Film

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Tamara Lindeman

Published September 19, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

As a working actor, Tamara Lindeman faced down various professional challenges. The most problematic, CGI ridden of these had to be the soil bound creatures that she beat back as a tough army officer in the 2009 creature-feature Sand Serpents.

Thankfully, Lindeman has found much more autonomy and a firmer grasp on the beauties and complexities of Mother Earth as the front person-founder of the jazzy modern rock band Weather Station. In fact, her latest release, Ignorance, has already received Best of the Year predictions from distinguished sites like Pitchfork. One of the best numbers included on that soft, often surprisingly subtle work of art is Wear.

As the seasons unfold, be sure to dress yourself up in other sonic beauties Lindeman offers at www.theweatherstation.net, as well.

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

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Va-Va-Villainess: Melissa Sue Anderson

Published August 29, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

After years of playing the overburdened Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, securing herself a Leading Actress Emmy nomination at the age of 16 along the way, Melissa Sue Anderson, understandably wanted to branch out. With a daring pixie cut, quite the opposite of Mary’s angelic country tresses, Anderson took on the role of Vivian Sotherland, a (very bad) witch in training, in 1981’s truly enjoyable television film Midnight Offerings.

With a glint in her eye and venom dripping from her voice, Anderson obviously reveled in playing a person who was happy to torture her romantic rival – here another (shiningly nice) witch in training, played, in perfect stunt casting style, by The Waltons’ Mary McDonough.

In Hooray for Homicide, a first season episode of Murder, She Wrote, Anderson also explored darker worlds as starlet Eve Crystal. Here, though, her crimes are almost accidental. Thus, all of Anderson/Crystal’s manipulations and cover-ups are born out of soft sorrow and regret – a situation that Anderson displays at the episode’s denouement with a downcast tone in her voice and teary sorrow in her eyes.

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Horror Hall of Fame:

Of course, true terror stalwarts know that Anderson’s most famous attempt at ripping off those calico dresses occurred with Happy Birthday to Me, the now classic 1981 slasher film. The film’s iconic tagline boasted of a celluloid delight that featured “six of the most bizarre murders that you will ever see,” but fans of women in horror will always appreciate Anderson’s quietly mysterious performance. Although, ultimately a red herring, here she makes you believe that her character just might be responsible for all the bloodshed at hand – a nice feat of acting prowess, indeed.

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and she didn’t even notice the shirt! As a kid I had a wall covered with the posters of the actors that I dreamed of working with one day. Melissa Sue Anderson was one of them. While on a 2010 book store tour for her memoir, Anderson would ask for audience members to read with her. While not exactly primetime television…I guess that I can check that hope off of the bucket list…

Buddy Cole’s Gift

Published August 22, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Talking with a reporter for The Buffalo News last summer, I found myself navigating through some of the murkier dynamics of sexual abuse. I was 16 the first time an official from the Catholic Church touched me (This, of course, was after years of verbal grooming). That was the age when my hormones, like those of many other young men, were starting to blaze into perpetual existence. I remember watching, sometimes in sad disbelief. as the boys and the girls in my high school found their way to each other, often times in the most unlikely couplings. This left me eagerly vulnerable to any homosexual advances – even the passionately unwanted ones. Therefore, it felt like I was lifting a murkily illuminated rock off of one of my darkest secrets when I revealed during that conversation that, on occasion, I relented without protest and sometimes with the barest whiff of desire when one of those often corpulent officers of Christ beckoned to me, lustily. To my surprise, the journalist, who had been covering this type of subject matter for decades. seemed unfazed by this admission. “Even the youngest and straightest of male victims have often admitted to feeling pleasure of some sort during these encounters,” he admitted. “It’s one of the many realities that makes the whole issue so insidious.”

As influenced as we are by cultural suggestion, it seems that the dearth of this kind of complex representation in film might also contribute to our silence on such an emotionally complicated issue, as well. In fact, the only film that I have ever seen approach this psychological tragedy is 2000’s back woods gothic genre-piece The Gift. Written by Billy Bob Thornton & Tom Epperson, one of the plot points of Sam Raimi’s acclaimed film deals with the relationship of a small town psychic (Cate Blanchett’s sensitively rendered Annie Wilson) and one of her supremely damaged clients, a young garage mechanic (Giovanni Ribisi’s Buddy Cole).

