If the thought of the steel toed Holland Taylor taking over for the unrivaled Ethel Barrymore in matriarchal duties fills your heart with glee – as it should – then the 2000 television film reimagining of The Spiral Staircase will be right up your alley.
This third full length adaptation of Ethel Lina White’s classic Some Must Watchemphasizes the horrific elements of this piece. Revolving around a killer obsessed with handicapped women, its participants are now decidedly stranded on a sheltered island during a powerful storm. Thus, Taylor has much atmosphere to work with as she fills Barrymore’s boots portraying the rich and secretive Mrs. Warren. Joined by gorgeous nighttime soap mainstay Nicolette Sheridan (as her mute nurse) and former glamour boys Judd Nelson and Alex McArthur (Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach video), Taylor simply and subtly steals the show here.
Appreciatively, screenwriter Matt Dorff applies some new twists, allowing fans of the other versions to surprised by the revelation of the culprit (or culprits) here. Granted, the 1975 theatrical offering with Jacqueline Bissett may have been a bit more gruesome in its displays of violence, but this version does feature some nicely shadowy malevolence and makes crashing use of its titular inspiration in the final moments of this much adapted piece of gothic horror.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Esteemed theater actress Laurinda Barrett is probably best known to celluloid buffs from her work in the 1968 film adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Eagle eyed viewers will also remember her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, as well.
Thankfully, working with the Master of Suspense must have prepared Barrett for her work as Molly Sherwood on the long running mystery soap The Edge of Night. With knife like precision and incisive skill, Barrett enacted Sherwood’s reign of terror with a rare sensitivity – and a cold blooded determination. Illogically predisposed to do away with anyone who seemingly threatened a loved one, Sherwood not only calmly killed those she considered perpetrators, but also anyone she suspected may have knowledge of her crimes.
Utilizing horror influences to the extreme here, this EON plotline reached its pinnacle when Sherwood stabbed one offender while wearing a disturbingly cheery clown hand puppet to mask her fingerprints.
A veteran of multiple soap operas, including All My Children and Guiding Light, it is ultimately Barrett’s macabre run as Molly that lingers on in viewers’ minds. Decades after those initial airdates, this observation is a true testament to the richness and power of her work all those years ago – and proves that even without superstar status, this dedicated performer made a true impact on people’s lives.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Move over, Riverdale! The sexy cast of Wicked Enigma is ready to take your place.
Big words, perhaps, but this LGBTQ friendly project, revolving around the gothic, soap strewn craziness that ensues after a tragic onset accident, is full of attractive, well cast people doing their devious best to stay alive….very much like a certain, very popular CW show.
Nicely, queer fans are sure to thrill to the complicated romance of Max (Terrence Edmonds), an out and proud cinematic genius in the making, and Austin (Andrew Etzel), a well known yet extremely closeted actor. Edmonds and Etzel provide nice layers to their characterizations, aligning themselves, sympathetically, with the audience. But directors Edmonds and Jake Doull work wonders with all of the performers, particularly with Charlotte Evelyn Williams, who shines with vibrant defiance as the rejected Sasha, making the first episode a true pleasure to view.
How many acting schools was Big Gay Horror Fan rejected from due to his insistence on doing that “I never had an Angora sweater” monologue, originally introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis in the heart shaking (housewives as prostitutes) television film Money on the Side? Too many to count! One good thing did come out of that obsession, though. My lifelong love for journey man actress, Linda Purl, who co-starred in that film, was born in those very awkward moments.
Beloved for her work on the stage and such television shows as Happy Days, Matlock and The Office, beautifully eclectic actress Purl has shown her versatility in multiple genre projects, as well. From her compassionate yet tack sharp performance in 1982’s Visiting Hours to her recent appearances on the past season of True Blood (which increased hits on her buoyant website immensely), Purl always gives her all. Below, are some terror filled examples of her work.
Body Language (1992). In this USA television film take-off of Single White Female, Purl excels on multiple levels. Her Norma reels between stationed normalcy, animal sexiness and feral violence. That she and Heather Locklear (playing the good Bridget Fonda incarnation) look so much alike, adds effectiveness to the traditional plot devices, but most importantly, it is Purl’s acting that commands here. She is believable whether charmingly seducing or viciously smashing co-stars over the head in the film’s bloody denouement.
Murder She Wrote. “Dead Eye” (1993). This episode of the popular mystery series is notable due to its focus on the real tragedy of the John F. Kennedy assassination and for being the introductory episode of Wayne Roger’s charming/bumbling Charlie, who became a semi-regular on the show. Purl shows true emotional heart as she describes her character’s difficult childhood and she is able to use her taut technical skills as an actress in the final moments of this product, as well. As usual, motivations turn on a dime when series maven, Jessica (Angela Lansbury), reveals the real culprit and Purl makes her every sudden action believable within the formulaic confines of the show. The Perfect Tenant. (2000). Here, Purl is the terrorized as Grease 2‘s Maxwell Caulfield tries to settle an old family score. This standard stalk n slash has some enjoyable moments (Caulfield’s calm malevolence as her murders Purl’s slacking, initial tenant and her boyfriend; Tracy Nelson’s frenzied turn as Caulfield’s girlfriend) yet the finest moments here occur between Purl and veteran actor Earl Holliman, whom portrays her father. The two seem to really respect and enjoy each other and their scenes are filled with warmth and life. (This, incidentally, is Holliman’s last listed credit on IMDB.)
Meanwhile, Purl’s love for performing is just as magnificently evident in her singing career. She brings soft, smoky understanding to life’s everyday travails on numbers such as “This Girl’s In Love With You,” “I Can Let Go Now,” and “I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over” on her debut CD, Alone Together.
Be sure to keep up with all of Linda Purl’s activities (bloody, musical and otherwise) at www.lindapurl.com!
But, before you do, be sure to enjoy this fun The Perfect Tenant trailer: