w/ #MaryCharlotteWilcox #LyleWaggoner
“WARNING! This Is The Strangest, Most Un-natural Union Ever Consummated Between The Living & The Dead!”
“A Hunger from Beyond the Grave!”
I had a memory of watching Love Me Deadly (1972) many years ago, but I think I may have been confusing it with another movie called DeadMate AKA Graverobbers (1988). I remember renting the VHS tape, and running into a friend of mine as I walked out of the store.
“Hey, what movie did you get?” he asked me.
I was a bit reluctant to tell him, because he’s not a horror fan, and he tends to be a little judgmental about movies that are, shall we say, less than respectable. So, I probably said something like, “Oh, well, I just picked up this weird looking thing out of the bargain bin. I don’t know anything about it, but it looked kind of interesting.”, and then I showed him the box.
I braced myself and awaited his judgmental wrath.
“That does look interesting…” he said.
I was shocked. No insulting comment about my taste in movies? This one actually looks INTERESTING to him? I grabbed the box back and took another look at it.
“Love after death is the ultimate nightmare!” the headline on the back screamed.
“Yes, it does…” I said.
DeadMate is a movie about necrophilia. The description on the back made that pretty clear. I saw it as a potentially sleazy trashterpiece. My friend, I imagine, saw it as a unique and unusual subject for a movie. I don’t remember much about that movie now, but I think it was about a man who marries a woman who discovers that he’s into sex with corpses.
When I saw Love Me Deadly (1972) getting a high quality Blu-ray release from Code Red, I imaged that it was DeadMate under a different title. A closer inspection revealed that Love Me Deadly is about a WOMAN who’s into necrophilia, and she marries a guy who (I presumed) would uncover the horror. Similar, but different from my memories of DeadMate. And this movie starred Lyle Waggoner as the unfortunate husband!
Lyle Waggoner, for those who don’t know, is best known for The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978) and Wonder Woman (1975-1979) – two my my favourite childhood TV shows.
I decided to take a chance and buy Love Me Deadly.
If anything, I would say that it’s a better movie that DeadMate (although my memories of Deadmate are a bit hazy). As questionable and sleazy as the subject matter might be, it actually comes off as a classy, artistic movie. I would call it art-house exploitation. It’s very moody, and has a great musical score that adds to that feeling. It’s definitely fairly unique (DeadMate notwithstanding) . There simply aren’t a lot of movies about necrophilia.
One other movie that does come to mind is Kissed (1996), the Canadian art-house picture by Lynne Stopkewich and starring Molly Parker. it was based on a story by Barbara Gowdy, which in turn was probably inspired by the real life case of Karen Greenlee (who in 1979 was working as an embalmer and stole a corpse to use for her own pleasure). As I watched Love Me Deadly, I wondered if Barbara Gowdy or Lynne Stopkewich had ever seen this movie. There are so many parallels.
But then again, the makers of Love Me Deadly may have been inspired by Karen Greenlee as well.
What else can I say about Love Me Deadly? There is some, but not a lot of, of overt horror action. There is some full frontal nudity by both men and women – but not, I don’t think, Lyle Waggoner. He is naked at times, but I think mainly from behind (I may have missed something, so don’t quote me on that). Mary Charlotte Wilcox does appear totally naked.
Mary Charlotte Wilcox is a Canadian actress who appeared in movies like Willie Dynamite (1974), which I talked about on a previous friday, and Psychic Killer (1975). She was also on one of my all time favourite shows SCTV AKA SCTC Network 90 AKA SCTV Channel (?) – I just knew it as SCTV (1976-1984).
Basically, Love Me Deadly is a weird drama about necrophilia. I liked it quite a bit, but it’s probably not for everyone.
I’ve heard that Anna Biller, art-house auteur of The Love Witch (2016), has some appreciation for it. And there is a bit of a stylistic relationship between her movie and Love Me Deadly. They would actually make a good double bill, I think.
Love Me Deadly (1972) is #NotQuiteClassicCinema that is simultaneously sleazy and classy. If nothing else, it is a fairly unusual movie that may not be for everyone, but if it sounds intriguing to you, you should definitely give a shot on your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.
"WARNING! This Is The Strangest, Most Un-natural Union Ever Consummated Between The Living & The Dead!"
— Angus Kohm (@AngusKohm) December 18, 2021