Cabaret

All posts in the Cabaret category

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Hanna Schygulla

Published October 18, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Hanna Schygulla is so bad-ass. As one of the ultra-femme inspirations of German filmmaker (and all-around wunderkind) Rainer Werner Fassbinder and as one of the co-stars of Cannon Film’s batshit-loco action opus Delta Force, her pedigree cannot be denied!

Although, her penultimate moment onscreen may be as Karen, her lusciously manipulative lesbian, in Fassbinder’s Sirk-like The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Nicely, she also lent great mystery, years later, to Kenneth Branagh’s gothic reincarnation thriller Dead Again.

But…perhaps, her moments as a chanteuse in the last decade or so, have provided the world with her ultimate performances.

Whatever your personal preference may be, without a doubt, her singular majesty will, rightfully, live on forever!

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Nichelle Nichols

Published October 4, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

The physical materialization of an iconic figure, Nichelle Nichols will forever reign over all spatial frequencies with a Vogue cover coolness and a steely strength of purpose. Sacrificing her musical theater ambitions to continue giving the Black community a powerful presence on ’60s network television via her work on the original Star Trek television series, she eventually made it to the recording studios, giving some standards (and an original or two) a sassy makeover.

Thankfully for horror fans, she also brought a commanding energy to the ‘80s offering The Supernaturals, as well. As Sgt. Leona Hawkins, Nichols mixes toughness with compassion – traits that are especially useful when a group of undead confederate soldiers begin to pick off her charges. Why don’t you do right, indeed!!!

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Style Icons of Horror: Kaye Stevens

Published August 8, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Kaye Main

“Show any cheek and you’ll be back shoveling French fries!!” – Mrs. Kallender, Jaws 3

Whether opening for The Temptations or enacting a broken-hearted breakdown on Days of Our Lives, eclectic wonder Kaye Stevens always presented herself with passion and a grand sense of pizzazz.

Nicely, this scene stealer brought a little flair to the Jaws kingdom as well with her appearance in the highly anticipated, ‘80s personifying Jaws 3-D! As her Mrs. Kallender instructed some eager femme charges on how to conduct themselves as employees in this toothy version of Sea World, it seems like the producers took a liking to Stevens’ personal style. Flourishes of red abound in the production design, making Kaye’s bright locks a visual precursor for all that is to come in this aquatic, bloody celluloid nightmare.

In my (skin free) book, there can be no bigger compliment or sincere indication of Stevens’ immense visual (and otherwise) talents than that!

Kaye Mashup

Kaye leading the Jaws 3 color charge!

Until the next time, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Kaye Collage

Further evidence of Kaye bringing flair to soap operas, variety shows and album covers, worldwide!

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Della Reese

Published June 28, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Della Reese

Much grittier than her Touched By An Angel persona may have suggested, the amazingly eclectic Della Reese had a vast, multi-leveled career. Her extensive credits even include an appearance in Psychic Killer, a horror effort directed by B-movie stalwart Ray Danton, the one time husband of Creature from the Black Lagoon’s Julie Adams.

Audiophiles meanwhile have embraced One More Time, a mid-60s recording effort that finds Reese at the peek of her performing powers.

A more sensual Reese is discovered on her interesting cover of Bob Dylan’s Lay, Lady, Lay, as well.

Proving herself to be a performer of many moods and textures, Reese is eternally honored at https://dellareese.com/.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Psychic-Killer-Neville-Brand-Della-Reese

Reese with Neville Brand in Psychic Killer

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ethel Ennis

Published May 17, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Ethel Ennis

Her take on The Star-Spangled Banner may have helped heal the nation during the Viet Nam War, but joyful terror tykes across the continents are probably most aware of the smooth tones of the divine Ethel Ennis due to her singing the theme song of the stop motion classic Mad Monster Party.

Credited as being a jazz icon, Ennis did not like to be sonically labeled, preferring to add her lilting personality and unique presence into whatever genre of music that she chose to sing.

