Earlier today, we shared the tragic news of the death of iconic actress Margot Kidder. Kidder was perhaps best known for her role as Lois Lane in Superman I-IV, but the Canadian-born actress has strong roots in the horror genre. We all share the loss of such a bright and vibrant star.
Margaret Ruth Kidder – aka Margot Kidder – was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. One (or, rather, two) of her earliest roles was in Brian De Palma’s Sisters where she played Danielle Breton and Dominique Blanchion. The 1973 psychological horror film focuses on a French Canadian model whose separated Conjoined twin is suspected of a brutal murder (as witnessed by a newspaper reporter).
Kidder’s performance was praised by critics who noted the film’s homage to the works of Alfred Hitchcock. She plays the roles of Danielle and Dominique with a coy balance of coquettish grace and unhinged mania, creating a division between the two sisters.
Sad to hear of the passing of Margot Kidder. A spark of vivacious life in all of her films. I loved her in cult horrors 'Sisters' and 'Black Christmas'. And of course she remains the best Lois Lane in the magical 'Superman' & 'Superman II'. RIP to a unique screen presence. pic.twitter.com/bQEVv7PSa3
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) May 14, 2018
In 1974, Kidder burst onto the scene with the Canadian cult classic, Black Christmas. Bob Clark’s festive horror film is one of the first conventional slasher films and successfully passes the Bechdel Test. It features a group of strong women whose characters are fully fleshed out as they deal with their own personal concerns and growth (while being systematically hunted down by a crazed killer).
Kidder’s performance as sassy, foul-mouthed fan favorite Barb won her a Canadian Film Award for Best Actress, as well as the admiration of audience members for decades to come.
A year after Kidder’s debut as Lois Lane in Superman, she solidified her scream queen status as matriarch Kathy Lutz in the hugely successful The Amityville Horror. Though the 1979 film received mostly negative reviews from critics (at the time), it has since been regarded by film scholars as one of the classics of the horror genre.
Kidder was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a mother in terrified turmoil. The film’s success (it was the highest grossing independent film up until 1990, raking in a total of over $86 million) spawned a slew of sequels, remakes, and genre fan obsessions over the architecturally identifiable (and questionably haunted) house.
Kidder further embraced genre roles with horror anthology series like Deadly Nightmares in 1985 (in which she played the episode lead, Jane Reynolds, in Season 3’s Nightshift), The Outer Limits in 2000 (in the Season 6 episode Revival, alongside Gary Busey), and R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour in 2014 (as the titular character in Season 4’s Mrs. Worthington, for which she won an Emmy Award). Kidder also featured in the anthology film Death 4 Told in 2004 (in the segment titled The Psychic).
Her range extended to the critically acclaimed To Catch a Killer in 1992, the two-part, made-for-TV-movie about the gruesome true story of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. The miniseries was nominated for the American Television Awards for Best Miniseries, and Kidder’s co-star, Brian Dennehy, was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance as Gacy.
RIP Margot Kidder. One of my favorite movies of hers is the original Black Christmas. It introduced some elements that are now genre tropes and she’s fantastic in it.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) May 14, 2018
Smaller roles in The Clown At Midnight in 1999 (alongside Christopher Plummer) and Rob Zombie’s Halloween II in 2009 (playing Laurie Strode’s therapist) continued her work through the genre.
Lois Lane aside, Margot Kidder was a name you’d know with a bright and exuberant face you instantly recognize.
She was versatile. She was resilient. And she will be missed.