THEN: Lately I’ve been feeling a little nostalgia for superheroes of old. With the impending release of Warner Bros MAN OF STEEL, one thing certainly came to mind and that of course is Richard Donner’s original classic SUPERMAN from 1979. Christopher Reeve was beyond SUPER in this, what is personally one of my favorite superhero films of all time. And you know who else was pretty super (whole lot of “SUPER” in this article)? His fresh faced and spunky love interest Lois Lane! Yes I’m talking about the Canadian born actress Margot Kidder who was absolutely perfect leading lady. It is safe to say that Reeve and Kidder are one of the most charismatic on-screen duos ever – just check out this classic moment from the first film .
However since we are all about the horror at AITH, let’s discuss what makes Margot a genre icon besides her perfect portrayal of Lois Lane. First of all we have the 1973 Brian De Palma classic SISTERS, which may be dated but it is still an entrancingly freaky film. Much of its success has to do with the casting of this talented actress who played the dual role of the once conjoined twins Danielle and Dominique. This twisted little thriller is one of De Palma’s underrated gems, so much so that it spawned a direct to video remake which not surprisingly failed to live up to the fantastic original. While I like Chloe Sevigny quite a bit, she was no match for Kidder.
One year after the impressively eerie SISTERS, Margot stole the show in what is arguably one of the best slasher films ever made. In Bob Clark’s BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974), her character proved to be a slightly mean-spirited and foul mouthed drunk who was at the same time extremely sympathetic. While her character Barb wasn’t the lead, the alcoholic sorority sister was incredibly layered and wonderfully played by the actress. It could be said that she invented the bitchy supporting character that you almost root for their demise, however she gave a performance that might be even more compelling than the leading lady Olivia Hussey. Either way, if you’ve never been introduced to this classic horror film, you are depriving yourself of a truly great fright flick.
In the Seventies, Kidder was a genre film staple including the 1975 suspense thriller THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD along with her co-star Michael Sarrazin. Yet in 1978 when SUPERMAN made the actress a major talent to be reckoned with, she never strayed from the scary stuff. In 1979, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR became one of the most successful independently produced motion pictures of its time. Based on the “true story” of the Lutz family who abandoned the infamous household on 112 Ocean Avenue after only 28 days, Kidder hit all the right notes as a terrified mother and wife facing some scary ass demonic activity. While AMITYVILLE didn’t win over too many critics at the time this particular haunted house tale inspired numerous sequels and of course the Platinum Dunes less-than-stellar remake staring Ryan Reynolds. I prefer the original.
Throughout the years the actress worked pretty regularly even after she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. This played a part in a widely publicized mental breakdown in 1996 where she was discovered by a Los Angeles homeowner roaming around in his backyard in a state of disarray. The actress had disappeared for four days before the event and was for a time homeless. To her credit, she was able to battle her depression and find herself back in front of the camera. To say that the event didn’t hurt her career would be questionable however the fact that she was able to overcome her situation is downright amazing. It is hard enough for older actresses without any sort of stigma to find consistent work. As difficult as it may be she remained a working actress even if she never quite achieved the same level of fame she had garnered from her earlier work.
NOW: According to her IMDB page , Ms. Kidder has been featured in 127 feature films and/or television series which is downright impressive to say the least. Her most prominent feature as of late was Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN 2, where she played Laurie Strode’s (Scout Taylor-Compton) therapist in 2009. This year however she has three films, including MATT’S CHANCE, REAL GANGSTERS and PRIDE OF LIONS. While these three flicks may not make it to a theatre near you at least Kidder continues to work. Two of her most recent movies, 2011’s REDEMPTION: FOR ROBBING THE DEAD and 2008’s LOVE AT FIRST KILL are at press time available on Netflix streaming. In the later, she appears with the incredibly talented Noah Segan as his overly protective mother.
Aside from her cinematic appearances, the actress – who currently resides in Montana - has become a major political activist according to several sources including www.margotkidder.com . Like many other performers who enjoyed genre success, she had made appearances at conventions to meet her old (and possibly new) fans as well. And according to her profile on WizardWorld.com she is in the process of writing a book. I for one think it would be a fascinating read if she wrote about her success AND the much publicized battle with mental health issues. This is a woman who could have easily let a terrible situation destroy her yet she continues to fight back and lend an inspirational voice to those suffering the same disorder. It may have been several years ago that she took flight with SUPERMAN, yet Margot Kidder will always be Lois Lane to me!