lgbtqia

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Nik Kershaw

Published January 4, 2023 by biggayhorrorfan

Growing up in a small town, I often had to rely on acquaintances from bigger cities to introduce me to interesting music. One of the girls I met at a theater audition was from a nearby metropolis and, while I tried to emotionally navigate around the crush she had on me – compounded by my own mild confusion as to whether I was ever going to wake up one morning and discover that I liked both girls and boys, she filled me in on some of her favorite artists. Nik Kershaw was one of them – and within a year or two, I figured out that there was a reason why I would so often longingly gaze at his profile on his second LP, The Riddle. I wasn’t ever going to like any Becky…or, as in this particular case, any Camilla, as well. 

Cheekbones aside, I also really dug Wouldn’t It Be Good, perhaps Kershaw’s biggest hit. Driving that point home, it was included on both his first and second album, and has also been featured in many film & television projects. One of the more interesting uses was in a Body Snatchers style television film called The Annihilator. Featuring Catherine Mary Stewart as a flesh and blood reporter turned into a mindless, assassinating robot, Kershaw’s tune was definitely in good company in this project. The other featured song was David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes.

Nicely, Kershaw, who is now working some silver daddy magic, is still creating music and performing live. More information is able at https://www.nikkershaw.net.

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Anne Murray

Published November 17, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

I sometimes create imaginary cabaret shows in my head as I bike around the city of Chicago. Often, I will choose to wrap-up these dream acts with Anne Murray’s mellow classic I Just Fall in Love Again, utilizing it not as romantic ballad but as a peon of thanks to my nonexistent yet totally enthusiastic audience.  You see, I grew up in Murray country. ABBA, for example, means nothing to me. But Anne, the queen of soft rock and ultra-sophisticated country, was often crooning softly in the AM decorated background of my extremely formative years. 

Thus, the inclusion of her classic Could I Have This Dance in last fall’s Halloween Ends felt like a coming home moment for me. The fact that this song was used to emphatically capture the death scenes of the movie’s gay couple, Big John and Little John, made it even more impactive – the roots of my closeted youth and my loud ‘n proud adulthood finally shaking firm hands.

Bittersweetly for her long-term fans, Murray, who runs a charity outfit – https://annemurraycentre.com – has been retired from music for a while now. But her smokey tones & smooth delivery eternally live on – in Haddonfield and beyond!

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

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In Remembrance: Leslie Jordan

Published November 9, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

At one point in his one man show Like a Dog on Linoleum, LGBTQIA icon Leslie Jordan recalled his desperate, unreturned affection for a young Romanian hustler. The two had met while Jordan was on location for a low budget horror film called Madhouse. As the actor, open heartedly and honestly, poured out his sorrow about never having been really loved, I felt my soul reach out in a true connection with him.

The year was 2006 and I was in my late 30s. My one long term relationship had ultimately turned out to be more of an intense friendship on my end…and even that confusing partnership had ended almost 12 years previously. It seemed that, much like Jordan, I, too, was to remain luckless when it came to love. I couldn’t have fully admitted that then, of course. Indeed, it has taken well over a decade for me to reach that kind of honesty with myself. Still, Jordan’s brave reflection has stayed with me over the years.

That sense of truth, poignantly peeking out from beneath the floorboards of his often-flamboyant comic energy, is what ultimately endeared this diminutive performer to the public over the years. Thus, his unexpected death at the age of 67 this past October hit the world harder than many other celebrity passings. The horror community, in particular, felt this loss. While his most loved role was probably that of Shelby in Jason Goes to Hell, one of the Friday the 13th universe’s many sequels, he also added his singular spark to such projects as American Horror Story, Frankenstein General Hospital, Undead or Alive and Fear Inc.

Interestingly, his work in the Friday film, which was released in 1993, hinted at the more openly specific work that he would, passionately, do in the future. There, romantically paired against Rusty Schwimmer’s towering Joey, he seemed to be helping act out the small town reality of many gay folks. This unusual couple registered, caringly, as two people performing a lifetime commitment to each other as beards for each other’s true sexual identities. It was a loving relationship, for sure, but one that reeked of mutual assistance in a world that wasn’t quite ready to accept people for who they actually were. I know I felt a spark of recognition watching them onscreen. I am sure I was not alone in that fact.

30 years ahead of his time, Jordan left this world far too quickly. I can only hope that towards the end of his life he felt some of the romantic love that he so richly deserved. Ever open minded, I wish the same for myself in the days and years ahead. as well.

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

Sapphic Angels

Published September 28, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

The Angels in Chains episode of the eternally fresh Charlie’s Angels gave mid-70s television viewers a mild taste of lesbian subculture.  There the energy was all jail-yard female power plays & aggressive correction officers, one even emphatically played by cult goddess Mary Woronov, the cinema’s supreme manipulator of androgynous tension! Two years later, the production team upped the femme-on-femme ante even more. Drenched in pink, Angels in Springtime, which takes place at the beginning of this glamorous detective outing’s third season, is perhaps the most Sapphic entry in that original Angels oeuvre. 

