Happy (almost) Halloween! For our last entry for this month’s series, we’ll be shining a flashlight in some dark corners, full of killer librarians. Librarians find themselves as victims/damsels in distress in quite a few scary movies (see Twisted Nerve, The Dunwich Horror, Peeping Tom, The Last Supper), but here are a few films where librarians supply the scares. Beware the terror of the librarian!
All About Evil (2010):
In this campy horror film — which was released via a touring live show with director/writer Joshua Grannell, aka horror hostess Peaches Christ — Deborah, a “mousey librarian” (played by Natasha Lyonne), inherits a movie house (as you do) and unleashes her inner serial killer (as you do). To save the family business, she provides her own victims in order to make her own “snuff films.” This destined-to-be-a-camp-cult-classic takes the idea of an art house movie theater to murderous extremes.
The interior movie scenes were filmed at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco. You can read more about the movie here, including a gallery of photos, movie posters, and Deborah’s book club!
Chainsaw Sally (2004):
This one has my vote for best title! Traumatized as a young girl by witnessing her parents’ murder, Sally (played by April Monique Burril) grows up to become a librarian (yay) … and a serial killer (nay). Apparently, she gets good use out of her librarian skills by researching horror films, including the classic 1974 horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which inspire her killings.
The movie has also inspired two seasons (!) of web series, entitled “The Chainsaw Sally Show.”
The Church (1989):
This Italian horror film, also known as La Chiesa, is included in my Foreign Films page.
Evan (played by Tomas Arana), a librarian cataloging a series of historical texts in an old church, removes a rock in the catacombs — thereby unleashing an ancient evil hidden underneath! Turns out the church had been built on top of a medieval devil worshipping site. Whoops. Evan becomes possessed by a demon, and a priest, Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie), is the only one who can save the city — and the librarian!
Co-written by Italian horror film maestro Dario Argento (1977’s Suspiria), the film also includes a small role for his daughter, actress Asia Argento.
Wilderness (TV, 1996):
In this TV movie/mini-series, Amanda Oooms plays Alice White, a university librarian who perhaps isn’t as pure as her surname. She tries to convince her psychoanalyst boyfriend (Michael Kitchen) that she turns into a werewolf every month — but is it all in her head? What about the trail of bodies at the hands of a wolf, starting with the farmhand who attempted to rape Alice when she was thirteen?
This psychological drama (a miniseries tha was trimmed to movie-length when released on video) has some serious pedigree to its name, including screenwriter Andrew Davies (of the recent TV adaptations of Jane Austen’s works) and director Ben Bolt (who has directed episodes of British series Downton Abbey and Doc Martin).
Personals (TV, 1990):
Brunette librarian with glasses by day, a blonde lady killer by night! Jennifer O’Neill plays Heather, a librarian who lures men through newspaper personal ads, only to murder them on the first date. A knife is her weapon of choice, as seen on the video cover (at left). Stephanie Zimbalist (Remington Steele) co-stars.
Although not a horror film, this crime thriller stars one of the most calculating (and scarily successful!) reel librarian killers.
- All About Evil. Dir. Joshua Grannell. Perf. Natasha Lyonne, Jack Donner. Backlash Films, 2010.
- Chainsaw Sally. Dir. Jimmyo Burril. Perf. April Monique Burril, Mark Redfield, Alec Joseph. Shock-O-Rama Cinema, 2004.
- The Church (aka La Chiesa). Dir. Michele Soavi. Perf. Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Asia Argento. ADC Films, 1989.
- Personals (TV movie). Dir. Steven Hilliard Stern. Perf. Jennifer O’Neill, Stephanie Zimbalist, Robin Thomas. Wilshire Court Productions, 1990.
- Wilderness (TV miniseries). Dir. Ben Bolt. Perf. Amanda Ooms, Gemma Jones, Michael Kitchen. 1996.