Traumafessions :: Reader Eric McDade on Fallen Angel

Hey again guys:

I’m not quite sure if it’s just me, but I’m assuming that many folks my age were equally affected by the mid-eighties triad of The Bomb, AIDS and Crack, whose growth-stunting effects on the young teen mind were unmatched at the time.

Being in 7th grade and watching THE DAY AFTER (Thanks Andi T.) three nights in a row was, for me, terrifying.

AIDS didn’t even need a made-for-TV movie to screw up a 13 year-old, hormone-riddled mind.

And, thank you, CRACKED UP for showing us how even such a fun thing as smoking pot can quickly lead to the untimely death of a budding high-school sports star.

Now, before The Big Three came at me, I had been content to believe the biggest concerns in America were with their far more innocent analogs, Bulllies (MY BODYGUARD), Premarital Sex (see a very special episode of GIMME A BREAK), and just plain-old Pot (Do yourself a favor and get a copy of the ABC Afterschool Special, STONED with SCOTT BAIO.)

And somewhere between these two groups, my brain was branded with an indelible memory.

Perhaps, not so indelible, as I don’t really remember every aspect of it.

I just remember the icky-ness of it.

And the icky-ness was huge.

At least the way I remember it.

Aside from The Big Three, one of the largest psychic scars I garnered as a kid occurred upon viewing FALLEN ANGEL.

In it, RICHARD MASUR plays a consummate creep, and DANA HILL is the newest addition to his softball-team / kiddie-porn ring. Mostly, what I recall is a never-ending bounty of pills for the kids to enjoy and a cooler full of Orange Crush to wash them down with, accompanied by a blurry cascade of satin jackets and too much lip gloss.

The only line I can remember enough to butcher is from when a more experienced girl tries to get DANA HILL‘s character to ease into the whole gig, telling her, “It’s no big deal. Just show a little skin and give a toothpaste smile.”


Eric McDade

P.S.: By the way, all that icky-ness from FALLEN ANGEL would eventually come flooding back to me in a tidal wave of revulsion while watching DANA HILL chew gum and blow bubbles on the train in EUROPEAN VACATION.The sounds….

UNK SEZ: Eric, I was traumatized by FALLEN ANGEL too; I never watched ONE DAY AT A TIME the same way again and I think RICHARD MASUR‘s mustache alone should have been arrested for indecency! As disturbing as that 1981 television film was, who can deny the fact that DANA HILL delivered a fine performance, just as she was always known to do. DANA seemed to be in just about everything in the early eighties (most notably in SHOOT THE MOON opposite DIANE KEATON and ALBERT FINNEY ) but then disappeared due to poor health. Thanks to her signature raspy voice though, she went on to do a lot of voice over work in popular cartoons like GUMMI BEARS. Sadly DANA died of diabetes in 1996 at the age of 32. If anybody out there would like to help people with diabetes in honor of DANA this holiday season, just do some shopping HERE!

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12 years ago

OhmyGod, I love this movie. I remember the first time I saw it my mom MADE me watch it to teach me not to talk to strangers (or in the guy in the movie’s case  a not-so-stranger). It worked! I remember this movie VIVIDLY. (I think a scene that sticks with me the most is him buying her a puppy so that when she trys to break off her “relationship” with him he can use the puppy as a pawn to get her back, threatening to put it to sleep if she leaves.

I also had problems watching this guy on ONE DAY AT A TIME after this. He’s also Vita’s uncle in the MY GIRL MOVIES. Every time I see him I think “Child Molester!” I feel the same way about the guy who made the afterschool special DONT TOUCH. (You gotta hand it to these guys, it must take a lot of guts to play a pedophile.Because everywhere this guy went Im sure there were angry housewives thinking “Theres that guy who molested little Dana Hill!”

12 years ago

I’m right there with you on being traumatized by this one.  That puppy scene was too much.  I had a tough time watching Richard Masur in anything for a long time after that.  Even in his role as Francine Hughes’ attorney in The Burning Bed came off as skeezy.  Luckily, I was able to wipe out this image of him with his role as Clark in The Thing.

Derek Obrien
12 years ago

I remember watching it as a kid, and getting really creeped out by the scene where Masur convinces Dana to undress because her puppy’s naked, she does it blithely and asks him, “Satisfied?” The look on his face was unforgettable. To be honest I can’t remember much after that.
I have to agree with mamamia about the guts it took actors to play roles like this, roles which threaten to pin them down forever in people’s memories as predators. The last one I’ve heard about was Kevin Bacon in the Woodsman.
Of course, it did help perpetuate the Stranger Danger myth, that kids only had to worry about people they didn’t know, when more often than not it’s relatives or friends of the family, but then maybe that would have been too much for kids to face back then…

Eric McDade
Eric McDade
12 years ago

Oh man, I completely forgot about the puppy.  That was rotten.  But as far as his role as Clark in The Thing, I have to disagree.  All I could think was, “Yeah, this totally makes sense. What’s the perfect solution for a pedophile who wants to stop abusing kids?  Move to where there are no kids.”  He still seemed like a total creep to me.  Still one of my favorite movies, though.  As for The Woodsman, I have to agree. It’s a really solid movie with a great bit of work by Kevin Bacon.
But I think Jackie Earle Haley (Bad News Bears, Breaking Away, Losin’ It) might have probably played the most disturbing pedophile role of all time in Little Children.

12 years ago

“Move To Where There Are No Kids” Hahaha! You gotta really feel for those guys in THE THING. What a sausage fest that was. Nothin for miles but men, snow, a few dogs and The THING. I think after a few weeks of living there I’d gladly let The THING have at me just to end my misery! Hahaha.

I havent seen THE WOODSMAN or LITTLE CHILDREN. I would rent them but then you always sort of think the people at NETFLIX and the neighbors who rifle through your mail think your “weird”