The Devil’s Daughter

All posts tagged The Devil’s Daughter

Unsung Heroines of Horror: Thelma Carpenter

Published January 29, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Broadway. Hollywood. The Apollo. Radio. From the recording studio to smoky night clubs, the diminutive, nearly indestructible Thelma Carpenter made her mark with sophisticated ease. Of special note, her 1963 album Thinking of You Tonight not only appealed to discerning jazz and sophisticated pop aficionados, but to directors like Bob Fosse and Sidney Lumet. These mavericks cast her in shows like Pippin and films like The Wiz, where her appearance as Miss One earned her a true-blue regent of fans.

Euro dynamo Jeannot Szwarz (Jaws 2, Supergirl, Night Gallery) also recognized her uniqueness by utilizing her talents as one of the mysterious Poole Sisters in 1973’s Rosemary’s Baby inspired The Devil’s Daughter. Paired with the equally interesting Lucille Benson (Private Parts, Halloween 2), Carpenter brings a unique and calming menace to her role as a friendly spinster who seems just a little too interested in the origins of Diane Show, an innocent career woman played by Belinda J. Montgomery.

Acting much like the clan of witches that terrorized Mia Farrow’s Rosemary Woodhouse in the Polanski classic, Carpenter and Benson are joined here by such show biz notables as Shelley Winters, Joseph Cotten, Dark Shadows‘ eternal Jonathan Frid and Abe Vigoda in making sure that Montgomery submits to her reluctant character’s predetermined satanic fate. Nicely acting off each other’s unique energy, this duo also invests their interactions with a quirky sense of humor, as well.

Indeed, Carpenter’s quiet weirdness ultimately causes Show/Montgomery to claim, as she herself so authoritatively did in the golden age of television, that You’re Driving Me Crazy!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Nina Mae McKinney

Published March 3, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Best known to old school horror and jungle movie fans for playing the revenge fueled Isabelle in 1939’s The Devil’s Daughter, the glorious Nina Mae McKinney was originally supposed to be MGM’s first black female superstar. Despite a glorious debut in King Vidor’s Hallelujah, the prejudice of the time cancelled out McKinney’s obvious appeal. The five year contract with Hollywood’s glossiest studio only led to a few loan out roles and an opportunity to provide the singing voice for Jean Harlow in the musical melodrama Reckless. Nina Devils Daughter 1

 

Thankfully, McKinney’s contribution to that picture is not lost to time.

 

McKinney, who died of a heart attack at the age of 54 in 1967, has been, thankfully, regaled by cinematic historians like Donald Bogle. But one still wishes that her potential could have truly been met. A role playing Harlow’s rival, instead of one behind the scenes, would have truly been a breathtaking addition to her legacy.

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

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Nina Mae McKinney

Published March 1, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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She was known as The Black Garbo, but Hollywood in the 1930s wasn’t ready to turn Nina Mae McKinney into a sex symbol. Instead, after a triumphant debut in MGM’s Hallelujah, she was relegated to traditional maid roles and leads in race pictures.

Nina Devil's Daughter 3Nicely for genre fans, those films include the fun, Jamaica produced The Devil’s Daughter and the friskily paced Gun Moll (AKA Gang Busters), in which McKinney displayed her multiple talents as a cabaret singing undercover policewoman.

Meanwhile, as the ruthless Isabelle in TDD, McKinney truly controls the screen with a sense of barely contained fury. Determined to make her half-sister pay for inheriting the property that she has called her own for years, this unjustly neglected performer truly dominates the proceedings.Nina Devil's Daughter 2

Even as the ending of this black and white horror film veers into the safer streams of Mark of the Vampire style red herring mystery, McKinney’s villainess still resonates with real power. A further supporting role in the (Merle Oberon starring) heiress horror Dark Waters may have not given her as much to do, but it does supply an extra layer of shine to her terror strewn crown – proving, without a doubt, that Nina Mae McKinney is one of the major Unsung Heroines of Horror!

Nina Mae McKinney Gun Moll

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

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