THEN: Freddy Kruger had his fair share of butt-kicking ladies to contend with. Most finally gave in to his nightmarish ways, but occasionally we as the audience remember the good fight. One such adversary is the unforgettable “Taryn White” played with a perfect blend of cynicism and female power by the lovely Jennifer Rubin. In 1987’s hit sequel A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 3: DREAM WARRIORS, Taryn discovered her power of sheer badassery with a massive Fauxhawk and a punk rock edge. This former addict was one of Freddy’s many victims who chose to fight back… and fight back she did. In arguably one of the best sequences in the entire NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise, Ms. Rubin gave a ton of attitude to her performance as Taryn, even if she faced her eventual demise in the process.
Clearly this unique beauty had a thing for horror as she next appeared on the series “The Twilight Zone” on the episode ‘Song of the Younger World’ in 1987. Yet for me it was her leading turn in what is one of my favorite underappreciated gems of the 80’s, a little flick called BAD DREAMS (1988). In the film she played Cynthia, a young woman left in a coma after a mass cult suicide leaves all those around her dead. When she finally wakes thirteen years later in a psyche ward, she is haunted by the super psycho cult leader played by the great Richard Lynch. Soon she finds that this madman is driving all those around her to their own gruesome deaths. This Andrew Fleming (THE CRAFT) directed horror flick also starred Bruce Abbott from RE-ANIMATOR fame and to be honest, it still holds a special wound in my horror loving heart. A massive reason I was so drawn to this flick was not only Lynch, but its intensely charismatic leading lady Ms. Rubin.
The actress soon found herself developing some serious Indie street cred with films such as PERMANENT RECORD in 1988, DELUSION in 1991 and A WOMAN, HER MEN AND A FUTON in 1992. She even has a brief appearance in Oliver Stone’s visually intoxicating Jim Morrison biography THE DOORS from 1991. Yet once again she returned to try and garner a few scares in the LOLITA inspired THE CRUSH back in 1993. Starring Alicia Silverstone as the teen temptress and Cary Elwes as the tempted adult, this teen thriller placed Rubin in the damsel in distress role and you know what… she was pretty good. While this flick lacked the tension and bite that the premise suggested, it once again convinced me why I love seeing Rubin in a good scary movie.
Next up, this stunning talent took a science fiction route with SCREAMERS in 1995. This flick featured nasty little slicing devices created by the government that made mincemeat of some of the cast members. This well cast flick also featured the great Peter Weller (you know, the real ROBOCOP) as well as the impressive French-Canadian actor Roy Dupois (MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1, MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT). Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick with a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Miguel Tejada-Flores, this was a pleasant low-budget surprise that even inspired a sequel in 2009 entitled SCREAMERS: THE HUNTING with yet another horror hero, Lance Henriksen. Of course the sequel doesn’t hold a candle to this cool and bloody action horror movie.
Throughout her career, you could find Rubin balancing herself between a number of independent horror films and thrillers including LITTLE WITCHES in 1996, ROAD KILL in 1999, SANCTIMONY in 2000 as well as a couple of made for cable flicks “The Wasp Woman” in 1995 and “Twists of Terror” in 1999. During that time she remained fairly busy as her IMDB page lists that she currently has 45 film or television credits. Things did slow down early on after 2002 with only a 2006 on-screen appearance in the Chris Isaak music video “Somebody’s Crying” and my goodness she looked amazing!
NOW: If you happen to be a fan of The Asylum and the crazy little flicks they produce, you may have seen her in the 2009 giant robot movie TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN. This straight to video sequel to TRANSMORPHERS (2007) also featured another genre vet with Bruce Boxleitner from TRON fame (and so much more). Aside from that, you can find her working the convention route with a small handful of interviews posted on YouTube. For NIGHTMARE fans, she even made time for the fantastic documentary NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY which is available here on DVD. Still looking pretty darn attractive, the actress has two current films including a direct to video horror thriller “Heebie Jeebies” and another more psychological inspired flick, UNTOLD.
While Jeebies is currently available on DVD, UNTOLD is still in “post-production.” Sadly, it looks like it didn’t quite make its scheduled February 2013 release date! Either way, I’m thrilled to see this terrific actress working again, especially in horror. It would be great to see her getting bloody with one of today’s modern horror filmmakers… Call me crazy but I’d love to see her in a Rob Zombie flick! The great thing about cinema is that we will always have that girl who said, “In my dreams, I’m beautiful! And bad!” And yes, she sure seems to be equal parts of both in only the best of ways!