One night several months ago I sat on my couch admiring a particularly cheap and silly made-for-tv horror film from 1979 called “Summer of Fear”, starring a young Linda Blair (and directed by Wes Craven). Regardless of the merits of that film, I sat mesmerized, rooting for Linda to vanquish the beautiful witch that had stolen her boyfriend. Throughout the film, Linda struts around in tight jeans and the like, as if to remind the general public of her burgeoning womanhood. It seemed as if the 18 year-old actress were trying to say, “You see, I’m a big girl now.” Indeed.
Before I get too wrapped up and distracted by the thought of this, I should mention that I had been expecting my girlfriend and the doorbell rang. For some damned reason I’ve yet to completely grasp, I scrambled for the DVD remote, knocking it into the small black hole in the side of my couch. As the doorbell rang a second time, I shot a panicked glance at the screen. Linda and her best friend (played by Fran Drescher) were about to go shopping at the mall. I laughed to myself, confused, wondering exactly what had transpired as I answered the door. After all, it’s only a TV movie… it’s only Linda Blair. I pondered this during a few fleeting moments as I made small talk with my girlfriend about her day. What exactly happened?
The next day I was at the video store, scouring the horror section for fresh blood when I came across “Hell Night”, also starring Linda. Without a second thought, I scooped it up, knowing that while I didn’t much like it when I was younger, I had plenty of reason to watch it now. That night, when I suggested to Karen that we watch it, she remarked, “What is it with you and Linda Blair lately?” I coyly responded, “She’s a good actress… I haven’t seen this movie in years.” “Uh huh…”, she replied, adding little more except a subtle raising of her eyebrows. For the record, I liked “Hell Night” much more this time around.
This started a “minor” obsession for me as I began googling Linda Blair images, visiting her website, tribute pages, looking for old gossip (she dated Rick James way back when- yikes!), etc. It’s safe to say I think she’s one hot cookie. But what is it about this cute, bubbly, slightly chubby actress that sets my heart afire? For most, she’ll always be remembered as the little girl possessed from “The Exorcist”. The more I considered this question, the more perplexing it became. Most girls would never consider Linda a threat. She isn’t traditionally beautiful, though she’s quite pretty. Aside from being what most would consider slightly overweight (though she‘s perfect in these eyes), she’s also kind of a tomboy. I’ve never seen a Linda Blair seduction scene that didn’t feel at least a little awkward. She’s not a girly girl, you know…
Which brings me back to that first night I mentioned. What was it that caused me to instinctively panic at the idea of Karen walking in on Linda and I? After all, we were both fully clothed. Deep down in my gut, a certain indefinable logic acted for me. Biology caused that panic. As the old song goes, “she blinded me with science”. Somehow, I guessed that Karen would fall to pieces with the sudden realization that she doesn’t quite stack up. How could she? Between that bubbly girl-next-door smile, that slightly husky voice and those curves (by god…those curves!), there lies something deeper. I think it has something to do with what I said before, the tomboy thing.
Linda is cutesy and adorable and all that, but she’s also a bit dangerous. There is a force there, a barely detectable brooding thing that screams to the uninitiated, “DON’T FUCK WITH ME!”. There is a twinkle in her eyes that lets ‘em know they’d better play nice if they know what’s good for them. Sure, she’ll get topless like the next gal (as she did so many times in the early 80s), but you’d better not mess with her little sister. Just check out “Savage Streets” (1984), if you don’t believe me.
Ultimately, after one too many Linda Blair flicks, Karen became suspicious. After some prodding, I wound up confessing (to a slightly lesser degree) my “fondness” to her and she snickered a bit at first, then grew silent and distant for awhile. Maybe that initial gut instinct was right… Either way, it’s hard to imagine my Linda Blair addiction ever suffering from withdrawals given the seemingly endless stream of sleazy B movies she’s starred in over the course of more than twenty years. Though, in the future, I might think twice before asking my girlfriend to watch them.