Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Love Hate Love (1971)

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: February 9th, 1971

Although Ryan O’Neal got his start on television, I mostly think of him as a big screen kind of guy. Of course his most famous TV role was as Rodney Harrington on the super-sudsy Peyton Place. But by 1971, when Love Hate Love came out, he was already wooing big screens everywhere playing Oliver Barrett in the double-sudsy Love Story (which I was underwhelmed by). By 1973, Ryan was just about to move over to superstardom with a part in What’s Up Doc? Love Hate Love caught him right smack between the two and, boy, did he pick quite the doozey to send the boob tube off!

Those are the craziest muttonchops ever!

Years before stalking became a real issue (and an unfortunate trend), Love Hate Love was taking it to the people! The late Peter Haskell is Leo Price and is all kinds of 70s sexy cool (think Andrew Prine in Simon, King of the Witches and drool). Oh, and he’s a total freak. He meets and woos a pretty model named Sheila Blunden (Lesley Ann Warren), even though she’s been seriously dating Russ Emery (Ryan O’Neal). Sheila breaks it off with Russ, who is pretty dignified about the whole situation. However, when Leo sees the two hugging goodbye, it’s right hook time as Leo puts a little foot to ass. This only drives Sheila back to Russ, and the two marry and move away. Leo makes a cross country trip in an attempt to plea for Sheila’s love one last time and when she denies him the connubial bliss he so longs for, he hunts the happy couple down. How romantic. Now it’s time for Russ to do the bootee kickin'.

The always adorable Peter being adorably sinister!

Love Hate Love is super 70s fun but it's also an eerie look at how a bent mind warps love into its own little ball of evil. By today’s standards this is fairly tame, yet it does attempt to capture the madness that overtakes someone when they’ve been denied what they want most. Of course it’s all done Aaron Spelling style, so expect lots of fabulousness along the way. And when I say fabulous, I mean Lesley Ann Warren, the forever chic and ageless beauty. The fashions – oh the fashions - talk about a great wardrobe. She’s like a Nehru goddess here.

She ain't taking none of your crap, Leo

The farther back made for TV movies go, the more they feel like theatricals. The score of Love Hate Love by Lyn Murray reminds me of an ultra cool Italian giallo. I really dug the crazed hippy dippy nature of Leo and his violent outbursts. Haskell was some kind of wonderful, if you ask me.

Here is a link to an obituary I wrote for Peter, who sadly passed away earlier this year. He actually talked a little bit about Love Hate Love on my Facebook wall (you can read what he said via the link). I know sometimes technology seems like it distances us, but in Peter’s case it gave me the chance to correspond with an actor I truly admired and he actually made me feel like a friend. How I miss you Peter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's William Link Day!

I have adored William Link since time began (well, since time began for me). He and his writing partner, the late Richard Levinson, made me the TV fanatic I am today. I have worshipped his work for my entire life and was so pleased to read a recent interview with him in the Los Angeles Times. His creation of Columbo brought one of the greatest characters ever given life to the small screen. It was a combination of the writing and Peter Falk’s impeccable performance as the peculiar, disheveled detective that won my heart and has kept it for all of these years. How thrilled was I to see Link has a new book called The Columbo Collection featuring twelve new mysteries?!? The answer: I was very, very thrilled! I just got my copy the other day and you can bet I’ll be diving in as soon as possible.

Levinson and Link

Aside from creating wonderful television shows like Columbo and Murder, She Wrote, Levinson and Link also made some of the most spectacular made for TV movies of a generation. They walked the line between moving and thoughtful dramas (The Execution of Private Slovik, That Certain Summer) and popcorn thrillers (Murder by Natural Causes, Rehearsal for Murder) with considerable ease. The work Mr. Link and his partner did for television in what I consider its golden era is something to be celebrated… and I celebrate Mr. Link every day.

Check out William Link’s IMDb page and drool!

Btw, isn't Peter Falk frickin’ adorable!

Prescription: Murder Trailer!

Here's Dirk Benedict in the trailer for the play Prescription: Murder where he plays Columbo!

I wrote about this play here and the reviews are good! This trailer only solidifies how awesome Dirk is!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laurie Strode and Freddy Krueger vs. Nancy Drew!

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: April 17th, 1977

The Culprits:

Well, two of the culprits. Actually, two of the culprits with the least amount of dialogue! But kudos to the casting department for pitting the snow white innocent (Laurie Strode) and the pure black evil (Freddy Krueger) against the hottest teenage-female-part-time-investigator-who-works-for-her-dad!

The story features a band of runaways seeking employment in a traveling carnival. For fun they rip off various people and then hit the road. However, this time a young innocent gets caught in the crossfire so Ms. Drew goes undercover as one of the said fallen angels and mystery and intrigue ensue.

And hey, isn't that Beverly Garland?

And a young A. Martinez?

Whoa! And Robert Alda?!?

And of course, a smoking hot Pamela Sue Martin


Mystery of the Fallen Angels is featured on Season One of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which is available on DVD! Go get your Drew-on!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shattered Innocence (1988) is now on DVD!

Shattered Innocence has long been a cult favorite, although it seems to mostly hang on the outskirts of the world of classic TVMs. On the surface it looks like a salacious (well salacious by TV movie standards) look inside the world of porn and drug addiction, but take a closer look and you'll find a dark, moving drama about a small town girl who couldn't handle the life she chose for herself.

