Joan Bennett

All posts tagged Joan Bennett

Sharkbait Retro Village: This House Possessed

Published March 17, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

THP4The essence of cool, conniving film noir, the legendary Joan Bennett definitely presented herself as a horse of a different color with her appearance as the Rag Lady in the 1981 television terror This House Possessed. Here, roaming far from the perfect iciness of her roles in films like Scarlet Street, the adventurous Bennett plays a shabby small town oddity, driven to isolated madness by the secret at the heart of the film.

THP3This mystery, of course, revolves around the titular mansion. Interestingly, taking its cues from other small screen genre projects that revolved around such possessed inanimate objects as bulldozers, taxidermy displays and hobby horses, the residence here is not haunted by ghosts or some hidden psychotic killer, but actually causes the movie’s mayhem through a monstrous will of its own. THP5

…and the body count here is fairly high. A librarian dies in an explosion. A veteran character actor is finished off with a jagged shard from a trembling mirror and Bennett, herself, is exposed to the bubbling depths of an overheated pool. Add in a bloody shower and a very aggressive water hose (or two) and you have a project that has lived on in the memories of those who caught it on its original broadcast at impressionable ages.

Nicely, the more outrageous circumstances here are grounded by the gentle and committed leading performances of Parker Stevenson, as a rock star whose emotional collapse brings him to the malevolent domicile, and Lisa Eilbacher, as the nurse who helps him recover and soon wins his heart. Stevenson radiates with a genuine kindness and the music he performs comes off more like a softer version of the balladic work of Justin Timberlake than the cheesy pop that one associates with multiple television stars of that era.THP2

Eagle eyed horror lovers will also delight to the presence of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Amanda Wyss, billed here as Mandy, whose opening act frolicking with actor John Dukakis (Jaws 2) is wetly interrupted by the angry residence. She and Bennett, who became well known for her role on the beloved gothic soap opera Dark Shadows during the middle range of her career, also make this enjoyable oddity a happy exercise for lovers of the femme form in terror, as well.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Review: The Tell Tale Heart

Published August 25, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

tell tale heart
I have a feeling a platoon of estrogen fueled ghosts are going to be paying writer-director Bart Mastronardi a visit soon. Whether it’ll be Bette Davis, Joan Bennett and Agnes Moorehead or some other golden age dream team is anyone’s guess. But goddess knows, many of those classic screen sirens have to be pissed that Mastronardi didn’t create Miss Lamarr, the faded Hollywood actress who, even in a supporting capacity, is one of the highlights of his version of The Tell Tale Heart, in their lifetimes.

Of course, the milkily doomed Lamarr is enacted with regal precision by Alan Rowe Kelly, a true student of those sassy broads. Therefore, he and Mastronardi establish a sense of gothic glamour throughout the entirety of the piece, one portion of the highly anticipated anthology film Tales of Poe.

As expected, as the story’s narrator and primary participant, legendary genre actress Debbie Rochon does an exemplary job. As a former nurse relating the violent origins of her arrival at a mental health asylum, Rochon glows with a crackled subtlety. It is one of her most nuanced performances in a career layered with passionate portrayals. lesleh

The true surprise here, though, is Lesleh Donaldson as Evelyn Dyck, one of asylum’s boldest patients. Donaldson, of course, is well loved for her pretty final girl/victim roles in slasher stalwarts like Happy Birthday to Me, Curtains and Funeral Home. Here, obviously relieved to be given something tangible to do, she attacks her role with comedic gusto. Never straining into parody, she nearly steals the show, revealing largely unseen skills in her (obviously) eclectic repertoire.

Mastronardi, himself, gives this whole outing the organdy visual flair of Corman’s earlier Poe efforts mixed with a dash of Hammer’s (more violent) latter years. The sheen of grizzly humor he supplies is also grand, making one truly curious about the final two efforts in this sure to be dazzling spectacle.

Be sure to keep the arteries flowing with Tales of Poe at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tales-of-Poe.

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan