Ghosts

All posts tagged Ghosts

Ghosts: Watching Over

Published October 17, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

My dad would have been 75 last week. In some sort of coincidental converging of significant dates, we are also inching towards the 20th anniversary of his passing. His death in 2002 was totally unexpected….there was no early term cancer or other major health issues – just one final popping of his heart, one warm, late summer afternoon . That endlessly surprising week, my sister and brother & I camped out in the living room of his house in the far stretches of Western New York, pouring through boxes of photos & family mementos, writing his obituary. I would wake in the morning on the floor of that well worn area, my body curved towards my sister’s on the couch, almost like a human cocoon. It was like I was trying to protect her, unconsciously in the night – to cradle her from any further, completely unexpected blows. My niece Gabby arrived later in the week, descending breathlessly upon the funeral home with her father & younger brother. There was no one my father and I adored more in the world…each of us fighting to spend as much time with her as possible on those all too rare get togethers between our far flung family members. That evening, I walked with her into the waiting area where we, quietly, looked at all the memorabilia pertaining to my dad’s life – his existence laid out on cork boards and carefully scattered photo albums. There, upon seeing a photo of herself and my father, my dear, dear niece’s chin began to quietly tremble. As her adorably plump cheeks quivered, one single, fat, perfectly formed tear eventually leaked from her left eye. “Grandpa is dead,” she gasped, “and – I – will – never – ever – see – him – again!”

And I, being the kind of uncle who sang her Husker Du songs as lullabies when she was a toddler and tried to engage her in feminist chants during my infrequent stints as a babysitter , said, “Oh no, you’ll see him again, honey! He’ll appear to you when you need him the most. Your great grandmother, dad’s mom, has shown up to talk to me…even on the day of her funeral. So, maybe you’ll even see grandpa this week. But even if you don’t, he’ll be watching over you, always.” Perhaps, thankfully, it didn’t register in her 5 year old mind that her agnostic, punk rock loving uncle was talking to her about ghosts as the dawn leaked away from the sky that twilight gloaming – but I was….& perhaps rightfully so. My niece has grown up to be strong and sure and independent- the product not only of her own fierce will & a strong familial hand… but perhaps also due to the presence of a man who loved her very much and who has been watching over her from some misty, far off plane.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Carol Douglas

Published February 14, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

With her take on Doctor’s Orders, the well-rounded Carol Douglas found herself swimming through the upper echelons of disco ballrooms, worldwide. The popularity of that song earned her a special mention in the background of Saturday Night Fever, but her preceding stints on television shows like The Patty Duke Show and several appearances in off-Broadway productions already proved she was a talent to be reckoned with.

Nicely, one of her more interesting assignments during her ‘70s heyday was providing the dance tune for the truly eclectic soundtrack of Haunted, a dusty look at the revenge that a ghost of a Civil War witch takes on the ancestors of those who murdered her.

Like the film itself, which mixed such Hollywood notables as Virginia Mayo co-starring with such newcomers as Playboy model Ann Michelle, the music here features dramatic story songs like Billy Vera’s Indian Woman, Freya Cayne’s gooey love ballad A Distant Time and Douglas’ exuberant vocalizing on the club ready You Make Me Feel the Music.

Thankfully, for all fans of that Summers’ Era of Boogying, Douglas is still making those bright lights shine positively at Carol Douglas | Facebook.

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

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Ghosts – Winter Romance

Published December 24, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

It is a time of despair and worry. The man at the socially distanced break room table is energetically talking with a female supervisor. Until recently he was an international sales director for a 5 Star Hotel, a position he frankly admits will never exist again. After decades of rising through the ranks, he now wipes down self-serve checkout counters and is grateful to her for the extra hours that she has allowed him to stay tonight. His dogs will miss him he jokes, but the security of another shift or two assures them of receiving the name brand kibble and chewy treats that they so expectantly crave. In the face of such inoperable, life altering changes, he is surprising resolute, upbeat…and I try to take my cues from him in the days that follow.

For despite it all, people are still celebrating. Our first pandemic dictated Christmas is coming soon and the lights and twinkly stars are disappearing from the shelves in the store’s seasonal boutique. I restock those aisles often, growing less and less surprised at everyone’s insistence on clinging to the predictable joys. I, too, start to take a distant comfort in the comical Santa’s and cheery cartoon elves that are popping up in window displays of the storefronts that I pass on my daily neighborhood jog. All those bright and glorious neon shades of red and green are comforting – but I can still feel something else lurking. Flickering shadows. Hazy specters. Seasonal ghosts.

