Horror

All posts in the Horror category

Unsung Heroines of Horror: Thelma Carpenter

Published January 29, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Broadway. Hollywood. The Apollo. Radio. From the recording studio to smoky night clubs, the diminutive, nearly indestructible Thelma Carpenter made her mark with sophisticated ease. Of special note, her 1963 album Thinking of You Tonight not only appealed to discerning jazz and sophisticated pop aficionados, but to directors like Bob Fosse and Sidney Lumet. These mavericks cast her in shows like Pippin and films like The Wiz, where her appearance as Miss One earned her a true-blue regent of fans.

Euro dynamo Jeannot Szwarz (Jaws 2, Supergirl, Night Gallery) also recognized her uniqueness by utilizing her talents as one of the mysterious Poole Sisters in 1973’s Rosemary’s Baby inspired The Devil’s Daughter. Paired with the equally interesting Lucille Benson (Private Parts, Halloween 2), Carpenter brings a unique and calming menace to her role as a friendly spinster who seems just a little too interested in the origins of Diane Show, an innocent career woman played by Belinda J. Montgomery.

Acting much like the clan of witches that terrorized Mia Farrow’s Rosemary Woodhouse in the Polanski classic, Carpenter and Benson are joined here by such show biz notables as Shelley Winters, Joseph Cotten, Dark Shadows‘ eternal Jonathan Frid and Abe Vigoda in making sure that Montgomery submits to her reluctant character’s predetermined satanic fate. Nicely acting off each other’s unique energy, this duo also invests their interactions with a quirky sense of humor, as well.

Indeed, Carpenter’s quiet weirdness ultimately causes Show/Montgomery to claim, as she herself so authoritatively did in the golden age of television, that You’re Driving Me Crazy!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dionne Warwick

Published January 3, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Proving herself to be the progressive Twitter queen of 2020, the beyond brand Dionne Warwick was formerly best known for her iconic run of silky ‘60s Burt Bacharach-Hal David hits. Several of those unforgettable songs have wound up in such horror and science fiction projects as The Birdbox and Black Mirror. Interestingly, Warwick also sang the (almost ironically romantic) theme song for the Morgan Fairchild slasher-cult classic The Seduction.

Warwick’s prime sense of fun also found its place in her quick appearance in the original Men in Black and with her funky take on songs like (the Luther Vandross produced) Got A Date.

2021 is sure to provide even more wonder from this 80-year-old dynamo. To stay on track, be sure to check her out at Music | Dionne Warwick (officialdionnewarwick.com) and Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) / Twitter.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Kim Carnes

Published December 27, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Its always great when your beloved musicians get a little recognition – especially in your favorite film genre. Nicely, that is exactly what happened for me when 2015’s The Final Girls used Kim Carnes’ iconic version of Bette Davis Eyes as a pivotal plot device.

As a deep school fan of Carnes, though, I actually prefer the title track from what just may be her hardest edged album, Voyeur, to the more familiar strains of that Jackie DeShannon master work.

This year also marked the 35th anniversary of Barking At Airplanes, Carnes’ synth-pop masterpiece, the first recording that she had total control over as an artist. I have always cherished the spooky energy of that album’s Crazy in the Night, a memorable sonic moment of my youth (and beyond)!

But, with a (lucky) thirteen albums to her name, and tunes that range from deep country to masterful AOR balladry, this music biz dynamo surely has a sonic flavor to fit every hungry music fan’s colorful palate.

While it seemingly hasn’t been updated for awhile, you can definitely get a taste of that musical breadth at her website – Kim Carnes – Official Web Site.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Lee Ann Womack

Published December 20, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

In one of the most memorable scenes from American Horror Story: Hotel, Kathy Bates’ morose Iris shows Dennis O’Hare’s irreplaceable Elizabeth Taylor a sentimental video that she has made to document her lifetime. Naturally, I Hope You Dance, country goddess Lee Ann Womack’s (most famous) wishful tune is the music she chooses to underscore her personalized tribute.

Of course, country fans in the know often prefer the velvet stung, more adult side of Womack’s artistry.

The sassier nature of some of her tunes, meanwhile, sits better with others.

But wherever you stand, Womack is always smokin’, creatively, and currently bringing it home at https://leeannwomack.com/.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Peter Lorre

Published December 13, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

I have mad love for all those quirky character actors from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Often cast as ne’er do wells and sophisticated villains, their talents were often broader than they were given credit for.

For example, even though he was best known for his sinister turns in M, The Stranger on the Third Floor, The Beast with Five Fingers and The Raven, the unforgettable Peter Lorre truly shone as a comic impresario. In particular, he excelled in the glorious MGM musical Silk Stockings, a reworking of Greta Garbo’s famed comedy Ninotchka.

Here, Lorre gamely attacked clever lyrics by Cole Porter…

…and even engaged in a dance specialty or two!

Now, one has to wonder what Boris Karloff and Vincent Price might have added to the mix here.

Ponder that…and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Little Nell

Published December 6, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

I didn’t really get The Rocky Horror Picture Show when I saw it at 17. I took a quirky musician friend named Molly to the Homecoming Dance and, afterwards, we hit the midnight show at the local theater. Under-impressed, we went back to her house and listened to some of the stranger numbers of The Manhattan Transfer on her father’s cassette player in the family kitchen. We both seemed to have much more fun with their fairly suggestive Well, Well, Well than with Tim Curry’s admittedly brilliant Sweet Transvestite.

