Fern Emmett

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Lucy Lee Flippin

Published May 19, 2023 by biggayhorrorfan

For old school cinema buffs who revel in the stern antics of such character actresses as Fern Emmett and Margaret Hamilton, the divine Lucy Lee Flippin, nicely, offers up a contemporary answer to her predecessors’ judgmental, high-strung activities. Best known as Alonzo’s strait-laced schoolmarm sister in Little House on the Prairie, Flippin is highly recognizable to students of ‘70s and ‘80s television and film.

Her roles in such films as Summer School, Flashdance and Earth Girls Are Easy, often in administrative or secretarial roles, gained her widespread recognition. But much like Emmett, who played cameo bits in many of the Universal horror features, Flippin also appeared in such projects as zombie-comedy Surf II and the Chuck Norris slasher Hero and the Terror in blink & you’ll miss her performances.

Significantly, unlike Emmett and Hamilton who were stuck performing characters without an ounce of sexuality, Flippin got to indulge in earthier aspects with her characterizations. As the slightly vengeful Natasha Jones on The Munsters Today, she gave full essence to the lustful nature of the part, ending that experience as part of a May-December pairing the likes of which Miss Gulch never would have seen. Nancy, her arched eyed hotel worker on a popular episode of The Golden Girls, also rang with the heart of a manipulative grifter, a criminality that the citizens portrayed by her cinematic forebears never would have approached.

Even more impactively, Helen, the desperate character she essayed on the second season of (the original) Charmed would have caused Martha Steele, Babe in Arms’ show business folk disapproving miser, smartly played by Hamilton, much alarm. There Flippen essayed a woman willing to murder and conjure skin shredding demons, all for the hoped for pleasure of eternal youth.

Certainly, the distinctive actions of roles like that emphatically earn Flippin a place in the Unsung Horror Hall Of Fame.

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


Holiday Horror History (Valentines Day) : Dead Men Walk

Published February 15, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

31BEF7EC-BD66-4D7F-8228-EBCFC8ACEF66.jpegDead Men Walk was released on Valentine’s Day in 1943. It features a skilled dual performance from refined terror legend George Zucco. Other significant participants include Frankenstein’s Dwight Frye and under appreciated character actress Fern Emmett, who turned up in many minor roles in the classic Universal horrors. For a poverty row production, there is plenty of misty moodiness and fun vampiric action here. Thus, this easily accessible public domain title is well worth checking out.

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


Fern Emmett: The Grand, Uncredited Dame of Old School Horror!

Published February 19, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

fern emmett
Hanging out on the sidelines while everybody else is seemingly having the major fun – this is a situation that Big Gay Horror Fan knows well.

dead men walkOf course, awesome individuals like veteran character actress Fern Emmett (1896-1946) are able to rise, grandly, above such situations. With over 200 films to her credit, Emmett often made a strong impression in small (and frequently uncredited roles) in the golden age of horror.

Dying far too young from cancer, Emmett provided hysterical back-up to Monty Wooley during the final year of her life in 1946’s big budget exploration of Cole Porter in Night and Day. In an office setting, Wooley references her secretary character every time he sings the word Madame in the song “Ms. Otis Regrets”. Emmett’s arched eye acknowledgements of his gesture secure this sequence’s place as the fictionalized film’s highlight.012

But, while she often decorated big budget projects with calculated humor, one of Emmett’s largest roles was in the PRC’s poverty row production of Dead Men Walk in 1943. Featuring horror regulars George Zucco and Dwight Frye, Emmett played Kate, a woman well aware of the undead experimentation occurring in her village. Of course, locals doubt her observations, chalking them up to grief stricken cries for help – until it is too late!

Thirteen years before this film, Emmett appeared in Majestic Pictures’ similar outing The Vampire Bat (1933), starring the elegant Lionel Atwill and the ever humbled Frye. Best known as one of the films that secured lead actress Fay Wray’s title as the original scream queen, Emmett has a couple scenes as Gertrude, the concerned companion of the film’s first female victim, an elderly woman of status.

Smaller roles in the Universal classics came towards the end of her life. In 1942’s fun and atmospheric The Mummy’s Tomb, Emmett plays dressmaker to the beautiful Elyse Knox’s Isobel, the film’s endangered heroine.

011In 1943, Emmett achieved grand victimhood by taking one for genre goddess, Evelyn Ankers, whom was portraying Beth in Captive Wild Woman. As Aquanetta, in savage ape form, storms Beth’s room with murder on her mind, Emmett’s neighbor emerges from her room. Soon Emmett’s concerned citizen is meeting her squealing fate at the hairy hands of Aquanetta’s re-focused fury.

But, whether appearing just to enact a frenzied death throes or to offer up some quick comic goodness, Emmett always made a memorable presence – proving, that while her name may not rank up with there with the Garbo’s and Dietrich’s of her era, it certainly should.013

Be sure to check back often as Big Gay Horror Fan frequently examines the glorious wonders of women in horror.

Meanwhile, Big Gay Horror Fan is always welcoming friends of the towering femmes of terror at http://www.facebook.com/#!/BigGayHorrorFan, as well!

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