Just one more thing to say about Women In Horror Month – RIPLEY!
Just one more thing to say about Women In Horror Month – RIPLEY!
Linda Hamilton will forever be remembered as the iconic Sarah Connor in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Hamilton was in a few tv shows and movies before she got the role of Sarah Connor. She had just finished filming Children of the Corn when she auditioned for The Terminator. Her innocence and vulnerability were pivotal to her securing the part. The Terminator is about a woman who must reluctantly deal with the hand fate has dealt her. She will give birth to a son, John Connor, who will one day help the human race to survive in a dystopian future. Hamilton initially plays Connor with heart and soul; she’s a sweet girl who works in a restaurant and has a pet iguana – Pugsley. By the end of the movie that softness has given way to a hardness that will help her in the years to come.
In Terminator 2: Judgement Day – Sarah Connor is a 100% bad ass chick! Who will ever ever forget when you see her biceps of steel – strong enough to give Arnie a run for his money and a run for his money she gives him! T2 takes place 10 years in the future. Sarah has been trying to teach John what she thinks he needs to know and through circumstances winds up in a psychiatric hospital. The machines have sent another Terminator to try once again to execute John – this time with a more advanced version – the T-1000. Linda Hamilton physically transformed herself for the role. She underwent an extensive thirteen-week training regimen with personal trainer Anthony Cortes, training three hours a day, six days a week before principal photography began. The Sarah Connor of T2 is more experienced and tough. Her relationship with John has become tenuous as the result of carrying the burden of his future alone. She has become singularly focused and will stop at nothing to protect her son. She also receives help from an unlikely source.
I chose Linda Hamilton for day 28 of women in horror month because in my opinion, there is only one other character more badass than her in the genre – and that’s tomorrow’s blog.
Jessica Lange began her acting career in the monster movie King Kong. She starred opposite Jeff Bridges in the 1976 remake directed by John Guillermin. She went on from there to many interesting and creative movies – The Postman Always Rings Twice, Frances, Tootsie, Titus and Cape Fear just to name a few. She’s won Academy Awards in both the supporting and lead actor categories putting her into an exclusive group of actors who have won both. She’s come full circle and is back in the horror genre as Constance Langdon in the FX show American Horror Story.
Constance Langdon’s character is complexly drawn – part mother, part aging southern belle, involved in the occult and 100% protective of her children. Lange is spot on as the alpha female who heads up a pretty unconventional family. Constance harbours many secrets and is intent on doing anything to maintain and protect those secrets. She’s a dark horse. At the beginning of Season 1 she comes across as a gracious yet intrusive woman who has an unhealthy interest in the family that moves into the house next door (mom/dad/ teenage daughter). She forms independent relationships with all 3 family members (who have their own dark secrets) and begins to undermine each of them for her own ends. She’s an anachronism, a remnant of a bygone era, a gothic matriarch with a penchant for self destruction. Constance is totally f’d up. Jessica Lange is magnificent in the role. It’s refreshing to see an actor with so much depth bring it to a cool television show.
“More than anything I want to thank the writers. I find it more and more rare, or rarer, every year to find a piece of work that is really beautifully written and gives you something to do and it certainly was this.” Jessica Lange – Golden Globe winner for American Horror Story
I chose Jessica Lange for day 27 of women in horror month because she kicks ass as Constance Langdon and shows how awesome the genre can be when you have strong actors involved.
Adrienne Barbeau is an actor who starred in the 1980 horror film The Fog. John Carpenter, who wrote and directed the film, (he was also married to her at the time) cast her as Stevie Wayne, the local radio host. Her character was almost like an unofficial narrator who helped move the story along. A mysterious fog brings the dead to life to avenge past wrongs committed by the city forefathers in Antonia Bay- a small fishing community in California. Along with Barbeau, The Fog also starred Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother Janet Leigh.
It was a commercial success grossing over $21 million in North America alone. That solidified Barbeau’s genre status right there. In 1981 Carpenter cast her again in his next film Escape from New York. Barbeau played Maggie, the smart ass half of a couple struggling in a dystopian future. Harry Dean Stanton (The Brain) was cast as her boyfriend. Of course it starred the one and only Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken. In the movie she’s one tough character who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Once again like The Fog, Escape From New York was a commercial hit and is now considered a cult classic. It’s influence in pop culture has been felt from videogames to books to other movies and music.
Barbeau’s next horror project was Creepshow – a movie written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero. Creepshow was a 5 part anthology paying homage to old EC styled horror comics. Barbeau (“everyone calls me Billy”) was in story number 4 entitled ‘The Crate’. She’s married to mild mannered small town college professor Hal Hobrook (also in The Fog). They have a terrible marriage and he resents her bitterly because of her constant emotional abuse and alcoholism. Billy is the type of character that deserves some kind of comeuppance. And it arrives via the mysterious contents of the crate. She was memorable as the asshole wife who emasculates her husband.