Naturally, my opinion of that iconic, transgressive piece has improved greatly over the years. But I really didn’t go bonkers for Little Nell, best known as the creepily peppy Columbia in RHPS, until I saw her mostly unrecognizable turn as the energetically blonde Sandra in the British musical dramedy Rock Follies ’77 recently. With a squeaky chirp and demented energy, she nearly steals the show as a music biz secretary who gives all her heart and soul to her job.

Naturally, I immediately fell down an appreciative internet rabbit hole and discovered, much like her co-star Curry, Little Nell had a very fun, unfortunately very minor pop career in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

…and while Campbell doesn’t currently have a website devoted to her performing arts career, she does have a song written for her by Bat for Lashes, a perhaps even cooler proposition after all.

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

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Allison Hayes

Published December 4, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Despite her absolutely stunning looks, there always seemed to be a flinty edge to the iconic Allison Hayes. Even as the vulnerable Nancy Fowler Archer in Attack of the 50 Ft Woman, her best-known role, she instinctively was able to play both the light innocence and the vengeful evil within the confines of one character. This duality was in evidence in even one of her earliest roles, Lidice in Sign of the Pagan, an assignment that saw her stab Jack Palance’s powerful Attila the Hun to death. Likewise, in one of her multiple appearances on the original black and white run of Perry Mason, she effectively plays a sympathetic hatcheck girl, who much to her eventual regret, sets up a friend for a murder rap in order to save her own skin.

Of course, Hayes was most magnificent when she played women who were completely and totally immoral. As the wicked Tonda Metz in 1957’s The Disembodied, she seduces every man in sight while plotting out her murderous plans with steely glee. Three years later, she would sport a less fabulous moniker – Tonda Metz is almost impossible to beat, no? –  in the popular cheese-fest The Hypnotic Eye. Here, her Justine finds Hayes emoting with a vicious persistence. As she endeavors to acidly corrupt all the beauty around her, she herself resonates with gorgeous power, certainly offering up her most strikingly physical moments ever committed to celluloid.

Suffering from various medical difficulties brought on by accidental lead poisoning, Hayes worked consistently (if difficultly) throughout the 1960s. Often buoyed up by the friendships she had made throughout her career, those closest to her must have felt an exhalation of sorrow and defeat when she left this world at the tender age of 46 in 1977.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Connie Francis

Published November 29, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

In Great Pretenders – My Strange Love Affair with ‘50s Pop Music, her emotionally engaging memoir about her surprise life resurrection via the oft criticized radio hits of simpler times, critic and poet Karen Schoemer talks of the romantic, operatic essence of many Connie Francis love ballads, particularly Where The Boys Are.

But Schoemer also smartly makes note of the wild range of Francis’ material. Indeed, Francis knew how to add a little stomp and growl to a recording, making her a true, often unheralded rock ‘n roll momma.

This eclectic singer was even honored in one of the most memorable scenes in 1996’s The Craft. There, Helen Shaver’s recently economically liberated Grace buys a jukebox that plays nothing but Connie Francis singles!

But considering Francis’ otherworldly talent (and Asimov-ian choices in romantic partners), that celluloid sequence really comes as no surprise…

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

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Thankful For: Rula Lenska

Published November 26, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

(Thanksgiving 2020 Performer Appreciation Post.)

While divas and acting icons such as Faye Dunaway, Cicely Tyson, Elke Sommar and Jane Alexander have shown up in smaller roles in recent horror projects, they rarely command focus for more than a scene or two. Thus, 2018’s Aura (AKA The Exorcism of Karen Walker) provides a truly nice exception to this trend by placing Rula Lenska, a British television and theatre mainstay, squarely in the middle of the film’s spook-laden trajectory.

With a simple and direct focus, Lenska, who gained a tabloid presence in the ‘70s when it was revealed that she was a member of Polish royalty, fills her character Ada with a brooding sense of purpose. A psychic, approached by a former colleague’s nephew for assistance, Ada soon finds herself more connected to the circumstances at hand than she imagined. As she fights to save a young woman from a years-long possession by a malevolent genie, Lenska resonates with both determination and fatigue here, giving the strange set-up a sense of realism here.

Lenska, who first gained fame as a female pop star in Rock Follies (and its follow-up Rock Follies ’77), also has a number of other genre credits to her name, including Queen Kong, a feministic take on the King Kong legend, and The Deadly Females, a sexy assassin epic. All these credits are proudly on display at http://www.rulalenska.co.uk/.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Chris Connor

Published November 22, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

With her dusky warble and effortless sense of restraint, jazz icon Chris Connors is the height of nighttime cool. Of course, as chill evening turns to desolate midnight, danger often lurks. Sometimes, that hazard even comes from within.

Connors’ take on Margo Guryan’s somber Lonely Woman truly embodies that notion. With a foreboding shriek, this number perfectly highlights the haunted reality of an all too solitary type with too many vanquished dreams.

Sharply atmospheric, this meeting between two femme wunderkinds* would fit perfectly in the background of a number of women-on-the-verge horror pieces – whether it be a modern take on Rosemary’s Baby or simply played on repeat while watching Let’s Scare Jessica to Death with that film’s sound pulled down to zero.

*Guryan is a highly regarded cult figure who wrote a number of successful ‘60s singles. Her oft reissued recording Take a Picture is loftily regarded by many music connoisseurs, as well.

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

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