Charles Laughton

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Ethel Griffies

Published April 27, 2023 by biggayhorrorfan

At the time of her death at the age of 97 in 1975, Ethel Griffies was deemed the oldest working actress alive. “When I was a girl,” she is stated as saying, “acting was considered a thoroughly disrespectful profession. We were thought of as vagabonds and rogues.” To wit, during her illustrious career, Griffies, perhaps best known to horror fans as the elderly ornithologist Mrs. Bundy in The Birds, definitely played her share of scrubby common folk.

But she was equally skilled at portraying the impervious and the disdainful. One of her archest celluloid adventures was in the pulpy 1933 Carole Lombard starrer White Woman. There as the regally cruel Mrs. Chisholm she causes much misery for Lombard’s put upon lounge performer. With a proud and dismissive energy, Griffies gives Chisholm enough attitude that Lombard’s character soon flees town in the arms of the grotesquely odd Horace Prin, essayed with gleeful mania by Charles Laughton. A harsher sentence for any fictional damsel is hard to imagine.

Nicely, Griffies’ credits also include such genre offerings as the classic Werewolf in London and 1940’s Stranger on the Third Floor with the always indescribable Peter Lorre, proving she maintained a career that is always worthy of rediscovery for interested cinephiles everywhere.

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

Unsung Heroines of Horror: Una O’Connor

Published August 16, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

Known for her animated, cannonball-ready energy, the rubbery Una O’Connor lit up such classic James Whale horror shows as The Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein. Unsurprisingly, those comic forays have cemented her a place in cinema history. 

O’Connor, who also played a series of hard-working domestic types opposite such blonde bombshells as Jean Harlow and Alice Faye, nicely was able to play against type from time to time. As Lydia Sloan on the Reclusive Sisters episode of early term detective series Martin Kane, she first appears to be a kindly eccentric, bound by loyalty to her two siblings, the youngest of whom appears to be riddled with a dreamy madness.  But after a murder is committed at their homestead, the inquisitive Kane (William Gargan) soon deduces that it is the cunning Lydia, not her tormented kin, who is behind the homicidal trickery. As the noose closes in on her, O’Connor takes flight, enacting her character’s comeuppance with a hysterical overabundance, chewing every malleable prop and temporary set piece thrown in her path. 

Forever impressive, O’Connor’s last role, before her death of heart disease at age of 78, returned her to the previous auteur-based landscape that she had shared with Whale. Here she provided her original brand of comic relief, one last time, in Billy Wilder’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. A picture with Wilder, the mastermind behind such classics as The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot, definitely seems a fitting end for such a singular force of cinematic nature. Nicely, this project also reunited the very Irish O’Connor with the very British Charles Laughton (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Island of Lost Souls). The two had, effectively, played mother and son in the Jean Renoir helmed This Land is Mine in 1943.

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

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Maureen O’Hara

Published May 6, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan


As many Hollywood legends before her, the exquisite Maureen O’Hara released an album of love songs and warbled her way through many a scenario in the films that she made in her heyday.

In the early ‘70s, this multi-talented glamour queen, who made her mark starring in such gothic enterprises as Jamaica Inn and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, made a number of singing appearances on shows hosted by Andy Williams and others.

Perhaps best known to modern audiences for playing John Candy’s overbearing mother in 1991’s Only the Lonely, O’Hara continued to make sporadic appearances in projects before her death in at the age of 95 in 2015.


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