Curtis Harrington

All posts tagged Curtis Harrington

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Gloria Swanson

Published March 19, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Sunset Boulevard

Was there ever anything as haunting as Gloria Swanson’s deliciously deluded Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s classic, emotional noir Sunset Boulevard? Many refined and enthusiastic film buffs will probably, unanimously, agree that there isn’t.

Thankfully, almost 25 years after this macabre venture, Swanson returned to play another demanding diva in Curtis Harrington’s fondly remembered television horror Killer Bees. As the queenly Maria von Bohlen, Swanson ruled her fictional family with a tart grip even as the matriarch’s fuzzy flying pets began to draw the life out of members of the frightened local community.gloria killer bees

Meanwhile, although she was never known as a singer, the always game legend tackled a couple of tunes in the early 80s on a variety of star studded specials.

Here, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra’s well regarded Wonderful One gets the nostalgic treatment.


Next, Swanson is joined by Brooke Shields (Alice, Sweet, Alice, The Midnight Meat Train) and Barbara Eden (A Howling in the Woods, The Stranger Within) for a surprising version of Cole Porter’s What Do You Think About Men?

For those interested, the adventures of this singular entertainer are explored in deeper detail at

gloria 3

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

Sharkbait Retro Village: Gale Sondergaard in “The Cat Creature”

Published February 13, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

From soul sucking mermaids to possessed drive-ins and satanic dogs, gay director Curtis Harrington’s film subjects are gloriously unusual. He, like many a lavender lad before him also appreciated a good diva when he saw one.

Counting Gloria Swanson (Killer Bees), Debbie Reynolds and Shelly Winters (What’s the Matter with Helen?), Ann Sothern (The Killing Kind) and Piper Laurie (Rudy) among his leading ladies, Harrington, akin to such Golden Age “female directors” like George Cukor and Douglas Sirk, worked with some of filmdom’s most majestic femmes.

cat creature galeIn the 1973 television terror flick The Cat Creature, Harrington worked magic with the mysterious, socially beleaguered Gale Sondergaard. As winner of the first Academy Award for Supporting Actress in 1936, Sondergaard had a quality career until being blackballed in the ’50s for refusing to testify during the McCarthy “Red Scare” trials. She eventually returned to the screen in the ’60s and spent a lot of the ’70s doing television and fright fare such as Savage Intruder (1970).

Here, with a sassy firmness, Sondergaard infuses the supporting role of Hester Black with a steely spine and a heart of gold. A former con, Black provides mothering (with some faint lesbian undertones) to the young female assistants in her pawn shop. Her world is turned upside down, though, when one of the women in her employ mysteriously disappears. As a sly cat works its way through nearby alleys and acquaintances soon lose their lives, it appears that the killer may be mystical in nature and much closer to Black than she ever expected.

Harrington works with an astute sense of shadow, here. (He would employ the same techniques in the sillier, much beloved Devil Dog: Hound of Hell in 1978, as well.) The mood he generates does much to elevate the simple plotline (which makes the true killer’s identity fairly obvious, early on in the proceedings).meredith cat creature

Old school horror lovers will appreciate the appearance of David Hedison (The Fly) as the male lead and sit com fanatics should delight to the presence of a very young, almost unrecognizable Meredith Baxter (Birney), who sports lots and lots of hair!

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