One of early horror’s most refreshing presences, the glorious Marguerite Churchill charmed her way through two significant entries of macabre mayhem in 1936.
Working with Boris Karloff under the intense supervision of the distinguished Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), Churchill’s Nancy spends the majority of The Walking Dead radiating with lush concern for Karloff’s ill used John Ellman. Brought back to life after being sent to his death by a crew of mob lowlifes, including the eternally oily Ricardo Cortez as Nolan, Ellman’s revenge fueled actions are magnified in an understanding light here via Karloff’s haunted facial tics and Churchill’s sympathetic glow.
Dracula’s Daughter meanwhile allowed Churchill to display a sassier nature. Consistently providing comic aggravation for esteemed psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger), Churchill is full of zesty energy here. Even when her character faces peril as the victim of the exotic Countess Marya (Gloria Holden), Churchill shines with warmth. It’s no surprise that, at the film’s fade out, the darker charms of Holden pale next to Holden’s vibrant spark and Kruger’s Garth is as smitten with her as those many lucky viewers in the dark.
Ultimately surviving two of her three children by several years, Churchill retired from the screen in the early ‘50s. Later she spent many years overseas, before putting down roots in Oklahoma. Wherever she went, though, one hopes that she understood the depths of her filmic legacy and all the happiness that she provided cinema lovers, worldwide.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!