Playboy Horror

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 by Rachel

Since tonight Lifetime will be airing the “Hef’s Runaway Bride” special, I decided it would be the perfect day to watch The Telling for the first time. Though The Telling isn’t officially Playboy-endorsed, it stars many recognizable Playmates and features Hugh Hefner’s mansion as a sorority house. I’d seen The Telling referenced in several Girls Next Door episodes, as Bridget Marquardt produced the movie. This was a movie that I never had high expectations for, but I figured would be a fun, silly, straight-to-video watching experience.


The Telling is filmed in the anthology tradition of movies like Creepshow and The Twilight Zone. The movie is framed by the story that, in the final round of recruitment, a sorority accepts new pledges based on how scary their scary stories are. The pledges tell three stories. In the first, a woman struggles when her boyfriend moves his ex-girlfriend into their home. But she soon realizes that her competition isn’t with the ex-girlfriend, but with a doll. In the second, a washed-up/too-old actress accepts a horror role, unaware that this role will be her last. In the third, three friends stuck at home make prank calls. When the prank caller strikes back, they don’t know who they can trust.


My favorite of the three sections was the second, starring Bridget. Bridget has always been my favorite of the Girls Next Door, and, though her acting isn’t anywhere near Oscar-quality, she does a good job in this “dialogue-light” role. But the reason why I like this section the best is because it is where the movie tries to experiment, with lighting, with filming, with a psychedelic absinthe scene, with a dinner table seated with masked guests. This is where the movie really tries to make itself special, and I wonder if this section alone could’ve been expanded and made for an exciting 90 minute movie.


Though The Telling isn’t necessarily successful as a horror film, it is obvious that the people who made it knew a lot about horror films, with the frequent references to its predecessors. The Telling isn’t supposed to be scary (though I did jump once), and it was exactly what I thought it would be. If you’re going to be nitpicky about the film’s quality, actors, dialogue, and predictable plot, sit this one out. If you like Playboy-related stuff, like horror and you have a sense of humor, watch it. This movie kept me entertained.

Leave a Reply