Music

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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: Lou Rawls

Published June 7, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Lou Rawls

As protests against this country’s deadly racism rightfully rage on, it almost feels wrong to post about favorite instances of entertainment. But I thought that maybe in acknowledgement of these injustices, I could highlight some of the world’s amazing Black talent this week…those amazing individuals who have given us joy throughout the good and the bad, the fair and the (all too frequently) unfair.

Lou AutographIn the summer of 1984, I won a scholarship to study acting for the summer at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. The students were given free passes to all of the theater and concert events that occurred throughout those two months on campus and, when I wasn’t in classes or rehearsal, I was often at the outdoor amphitheater. One night, Lou Rawls was performing his show. It was a number of years after his songs like Lady Love and You’ll Never Find had ruled the AM airways, but he was still a major star. After the show, my buddy Steve and I went to the stage door and he kindly chatted with us for a moment and signed our copies of the institute’s paper that had announced his presence for the evening. For a kid from a small farm town of 600, it was an exciting night, and Rawls has always had a special place in my memories in the many years since.

Of course, the fact that Rawls made appearances in such ‘90s genre films as Watchers Reborn, Morella and The Code Conspiracy, throws him into a special category, as well. Significantly, he also sang the theme song for Laurence Harvey’s odd 1974 cannibalism shocker Welcome to Arrow Beach. His songs have been featured in Disturbia and an episode of Ash Vs. The Evil Dead as well.

Rawls (1933-2006), an activist with a special interest in the education of minorities and the disadvantaged, performed with dignity and style for over 50 of his 72 years. I hope the songs that I have selected here not only highlight the uncertain hope of these times, but the breadth of his talent, as well.

http://www.lourawls.com/

Lou Rawls Watchers Reborn

Rawls and Mark Hamill in Watchers Reborn

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Premier Quartet

Published May 31, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Premier_Quartet

Sometimes classic only goes with classic. If nothing says the Halloween season like the Premier Quartet’s That Syncopated Boogie-Boo than nothing says horror like the Amityville house.

Thus, director Henrique Couto smartly ends Amityville No Escape, his entry in the long line of sequels based around this spooky landmark, with the Quartet’s unexpectedly fun, eternally jumping tune.

Inventively utilizing different styles of film throughout its running time, this indie found footage nightmare is available at Couto’s Store Envy site, https://www.storenvy.com/products/29194798-amityville-no-escape-limited-edition-blu-ray-dvd-combo-with-reversible-artw.

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

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Amityville

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Madelyn von Ritz/Lynn Castle

Published May 24, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Lynn Al

Without a doubt When I Close My Eyes I See Blood is one of the most memorable songs on the soundtrack of William Friedkin’s notorious Cruising. As the music wildly escalates, the ragged vocals seem to barely escape from the singer’s throat. In fact, one could imagine that this desperate sounding performer was picked out of the heroin-soaked chorus of some dimly lit drag revue and then discarded on the street the moment the track was set to tape. But Madelyn von Ritz, who perfectly matched the forbidden horror of the film’s milieu with the number, was actually a talented artist who went on to score a variety of ‘90s film projects, proving that old adage that sometimes talent and beauty are just not enough to make a permanent mark in show business.

Ritz’s story is actually more fascinating than many celluloid journeys, though. Growing up in less than ideal circumstances, she escaped through the magic of fairy tales and music. As Lynn Castle. she gained recognition in the ‘60s as a barber and when she wasn’t writing, she was catering to the longer hair of such notables as Sonny Bono and Lee Hazlewood. After making quick appearances on several television shows and films, her song Lady Barber caught the ears of Hazlewood. They eventually recorded that track and one other. Neither made an impact on the charts. Riding this mild momentum, Castle also put an album’s worth of demos to tape around the same time. Unfortunately, those unique numbers remained a mysterious trade secret for almost 40 years. Thankfully, intrepid music purveyors Light in the Attic released them on a special edition LP in 2017 and the world is finally discovering the rare, psychedelic beauty of this long-neglected songstress.

We have all been to the Castle…and our lives will never be the same!

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

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Lynn Castle

 

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

Hopelessly Devoted To: Marilyn Maxwell

Published May 16, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Marilyn Maxwell

Whether mocking the heroics of action cinema in 1956’s Forever Darling or reacting perfectly to the antics of comic Red Skeleton as the two explored a haunted house on his long running variety show, Marilyn Maxwell was always on the mark. One of those eclectically zaftig blondes that never got the attention she deserved despite her multiple talents, Maxwell has probably been best known, and then only to aggressive cinephiles, as the agreeable accomplice to such legends as Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Skeleton.

