Friday, October 28, 2005

Best Horror Movie Moments (Fifth in a Series for the Halloween Season)

nowire Yes, I know it's not really a horror film, per say, but Faye Dunaway's performance as crazed movie icon / abusive parent, Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, is some pretty scary stuff ... well, it's scary if you can stop laughing long enough.

Based on adopted daughter, Christina Crawford's tell all book about her horrid child hood with Hollywood's number one Big Bad Mama, Mommie Dearest is camp to the nth degree, whether it means to be or not.

Dunaway bit into this part HARD and never let go; at times one wonders if she were trying to portray Crawford as Mildred Pierce on LSD.

One of the few times the movie really works, in my humble opinion, is the scene when Dunaway's Crawford bursts into her children's room at night and inspects the tot's clothing in the big walk-in closet. At first everything is OK, but when mama sees that her darling daughter has hung some of her gingham and silks on wire hangers, she goes ballistic and freaks out, ripping the clothes from where they hang, throwing them on the floor and screaming manically. Looking like a demonic kabuki actress (her face is slathered in cold cream), Dunaway's Crawford seems seconds away from imploding and when she finally vents; it is with a fury that'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up straight.

As the scene progresses, Dunaway's Crawford, screams the immortal, "NO WIRE HANGERS EVERRRRRR!" and yet, what is more horrifying is when she begins to beat her daughter with one of the offending objects. I know some people howl at this scene, but frankly, it scares the Bejesus out of me; when she begins the beating on little Christina (the sublime Mara Hobel), it crosses the line from camp horror, to real life horror -- child abuse is disturbing no matter how you cut it.

Take Mommie Dearest for what it is, an over the top mess, but approach the wire hanger scene with caution, it's horrific and effective.

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