Turn the little key
around and around.
The music box makes me scream.
My blood boils and
and scream again.
Allow me to share with you, dear Reader, that I wandered away from the world of horror for the better part of a decade. When I re-entered the scene, I was a little disappointed in what I discovered. Remakes of remakes of originals….what the hell was happening in Hollywood?
If these remakes were attempts to finely-tune a film, to craft it into a better version – to keep up with the technologies of NOW…I can understand that. I am not anti-remake! I am anti-bullshit-Hollywood-Lets-Squeeze-Everything-We-Can-Out-Of-This-Franchise! I will not list any examples here (translation: you can figure it out.)
My focus has been captured in an entirely different arena.
Women in the horror world get a mixed bag from the general population. I’ve heard movie critics tear into a fresh horror diva as though she’s the bad step-child, and for what? Because it’s a horror movie, and horror has been under-appreciated for many, many years. Thankfully, I have always been able to draw my own opinions, and they often differ from that of the critics.
For weeks now, I have sifted through site after site, reading what others say about one term in the world of horror: SCREAM QUEEN. Initially, my plan was to compile a list of my very favorite ladies of horror. I wanted everyone know who I most respected in this genre, and why.
Well…it’s been done before. Again and again. List after list – so I changed direction, chose the freshest face, the one scream queen of the horror genre that has gained the lion’s share of my respect, and instead decided to focus on HER.
My first introduction to Diane Foster was via The Orphan Killer. I felt an immediate and striking difference in this woman. Remember, I was away for almost 10 years. The movies that terrified me as a child often didn’t allow such strong lead female roles.
Once I became embroiled in the embrace of this new iconic terror, I watched the movie…several times in a row. There was something different — no, really, it was not just that Marcus Miller had me by the throat (he did) and it wasn’t because there is a deliciously fine cop introduced early on (there is) and it had nothing to do with whether or not I get sick at some of the gore (I do.)
The difference is Diane.
Talking to Diane, interacting with her: I used to wonder if her role as Audrey had changed her. Sure, she’s a lot like you and me. She has her favorite treats (chocolate, anyone?) and she loves a good Mexican meal. She’s dynamic and quick to smile…so, has this role changed her at all?
How the hell can one woman balance the perfect amount of vulnerability with just the right amount of strength and defiance? HOW?
I asked Diane about other scream queens in the industry. Several names dropped, and I smile as I remember the names she listed off with not even a moment’s hesitation.
All the actresses she listed have had their finer moments on the horror screen, including the lovely Rebecca De Mornay.
I asked Diane, what is it you love about her? She replied: “She’s gorgeous…and an awesome actress. Rarely have I ever felt so scared of a beautiful woman than when she was in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. For me, she changed my life with that film. I’ve loved everything she’s been in.”
Diane Foster is not afraid to give credit where credit is due. This is most definately one thing I have in common with TOK’s beautiful leading lady. For the first half dozen viewings, I watched and puzzled. Honestly, folks, I’ve written and re-written this article 16 times before ever submitting it simply because I kept circling around that torturous question, “She’s different. What is it?! There’s something different…”
Then, several nights ago on a Tuesday night, there was a shared, impromptu showing of The Orphan Killer with many Twitter exchanges between me and another die-hard fan (you know who you are) and next thing you know, the smouldering Matt Farnsworth, creator of The Orphan Killer, jumped in, and others (including Marcus Miller himself, which made my guts twist but what can you do?) joined in and I watched more closely than before.
There went the lightbulb. All of a sudden a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Then it was slammed into my chest. Of course she’s different.
She has power.
If you haven’t watched The Orphan Killer then really I don’t know how to explain this without yelling “spoiler alert!” and directing you to go check your facebook or take a selfie, or something.
When Diane Foster slipped (seamlessly) into the role of Audrey Miller, she awakened the character, stomping into Audrey’s soul — and, like starting a Harley, Audrey roared into life. It was as though she had always existed.
ENDURANCE: how many of you could go through what Audrey went through and stay sane? I doubt I could. I could only wish for a fraction of that strength. Hell, I was on THIS side of the screen and stayed…upset…
BARBED WIRE: Having grown up in a relatively obscure little town in the middle of nowhere, I am very familiar with barbed wire. It was in my immediate scenery every day. My little piece of the world was surrounded by grazing land, and barbed wire was the ribbon used to tie that land into tidy little packages throughout the area.
There are many devices in the world designed specifically for torture. Barbed wire is not one of these. To see the deranged Marcus Miller construct a barbed creation specifically reserved for Audrey is one thing — I was appalled to see such brutality before the true cruelty even began. But then, to see her strung up, forced to allow the sharpened wire to pierce her skin, and then — her absolute determination was powerful enough to visually backhand me even as I cringed, terrified for her and muttering under my breath, “…hurry….oh, do hurry! He’s coming back…”
STAIRS: The most powerful scene I have ever watched involves a beautiful girl, stripped of most clothing and some of her sanity. She crawls up a flight of stairs…backwards. No matter how many times I see it, I wrap my arms around myself, trying not to become teary-eyed as the sight of her blood-smeared belly comes into view, tiny stick figure children drawn there by a man who has left behind his own humanity and who blames his baby sister for every sin he has committed.
I always forget, at that moment, that this is a movie. I’ve been transported inside the story and I never look away. This is the power I speak of — this is the power Diane Foster has harnessed and crafted into a weapon, breaking the viewer’s heart and almost causing physical pain.
My admiration for Diane Foster’s unique abilities continues to soar, especially when I learned of pre-production preparations for a second TOK movie. I feel a certain twinge of secret glee, knowing that The Orphan Killer will again roar into life…
…and his sister? Why, she’ll roar back…