But she was proud to be claimed by her native Baltimore as one of their prime attractions, dying at the age of 86 in 2019 after dedicating nearly 70 years of her life to the arts.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Ethel Ennis Mad Monster Party

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ella Fitzgerald

Published May 3, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

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Supernaturally talented, the divine Ella Fitzgerald shunned the more ostentatious aspects of show business, putting her complete concentration on the music. Known for her historic jazz stylings, she also added shades of other genres into her repertoire, including pop and country. In particular, her late ‘60s Capital LP Misty Blue featured her upbeat take on the Nashville sound.

Appropriately, Evil On Your Mind, a track off that offering, explores the horrors of love gone on the prowl, earning her a spot on every sympathetic terror freak’s playlist forever.

Naturally, they’re in good company.  Even the musically eclectic Melissa Manchester is a fan!

http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Ella

Music to Make Horror Movies By: I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance

Published March 8, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Alfred Hitchcock Music to be Murdered By

Just before my sophomore year of high school, I finally got my hair styled and my parents allowed me to get contact lenses. It felt like the whole world was opening up for me. Soon after that, I got the lead in the winter play, proof (I felt at the time) that change indeed was happening. As I was driven back and forth from rehearsals that late fall, Linda Ronstadt was continually, creamily crooning What’s New, the title track from her upcoming album of standards, on the car’s steadfast AM radio. I asked for the LP for Christmas that year.

MildredI lovingly remember playing that recording in my grandparents’ living room as the family sat around listening to it and chatting. In an often turbulent youth, filled with familial misunderstandings and the wisps of angst seemingly floating around the surface of many of my first tentative interactions, this is one of my favorite memories. Ronstadt’s version of I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance was song that probably stood out the most for me then and now. Besides the supernatural element of the title, I always had the sneaking suspicion that romance would be elusive to me, that connecting with someone would perhaps be an awkward, unrealized proposition. It was also one of the tracks included on Jeff Alexander’s creepily arranged Alfred Hitchcock Presents album, Music to Be Murdered By.

While I adore Ronstadt’s moody treatment of the number, one of my favorite versions is a jazzier, breezier take by the incomparable Mildred Bailey. One of Bing Crosby’s favored colleagues, Bailey was a Native American jazz singer who made a stunning impression on the music industry. I wish she was more publicly acknowledged.

Of course,  I’ve heard ignoring your first could prove to have disastrous consequences, so…

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Randall Edwards

Published January 10, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

RandallGorilla.jpgA mad man was threatening to freeze frame the world. Fair ingénues were being buried alive. And over at Ryan’s Hope, the comically conniving Delia was kidnapped by a gorilla in a daytime television take on King Kong’s love struck antics. Such was the world of the early ‘80s soaps and the game and lovely Randall Edwards was a huge part of that zany atmosphere.

Taking over the role of Delia from the incredibly popular Ilene Kirsten, Edwards eventually made the role her own while simultaneously thrilling old school horror lovers with her best Fay Wray impression. Purposely grabbing a lion’s share of publicity, this attention seeking storyline surely prepared Edwards for some theatrical scrutiny that was soon to follow.RandallPeople

After a successful showing in Neil Simon’s critically acclaimed Biloxi Blues, Edwards was cast as sassy showgirl Kiki Roberts in the 1988 Broadway production of Legs Diamond. The show, nicely, gave her an ample chance to show off her singing and dancing talents in numbers such as I Was Made for Champagne and Only Steal From Thieves. Expensively produced and starring popular singer-songwriter Peter Allen, this production eventually went down in history as being one of show business’ most notorious flops, causing the permanent closing of the theater in which it debuted.

RandallLegsOf course, time has thankfully brought out kinder reactions to the project. Allen’ score has been favorably reexamined and several of the songs were included in The Boy From Oz, the popular retelling of his life starring Hugh Jackman. Nicely, a 30th anniversary concert recreation of the show even featured a still beautiful, dizzily potent Edwards.

