Evil comes not just scarred, bald, and with albinism. Some movie terror is also associated with...the Sun!

Christopher Lee as Dracula with sun poisoning


 Behold the visage of Count Dracula, pale as an Autumn moon. Most are aware that in vampire mythology, sun avoidance is is crucial. Bat aviary, Transylvanian estate, and velvet-lined coffin are all optional.


 Like anyone getting too much sun, severe sun poisoning can result. More than just uncomfortable, the prognosis can be deadly. Since repeated burns are a risk factor for melanoma skin cancer, vampires are not the only ones who should use sunscreen and wear wide brimmed hats. For vampires, we recommend sun protection factor (SPF) 500.

    The Island of Dr. Moreau

    As the evil Dr. Moreau, is the late, overweight screen great Marlon Brando attempting to depict an obese fellow with albinism? Actually, this scene has Brando's character covered in thick opaque sunblock wearing an umbrella to avoid ultraviolet rays. Leave it to Hollywood to take important health measures (using sunscreen to prevent wrinkling and skin cancers) and twist it into something only done by fiendish folks.

"American Psycho"

The new century was graced with the film version of Bret Easton Ellis's controversial novel "American Psycho." A treatise on violent Yuppie excess, it stars Christian Bale as the protagonist. This beefcake shot, widely used to promote the blood-filled movie, shows violence of a subtler variety. Bale is submitting his buffed physique to the dangers of a tanning bed. Though supposedly safe, the UVA rays of tanning beds likely contribute to wrinkles and possibly skin cancer. Also, since tanning establishments are not federally regulated, there is no insurance that UVB (burning rays) are not leaking through. For those that want to retain youthful, healthy skin, just say no to tanning beds. In this case, Hollywood is right: You would have to be psycho to go to a tanning booth!

Case in point: Jennifer Love Hewitt gets scared straight...

In the clumsily titled "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" bodacious yet chicken pock scarred starlet Jennifer Love Hewitt takes a break from avoiding murderers by ducking into a tanning bed. In the movie, it is implied that a killer locks her in the device. Our web site has learned that her stunning performance of intense fear actually stemmed from a realization about the destructive power of ultraviolet light. Once she recognizes the terrible things tanning beds do to the skin, she runs for it! In an exclusive, we have obtained the actual transcript of her thoughts while shooting this terrifying scene. Here is the play by play:


 "Whew! Lying in this tanning bed is certainly a nice break from being chased by serial killers..."

 "These hot fluorescent bulbs sure are close to my skin. But it's only the tanning rays of light, so I won't get burned, right?"

 "While I listen to the latest CD release from my favorite new age musician Yawn-ni, I can build up a 'base tan' to limit my risk of later burning in the sun."

 "Wait, didn't that skinema web site say that tanning beds are not regulated and so some burning can happen? And that the orange-colored 'tan' from beds only has an SPF of about 4? I know the recommended amount in a sun block is at least SPF 15."

 "Oh no! I could get wrinkles, sun spots, and even skin cancer! My film career would be even less healthy than my damaged skin! How would I pay for cosmetic treatments to correct pruney leather-skin from the tanning bed? I'm scared, scared!"

 "Let me out of here! I'll take on hook-handed pychos any day rather than ruin my skin! Now where did I put my wide-brimmed hat?"

We can bet what Hewitt will be doing next summer: wearing sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds...




Blue eyed dolls...

 ...with freckles should avoid the sun to prevent wrinkles...

...not to mention scars from skin cancer surgery!

Standing alongside such murderous luminaries as Freddy from Elm Street and Jason From 13th Street is of course Chucky from Child's Play Blvd. This charismatic killer has to date been featured in no less than four flicks. Initially, this maniacal doll's skin showed freckles. These benign pigmented spots do not turn into skin cancer, but indicate skin that is fair and particularly in need of sun protection. Chucky needs more than sunscreen to revise the scars he incurs by the last installment, "Bride of Chucky." This forgettable slashterpiece co-starred scream siren Jennifer Tilly. This is an actress who just three years before had been nominated for an Academy Award. Perhaps Tilly's agent will be the next of Chucky's victims and she can get back to a real career!

The sun can have many effects on the skin. Wrinkles and a leathery look are only the beginning. The end result of years of sun exposure are skin cancers. This character is the wicked gypsy from the Steven King film, "Thinner." His face shows both pre-cancers (the flat spots) and a large basal cell skin cancer on his nose. Though these skin cancers do not metastasize (go other places in the body), they can continue to grow where they begin. Definitive treatment remains surgical removal. Sunscreen is good preventive medicine, changing growths should be checked by a dermatologist, and whatever you do, avoid wicked gypsies when Steven King is around.

What scares dermatologists? None other than actor George Hamilton, star of "Love at First Bite" and self-appointed promoter of the "healthy" tan. While some advocate sun exposure to boost the body's levels of vitamin D, studies have shown this can be done with as little as five minutes of facial exposure twice a week. After that, the radiation only damages the skin. We agree with the American Academy of Dermatology's recommendation for taking dietary supplements of vitamin D instead. Nothing chills a skin doc's heart more than Hamil-tan's bronzed visage...


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