Lynn Lowry is an American actress, best known for her appearances in cult horror and exploitation films during the 1970s.
Born Linda Kay Lowry on October 15th, 1947, she made her first film appearance in 1970 as part of the cast of ultra-gory shocker I Drink Your Blood, a tale of satanist hippies who become crazed after being infected with rabies. Although she only had a small part (and wasn’t even credited), she did appear in what has since become one of the film’s most iconic moment, brandishing a severed hand.
I Drink Your Blood was the first of three ‘infection’ films that Lowry made over the next few years, and these movies remain her best known and best loved work. After I Drink Your Blood, she had a pivotal role in George Romero’s The Crazies in 1973. This film rejigged the concept of Night of the Living Dead into a more plausible concept – a plane carrying a government bio weapon crashes, infecting the water supply in a small town and causing an outbreak of madness in the local population.
Lowry followed this with David Cronenberg’s Shivers (aka They Came from Within / The Parasite Murders), which again saw an infection – in this case a phallic sex parasite – running rampant, spreading through the self-contained residents of a soulless tower block. In this film, Lowry was effectively the female lead.
In all three of these films, Lowry proved to be an effective presence. Her unusual beauty and hippy chick style helped to create a certain unease, as the viewer was unsure if she was infected or not. In The Crazies, she featured in a controversial scene, while in Shivers, her character helps show how emotionally dead the characters are before infection and how sexually liberated they are by the infection.
In each of these films, Lowry has arguably the most memorable scenes – her startling death in The Crazies is an iconic moment, and her “even dying is an act of eroticism” speech in Shivers, along with her appearance at the climax, both erotic and unnerving, remain both unforgettable sequences and the point where the film’s controversial philosophy of liberation through sexual disease is made most clear.
Between these films, she appeared in Lloyd Kaufman’s directorial debut, the sex comedy Battle of Love’s Return, alongside cult movie queen Mary Woronov in Theodore Gershuny’s arthouse sexploitation drama Sugar Cookies, and Radley Metzger’s impressive erotic film Score. These films all took advantage of her willingness to undress and and usually featured her as a naïve hippy type who gets caught up in a world of decadence and deviation. But she often turns out to be less the victim than she initially appears.
She also appeared in short-lived TV show How to Survive a Marriage in 1974.
In 1976, she appeared in the vengeance thriller Fighting Mad, and in 1982 had a role in the remake of Cat People. There were a handful of small part TV appearances in the 1980s and 1990s, but for the most part, her screen career was replaced with theatre and singing work, with Lowry performing with a band playing show tunes, jazz and folk music.
However, in the last decade, she has made a screen comeback, starting in 2005. Her cult status has seen her called upon by a number of horror filmmakers, keen to have her appear in their movies. The highest-profile of these is The Theatre Bizarre, where she appeared in David Gregory’s segment Sweets.
Other films of the last few years include Splatter Disco, Beyond the Dunwich Horror, Schism, Psychosomatika, I Spill Your Guts, The Legend of Six Fingers, Torture Chamber, Cannibals, Night of the Sea Monkey: A Disturbing Tale; Debbie Rochon’s Model Hunger and several more. She also made a cameo appearance in the 2010 remake of The Crazies.
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