Horror

All posts in the Horror category

Great Performances in Horror: Tina Louise

Published July 5, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Now look…it’s not our lifestyle you want to ask about, is it?!  – Hilda (Tina Louise)

Inspired by the tragic murder of Kitty Genovese, 1975’s Death Scream found Joe Dante regular Belinda Balaski (above left, below) enacting an almost 10-minute death throes as the doomed Jenny Storm. Utilizing the real-life circumstances of Genovese’s lesbianism, screenwriter Sterling Silliphant soon introduces Storm’s former paramour Hilda Murray to the proceedings. Interestingly, Murray is played Tina Louise (above left, top…), who makes good on her promise to leave Gilligan’s Island’s Ginger behind here. She plays Murray as if on the edge of a taut wire, perfectly enunciating the character’s frustration over the bigotry she receives over living her life as a proud gay woman during that period of time. It’s a performance filled with both rage and weariness and Louise steals the screen every moment that she appears – even when paired against such notable co-stars as Raul Julia.

Despite her fine work here, Louise’s other genre credits have definitely received more attention in the media, as this project, hitting the airwaves a bit too soon after the Genovese tragedy, seemed to leave a sour trace in the viewers’ imaginations. The feminist terror piece The Stepford Wives was definitely brightened by her presence – while she also gave her all with pay day jobs in Z-Grade enterprises like Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby and Evils in the Night (below). Still, as with most glamour queens, her talent has often been given secondary importance to her cheekbones, an error that is definitely highlighted when one considers her passionate and committed performance of Hilda all those years ago.

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

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Dagger Cast: Pride Month

Published July 1, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Waving our rainbow flags proudly, the team at Dagger Cast celebrated Pride 2022 with two amazing guests – LGBTQIA historian Owen Keehnen and maverick storyteller Sarah Yeazel. Below are brief descriptions of each episode and links for viewing.

As if watched over by the incisive, kick-ass celluloid trio of Adrienne Barbeau, Karen Black & Lynda Day George, writer-historian (and consummate horror lover) Owen Keehnen has been one of Chicago’s most colorful and important chroniclers of the LGBTQIA experience for decades now. From his work with the iconic powerhouses of ACT UP in the ‘80s to his current passionate pursuit of chronicling the history of both the Belmont Rocks and Man’s Country, Keehnen is the very essence of Pride in action. Thus, Dagger Cast is thrilled to have him as our guest this June. Please join us as Owen regales us with tales of such iconic Midwest drag personas as Miss Tillie & The Bearded Lady and explains why Barbara Hershey is the perfect scary movie goddess for his (and every) generation!

and if that wasn’t enough for your ears and eyes to take inDagger Cast is further honoring Pride Month by conducting a fun and informative chat with non-binary writer extraordinaire Sarah Yeazel. Yeazel is a great storyteller and their remembrances about coming out via Kathy Bates pin-ups & reflections on Shelley Winters’ bad lesbianism in What’s The Matter with Helen? are not to be missed!

Thanks for watching…and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Hopelessly Devoted To: Corinne Calvet

Published June 14, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

One of Hollywood’s most exotic, scandal plagued 1950’s imports, the glamorous Corinne Calvet spent the prime days of her career burning her way through 3 husbands. She was well known for either initiating or fighting off multiple lawsuits throughout her early days as well, resulting in her newspaper coverage often being more colorful than her cinematic adventures. 

Almost proving this point, one of her latter-day genre style credits was 1960’s low budget black and white lensed Bluebeard’s 10 Honeymoons. Starring the eternally suave George Sanders, Calvet brings a spritely energy to the role of a gold digger who inspires homicidal actions in her beau in this quickly made variation on the damsel murdering Bluebeard theme. 

In 1974, Calvet also joined a number of her former golden age cronies in the nostalgic terror opus The Phantom of Hollywood. This television film, co-starring such former MGM actors as Peter Lawford, Broderick Crawford and Jackie Coogan, served up fright-tinged homages to both The Phantom of the Opera and the rapidly fading studio systems of yore. As Mrs. Wickes, Calvet offers up mostly a glamourous, costume fueled cameo, but it is nice to see her presence among the glittering ruins.

