All posts tagged Hellraiser

Sharkbait Retro Village: Face of Evil (1996)

Published May 14, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

face of evil
Even horror’s most notorious femmes seem to have motivations that revolve around men. Friday the 13th’s Mrs. Voorhees killed for the love of her son while Hellraiser’s Julia succumbed to the depths for her lover Frank.

This phenomenon is precisely what makes the character of Darcy Palmer in 1996 television terror Face of Evil so engaging. Every betrayal she enacts and every murder that she viciously engages in is done in the sole pursuit of her own artistic agenda.FaceOfEvil

After stealing his money and skipping town on her shady, but totally devoted fiancée, Palmer accidentally kills and then takes over the identity of Brianne, a soon-to-be college freshman and musician. Planning to immediately disappear, Darcy is waylaid by the sweet, well off Jeanelle Polk, Brianne’s dorm mate. Determined to rob Jeanelle and escape at her first chance, Darcy/Brianne soon becomes enraptured with the university’s art program and decides to stay.

Of course, to do so, she must brutally injure her own hand (thus avoiding the real Brianne’s music classes) and permanently blind the counselor who, initially, interviewed Brianne and would recognize her ruse. Darcy/Brianne then sets about seducing Jeanelle’s lonely father Russell in hopes that his wealth will further her success as a painter. Indeed, just as she is granted her own show, Jeanelle’s suspicions warp into overdrive and Quinn, her very angry ex, shows up. Naturally, further murder and sexual manipulation are soon placed, fully, on Darcy/Brianne’s plate, once again!

shawnee smith faceDirected with skill by Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary, The In Crowd, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary) who surely must have understood the main character’s frustrations and ambitions, if not her mania, Face of Evil is perhaps best recommended for the zeal with which the two female leads attack their roles. Best known for being a television darling, Growing Pains’ Tracey Gold attacks the role of Darcy with a slow burning ferocity. The calculation in her eyes is truly chilling, at times, and watching her go for broke as a performer is truly entertaining. Shawnee Smith, who would go on to play Saw’s demented Amanda, also shines as she expertly conveys Jeanelle’s exuberant awkwardness and her eventual retaliation.

Screenwriter Gregory Goodell (Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive, Human Experiments), meanwhile, deliciously revels in Palmer’s lurid activities. His set-up is great, but things, ultimately, do rush too quickly (and simply) to their conclusion here, making the absurdity of the plotline all the more apparent. Still, the zeal with which Lambert and her performers attack these circumstances makes Face of Evil a true un-guilty pleasure!


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


Hopelessly Devoted To: Ashley Laurence

Published April 28, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

Ashley's Investment in Death

Ashley’s Investment in Death

Best known to terror mavericks as the feisty and determined Kirsty of the Hellraiser film series, the graceful Ashley Laurence’s eclectic resume includes turns in comedy (Suddenly Susan), soap operas (Capital), crime-action (Felony, Stranger By Night) and, of course, other horror offerings (Lurking Fear, Warlock III: The End of Innocence, Mikey, Chill).

But a couple of 1989 television appearances by this well travelled beauty, who also logs in time as an artist of some acclaim, ultimately show her true versatility.

As the privileged Erica in the Investment in Death episode of the longstanding detective series Hunter, then in its 6th season, Laurence radiates with motherly concern and determined support as she learns of the assassination of a college friend. But, as Erica discovers that her wealthy boyfriend (Stephen Eckholdt) might be holding the keys to that murder, Laurence, also, shows levels of finely distressed confusion. ashley 3

Granted, if one wants to view the role in a social context, in many ways, Erica is a typical accommodating girlfriend type. Laurence, though, invests everything she has in her and even adds subtle touches that clue us into the character’s financial status and background without the benefit of dialogue. Subtext, thy name is Laurence!

Laurence’s Jodie in The Match Game, a first season episode of Monsters, though, is a perfect illustration of why many fans are drawn to horror due to its show of strong female characters. The infectious ringleader of a quartet of friends, Jodie, is definitely the most powerful character on display here. ashley 4

Orchestrating the group’s annual ghost story marathon, Laurence shows Jodie’s significant terror when their imagined tale starts to come true. But, she is also the one who, wisely, discovers how to reverse the deadly circumstances, making her character a truly strong and well rounded one.

Featuring a cast that, also, includes a pre-90210 Tori Spelling and genre favorite Sasha Jensen (Halloween 4, Ghoulies II, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this episode is truly one of the most effective in the Monsters universe, featuring honest ghost house spooks along with Laurence’s truly effective emoting.

Ashley n Tori: Scared!

Ashley n Tori: Scared!

Be sure to keep up with Laurence at http://www.ashleylaurence.com and http://www.twitter.com/1ashleylaurence.

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