Flashback: My Fair Psycho

Published March 6, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

The pride of both Broadway stages and sophisticated cabaret venues, the precise, velvet toned Christine Andreas proved that she was a master of her craft with her work as the manipulatively deranged Dr. Taylor Benson during the 1990 – 1991 seasons of Another World.

Initially presented as the diligent psychiatrist for the soap’s tortured Sharlene (Anna Holbrook), a popular character suffering from multiple personality disorder, Benson soon revealed her own mental weaknesses. Fixated on Sharlene’s handsome husband John (David Forsythe), Benson did everything she could to make him her own. After gaslighting Sharlene into believing her treatment wasn’t working, the twisted doc eventually lost herself in psychosis. After kidnapping Sharlene, she seemingly murdered her in an explosive encounter on her boat. In her last scenes, though, this extremely misguided therapist was so lost in delusion that she couldn’t even recognize John, the man who motivated her diabolical schemes.

The winner of the American Theater Award for her work as Eliza Doolittle in a 1975 revival of My Fair Lady, Andreas proved her daytime mettle here by imbuing this deliciously unsavory character with both a determined sweetness and a calculating intensity. The plot line itself also speaks to this genre’s exploitation parallels – twisted women, gothic crimes and the ability of multiple characters to return from the dead – as Sharlene, Benson’s favored victim, did several years after her fiery “demise” during this iteration of the show.

Andreas, who recently performed a successful show featuring the music of Edith Piaf, meanwhile, is always creatively resurrecting herself at http://www.christineandreas.com.

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

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Va-Va-Villainess: Dorothy Lyman

Published March 1, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

As the kindly Gwen Frame, actress Dorothy Lyman spent much of 1980 on the late lamented soap opera Another World mentoring Ray Liotta’s down to earth Joey Perrini, helping him navigate a rocky romance with Bradley Bliss’ well to do Kit Halloway.

But when this seasoned performer, perhaps best known for her comic portrayals on Mama’s Family and All My Children, returned for the show’s 25th anniversary in 1989, the writers played a little loose with her history to create some friction filled drama. Fueled with rage over the death of a relative, previously a nonissue on the show, Gwen crackled with anger. Determined to bring down the show’s longstanding heroine Rachel (Victoria Wyndham), who she blamed for the demise, she interrupted a heartfelt monologue by the surprised woman. Later, during a confrontation, she pushed her newfound enemy and knocked her out, leaving her to die in a gas filled room. Of course, Rachel survived and, ultimately, forgave Gwen – probably due to the fact that was Lyman was only contracted for a handful of episodes and a long trial was simply not in the cards for the character.

Decades later, re-watching these episodes, what is most apparent is the caustic joy that Lyman took in Gwen’s turnaround – she bites into her lines with a vicious glee and gladly rides the highs and lows of the character’s emotions like an exuberant child on a roller coaster. It’s a delightful performance – a viper with a bleeding heart –and just one of the many seemingly effortless performances in this skilled veteran’s long career.


Horror Hall of Fame:

A frequent figure on television screens, Lyman made appearances in In The Cards, a first season Tales of the Darkside episode, and The People Across the Lake, a spooky movie of the week with Valerie Harper.


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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Shark Bait Retro Village: The Snoop Sisters

Published February 15, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Helen Hayes was one of the most respected actresses of her generation, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony. The rarity of being bestowed with such honors earned her the distinction of being referred to as the First Lady of American Theatre. Despite these accolades, she was decidedly not a snob, consigning herself to only strictly highbrow fare. Case in point: In the early ‘70s, she and the equally respected Mildred Natwick starred as The Snoop Sisters in a series of mystery-thriller television films. A good decade before Murder, She Wrote first aired, these veterans attacked the scenarios written for them, as accidental crime solving authoresses, with gusto and heart. Plotlines often found them in various forms of danger – being dragged across rooms, climbing atop moving vehicles and being caught on runaway boats – and these veteran performers proved to be strikingly adept at handling every situation that the writers threw at them – including tangling with certain horror legends.

In The Devil Made Me Do It! teleplay, the two get embroiled in the shenanigans of a Satanic cult. This offering, ultimately, finds Hayes witnessing the musical conjuring of Alice Cooper’s Prince, in a serious fish out of water moment. Meanwhile, in the final film, A Black Day for Bluebeard, the two attend a festival of comically bad fright flicks starring Vincent Price’s vocally robust Michael Bastion. Playing on Price’s real life culinary skills, Natwick’s Gwendoline nearly steals the show during a drunken dinner sequence with him. Counterbalancing this, Hayes’ most frequent scene partner here is Roddy McDowall, the youthful, classic Hollywood star who found continued fame for his latter-day work on such projects as the original Fright Night & Planet of the Apes films and such other lesser-known genre-fare as Pretty Maids All in a Row, Laser Blast, Mirror, Mirror 2 and Dead of Winter.

