I have a feeling a platoon of estrogen fueled ghosts are going to be paying writer-director Bart Mastronardi a visit soon. Whether it’ll be Bette Davis, Joan Bennett and Agnes Moorehead or some other golden age dream team is anyone’s guess. But goddess knows, many of those classic screen sirens have to be pissed that Mastronardi didn’t create Miss Lamarr, the faded Hollywood actress who, even in a supporting capacity, is one of the highlights of his version of The Tell Tale Heart, in their lifetimes.
Of course, the milkily doomed Lamarr is enacted with regal precision by Alan Rowe Kelly, a true student of those sassy broads. Therefore, he and Mastronardi establish a sense of gothic glamour throughout the entirety of the piece, one portion of the highly anticipated anthology film Tales of Poe.
As expected, as the story’s narrator and primary participant, legendary genre actress Debbie Rochon does an exemplary job. As a former nurse relating the violent origins of her arrival at a mental health asylum, Rochon glows with a crackled subtlety. It is one of her most nuanced performances in a career layered with passionate portrayals.
The true surprise here, though, is Lesleh Donaldson as Evelyn Dyck, one of asylum’s boldest patients. Donaldson, of course, is well loved for her pretty final girl/victim roles in slasher stalwarts like Happy Birthday to Me, Curtains and Funeral Home. Here, obviously relieved to be given something tangible to do, she attacks her role with comedic gusto. Never straining into parody, she nearly steals the show, revealing largely unseen skills in her (obviously) eclectic repertoire.
Mastronardi, himself, gives this whole outing the organdy visual flair of Corman’s earlier Poe efforts mixed with a dash of Hammer’s (more violent) latter years. The sheen of grizzly humor he supplies is also grand, making one truly curious about the final two efforts in this sure to be dazzling spectacle.
Be sure to keep the arteries flowing with Tales of Poe at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tales-of-Poe.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!