Continuing her run of genre movies – her next role was in Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing. A creature feature based on DC Comic characters. Barbeau plays government agent Alice Cable who travels to a Louisiana swamp to learn more about a bio-engineering experiment scientist Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) is working on. Once there she finds herself falling in love with him. A rival group of scientists try to steal Dr. Hollands’s formula and in the process douse him with his own concoction. He turns into Swamp Thing. Cable spends the rest of the movie trying to get away from the bad guys. It’s a total tongue in cheek movie with a few laughs and plenty of swamp thing violence. Adrienne Barbeau is my pick for women in horror month day 24 – she’s had a successful career in both television and film (and then there’s Maude!) and has appeared in some awesome horror movies.
Jenny Agutter has appeared in some big horror and sci-fi movies – most notably in An American Werewolf in London and Logan’s Run. Agutter started her career as a child actor in the mid-60′s in London. She had roles on both The Newcomers (a British soap opera) and The Railway Children (another Brit tv show about a wrongly imprisoned father and his children). In 1971 at the age of 19 she won an Emmy for her portrayal of Fritha in The Snow Goose – a drama about war, horror and friendship. At 21 Agutter relocated to Los Angeles in search of more adult themed roles. One on her first mainstream movies, Logan’s Run, was released in 1976. It was a commercial success. Though not in the horror genre per se – Logan’s Run is still horrific in nature. It’s story involves a dystopian future where everyone has to undergo Carousel (it’s not what you think) at the age of 30. Agutter, along with co-star Michael York, were awesome as the couple who find out what’s really happened to earth.
In 1981 she starred in An American Werewolf in London. It was written and directed by John Landis. Agutter played the London nurse (Alex Price) who falls in love with David an injured American backpacker. Who also happens to be a werewolf. She was fantastic in the role – sweet, affectionate and willing to do anything for the man she has fallen in love with. An American Werewolf in London has become a cult classic over the years. Combining horror and comedy – it’s an ultra violent story with amazing special effects – it won an Oscar for outstanding achievement in makeup. I chose Jenny Agutter for day 23 of women in horror month because she’s combines intelligence, maturity and innocence in her acting. She’s always a strong presence onscreen and in An American Werewolf in London she has a pivotal role that brings heart and soul to a story that is fully of brutality, violence, sadness and horror.
Jennifer Tilly is artificially inseminated with sperm from a doll named Chucky and gets pregnant- that’s the Seed of Chucky coming at you. The Child’s Play series has been around for a while. They are now up to 5 movies and there’s another Chucky movie coming in 2014. Chucky is the mastermind of Don Mancini and he’s voiced by the awesome Brad Dourif. Here’s a list of some actors who’ve shown up over the years in the Chucky series – John Ritter, Katherine Heigl, Chris Sarandon, Alexis Arquette, Catherine Hicks, John Waters and Jenny Agutter.
Jennifer Tilly plays 2 characters in the movie – herself and Tiffany(Chucky’s doll girlfriend – first seen in Bride of Chucky).Tilly is spot on as a classic narcissist who thinks celebrity is where it’s at and will do anything to be famous. The Seed of Chucky is riddled with satire and totally makes fun of itself which made me love the movie even more. Oh yeah – one of the characters is a doll with no discernible genitalia so he/she goes through the whole movie switching back and forth as Glen/Glenda (based on Ed Wood’s movie – Glen or Glenda) due to Chucky and Tiffany each wanting a son and daughter respectively. And he’s voiced by a hobbit – yup – Billy Boyd plays Glen/Glenda. Seed of Chucky provides a huge amount of laughs and it’s super fun to watch with a bunch of people. Jennifer Tilly commits to the craziness 100%. It’s great to see an actor confident enough to make fun of herself. That’s why I chose Jennifer Tilly for day 22 of women in horror month. If you’re into crass humour like I am, you’ll enjoy watching a movie about a 24″ doll that kills!
The poster for Rosemary’s Baby (1961) is iconic in the horror genre. The baby carriage on top of the hill looks sinister, alone and scary (what the hell is in that carriage?!) – Mia Farrow’s face blending into the clouds. Is she alive? Is she dead? The images that should be beautiful are not – a woman and a pram. Rosemary’s Baby starred some every talented women – Mia Farrow (who played Rosemary), Ruth Gordon, and Emmaline Henry. Ruth Gordon took home an Oscar for her role playing Minnie Castevet – a meddlesome neighbour with an underlying secret. Roman Polanski wrote the screenplay as well as directed basing it on the book of the same name by Ira Levin. The exterior of The Dakota in New York City was used to portray The Bramford apartment building where Rosemary and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) lived . Despite how dark the subject matter was the movie was an instant success.
Mia Farrow was amazing as Rosemary. She brought an innocence and youth to the role that is at odds with the terror she endures. Farrow plays Rosemary with equal parts paranoia and intuitive knowledge. Rosemary’s Baby spawned offspring like The Omen and The Exorcist with good reason. It combined the satanic and supernatural with everyday normalcy – a perfect horror combo. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favour and check it out – if you love the horror genre, you won’t be disappointed! I picked Mia Farrow and Rush Gordon for Rosemary’s Baby for day 21 of women in horror because it’s such a well done and effective horror movie. It stays with you long after you finish watching it.
