Love is slicing through the air today. Of course, romance was always in style for such classic Aaron Spelling shows as Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. These productions featured television names of the era and many faded silver screen legends making their way through a variety of romantic trials and tribulations. Hotel, another of the legendary producer’s creations, took these elements to a more dramatic height, focusing on such issues as rape, mental imbalance, racism, child abuse and (even) homosexuality.
Naturally, many performers known for their work in horror films, made their way down the glitzy corridors of Hotel, offering many sensory delights for true fans of terror. Significantly, the amazing Adrienne Barbeau tears through Tomorrows, the 14th episode of the show’s first season. In full on Billie-mode, she rips up the scenery as a well-to-do mother caught in the thrall of her drug dealer. There is nothing quite like the sight of Barbeau slamming cocaine in her arm or watching the snarly way she takes down her man once she realizes her son is in danger. Sadly, her son is played by the handsome and talented Timothy Patrick Murphy. Murphy, best known for his roles on soaps like Search for Tomorrow and Dallas, died at the age of 29 due to complications from AIDS.
Interestingly, the premiere season also featured an episode entitled Faith, Hope and Charity that concentrated on a lesbian playwright with the astonishingly hip name of Zane Elliott, sensitively played by Carol Lynley (Bunny Lake is Missing, The Night Stalker, Dark Tower). Coming out to her college friend, portrayed by the crisp and classy Barbara Parkins (The Mephisto Waltz, A Taste of Evil, Circle of Fear) proves to almost be disastrous for their relationship. Horrified by the revelation and even questioning her own sexuality, Parkins’ Eileen Weston enters into a loveless one night stand. Of course, the two friends eventually reclaim their compassionate equilibrium, but not before Lynley gets a little (femme) action herself. (Her character, unapologetically, winds up sleeping with one of the establishment’s pert fitness instructors). Thankfully, these issues of prejudice and misunderstanding are actually addressed with an even handedness unusual for the early ‘80s (when the show was filmed) here. Nicely, the same episode features a jaunty turn from soap actress DeAnna Robbins. Robbins, best known to slasher fans for playing the seductive Lisa in 1981’s Final Exam, nicely puts the screws here to co-star Scott Baio – a fate the notorious, scandal plagued Republican probably deserves in real life – as a rich kleptomaniac with daddy issues.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!