Marilyn Maxwell Swing FeverBeginning her career as a beautiful background artist, often cast as supple showgirls, in such MGM epics as Presenting Lily Mars and Du Barry Was a Lady (which featured both Ball and Skeleton), Maxwell eventually graduated to leading roles in such silly efforts as The Show Off (again with Skeleton) and The Lemon Drop Kid (with Hope). Her first major role as entertainer Ginger Gray in 1943’s Swing Fever even had a bit of a genre connotation as it revolved around the ridiculous exploits of a band leader cursed with an evil eye.

Skilled as a singer and dancer, Maxwell was also a hit in USO shows for the troops during WWII and the Korean War. Apparently, she was a hit with Rock Hudson as well and, thusly, has been sporadically entering the news again as Hudson’s public profile blossoms due to Ryan Murphy’s recently released Hollywood series. Apparently, after initially being set up as one of the gay actor’s beards, the two quickly grew close and even contemplated marriage. Some reports even claim that their relationship may have gone past the friendship stage. Marilyn Maxwell and Rock Hudson 2

But more than anything, Maxwell, who died at the very young age of 50 due to heart problems, deserves to be remembered for her magnetic performances and joyful spirit. She was definitely one of kind and one can imagine her spirit occasionally sprinkling out into the starlight, creating glittery energy and hopeful wanderlust for all those weary small-town kids living only for their future dreams.

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

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Marilyn Haunted Red

Maxwell haunted house hunting with Red

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dinah Shore

Published May 12, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

dinah

“Oh, dream on, baby!”

We will, Dinah! And in our reveries, you will still be providing us with classy, wide reaching interviews. And our darling Ms. Shore, while some may assume that those talks will only include your contemporaries, those golden superstars of yesteryear, many in the know will be envisioning features with a wide range of creative figures. For during your long running talk show, you not only shared your couch with performers like Rosemary Clooney, but with rule breaking icons like David Bowie and Iggy Pop, as well. You had the heart of a punk, my dear, albeit the heart of a punk with a smooth gin touch.

In the ‘60s, further proving your adventurous nature, you also broke out of a gilded homestretch of performing glossy standards by releasing an LP of energetic country hits. Much like Ella Fitzgerald, last week’s honoree (& a frequent guest on your shows), you covered such tunes as Evil on Your Mind. (Here interestingly retitled Evil on My Mind.)

Naturally, genre fanatics will surely appreciate your willingness to admit to a less than perfect thought scape…but those who have loved you for decades knew that you always had a bit of mischievousness in you…its present in that forever twinkle in your eyes.

dinah and iggy

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ella Fitzgerald

Published May 3, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

ella-fitzgerald-1940

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: Mary Lou Lord

Published April 26, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

MLLMain

In the name of diversity, it is always nice to find musical efforts with genre themes that aren’t overwhelmed by heavy metal antics or thoroughly seared by moody gothic rhythms.

Indeed, Mary Lou Lord, one of alt-pop’s brightest lights, released an amazing 1996 Kill Rock Stars EP called Martian Saints!

Besides the obvious themes of science fiction and emerald streaked creatures from beyond, Lord embraces the concepts of Halloween and the devil while also exploring the tyranny against witchcraft here. Her bright cover of Elliot Smith’s I Figured You Out is also a highpoint, signifying the emotional horrors that one must endure, as well. Thus, the work as a whole is a sonic delight from start to finish and well worth checking out.

Indeed, all of Lord’s output, highlighted by her frequent collaborations with Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman, should be a part of every smart music lover’s vocabulary.

MLL2

www.maryloulord.net/

https://www.facebook.com/maryloulordmusic/

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Shilpa Ray

Published April 19, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

shilpa-ray

What a pleasant surprise to discover that maverick multi-hyphenate Larry Fessenden did a nature gone amuck teen film called Beneath in 2013. I guess that is one reason – maybe?!? – to be grateful for Amazon Prime.

A nihilist look at class warfare featuring a cool creature design from Fessenden (that alternates between being tautly realistic and hysterically fake…sometimes within the same sequence), this feature also contains a majestic closing credit song from the amazingly named Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers.

A striking live performer, whose pedigree floats in close proximity to acclaimed Screaming Females’ front woman Marissa Paternoster, Ray’s latest solo release Door Girl has been given much rightful acclaim, as well.

https://www.shilparay.net/

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

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Beneath