Where in the Horror are they Now? Lynda Day George

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THEN: There is a theatre here in Los Angeles called the New Beverly that is a cult movie fan's dream come true. If you happen to be in the area, you can catch some of the coolest cult flicks of all time on a big screen in 35 mm. In fact, this month you can take in one of my personal favorites. On a double bill, the New Beverly is bringing genre fans THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969) and even better… PIECES (1982). As the tagline claims, you don’t need to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre. So what is up with my love for this slasher extraordinaire? Well, since horror has always had a fondness for beautiful women, let's not be a "Bastard!" Let's talk about PIECES gorgeous star Lynda Day George!?!

Like many an actress who started up a career back in the Sixties, this lovely blonde found a ton of success on the small screen with guest appearances on Flipper, Route 66, The Fugitive and so much more. It was on an independent feature young Lynda Day worked on called THE GENTLE RAIN (1966) where she fell in love with her soon-to-be husband Christopher George. Throughout the decade, she appeared in a ton of television including landing a role on the series Mission Impossible in the early Seventies. Ultimately Lynda received a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for her role as Lisa Casey.

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Now before I overload you with TV shows you may not be aware of, let’s get into the reason why we chose this appealing blonde beauty for this weeks column. After her continued success on the small screen, it didn’t take her long to capture the hearts of genre lovers. However, one of her first forays into horror was on TV, it was a TV-movie called Fear No Evil in 1969. Aside from that and a guest appearance on a anthology series called Thriller, she was ready for big screen scares. And considering the actress has such a soft and natural beauty, it’s only fitting that her first major horror film was a man vs. nature flick.

If you’ve never sat down with DAY OF THE ANIMALS, I implore you to check this one out - plus it is currently available on the fantastic horror service Shudder. The 1977 thriller featured a pretty recognizable cast. For AIRPLANE and NAKED GUN fans, you get to see Leslie Nielsen as a bit of an asshole. There was, of course, Christopher George, as well as THE FURY and MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH star Andrew Stevens. The story ironically is just as fitting considering this feature is forty-years-old today and it explores the dangers of ignoring the warnings of climate change. In the movie, the destruction of the ozone layer turns animals into man-eaters ready to kill every last human on earth. And yes, Lynda proved to be one hell of a leading lady.

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Lynda Day followed up DAY OF THE ANIMALS going back to TV. Thankfully, this included the creepy crawly TV-movie Ants in 1977. Next up she took a Cruise Into Terror the following year with Dirk Benedict, John Forsythe and husband Christopher - the two really were an ideal Hollywood couple. One of my earliest horror memories was wanting to watch Ants one night when it was on cable. The only problem is, I was at a sleepover with my friend and the family found horror to be anti their religion… I think I went home much earlier than expected. Don’t try and keep my from killer ants, Lynda Day and Suzanne Somers dammit. 

My love for Lynda Day only grew with her next project. The 1980 possession flick BEYOND EVIL was ridiculous fun. Starring opposite horror legend John Saxon, Lynda played a woman possessed by an evil demon or something like that. If you are looking for a possession flick on par with THE EXORCIST… this is probably not it. However, if you are into the goofy drive-in thrillers from the past, you’ll have a joyful time taking this devilish movie in.

And now it is on to PIECES. While this luminous actress wasn’t a major star in mainstream movies, she certainly had a place as a guest star on series television, and more importantly as a genre staple. This 1982 slasher flick is absolutely wonderful in it’s insanity. Her line reading of "Bastard" is one for the books when it comes to over-the-top performances. Tons of gore, nudity and a healthy dose of cheesy lines. As mentioned, if you happen to be in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you try and see this on the big screen at the New Beverly this coming March 21. Trust me, if you love Eighties horror, this is the epitome of a madman on the loose stalking nubile beauties. As a huge plus, you get Lynda Day and Christopher trying to find the killer! There is so much to love here.

With all the television that she did, I love the fact that both Lynda and her then husband continued to work in the genre - unfortunately, Mr. George passed away at the young age of 52. The two once again took a dark and gruesome turn with the 1983 cult classic MORTUARY. This creepy feature about a woman seeking clues to her find out about her husbands death, also starred the legendary Bill Paxton - I miss that guy. If you are a fan of Eighties horror, this is one of those flicks that you will absolutely love. It’s been quite awhile since I took this one in, so perhaps now would be a great time. 

NOW: A few years ago I was working at a copy store. While at the counter, a lovely older woman came in to have some copies made. And yes, that lovely lady was Lynda Day. This was well before my years at Arrow in the Head, and frankly I was just a little excited. While she certainly doesn’t look as she did back in the Seventies, she was absolutely delightful. She happily accepted my fanboy compliments, and she didn’t appear to mind talking about silly horror flicks from all those years before. This little interaction only made me more of a fan.

With a final IMDb credit in 1989 for the revamped series Mission: Impossible - she once again played Lisa Casey - she retired from acting. In fact, she apparently keeps her life pretty private and simple now. I’d be surprised if some of you haven’t run into her perhaps on the convention circuit? If you have, we'd love to hear your story. I’ve always been a fan of Lynda Day and will continue to be so. After all, she appeared in several horror flicks that inspired my young mind - both on the big and small screen. Thank you Lynda Day for your charming personality, and of course for DAY OF THE ANIMALS, PIECES, MORTUARY and so much more.

Extra Tidbit: In honor of Lynda and DAY OF THE ANIMALS, what is your favorite man vs. nature flick?
Source: AITH



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