Entertainment Earth


Horror Crush: Daphne Zuniga

It's time to induct another beauty into this site's hollowed halls of the Horror Crush section! Toay's inductee is an actress who has been a big crush of mine since childhood, Melrose Place beauty: Daphne Zuniga!

Daphne Zuniga was born on October 28, 1962 in San Francisco, California. Her mom was a Unitarian minister of Polish and Finish decent, and her dad, from Guatemala, and was an emeritus professor philosophy at California State University, East Bay. In her early teens, she began to show an interest in acting and attended the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She would later enroll in the University of California to study theater.   

While, she might be best known for her mainstream work, in particular the aforementioned Melrose's Place, she has actually appeared in a decent amount of horror. Far more than I even thought she had. In fact, her first acting gig was in a 1982 slasher movie The Dorm that Dripped Blood. Also known Pranks, I've never seen this one, but I already knew that it actually made Britain's infamous Video Nasties list. She plays a supporting role in this tale of college students who stay over Christmas vacation to clean out a condemned dormitory. They get killed one by one, of course. Only 19 when she appeared in it. Any, fans of this one? And, how she is in? Let me know in the comments section below.

Two years later she appeared in another college centered slasher movie, The Initiation. This time, though, she had the lead role, as Kelly Fairchild. In it, she's been haunted by a nightmare since childhood were some dude gets immolated in her parents (played by Clu Gulager and Vera Miles[!!!) room with both of them present, post-coitus. Meanwhile, an inmate said parents fear has escaped from a sanitarium. People begin to die, of course, as a mysterious assailant keeps knocking them off. 

I actually only saw this a few days ago and quite enjoyed it. It isn't that gory or innovative when it comes to the kills, though one or two are pretty good. What it is, is suspenseful. And, while it is a bit on the slow side, it builds up nicely to a really good climax with a great setting: a mall. The slow pace does allow for likable character development and some good acting from Miles and Gullager. Zuniga is especially good as the lead, making for a believable final girl that we actually care about.

It goes without saying that Zuniga looks absolutely gorgeous. She also appears in her panties with a quick plummer's crack shot. The other girls in the flick are also pretty and, in keeping with the sensibilities of slashers back in the day, do get nude.

In 1987, she appeared in what is probably her most famous movie role, Princess Vespa in Spaceballs. This is where I first saw her in and first crushed on her. But, it's her role two films later, in 1989, that solidified my crush on her: The Fly II. Dealing with the rapidly growing and mutating son of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), Martin (an excellent Eric Stollz), is looking to cure himself of his genetic curse. But, the bad guys wanna study and use him. He isn't happy about that to say the least, especially cause these assholes lied to him and even experiment on his doggy damning it to a deformed hell. Said scene is absolutely heartbreaking and soul crushing. It always makes me sob, even though I can't  actually watch the scene on top of having watched it many times.

Look this movie is no where near the level of David Cronenberg's masterpiece of a first film, arguably the greatest remake ever made. So, don't waste your time comparing it, OK? Instead, enjoy for what it is, a fun monster movie. It has incredible FX, but then again, it's directed by and has FX handled by Chris Walas (who also handled the FX on the first movie). So, it obviously would be. It has some incredible gore, including two scenes, a face melting and a crushed head via elevator. that really push the R-rating at the time. 

It's also really well acted. Stollz is great, of course, as is Lee Richardson as Anton Bartok, the flick's truly despicable main villain. Also, good is Zuniga. She plays the very sweet and likable love interest to Martin, Beth Logan. Watching this as a kid, I was blown away by her beauty and their sex scene. Actually said scene shows no naughty bits, but it somehow still caught my pre-teen brain/ hormones attention (not that hard to do back in those days, to be honest).

Her next two horror roles were both on TV. The first was for a short lived show that I never heard of before, an anthology called Nightmare Classics (1989). 

The other was in an episode of The Outer Limits (1999). I haven't seen this one either. But, if any of you guys have seen either, let me know in the comments section. Let me know how the episodes were and how she was in them.

I met her at an August 2017 Monster-Mania. She was all smiles and seemed to be having a lot of fun at the con. She also still looks absolutely gorgeous!
To mainstream audiences she maybe best known for Melrose Place and Spaceballs, but she'll always be best remembered by me, and probably other genre fans for her horror roles, in particular, The Fly II. For her breathtaking beauty and great acting skills in said roles, I am proud to induct Daphne Zuniga to be an official Horror Crush!