadly nerve gas. As Delilah Shane – great name, no? – Massey provides kick-ass bravado here and truly makes you trust in her character’s flintiness and skill.  Impressively, Massey also makes you believe that the gratuitous nudity that her character is subjected to is all part of her take no shit attitude and not just an exploitive script requirement – true evidence of her compelling acting skills, if there ever was one.

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Be sure to become hopelessly devoted to Athena Massey, yourselves, by following her at https://www.facebook.com/Athena-Massey-128121317206690.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Susan Justin’s “Forbidden World”

Published May 11, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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While I am lavishly washing my breasts in the shower, ignoring the slimy space creature that is sneaking up behind me, there is only one soundtrack I care to be listening to – the Susan Justin composed (New Wave masterpiece) Forbidden World!

Thankfully, the ingenious Death Waltz Records – http://www.deathwaltzrecordingcompany.com – has just released this blipping, dripping score with splashing artwork by the talented Kimberley Halladay (highlighting actress June Chadwick’s gory death scene). Now, my exfoliating rituals are swimmingly complete!

Susan_Justin_Forbidden_WorldThis product, also, should appeal to those vibrating feminist instincts within all of us. Justin, who also composed the score to The Final Terror (starring Daryl Hannah and Rachel Ward), was one of the many women tolling fairly anonymously in the B-Movie scene. It is great of Death Waltz to finally give her the credit she, so richly, deserves!

Here’s a clip of Justin performing Forbidden World‘s main title:

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan