This House Possessed

All posts tagged This House Possessed

Va-Va-Villainess: Shelley Smith

Published October 31, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

She lit up magazine covers and TV screens throughout the early ‘80s. But despite her sunny disposition, the elegant Shelley Smith could definitely activate an onscreen mean streak.

Keeping in line with the profession that brought her some of her original fame, Smith’s arrogant glamour girl Tanya made life difficult for Lisa Eilbacher’s sweet nurse Sheila in the 1981 television film This House Possessed. Thus, fans of the movie were, understandably, quite happy when the titular abode fought back and rewarded her nasty minx with a blood filled shower.

Adding some sophisticated Diabolique flair to her resume, Smith plotted murder amidst various double crossing and back stabbing twists on a first season Hart to Hart episode entitled Downhill to Death. Here, Smith smoothly held her own against such established co-stars as Juliet Mills, Rod McCary and Days of our Lives’ George DelHoyo. Nicely, there is even a bit of a devious Sapphic undercurrent in her scenes of adept calculation with the distinguished Mills.

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Horror Hall of Fame: Perhaps most famously to slasher film devotees, Smith played a major part in 1982’s National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, a goofily popular parody of all things terror based.

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

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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!

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