Lately, I’ve enjoyed comparing my favorite horror and exploitation queens to the grand stars of old. For example…the statuesque Julie Strain is akin to the buxom Jane Russell. Jennifer Rubin, who undulates with a smoky noir texture, is in the same school as Marie Windsor while the charms of Deborah Dutch emerge as a sexier version of cockeyed second banana Una Merkel.
Meanwhile, I believe that indie goddess Ellie Church has the looks and comedic chops of Jean Harlow in her prime. Church puts these glamorous elements into perfect use as The Widow, the prime wraparound character in the terror anthology Skeletons in the Closet. Here, she delivers her lines with low key sauciness and a sardonic timing and, handily, steals the show.
Riding the understandably undying love for the ‘80s, Skeletons’ other segments resemble the mixed bag of goods akin to other solid anthologies. Thankfully, this means that there is generally something here for everyone. Other standout segments, therefore, involve a sarcastic babysitter and her surprisingly crafty young ward and a scary visit with a mysterious grandmother that signals the arrival of a very savage curse.
Those who prefer a little deep thought and theatricality with their cinema will also appreciate the bloody artistry of the Meisnersegment, anchored by writer-actress Rhiann Owen’s truly emotional work.
In the early ‘90s, long before the days of instant internet accessibility, those who loved their ladies of horror had two places to go: the glossy, more mainstream Femme Fatales magazine and the grittier, homegrown Draculina. Harkening back to that underground Draculina vibe, writer-director-performer Henry Frias Leon and co-writer-lead actress Courtney Perkins create something very visceral with Necroplasmosis, their latest short film.
Perkins plays Lucinda, a photographer with slightly macabre subject matter, and Leon is the obsessed filmmaker who is following her around. Strong and resourceful, Lucinda ultimately finds the most cutting way to deal with an errant beau here. Nicely, unlike the days when Hugh Gallagher seemed to control everything that came out of Draculina, Perkins and Leon seem to be equal partners in Necroplasmosis. Thus, the world they create seems free of exploitation and centered around mutual interest.
Here’s hoping, though, that future installments will show Lucinda taking out her skills of vengeance upon all those right wing bigots and power figures that are still threatening to keep women from their equal rights.
Until then, be sure to check out this initial DIY work at:
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!