Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Psycho Drive-in is joining in by sharing articles – some classic, some new – celebrating the greatest women in the genre! [Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally ran on October 29, 2016] When Dee Wallace was asked what it was like to work with kids and dogs, she laughed and responded, “I don’t think I would have had a career if it weren’t for kids and dogs!” While perusing her filmography, I am hard-pressed to find one of her movies that did not include kids or dogs, some containing both! I love watching movies featuring Dee Wallace. She is one of the television and movie moms of my generation. Wallace reigns proudly with the likes of Roseanne, Meredith Baxter, Patricia Rashad, and Joanna Kerns. Whether it be a classic movie that I expect to see her in like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial or a movie that she just pops up in, her familiar smile and delivery is as almost as reassuring as home movies of my own mom. With over 150 credits to her name which include over 20 movies of the week, Wallace boasts a wide-ranging career that has spanned over 40 years and keeps going strong! Although Wallace maintains a staying power whose talents range across varying genres and mediums that most actors and actresses can only hope to achieve, she also ranks highly as a scream queen! Her horror film career started out with the 1977 cult classic The Hills Have Eyes, written and directed by the legendary filmmaker Wes Craven. I seriously doubt that anyone checking out this list and website has not heard of the movie, but, just in case… The Hills Have Eyes is a modern retelling of the Scottish Sawney Bean legend. The film is about a family who becomes stranded in the isolated desert when their car breaks down. One by one, the family is brutally tortured and picked off by the cannibalistic savages that live there. Wallace plays Lynne Wood, the eldest daughter of retiree Big Bob Carter (Russ Grieve) and his wife, Ethel (Virginia Vincent). Young Lynne and her husband, Doug (Martin Speer), accompany their family on the trip along with their infant baby. Even in 1977, Wallace played the role of a mother frantically trying to protect and save the life of her child. Keep an eye out for the Jaws (1975) poster torn half and hanging on the wall in the Carters’ trailer. Not only does it foreshadow Wallace’s future collaboration with Steven Spielberg in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), but it also spurred a series of Easter eggs that will be placed in future horror movies. The Evil Dead (1981) shows a The Hills Have Eyes poster ripped in half as an homage to Craven. Craven responded by having a character watching a clip from The Evil Dead in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). I first watched The Howling (1981) about 4 years ago. This was one of the surprise Dee Wallace roles. I did not know she was in this until I was tuning in. I just knew it was a classic horror movie from the 1980s that I added to my Halloween view list one year. The movie is based on the 1977 novel by the same name written by Gary Brandner. Like most movies based on books, the movie contains several changes from the source material. The movie was released the same year as An American Werewolf in London and Wolfen, but managed to hold its own among the other werewolf movies. Directed by Joe Dante, the film centralizes on Karen White, a Los Angeles news anchor, who has been contacted and stalked by serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo). Karen agrees to meet with Eddie in an adult bookstore. Unbeknownst to Eddie, Karen is wired and working with the police in hopes of apprehending Eddie. While in a room in the bookstore that is showing a porno, Eddie attacks Karen. Karen seeks treatment from Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee) in order to process the attack and overcome amnesia. In true horror movie fashion, part of Dr. Waggner’s treatment includes inviting Karen and her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone) to a commune made up by his other patients…that so happen to be a pack of werewolves, including Eddie and his siblings! The majority of the special effects in the movie were considerably impressive for its time, however, some effects were laughable for any time period and were blamed on budgetary reasons. The movie is filled with allusions and imagery referencing other works that feature werewolves. In fact, it is pretty fun to try to find all of them ranging from the obvious references to the more subtle props and decorations dressing the set. Several of the characters are named for horror directors and the film sneaks in several cameos including one by The Pope of Pop Cinema, Roger Corman. Dee Wallace and Christopher Stone were engaged while filming this movie and would later work together on several future projects. The sequence when Eddie Quist transforms into a werewolf is among my top ten werewolf transformations of all time! Sadly, the transformation of Karen at the end of the film was terrible. I cannot picture Dee Wallace as a massive, bloodthirsty, hairy monster, but, at the same time, she looked like a Wookie cub or a cute Yorkie! It did not ruin the movie