Taking place at an exclusive health spa for well-to-do women and guest starring the magnificent Mercedes McCambridge during her coarsest prison matron years, this episode finds the plucky trio menaced not only by McCambridge’s ego-soaked Norma, an ex-actress, but by a needle wielding psychiatrist (Joan Hotchkis) & a sumo wrestling masseuse (Nancy Parsons), as well. That the psychiatrist’s interest in the romantic adventures of Jaclyn Smith’s Kelly seems more profound than just the plot line’s blackmail purposes Is due, almost exclusively, to the silkily seductive way that Hotchkis operates as an actress. The way she expresses the character’s interest in Smith, posing as a well-to-do mistress here, definitely seems more than just casually criminal. Meanwhile, Parsons’ Zora might try to kill Cheryl Ladd’s perkily masquerading Chris through wet towel mummification…but this is seemingly only because she didn’t have a sweaty dildo and a gag ball nearby to help her perform that duty instead.

Of course, McCambridge, the diabolical heart of the episode, is definitely frightening the horses here, as well. Despite her character’s humorous mention of many ex-husbands, you know what two options she would choose in the kill-fuck-marry categories when dealing with any of Charlie’s finest, frilliest best. 

Indeed, from a casting standpoint alone, it could easily be surmised that one of the show’s producers was a closeted, gay movie buff. Joining McCambridge & Parsons, best known for her dementedly villainous actions in (cult classic) Motel Hell, are film noir diva Marie Windsor and future horror queen Bobbie Bresee (Mausoleum, Evil Spawn). That Windsor, regally hoisting a cigarette holder as a prop, plays Eve La Deux, a board treading rival of McCambridge’s, is almost worth the price of admission alone for the show’s many queer fans. Her dramatic performance in the opening scene is, indeed, the starting point of an evening filled with both subtle and emphatic alternative delights.

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

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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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Music To Make Horror Movies By (Pride Edition): Ethel Waters

Published June 26, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

One of my favorite Broadway tales was provided by an actress who appeared with the legendary Ethel Waters in a play. Waters was apparently known, industrywide, for her Sapphic interests and her co-star was a bit nervous when the two decided to rehearse alone. But before they even had a chance to begin their line readings, Waters sensed the apprehension in the air and chuckled, telling her scene partner to relax as she must certainly didn’t waste her time trying to hook any timid, very uninterested fish. 

This cute tale belies the complexity of Waters’ life, though. Conceived from a rape, Waters had a chaotic childhood, surrounded by prostitution and crime. Despite disadvantage and rampant prejudice, she worked her way from the stages of Black vaudeville to Broadway productions and onto film and television. Married three times throughout her lifetime, she also proudly wrote about her loving relationships with women. Interestingly and seemingly at cross purposes with her past, this powerhouse wound up her life campaigning and performing for televangelist Billy Graham, sure proof that she was a singular entity who listened to only one pertinent drummer – her own.

Much loved for her unmistakable renditions of such standards as Irving Berlin’s Suppertime, a heartbreaking song about lynching, and Am I Blue?, which was included on the soundtrack to genre series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Waters died in 1977 at the age of 80. Then and always, she reigns as a beacon of pure talent and uncalibrated willpower – a true icon for the LGBTQIA community. 

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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Dagger Cast: DemonHuntr

Published February 4, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

It’s time to get out those glazed donuts…you’re not going shirtless, right?!?!…and dive into the latest episode of Dagger Cast!! Here we speak with Tim O’ Leary, creator of Demonhuntr, an incredibly diverse, sex positive horror show (in the vein of Buffy & Dante’s Cove). New episodes of the series are debuting on Here TV on Fridays throughout February — and it was a true phantasmagorical thrill to speak with Tim about the challenges and joys of creating independent content and, most especially, flipping the script on the patriarchal expectations of straight horror.

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

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Praising William Norris

Published December 24, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

Known to decades of Chicago children as the ultimate Scrooge, due to his longstanding run in The Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, actor William Norris was a Midwest theatre mainstay. 

The openly gay performer also maintains a special place in horror film history. One of (terror legend) Stuart Gordon’s prime collaborators during his board bouncing days with the Organic Theater Company, Norris co-wrote the much sequel-ized contemporary terror classic Reanimator and made an authoritative supporting appearance, as the power bowing Dr. Huesos, in Full Moon’s extreme take on The Pit and the Pendulum, as well. 

Sadly, Norris, who helped train a multitude of stage actors with his honest and forthright teaching skills, died this past November due to lingering heart problems.  But his significant graveside legacy will be felt, forevermore. In particular, the LGBTQIA community will appreciate, beyond measure, the queer influence that he brought to one of the greatest cult horror offerings of all time.

Shine on, you rascally creator!

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

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