Shattered Innocence is based on the life and tragic death of Colleen Applegate, a mid-west beauty who sought fame and fortune in Los Angeles, only to become the infamous porn star Shauna Grant. Shauna appeared in a handful of adult movies, became addicted to cocaine and finally ended her life just shy of her 21st birthday. She has remained an enigma and popular enough that people still comment on her IMDb page. Jonna Lee plays her as Pauleen Anderson, and this movie makes no excuses for her ascent or descent. Although the adult world and the recognition and money it provided were seductive, Pauleen dove into the business on her own accord, and she paid for it in the worst way possible.

I saw Shattered Innocence for the first time in the early 90s, probably while I was surfing channels on a Saturday afternoon. At the time, I didn't know the name of the movie or that it was based on a real person. I fell in love with it instantly and through the years, it's become a film I enjoy watching over and over again. It's a dark story told with all the neon brightness of the 80s. It never lets go of the cautionary tale, but there's something kind of sweet there too. Jonna Lee really captures the essence of a corn-fed beauty who was a good person at heart, but lost in a world she didn't know how to belong to.

Like The Bermuda Depths and Bad Ronald, Warner Archives has brought yet another truly deserving film to their store. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Shattered Innocence today!

Shauna Grant

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finally, Some Good News!

Check out an interview with my editor, Vince Liaguno on Fangoria's website for the book Butcher Knives and Body Counts! To remind everyone, I will have an essay on Prom Night in this book, which is coming out in the fall. YAY!

You can always check out the Butcher Knives and Body Counts blog for info, or you can just come right here because you know I'll keep everyone on top of this sitch! I'm truly honored to have been a part of this venture and I can not wait for the release!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rue McClanahan 1934 -2010

The Golden Girls was more than just good comedy, it was a show that proved you could grow old gracefully, live a full life and find happiness after hardships. Rue McClanahan was of course, Blanche Devereaux, the southern belle with a penchant for putting notches on her bedpost. She was so good at portraying Blanche, I was always a little shocked when I saw her in other roles or in interviews.

Rue passed away today at the age of 76. We've lost every Golden Girl except for the indomitable Betty White, who I hope lives forever. It seems so bittersweet to watch Betty having this miraculous comeback at the tender age of 88 while seeing her co-stars pass on.

Rue was a star of stage and screen and she made several made for TV movies. One of my favorites was Children of the Bride, which was followed by two sequels, Baby of the Bride and Mother of the Bride. In Children, she plays an older divorcee hitching up with a much younger beau played by Patrick Duffy (me-ow!). John Wesley Shipp and Ted Shackelford would play the hubby in the sequels (how funny that Ted and Patrick were bros on Dallas!). The series was so much fun and also featured Kristy MacNichol (who also starred in the GG spin-off Empty Nest) as a nun going to ex-nun and ending up a dating ex-nun in the end. The Bride movies are the kind of films I could watch over and over again (and have) because they are so simple and so entertaining. Rue was great as the matriarch.

Children of the Bride is on YouTube:

Rue made some great TV movies. Here's a list:

Hogan's Goat (1981)
ABC Afternoon Playbreak: My Secret Mother (1973)
Having Babies III (1978)
Sergeant Matlovitch vs. The US Air Force (1978)
Rainbow (1978)
Topper (1979)
Gridlock (1980)
Word of Honor (1981)
And They Lived Happily Ever After (1981)
The Day the Bubble Burst (1982)
The Skin of Our Teeth (1983)
Picnic (1986)
The Little Match Girl (1987)
Take My Daughters, Please (1988)
The Man in the Brown Suit (1989)
The Wickedest Witch (1989)
After the Shock (1990)
Children of the Bride (1990)
To My Daughter (1990)
The Dreamer of Oz (1990)
Baby of the Bride (1991)
Nunsense (1993)
Mother of the Bride (1993)
Message from Nam (1993)
Days Like This (1994)
Nunsense 2: The Sequel (1994)
A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story (1994)
Blackbird Hall (1995)
A Holiday to Remember (1995)
Innocent Victims (1996)
Dads (1997)
Nunsense Jamboree (1998)
A Saintly Switch (1999)
The Moving of Sophia Myles (2000)
Miracle Dogs (2003)
Back to You and Me (2005)
Generation Gap (2008)

Ummm, OK. That is one impressive list!

Of course, who could forget her on GG, Maude and Mama's Family among the many other television shows she appeared on... What an awesome talent she was.

And finally, here's a segment of the 80s anthology show Darkroom called Daisies, featuring Rue and Lloyd Bochner. It's only about five minutes long, but shows what a chameleon Rue was:

My heart goes out to all of her friends and family as we mourn the loss of this one of a kind woman together.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bridget Loves Bernie... as a Friend...

I can't believe I never posted a link to an article I wrote for Pretty Scary about Meredith Baxter's coming out party. As most of you know, I am a huge Lifetime fanatic and have adored Baxter's many, many movies that air on my favorite channel for wimmin folk (Betty Broderick I'm looking at you!)! The article links to an amazing interview where Meredith proves she is one graceful chick. I was so happy and proud of her. Watch the interview if you have time, it's worth it.

Eyeball Terror Just Around the Corner!

I finally posted an article over at one of my fave hangouts, Retro Slashers. I decided to make a list of the best scenes in slashers featuring eyeball torture. The article is called The Eyes Have It and I hope you all enjoy it. It's gross!

I've recently been reunited with my TV movie collection so I hope I can squeeze in some boob tube goodness soon!