Eventually leaving Hollywood to concentrate on a therapy practice, this former headline grabber died quietly at the age of 76 in 2001. Of course, her colorful memory lives on, though, thanks to devoted film buffs and Euro cinephiles, worldwide.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Jack Cassidy

Published June 1, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

One of show business’ most interesting figures, matinee idol handsome Jack Cassidy was an award-winning actor of stage and screen. Known, widely, to the public as the devoted husband of the Oscar winning Shirley Jones, in private, Cassidy was a sexual provocateur who also enjoyed multiple affairs with men. This is primarily worth noting as Cassidy seemed to genuinely embrace his fluidities (n a world which still often misunderstands such subtleties) and seemed to have the understanding and support of those around him, as well.

Most importantly, for old school horror devotees, Cassidy put in a stunningly sensitive dual role performance in the 1974 television film The Phantom of Hollywood. This low budget Phantom of the Opera take-off, highlighting the grim fade-out of the old studio system, is definitely made all the richer for his layered work as a John Barrymore style performer turned shadowy monster due to an unfortunate accident.

Unfortunately, Cassidy tragically died at the too young age of 49, leaving many in his world to feel the emotions that he so, lovingly and longingly, puts into this Lerner and Loewe ballad from Brigadoon:

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

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Va-Va-Villainess: Deanna Wright

Published April 26, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

“Talk about a makeover!” – Kay (post body morph) 

In marked contrast to Robyn Lively’s kindly Louise Miller, Deanna Wright’s Kay Bennett was definitely a very mean teen witch. Wright’s character on the quirky, supernaturally tinged soap opera Passions was so determined to capture the handsome Miguel (Jesse Metcalfe) and steer him away from his true love Charity (Molly Stanton) that she used several varieties of supernatural mayhem to achieve her goals. 

After zombifying her rival and even sending her to Hell (often with the help of the town’s revenge filled witch, Tabitha), Kay’s arc during Wright’s heyday reached its apex when the creepily resilient lass enacted a spell that turned her into her rival. Due to this effective disguise, Miguel misguidedly slept with her…and the resulting pregnancy (and birth of a child) nearly destroyed his relationship with Charity. 

As the soap entered into its latter years, Kay, as then played by Heidi Mueller, achieved a certain sense of maturity. But the character’s adventures with the occult – how can anyone forget when she accidentally turned herself into a panther during the program’s 2001 Halloween episodes?!?- were definitely the highlights of her run. 

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

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Dagger Cast: Chris Moore

Published April 19, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Actor-director-writer Chris Moore is one of the most inspiring gay artists that I know. In the past 6 or 7 years, he has produced 4 accomplished horror films. Nicely, Children of Sin, which begins streaming on Amazon on 4/22/22, is his queerest and bloodiest yet. We were thrilled to have him on the latest episode of Dagger Cast to talk about all the behind-the-scenes magic (& low budget craziness) at hand and know that only the most determined and antisocial Mary Esthers would not want to check out what this brilliant young artist has to say.

Be sure to keep up with all the future devilry of this project at https://www.facebook.com/childrenofsinmovie, as well!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Gale Storm

Published April 19, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Much like Georgia Gibbs, the effervescent Gale Storm often recorded poppy versions of R & B numbers made famous by Black artists. A circumstance of record company politics as opposed to a personal choice, Storm did give bright pep (and a bit of authentic womanhood) to numbers like I Hear You Knocking & Why Do Fools Fall in Love? 

Perhaps best known for My Little Margie, a popular television show, Storm also had a very successful film career. Her most significant credit to horror fans, though, is her appearance as the heroine in 1942’s Revenge of the Zombies. This creepy caper found her going outstretched arm to outstretched arm against John Carradine’s (naturally) evil mad scientist. 

Intrigued now? Thankfully, the beautiful website, https://galestorm.tv/, gives a thoroughly detailed look at Storm’s decades of glamorously creative endeavors. 

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

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Great Performances in Horror: Helen Hayes

Published April 12, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Helen Hayes’ wounded eyes resonate with such sadness on the Alter-Ego episode of Ghost Story, an early ‘70s horror anthology series, that she proves, without a doubt, that anyone at any age can experience the damaging effects of bullying.