Of course, Hayes’ appearance on an episode of Circle of Fear, a short-lived anthology series, and Natwick’s multiple guest shots on Alfred Hitchcock Presents surely prepared them for all the deadly mayhem that their alter egos faced here. With age, these two legends seem to acknowledge by their participation in these projects, the chills just tingle the spine a little more, ultimately leaving lasting memories for audiences, worldwide.

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

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Dagger Cast: Scott Free

Published February 14, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

I’ve been blessed with meeting so many amazing people in my lifetime & LGBTQIA activist-musician Scott Free has to be one of most interesting artists that has, thankfully, orbited my world. Nicely, he is also our latest guest on Dagger Cast and his stories about his forays into the NYC Rap scene and the early beginnings of the Chicago House Music phenomenon are not only entertaining but highlight the cultural significance of those genres and their social importance. We also dive into his work on Dead Guys, perhaps the first completely gay slasher flick, and such spooky stage productions as Witches Among Us & Zombie Bathhouse. So, make like En Vogue and…(Scott)Free your mind, today!!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Monique Van Vooren

Published February 8, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Known to most cult movie aficionados as the lusty Baroness Katrin in Paul Morrissey’s deliciously over-the-top Flesh for Frankenstein, the Belgian born Monique Van Vooren had an incredibly eclectic career. She appeared on Broadway in multiple productions over a period of twenty years and such cult television shows as Batman benefited, greatly, from her blonde enthusiasms, as well. In 1958, the same year that she appeared in MGM’s Gigi, one of Vincent Minnelli’s most popular musical spectaculars, she released Mink in Hi-Fi, a delightfully slinky LP of sexually charged standards and foreign language wonders.

Nicely, the energy Van Vooren supplied to her celluloid and sonic adventures also seemed to apply to her life. She was 92 years old when she passed away on January 25th, 2020, an indication, one presumes, of a life well lived.

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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Cinematic Memories: Jaws 3D

Published January 30, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

The day was almost ruined. I had been helping my dad scrape a building in downtown Randolph during the summer holidays. As had, feverishly, been planned for weeks, I was taking my first paycheck from this paint-for-hire experience to buy new school clothes and check out Jaws 3D with my mother. My excitement over this cinematic prospect was unquantifiable – I was nearly bursting out of my (as of yet, thankfully, unblemished) skin with excitement. The fact that my mom, usually so adverse to my horror film eccentricities, seemed so down for this particular movie going adventure was merely the toothy star atop of an already glittering tree. I had a feeling that stopping off to visit my dad on site before taking off for this unprecedented adventure was a mistake, but my mother wanted to check in with him before we left.

“Brian,” my dad ventured, swinging, as sweat pealed down his frame, around from the ladder propped up against the building, “would you mind rescheduling your outing today and help me here, instead? I’ve really gotten behind.” My face, shattering like candy glass, was all the answer that he needed…he sighed, seemingly giving into the inevitable, and turned to continue scraping. Still, it didn’t feel like I was quite out of the woods yet. Tension ricocheting through me, I promised him I would help him out the next day, all day long, if necessary, if only I could keep this long-planned excursion on track as scheduled. Finally excused with a reluctant paternal nod, my mother and I gratefully took off.

But once at the theater – more trouble, doggedly, loomed. This being a month or so before I got contacts (and thus discovering a fragile, fully clung to sense of outer beauty), I was still wearing the plexiglass thick glasses that I had been outfitted with by a local, un-fashion forward thinking optometrist. Bullets seemingly could have bounced off those suckers, & for the first 15 minutes of Jaws 3D, any dual dimensional celluloid waves couldn’t penetrate through their dense fibroids either. But finally, after many moments of seeing what amounted to mimeographed variations of Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong and Louis Gossett Jr, I was able to adjust the theater provided lenses properly and finally, sweet celluloid goddess, the extra image proportions began to pop out towards me in the theater the way that they were supposed to! Perhaps then, though, the true disappointment began. Even at the impressionable age of 15 (coupled with those many weeks of pent-up anticipatory excitement), once things leveled out, I was aware I wasn’t watching a good movie or even a so-bad-it’s-good venture. Scenes seemed to be thrown together hastily —- Did Gossett have an accent in one scene and not in another?  — and long stretches concentrated on the training of a pair of squeaking, personality-less dolphins. 

