I’ve been a big fan of Barbara Crampton for a long time. Like, since Chopping Mall long. As an actress, I think she’s criminally underrated. As a person, she strikes me as lovely, endearing, and unfailingly upbeat, at least based on her Instagram.
She’s also a workhorse with damn close to 70 acting credits according to IMDB. For a chunka that list (through the 80s and 90s) she was also, along with Jeffrey Combs, a go-to for Stuart Gordon and Full Moon. So here are my Top 5 Barbara Crampton Full Moon Flicks.
Not my favorite effort from Full Moon, but it’s got its high points. Essentially it becomes a character study of Crampton’s Said Brady. The yarn itself is a kinda haphazard mishmash of the titular short story and “Dreams In The Witch House.” The Brown Jenkin rat critter is icky enough, as is Jeffery Combs’s clergyman. The “twist” ending ain’t much of a twist and ends up being pretty predictable, but it’s still great to see Barbara Crampton in some big-haired, shoulder-padded glory.
#4 Castle Freak
I think Crampton’s range as an actress is wildly underappreciated. She can be anything from scream-queenie like in Chopping Mall, to sympathetic like in We Are Still Here, to plucky and feisty like in From Beyond, to absolutely menacing like in Beyond The Gates and Sun Choke (my favorite role of hers to date). Castle Freak’s Susan Reilly is another strong character even if the end result falls a little flat. What I mean is Susan is pretty effective and take-charge throughout the movie right up to the last act when, almost inexplicably, Gordon reduces her to an incapable screaming mess. The movie itself has other problems which I’ve elaborated on elsewhere, but as always, Crampton is a fun to see.
#3 Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Technically this isn’t a bona fide Full Moon title. On the other hand, without Full Moon there’s no Puppet Master and therefore no Littlest Reich. Crampton had a cameo in Puppet Master which is, in part, what brought her onboard for Littlest Reich. She mentions as much in a 2017 interview with Scream Magazine, adding that “I think they brought me into The Littlest Reich specifically because I worked in ’80s movies.”
When you think of Barbara Crampton, Jeffery Combs, and Full Moon all together, this is one of two movies that probably comes to mind immediately. This time, Crampton is the much competed for/hotly contested love interest/object of desire amongst those zany young chaps of the Miskatonic school of doctorin’ (go Cephalopods). I’m not sure why it is that Full Moon/Stuart Gordon/Brian Yuzna/Charles Band feel the need to sex up Lovecraft stories. Any sexuality would have no doubt made Lovecraft extremely uncomfortable, but some of the stuff these lads add would have thoroughly repulsed him. It’s not cuz the sexy stuff is repulsive. Okay, well, some of it is. But mainly it’s because Lovecraft was kind of a fucking weirdo. And a racist. But that’s another matter for another post.
#1 From Beyond
Those two movies I mentioned? Yeah this is the other one. In fact, after Re-Animator, this may well be one of the best known, most recognizable Full Moon flicks out there. As with many Stuart Gordon/Full Moon collaborations, it’s loosely based on a Lovecraft tale of the same name (in this case, marginally less loosely than many others). And yeah, yeah, Barbara Crampton in leather. I’d say “Geez, grow up,” but I am the one who just called attention to it. As is often pointed out, I’m such a boy. Anyway, she’s an integral, take-charge part of the plot for this one which is freakin’ awesome. Plus she blows shit up. I mean, sure, she might end up completely insane, but kaboom.
And there’s my Barbara Crampton list. Eventually I should make another one that isn’t strictly tied to Full Moon, but for now…also, I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I can’t wait to see Jakob’s Wife.