Obsessed with his father and mentally unraveling, it is pretty obvious from the outset that Cole, as emphatically and almost beyond realistically played by Ribisi, has been sexually abused by his paterfamilias. But taking the circumstances to an interesting extreme, Thornton and Epperson reveal just how deviant the effects of this violation can be. Desperate and at the end of a rapidly eroding grip on his violent tendencies, Buddy finally confesses to Annie, “I’ve been thinking about my daddy and I’ve been touching myself. Why do I do that?” Naturally with the set-up of Cole’s fist pounding, explosive personality, when the truth ultimately reveals itself to him, it is met with a fiery, understandably criminal retribution.

Despite this distinctly celluloid resolution, as most real life victims actually take to therapy or the courtroom to deal with their damaged upbringings, the creatives here still need to be applauded. By digging deep into a seemingly never before acknowledged aspect of abuse – the recipient’s own conflicted carnality – they offer a representation that is meaningful to the many, including myself, who deal with the repercussions of such abuses on a daily basis.

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

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Anne Nagel

Published August 15, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Even with almost 100 credits to her name, actress Anne Nagel (1915-1966) may be best known to many Hollywood memorabilia seekers for her often chaotic personal life. Dying at age 50 from cancer, Nagel’s career path was waylaid by the suicide of actor Ross Alexander, her first husband, newsworthy lawsuits and rumored bouts with alcoholism.

Thankfully, old school horror lovers have different specifications for notoriety, becoming enamored with Nagel’s multiple charms through her sunny appearances in a number of beloved, low budget fright flicks. Shining brightly as June Lawrence in Man Made Monster (above), Lenora in The Mad Monster and Mrs. William Saunders in The Mad Doctor of Market Street, she was perhaps given the most to do as doomed gangster’s moll and nightclub performer Sunny Rogers in 1940’s Black Friday.

This flick, which features both Universal genre icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, allows Nagel to play with a full palette of colors. Her character here is both manipulative and sympathetic, radiating with a true sense of bewilderment when her gangster lover reemerges from the dead in the form of a sympathetic college professor, courtesy of deranged doctor Karloff’s reliably bloodless brain surgery skills.

Nicely, as with her other projects, Nagel also embosses the proceedings with a true sense of glamour – providing a nice contrast to the soft innocence projected by Anne Gwynne, the film’s other female co-star.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Meat Loaf

Published August 8, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

How I have never written about Meat Loaf in the years that I have been doing this column is a mystery to me. Always theatrical, Mr. Aday won the hearts of horror maniacs decades ago with his dementedly magnetic take on The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s motorcycle riding, saxophone stroking Eddie. His subsequent genre offerings also include such popular projects as Masters of Horror and the musical-slasher hybrid Stage Fright.

More than anything, though, this pure example of board striding bravado has taken the hearts of outsiders everywhere by storm simply by the mere fact of his stratospheric existence. The beautifully physical opposite of most centerfold worthy rock gods, his meteoric rise in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s proved that talent and enthusiasm could win out in the often perilous, completely unfair world of main stream (unforward thinking) show business.

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

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….KP and I “Meet” Loaf –

Va-Va-Villainess: Carol Veazie

Published July 11, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Carol Veazie (1895-1984) was one of those formidable character actresses who enlivened the proceedings of many celluloid outings – often in smaller roles. Thankfully, television was a bit kinder to her, allowing her to shine on such classic programs as McHale’s Navy and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. In particular, the producers of The Loretta Young Show seemed to recognize her magnificent presence and, in appreciation thereof, gave her a role to match her talents in a 4th season episode of the popular anthology series called Wedding Day.

Here, as the regal Jessica Vail, Veazie is given many colors to play. As the prime confident to Young’s aristocratic Muriel, this established performer initially radiates with compassion and concern as her young charge seems to be losing her grip on reality. But, as Muriel struggles to come to terms with the supposed death of her fiancée, Veazie begins to let sharper, darker hues characterize her work here.

Indeed, by the end of the episode, Jessica has turned on Muriel with a diabolic fervor and our featured performer almost gleefully relishes all the opportunities she has to play a woman driven to desperate circumstances by uncontrollable greed and a vengeful mindset.

Of course, Veazie, who had already made an appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents (below), was no stranger to gothic enterprises. Nicely, she ultimately rounded her career out by appearing on an episode of Kolcahak: The Night Stalker, as well.

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

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Patsy Kelly

Published July 4, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Her teaming with the stunningly tragic Thelma Todd in a series of comedy shorts in the ’30s brought the zaftig Patsy Kelly fame and critical renown for her clowning abilities. But by the ’40s, her career had dried up. Hollywood was not ready to accept Kelly’s refusal to hide her lesbianism or to even downplay her preferences to the masses.

