21 June 2024

by Ronee Blakley

Ronee Blakley is an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, director and actress. Her new spoken word album Djerassi Collection will be available soon, as well as the soundtrack to her upcoming film One Blood, a tragedy. Blakley received an Academy Award nomination for her role as Barbara Jean in Robert Altmanís Nashville (1975) and was honored by the National Board of Review as Best Supporting Actress. Genre fans will recognize her as Marge Thompson in Wes Cravenís original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), as well as appearances in A Return to Salemís Lot (1987) and the TV series Tales from the Darkside (1985).

Among the diverse film roles I've played, I was Marge Thompson in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street. As mother to Heather Langenkamp's Nancy, I also happened to be one of the original murderers of Freddy Krueger. Since appearing in that iconic picture, I've been asked over the years what horror movie really scared me the most.

The original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers immediately comes to mind. I saw it in Caldwell, Idaho, at the local theater on Main Street. I went with Janet Haynes, a friend from my fifth grade class. It's a good thing Janet was so tall, because I'm sure I jumped on her several times throughout the show. At the very least, I grabbed her elbow. I remember that. Mother hadn't realized what kind of movie it was, or I wouldn't have been allowed to attend. And I didn't dare tell her.

The worst part was that pods would take over human beings during the night if and when they were placed under that person's bed. They would begin to ooze foam and the foam would break away to reveal the person, like a wax figure. Then the figure would open its eyes and replace the victim.

These replacement zombies were cropping up all over the town, and those who hadn't succumbed were running into caves for protection, trying not to fall asleep. I looked under my bed for pods for a very long time. It truly terrified me!

What follows is a collection of essays by people in the industry and authors recalling their own personal memories of horror and suspense films that impacted them, frightened them, and made them look under their beds too.

Ronee Blakley

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