But there was a thrilling sequence involving a group of people being trapped in an underwater structure while the shark raged only a thin aquarium wall or so away. The expected plot points were there, as well – officials more worried about $$ than people’s safety, an ineffectual expert brought into control the situation, and, as a budding gore buff, the sight of a fish-lacerated hand floating through the navy-blue brine definitely filled my sadistic heart with glee. At the time, of course, the experience was so deeply won that, much like Kelly Ann, Lea Thompson’s perky aquatic show girl in the film, I felt like I couldn’t be anything less than enthusiastic about my enjoyment – especially in front of my father, who dutifully asked about the experience upon our return home. My praise for the sequel then was most assuredly over enthusiastic. But still, nostalgia—-and those brief moments of genuine horrific tension that the show did manage to produce – make this a treasured cinematic memory to this day. 

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

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Lillian Roth

Published January 25, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Emoting, authentically, across smoky nightclub aisles and golden Broadway stages, legendary chanteuse Lillian Roth often lived an existence as stormy as the torch songs that she was best known for performing. So potent were her misfortunes that her autobiography, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, was made into a popular movie starring Susan Hayward, one of the grand dames of stormy melodrama.

Roth, incidentally, had a heathy filmography in her own right. Genre enthusiasts, in fact, have much to cheer about over her celluloid glories. Besides co-starring with The Marx Brothers in the Pre-Code comic adventure Animal Crackers, she also portrayed Barbara Stanwyck’s aggressive yet full hearted cellmate in 1933’s jail yard drama, Ladies They Talk About (photos below).  Decades later, she authoritatively essayed a pathologist in Alfred Sole’s Alice, Sweet, Alice, a film that has, rightfully, gone onto be one of the most impressive examples of subversive ‘70s horror.

On that set, Sole recalled Roth talking about her various ups and downs. She claimed then that one of her lowest points was when she had to take a job waiting tables where the tunes she had immortalized were often played on the juke box. Mercifully, the clientele had no idea who she was.

But, thankfully, due to the multiple glories of YouTube and film festivals, new generations are now able to appreciate her artistry. Indeed, this trailblazer, the epitome of the glamorization of the golden age of song, deserves to be focused on and fondly remembered.

For the curious, more details on Roth’s life are laid out at Lillian Roth | Jewish Women’s Archive (jwa.org)

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

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Flashback: Crystal Gayle Meets the Sin Stalker

Published January 18, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

“That was a very naughty song, Crystal! You should be more careful” – The Sin Stalker

Once upon a time, the powers-that-be at Another World conspired to make country goddess Crystal Gayle the final girl with the longest tresses ever! In the spring of 1987, Gayle, who was a huge fan of the daytime drama, guest starred on the show for a week. While she performed plenty of musical numbers during her stay in Bay City, the producers also worked this raven-haired singer into a major plotline by making her a target of the Sin Stalker, a ghoulish entity who was terrorizing women that struck him as being anything less than moral.

Finding some of Gayle’s sweet pop ballads a bit too suggestive, the peeved stalker wrote her threatening letters, spied on her in her dressing room bathtub and eventually, disturbed beyond all measure, went in for an aggressive kill. But this momma fixated psychopath should have known better than to count this satin voiced yet rough-hewn country gal out. Fighting back with a ferocity, this slasher reminiscent scenario found Gayle leading the killer through a myriad of unoccupied hallways and backrooms of the hotel she was booked in – trying to, desperately, escape him. Her extremely luxurious locks floating, spirit like, in her wake, she eventually clobbered the killer with a fire extinguisher. Momentarily stunned, this malicious entity was, ultimately, scared off by the arrival of Adam Cory (Ed Fry), the show’s handsome police detective. Determined not to let this lurid attack offset her life, Gayle rounded out her run on the program by performing its new theme song with her duet partner, fellow hit maker and future Broadway star Gary Morris.

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“I’m going to sing. No one’s going to get the best of me!” – Crystal Gayle

Nicely accentuated by the participation of a sweet character named Lisa Grady (Phantoms’ Joanna Going), a young psychic with a strange connection to the demented marauder, the story developed further horror film references as it continued. Much like Psycho, the twisted exterminator here was soon being egged on by the voice of his dead mother, a demented audio presence that encouraged him to kill. Unfortunately for dedicated viewers, a surprise victim of those sadistic monologues was one of the show’s elegant, longstanding citizens, Quinn Harding (Petronia Paley). Thankfully, while devotees mourned her departure, the talented Paley later found work on Guiding Light, playing the matriarchal Vivian Grant for 7 years in the ‘90s.

“Good boy! You knew she was living with that lawyer.” – The Sin Stalker’s Mother after Harding’s Murder.

Happily, for the curious, portions of this macabre undertaking, including the entirety of Gayle’s run, can be found on YouTube.

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

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