Pamela Sue Voorhees is my pick for day 20 of Women in Horror Month. Forever remembered as Jason’s mother she is truly an iconic character. Voorhees was played by Betsy Palmer. According to Wikipedia Palmer didn’t think Friday the 13th was going to be anything special – “What a piece of shit! Nobody is ever going to see this thing.” How wrong she was! Friday the 13th was made in response to the huge success Halloween experienced as an independent movie. It’s gone on to be one of the all time highest grossing slasher flicks ever and also has the notoriety of being the first movie of it’s genre picked up for distribution by a major studio – Paramount Pictures.
Friday the 13th is a revenge movie and Mrs Voorhees wants her revenge. She lost her son Jason a number of years ago to the carelessness of some camp counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake. It was shut down shortly after the tragic accident. After a number of years, the camp is re-opening spawning a killing spree. It’s a pretty basic slasher story – a bunch of teenagers isolated at a lake with a psychotic killer. Mrs Voorhess kills and kills until she finally meets her match in camp counsellor Alice. This is a great part of the story because when Alice meets Mrs Voorhees, she has no idea Voorhees is the one responsible for all the killings. After speaking to her for a few moments she clues in pretty damn fast! Friday the 13th has a good twist ending (a la Hitchcock!) and a really awesome decapitation scene! Go Alice Go!
What can you say about a movie that spawned the genre psycho-biddy?!! Bette Davis and Joan Crawford star in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?- a horror thriller full of sibling rivalry, mind games and violence.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane is the over-the-top story of 2 feuding sisters who are also both actors. As children, sister Jane(Davis)enjoyed extreme popularity while sister Blanche(Crawford) stood in her shadow. Jane was not only adored be her fans but also by her father, who spoilt her rotten. As adults the tables turn. Blanche becomes famous as Jane’s celebrity wanes. Eventually they both retire and share a house. Fame has destroyed both of them in different ways. Blanche is disabled (confined to a wheelchair) and spends most of the time in her bedroom reliving the glory days by watching old movies of herself. Jane is a grotesque caricature of herself. She drinks a lot and terrorizes her disabled sister. She’s cruel, violent and sadistic to Blanche, who because of her disability is a prisoner in her own home. Davis is brilliant as the sister who goes ape shit and makes Blanche’s life a living hell. Crawford is equally as powerful as the sibling who will try anything to get away from her tormentor who’s falling farther and farther into madness.
The poster for the movie had the tagline ‘ Sister, sister, oh so fair, why is there blood all over your hair?’ and was accompanied by ‘things you should know about this motion picture before buying a ticket’
1. If you’re long-standing fans of Miss Davis and Miss Crawford, we warn you this is quite unlike anything they’ve ever done
2. You are urged to see it from the beginning.
3. Be prepared for the macabre and the terrifying.
4. We ask your pledge to keep the shocking climax a secret.
5. When the tension begins to build, remember it’s just a movie
Bette Davis received her 10th Oscar nomination for her role and the success of the movie spawned a renewed interest in both of their careers. Davis went on to star in such genre movie as Dead Ringer and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte while Crawford starred in Berserk and Strait-Jacket. These 2 women are my pick for day 19 of women in horror because they were both superb in this movie and they used their offscreen competition to fuel a great psycho-horror. Professionals!
The Innocents scared me. It’s ghost story that frightens with silence, dead people and preying upon human fears of life after death. Deborah Kerr is magnificent as the governess (Miss Giddens) hired to look after 2 young children (Miles&Flora) who live on their rich uncle’s estate after they are orphaned. The uncle has nothing to do with the kids but does provide a luxurious existence for them- fancy house, boarding school, cook&housekeeper and their governess Kerr. The strength of The Innocents works because it’s based on the well written novella, The Turning of the Screw by Henry James. I read the book after I had watched the movie a few times and The Innocents is a great re-imagining of James’ story. It’s screenplay was adapted by Truman Capote (most notably known for writing In Cold Blood) and William Archibald.
The children, Miles and Flora, are basically creepshows right from the get go. Flora lives on the estate and Miles attends boarding school. He’s sent home early due to odd behaviour. Once arriving at the estate he acts the perfect gentleman and Kerr is initially pleased to meet him. Flora has had an intuitive feeling from the beginning of the movie that Miles will somehow be returning home. Reunited with her brother once more, their relationship is all furtive whispering, giggling and sharing secrets. Kerr hears wailing sounds coming from nowhere and sees apparitions. She witnesses a series of unnerving events that lead her to realize all is not right with the house and the children.The tension mounts unbearably as she gets closer to discovering the childrens’ mysterious and ultimately horrifying secret. Because of the content, this must have been quite the controversial movie back in 1961.
Kerr was 40 years old when she shot The Innocents. I think it was a wise move to cast an actor who had experienced life and brought a seasoned maturity to the role. She portrayed Miss Giddens with tight precision, depth and controlled fear which made the movie even more unsettling. These are the reasons why I chose the incredibly talented Deborah Kerr for day 18 of women in horror.
© Whitebowl Productions