Unfortunately, this proud, unwavering stance forced her to live through some lean years. A friendship with the iconic Tallulah Bankhead (Die, Die, My Darling) carried her through the ’50s and ’60s. (Kelly worked both as a real life and on stage companion to that mercurial talent.) Thankfully, by the early ’70s (with many of the Tinsel Town executives who shunned her either forgotten or dead), Kelly found latter day success in a number of Broadway vehicles. These turns eventually found her gainful employment – of all places – in two Disney flicks, including Freaky Friday (with future notable Sapphic, Jodie Foster).

Thankfully, in 1968, this unforgettable performer (who also provided ample buffoonery to 1939’s The Gorilla with Bela Lugosi), also made a pit stop in Classic Terror Town with her affably odd performance of Laura-Louise in Rosemary’s Baby. Playing a character who is overly devoted to Rosemary’s demonic offspring, Kelly resonates most in her final moments of the film. But any time she is onscreen here, particularly when she is sharing space with fellow golden oldie Ruth Gordon, is a fine one – making this often overlooked entertainer, a true unsung heroine of horror!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dave Wakeling

Published June 27, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Coming out a bisexual in an interview with Mother Jones in 1985, musician Dave Wakeling has often proven himself to be ahead of the bar, creatively and culturally. Best known for being an integral member of such popular New Wave bands as English Beat and General Public, he has also built a solid career for himself as a solo musician and composer.

The LGBTQIA community may know him best for General Public’s cover of I’ll Take You There, a song that was prominently featured in the queer-centric Threesome. Horror enthusiasts, especially those who love a Rosemary’s Baby inspired possession tale, may remember him for the inclusion of GP’s classic Tenderness in Devil’s Due, a recent found footage kiddo’s-gone-bad offering.

http://www.davewakeling.com/

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

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Pride Month Hero: Peter Hooten

Published June 21, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

With appearances in the original versions of Marvel’s Dr. Strange & Inglorious Bastards, the culturally athletic Peter Hooten had an acting career that has left an inspired mark on most genre fans. But this should-be icon, who also had lead roles in the whale-gone-wild epic Orca and the completely bonkers horror extravaganza Night Killer, made a significant mark on cultural life via his supporting, loving relationship with Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Merrill – a romance that lasted until Merrill’s death of AIDS related illnesses in 1995.

Interestingly, in the special features for Severin Film’s Blu-Ray release of Night Killer, director-writer Claudio Fragrasso notes that lead actress Tara Buckman had issues with Hooten’s sexuality, irrationally claiming that, because of his orientation, their love scenes weren’t reading as authentic. Indeed, the opposite is true. Hooten’s energy in the film is decidedly earthy, proving that he always gave solid, believable performances despite the incalculable prejudices of Hollywood and it’s flighty, often emotionally unstable denizens.

That fact alone should definitely make him a Pride Month Hero, 12 months of the year, in anyone (and everyone’s) book!

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

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Va-Va-Villainess: Dolores Gray

Published June 13, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

The sultry Dolores Gray (1922-2002) had a unique career. She will probably go down in history as the only actress to win a Tony Award for a show that lasted only 6 performances (1954’s Carnival in Flanders). She also lit up the MGM Studios in the mid-fifties with her personal brand of glossy sophistication, but, ultimately, only had major roles in four films.

Thankfully, those celluloid adventures offered her the chance to often play game seductresses and extremely glamourous, catty rivals to her (generally more innocent and trustworthy) female co-stars.

She, perhaps, made her most significant performing mark as the vindictive, backstabbing Sylvia Fowler in 1956’S The Opposite Sex, a remake of Clare Booth Luce’s zing worthy The Women. This project found her going arched eyebrow to arched eyebrow (with some exuberant fisticuffs thrown in for good measure) with such cinematic notables as June Allyson, Ann Sheridan and Ann Miller.

Her most popular public offering, though, was perhaps 1957’s Designing Woman, directed by the diva loving Vincente Minnelli. Here, as theater starlet Lori Shannon, Gray provided competition for Lauren Bacall’s sensitive fashionista Marilla. While her character is more of a victim of circumstance here than in the previous effort, Gray still puts in a good show as a majorly distracting influence upon the whirlwind romance and marriage of Bacall’s fashion queen and Gregory Peck’s beleaguered sports writer, Mike Hagen.

While Gray was quoted, by certain sources, as wishing that she had a more extensive filmography, one cannot deny the quality of the cool charm that she provided in the credits that she did have.

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

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