Here, as the kindly Miss Gilden, a respected grade schoolteacher on the eve of her retirement, Hayes finds herself a victim of the demented antics of the evil doppelganger of one of her favorite students. As the child systematically destroys her reputation and turns all her beloved charges against her, Hayes vibrates with a haunted sorrow that provides the program’s emotionally connective glue. Nicely, a penultimate twist provides her character with a little affirmative revenge, producing a satisfying and contented sigh from all viewers.

That Hayes, an Academy Award winner and one of the most respected theater artists of her generation, applied such heart and depth to a one-off genre television appearance proves what a complete and dedicated performer that she was. Others can surely learn from her humility and grace.

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

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The Criminal Unraveling of Nola Madison

Published March 20, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Fueled by a creative mélange of Sunset Boulevard, ghostly curses and possible incest, the Nola Madison plot line, featuring an intensely motivated turn by Academy Award winning actress Kim Hunter, on The Edge of Night featured a cornucopia of delights for lovers of the horror genre. In 1979, faded movie queen Madison (Hunter) arrived in Monticello, the crime ridden city where this long running daytime drama (1956 – 1984) was situated. Tormented by her husband’s sudden infatuation with Deborah Saxson (Frances Fisher), a comely red haired police officer, Madison became obsessed with reviving her career via an old school terror potboiler named Mansion of the Damned. Nothing like a little star luster to ignite the passion, no? Of course, once in production, the film faced numerous gothic disasters – the withdrawal of Trent Archer (Farley Granger), its superstitious leading man, the mysterious deaths of both the production’s director and its publicity agent, various spooky apparitions and, eventually, murder.

Definitely inspired by Norma Desmond, in a fit of contrasts, the writers for the show made the alcoholic Madison more criminally motivated than Gloria Swanson’s famed delusional diva. Whether sending Saxon a box of poisoned candy, drugging the kindly town doctor (Joel Crothers), burning down the studio as a publicity stunt or impulsively killing a rival (Ann Williams) in a fit of hysterical rage, this deadly daytime dame was calculating and manipulative. Unsurprisingly, she was also superbly played by Hunter, who filled the role with subtle intensity and nicely motivated histrionics.

Adding a glimmer of scandal, Madison was also hiding the fact that her comely stepdaughter (Margaret Colin) and her son, Brian (Stephen McNaughton), weren’t biologically related as they both assumed. This tormented pair often found themselves in what they (and the audience) assumed were illicit clinches until the truth was finally revealed.

Hunter, best known for notable work as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, was perfect casting here. Her first film role was in Val Lewton’s dark scare masterpiece The Seventh Victim and she continued, throughout her almost 60-year career, to rack up credits in such genre projects as The Kindred, Two Evil Eyes, Bad Ronald and episodes of such frequently grotesque television shows as Night Gallery and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Granger also had quite the pedigree – from the sophisticated terrors of Hitchcock (Rope, Strangers on a Train) to creepy Euro terror offerings to a well-regarded slasher (The Prowler). Bringing all that history to the vain and increasingly nervous Archer provided viewers with a special treat – especially in his scenes with Hunter, wherein the two pros met each other, mightily, arched eye brow to arched eye brow.

Nicely, for the compulsory and the curious, the entirety of the plotline has been captured on the impressive YouTube channel, Mr. Edge 80s: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqc3_5bPbySszkWoSrO27zA

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

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Dagger Cast: Debra Sullivan

Published February 19, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

As we arrive upon the February premiere of Netflix’s latest iteration of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it is the pleasure of everyone at Dagger Cast to have the brilliant Debra Sullivan as our latest guest. This skilled actress-writer co-wrote 2013’s money making Texas Chainsaw 3D and she, happily, takes listeners through the creative triumphs & challenges of that process. Thankfully, for theater lovers, Sullivan also gives us some background into her more stage worthy projects & also provides us with the inside scoop on her involvement in Secret Santa, the gonzo-magnetic holiday slasher from Skeleton Crew, & 13 Fanboy, the latest, much talked about Friday the 13th inspired horror homage. 

Memories of Leatherface and utmost creativity await…

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

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