for me, but it definitely lost points. It surprised me that she transformed, but maybe Dante could have done some type of Hitchcock tease where we heard the transformation or it was shown as some type of shadow. I am not exactly sure the reason behind Karen’s “look” as a werewolf. Despite having starred in cult classic horror movies and appearing in guest spots in numerous television shows, the success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is what cemented Wallace’s image among generations of film fans. The Steven Spielberg film merges the family film, fantasy, and science fictions genres. It is this combination that appeals to audiences. It is not just a family film, but a decent science fiction film that stands on its own accord. In the movie, an alien is left behind as a UFO flees a forest in the United States when government officials track down a UFO landing. Meanwhile, Elliott (Henry Thomas), a lonely 10-year old boy finds, befriends, and cares for the alien that he names E.T. The two share a mental, emotional, and physical bond. As E.T.’s health begins to decline, so does Elliott’s. While caring for E.T., Elliott has enlisted the help of his older brother, Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and his younger sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore). Elliott’s siblings along with Michael’s friends are instrumental in helping a dying E.T. escape a government agency that has infiltrated Elliott’s home to flee to the forest where E.T.’s family has returned. The movie has everything. John Williams has delivered a moving and memorable soundtrack that perfectly accents the movie. A young Drew Barrymore provides the perfect level of cuteness without becoming saccharine. The kids’ mother, Mary (Dee Wallace), differs from most mothers in depicted in film up to this point. First, she is a single, working mother not because she is a widow whose husband died of some noble cause or heartbreaking accident. Mary is divorced and her husband is clearly moving on while she is fighting to stay afloat. When she finds out her husband is in Mexico with his current love interest, Mary becomes upset and it rattles her for this rest of the film. When Elliott is in trouble at school and even goes missing the night of trick or treating, Mary does not run to the phone to try to track down his father in Mexico. She tries to stay strong and face it herself while leaning on Michael for emotional support. Mary is not punished for not staying home with her kids, but she is also not shown as perfectly juggling everything. She is at the very least very distracted and struggling to meet all of her responsibilities ranging from grocery shopping and picking up dry cleaning to raising her children and working. When she finally sees E.T. who is sick and dying, she does not embrace him. Instead, she reacts like most real mothers would. She immediately wants to remove her kids from him. It is also interesting to note that Mary’s face is the only adult’s face we see until the last 30 minutes of the movie. The movie, which takes great pains to show the world from E.T.’s point of view and the point of view of the kids, shows Mary as the most recognizable adult and most important adult in the whole movie. One of the best film adaptations of a Stephen King novel is Cujo (1983) which was directed by Lewis Teague. Donna (Dee Wallace) and Tad (Danny Pintauro) are trapped in a car that breaks down just as they pull in to their mechanic’s yard by his rabid St. Bernard. This time, Donna’s husband, Vic (Daniel Hugh Kelly) has left town to try to save an account for his advertising firm after he discovers that Donna is having an affair with his close friend, Steve (Christopher Stone). In a time before OnStar and cell phones, Donna and Tad are stuck in the sweltering heat for a couple of days in a broken down Pinto while the dog looms outside and even tries to attack them through the car. Once again, Wallace delivers a great performance as a terrified, but fallible mother who even yells at a frightened Tad out of frustration. Dee Wallace, while a break-out star during the 1970s and 1980s, has continued to enjoy a long career. While she may not quite be a household name, she definitely remains relevant and is quickly recognized as “Elliott’s mom” or “the mom on Cujo.” She continues to appear as a guest on current television shows including Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy, and Criminal Minds, and has returned to horror filmmaking with small roles in Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot, Ti West’s The House of the Devil, the Civil War zombie film Exit Humanity, and Zombie’s ode to witchcraft The Lords of Salem, and is producing and starring in Craig Anderson’s Australian holiday thriller Red Christmas next month. In addition to acting, she is also an author, public speaker, and healer. She promotes a concept of healing through self-love and self-acceptance. Wallace is Clairaudient and possesses the intuitive ability of clear hearing or hearing an inner voice that speaks to her. More information about her message can be found on her website https://iamdeewallace.com. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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