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Gay playwright and camp connoisseur
Busch adds hilarious commentary to DVD
editions of 'Bad Seed' and 'Dead Ringer.'
When camp was fun
GAY CONSUMER ALERT! WARNER
Home Video dusts off two killer catalog
titles. "The Bad Seed" and "Dead Ringer,"
and adds supplements sure to engross
even the most persnickety DVD collectors.
Packaged in their original poster art,
these classy-looking disks offer hysterical
commentary tracks from gay playwright
and gender illusionist Charles Busch, of
"Die, Mommie, Die!" fame, along with new
features and trailers outlining interesting
details about how it all came together.
Think Chernobyl is the biggest meltdown in history? Then experience Nancy
Kelly's magnificently overwrought performance in Mervyn LeRoy's tense 1956
thriller "The Bad Seed" and think again.
Realizing her nauseatingly "perfect" 8-
year-old daughter Rhoda (Patricia "Patty"
McCormack) is actually a serial murderess, panic-stricken Christine Penmark
(Kelly) shreds her last nerve.
When class penmanship award winner
Claude Daigle is discovered bludgeoned
and floating dead in a nearby lake, suspicions soon point to jealous Rhoda and her
lethal tap shoes.
"Why should I feel sorry? It was
Claude Daigle got drowned, not me,"
Rhoda snarls to the snoopy apartment
building superintendent (Henry Jones)
who learns the hard way not to leave
anything flammable within the toxic
A tight and chilling precursor to "The
Exorcist" and "The Omen," the film's climax arrives (logically) as poor Christine
makes the unthinkable choice between a
mother's love and the revulsion she feels
for her satanic spawn.
"If it were played naturally, it would be
so much less fun," Busch and star
McCormack concur on the breezy commentary track where they discuss the
film's unusually theatrical nature and its
enduring appeal with gay men.
Reprising their roles from the hit
stage play, Kelly, McCormack (who in
recent years guest-starred on several
"Sopranos" episodes) and Eileen Heckart
(who plays Daigle's mother) each
received Academy Award nominations
for their work in this film.
FAR FROM HER GREATEST MOVIE,
though certainly not her worst, Bette Davis
fans will find Paul Henreid's macabre 1964
ft MORE INFO
The Bad Seed'
Warner Home Video
'It's the only gold medal Miss Fern gives — and it was
really mine!' screams penmanship award runner-up and
cold-blooded killer Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack)
in the new DVD edition ol The Bad Seed.'
chiller "Dead Ringer" an exceptional value.
In it, Davis portrays twin sisters (one rich
and amoral, the other, poor and bitter) with
a longstanding feud between them — over a
man, of course. Just imagine: two Bettes
for the price of one!
It isn't long before Edie Phillips (the
poor one) whacks sister Margaret
DeLorca (the rich one) with a well-placed
bullet, fakes a suicide note and assumes
her dead sister's identity
Edie's plan works like a charm. Too
well, in fact.
Perhaps a little background research
would've been a good idea before stepping
into her sister's haute couture heels? A few
nifty surprises lurk from beyond the grave,
twists I wouldn't dream of revealing here.
This gruesome slice of "Grand Dame
Guignol" (a fad among aging actresses in
the mid-'60s) also stars Karl Maiden as
Edie's love interest Sergeant Hobbson,
Peter Lawford as shady gigolo Tony
Collins and Jean Hagen as Margaret's
society girlfriend Dede Marshall.
Davis devotees really haven't lived
untU seeing Edie give Margaret's corpse a
new hairdo to match her own, sort of the
dark side of "The Patty Duke Show,"
according to Busch.
Both Busch and "Bette Davis Speaks"
author Boze Hadleigh provide the hilarious commentary track, and it's a doozy
Every aspect of Davis is discussed, from
the amazing fact she didn't develop lung
cancer before the movie ends (she smokes
non-stop) to the elaborate contraption of
glue, wires, straps and lift tape "Margaret"
must wear under her wig for her skin to
appear "better preserved" than that of her
skid-row sister, Edie.