Friday, August 24, 2012

LOVECRAFT'S FIRST LADY . . . AND THAT CRAZY GUY, TOO


"I like playing extreme characters"
-- Barbara Crampton

Women do not play a large role in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. In the modern filmic retelling of his tales, it is quite the opposite. The sex factor is cranked up considerably, and, in the case of Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon's RE-ANIMATOR, to the extreme.

In the most popular of these films, actress Barbara Crampton is the object of desire. She caught the eye (and disembodied head) of Dr. Hill in RE-ANIMATOR, and was the focus of the obsessed (and slimy) Dr. Pretorius in FROM BEYOND.

Miss Cramptom plays these roles with a coolness and sophistication that might otherwise appear unseemly or gratuitous in the hands of another, less talented actress. Even when she's stripped naked and screaming, she does it in a more glamorous than cheesy manner. For that reason alone (and the infamous lab table scene in RE-ANIMATOR), she has garnered her own cult following right alongside the old gentleman's screen adaptations that she appears in.

More details are discussed about her career in Lovecraftian horror in issue #56 of RUE MORGUE (May 2006).


BONUS!

In this same issue of RUE MORGUE is coverage of the actor whose histrionics in Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft adaptations have become legendary. Jeffrey Coombs is the modernized version of the mad doctor played in the golden age of horror by such greats as Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, and Lionel Atwill. Notwithstanding Barbara Crampton's obvious allure, without the huge talents of Mr. Coombs, these films would be considerably less memorable.



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