Reportedly now a psychologist, it would definitely make her many fans “go ape” if this talented woman would continue to make occasional appearances in creative situations.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: BETTE Xmas at the Continental Baths

Published December 15, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Bette ad.jpg

Bette Midler is many things. Her repertoire of songs alone includes rock and roll, MOR pop ballads, girl group classics and new wave energizers. Her role as the hysterically vengeful Winifred in Hocus Pocus also imbues her with a strong horror pedigree, allowing generations of outsiders to delightfully engage in their inner wicked witches.

In BETTE Xmas at the Continental Baths, Chicago theater goddess Caitlin Jackson invokes many of those Midler personalities while also remaining uniquely herself. Based upon the Divine One’s ‘70s showcase at a NYC men’s club, this production is full of goofy energy and go-for-broke silliness, making it not only a seasonal delight, but one of the year’s best stage offerings as a whole, as well.

Jackson’s desire to make this a sort of performing arts fever dream is perfectly realized. For example, the corny jokes in Jackson and David Cerda’s fun script are often so obvious that they don’t land with the audience…at first. But the performer’s skilled reactions to the theater’s radio silence are truly hysterical, making the presentation as a whole an unmitigated delight from start to finish.

Of course, Jackson’s softly anguished takes on songs such as Superstar, River and I Shall Be Released are the evening’s master points. This go-for-broke yet subtle emotionality is her forte as a performer, making one pity those who will never experience this kind of brilliance in their lifetimes.

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Nicely, Jackson is ably assisted here by Terry McCarthy as Mr. Gerard, Midler’s game hairdresser, and Sydney Genco and Allison Petrillo as Laverne and Trixie, Midler’s backup singers. Genco and Petrillo get a chance to shine on their own during the show’s intermission/costume change. Their pert energy and spot on timing ultimately prove that they deserve a show of their own one of these days. Hmm…maybe next season!!!

But until then… give proper kudos to Jackson and co-director Marc Lewallen, by checking out this year’s festivities before closing night on December 31st.

https://www.facebook.com/events/570448403729627/

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Cecil Cunningham

Published December 12, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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A product of the Broadway and vaudeville stages, the distinguished Cecil Cunningham was a character actress who, for decades, supported such cinema queens as Hedy LaMarr, Greta Garbo, Mary Astor, Carole Lombard (pictured below) and Barbara Stanwyck. Of course, smart cinema enthusiasts know that she was a presence in her own right, making a strong impression in smaller roles that often weren’t even credited onscreen.

thZJV2T4DG.jpgThankfully for horror fans, Cunningham was given one of her most prestigious undertakings in the fun Warner Brothers’ genre fest The Hidden Hand. Released in 1942, this gem found this regal celluloid queen in fine form as Lorinda Channing, the head of a family of greedy, mentally unbalanced socialites. Pretending to be near her death, Channing invites her nearest and dearest to her estate. Surmising that they all want her cold for her cash, this devious diva enlists the help of her brother, a deranged killer who has just escaped an asylum, to assist her in her plotting against her avaricious kinfolk.

Filled with weird humor and old dark house theatrics, this project also gave Cunningham plenty of room to utilize many of her acting tools. She brings a proud and strange presence to Channing, reveling in a role that would have normally been filled by a Boris Karloff or Laird Cregar type. Her work here is definitely the precursor to contemporary artists like Deanna Dunagan and Lin Shaye, fine actresses, who have embellished and empowered such films as The Visit and Insidious with their distinguished essences.

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Cunningham, who also appeared in 1934’s hard to find Return of The Terror and Ladies They Talk About, an early WIP effort, died at the age of 70 in 1959. Sixty years later, her filmography (and her genre credits, in particular) seems truly ripe for rediscovery.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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