Dorothy Gale

All posts tagged Dorothy Gale

Forever Carrie

Published September 5, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

The handsome thirty something guy, who I’ve seen out and about as a popular and charismatic force in the gay community for years, boldly and dismissively ignores me when I happily nod a good morning to him at the bike racks out in front of the gym. Instinctively, I know that there could be a multitude of reasons for that rudeness – lack of caffeine, a problematic day that, now that his work out his over with, is weighing heavily before him, a head that is overwhelmingly lost in some ear worm tune that he can’t, frustratingly, eradicate from his consciousness. Or, and most likely of all, he is simply an attitude graffitied queen who perpetually wears his asshole-ness as the flavor du jour. Understandably, all of these options are analytical reflections of him. None of them, I know, personally, should affect me, yet….

….immediately I’m thrust, emotionally, back to those decades disappeared high school days. Those four years spent doused in the perfume of being lacking in what so many of the others around me determined was worthy seem so long ago – and they were – yet they are ever present. 

It is why at 53, horror films still hold such a sway over me. As a young man, dealing with the daily rigors of rejection, I connected fully with the genre’s glorious outsiders – Carrie, Halloween’s Laurie Strode, Friday the 13th Part 3’s Chris…even The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, my first love, was definitely a stranger in a strange land. Those characters helped me understand that there was power in my otherness. They proved that there were benefits to not being the king of the pride – surviving the night being primary among them.

And over the years, I have done more than just survive the night. I’ve thrived. Yet, a simple gesture can take me back there – to that feeling of not being deserving, of feeling unequal, ashamed. So, on that recent day, as that old familiar awfulness overpowered the pit of my stomach, I defiantly loaded weights off and on the racks and bars…while giving silent thanks to those celluloid entities that I not only recognize myself in, but who also gave and gloriously continue to give me hope. The Carrie’s, the May’s, they are lifesavers and proof why the horror genre, which is often given a less than reputable rap in film society circles, is ever so vital and so, so very important.

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

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On Judy Garland

Published June 24, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

THE WIZARD OF OZ, Judy Garland

Honestly, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Judy Garland.

As a kid, I totally adored her. In fact, as a very theatrical kindergartener, I even decided that we’d marry, one day, and do countless summer stock productions and films together. If I recall correctly, I announced this, with gusto and determination, at a family dinner one Sunday. The shock I felt upon being told of her death had me reeling, from room to room, asking various relatives, over and over again, if this life altering news was really true. Sadly, they all confirmed it was.

As a teen, though, I eventually discovered the grittier charms of artists like Marianne Faithfull and Nico and Ronnie Spector– whose lifestyles, coincidentally, echoed some of the more addictive excesses of Garland’s -and soon began to find her go-for-broke performing style a bit too forceful and bombastic for the ever expanding subtlety in my tastes. The fact that she was a gay icon also didn’t sit well with me. There is no self-hate like the self-hate of a gay man and I was determined not to fall into the trap of being some skinny, over-effeminate lover of the traditional female diva. As I grew older, I did, begrudgingly, begin to appreciate the older Garland’s more subtle, raspy take on poignant Noel Coward numbers and the like, but I have never been able to regain my early fascination and devout appreciation for her as a performer. But, on this week, which marks the 47th year since her passing, I feel I must pay her homage and grateful thanks.

The-Wizard-Of-Oz-1939-216593You see, my love for horror began with Garland. For many, her iconic portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz meant a world of hopeful fantasy and countless concert renditions of Over the Rainbow – a song I simply cannot stand, by the way. But, she introduced the four year old me to a world of evil witches and terrifying flying monkeys. She transported me to an environment far beyond the commonplace dangers I witnessed in my small town – brawling factory workers, drunken farmers, angry parents – and gave me something far more exotic. I knew the characters that she faced as Dorothy Gale were scary, but they were colorful and…imaginary. And…they were survivable.

For years now, I’ve credited Garland’s Dorothy Gale with being my first final girl, but only now, upon hitting another anniversary of Stonewall and still spinning from the fallout of Orlando, do I feel the true, magnificent significance of that. As a young man, Garland opened me up to the worlds of Laurie Strode and Chris Higgins and Sally Hardesty and so many other gruesomely fun cinematic creations. This bountiful gesture is still paying off to this day. Every time I discover some rare slasher on a dusty VHS tape in a thrift store and meet another previously hereto unknown terror actress to adore, I have her to thank. When I bond in restaurants with strangers over our various obscure horror film t-shirts, she is at the heart of it. When I gather with sleep worn friends for B-Movie Marathons and we become family because of it, her essence is somewhere in that room.

Many years ago, her death inspired a group of courageous drag queens to stand up for the rights of the LGBT community in an incredibly inspiring and visible way. But, her life – at least her performing life – inspired me to my own rebellion. Every time my parents grumbled over me reading another horror novel or purchasing the latest issue of Fangoria, I was standing my ground, for the first time, for something I loved. Something that was sparked in me by watching her perky, pig tail sporting adventuress, all those years ago, and, from this moment on, I will never downplay the significance of that starting point.

So, viva, la Garland! May you rest in peace upon every laurel that is, deservedly, thrown your way!

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

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