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I am 19 and I am waiting for my boyfriend at his place. He gave me the keys to his apartment earlier and I bustled through the February frost to his one bedroom loft. Now, I am feeling suspiciously adult, like a big city mistress of some high-ranking business exec – although, I do legitimately belong here. I am not a secret. Everyone at work knows about us. They are aware that I am happily anticipating his presence as he finishes up his bartending shift. Anxious for our romantic evening to begin, I pore through his box of VHS tapes, trying to find something to distract myself. It is all porn videos. Well, porn videos and a bootleg copy of The Color Purple. But we have just recently watched that sterling Spielberg-ian example of Oscar bait…and I know better than to throw in a sex tape. I did that last week, and while I tried to resist jerking off to Jeff Stryker pounding some smooth curly haired model-type in an alley, I eventually couldn’t help myself. Thus, making for a less than receptive offering when AJ finally arrived home. I don’t want that to happen again. So, I turn on the television and settle on Saturday Night Live, already in progress. Just after the cast bow, he arrives. I greet him, happily. He receives my kisses mutely, situates himself on the couch, telling me that we have to talk. Valentine’s Day is a week and a half away and I am sure that he wants to make plans. This is the first year in what seems like an incredibly long life that I will have someone to celebrate with and I am thrilled. But instead, after a deep sigh, a Dear John monologue softly peters out of his lips.  Murmuring something about needing space and the strange curves of life and time, he breaks up with me. I am shocked, unexpectedly thrust from one extreme, anticipation…happiness. to a totally different one, shock…despair.

Of course, as I write this now, it dawns on me that this was an incredibly heartless way to break up with someone. There had been no clues, no warning shots fired before this moment. Everything had been kept close to the wrist. Therefore, he certainly could have told me in some other space…at some other time. Set a kinder rhythm, bought me coffee and a gourmet cookie as consolation prizes, taken me to some park, dark with leafless trees. The mood should fit the occasion, I believe. Obliterating a weekend dream state seems particularly cruel to me, especially in my secluded COVID state of mind now. Still, I find myself feeling a wispy sorrow for him, somehow, these days. In fact, it almost feels like maybe it is his sad face that wavers down alleys and across those amber corners as I wait for the light to change, walking to work.

I, honestly, don’t blame him for breaking up with me. I was silly, a devastatingly insecure child whose only concept for relationships was my parents frustrated, frequently violent union and soap opera romances. Once during our short time together, I “seductively” ignored him when I saw him unexpectedly at a bar. Our eyes met and I sharply turned away, dancing quickly into the arms of the female friend I was club hopping with. Purposefully calling him the next day, I innocently and insistently claimed that I hadn’t seen him the night before, a classic missed connection turned amusingly wrong. Another time, I pretended the managers at work were horribly upset about our dating, throwing him off balance for a moment until I confessed my senseless, idiotic ruse. Like my favorite daytime divas, I thought I always had to keep him slightly out of tune. To maintain his interest, I had to create drama…intrigue…social unrest.

Of course, I didn’t need to manufacture such moments. Tension was beating there, sharply, all along. There was an ex…another young, blue eyed blonde. We could have been brothers I ascertained, the one time that I saw him picking up his remaining belongings from AJ’s closet. It was unnerving. Months later, I would catch AJ in the restaurant’s staff bathroom, crying…not over me, but him. The other one. The original angel. The truly loved. My twin.

But there was one day. One gloriously perfect day. Its ectoplasmic embers float around me as I move throughout this month. January 1st, 1988. My roommates were still away on their holiday adventures. AJ and I lay in bed, recovering from a joyous night of public reveling, ignoring any burgeoning breakfast hunger pains. Instead, we pawed through my vinyl collection, taking turns deciding what to play. We talked and cuddled…slept…eventually heading down to the neighborhood greasy spoon. Returning with burgers that tasted inordinately of grease and that venue’s overused grill, we watched The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on someone’s tiny TV. Later, we trekked across town to catch The Running Man at one of the city’s notoriously chilly, ill kept second run theaters. We held hands as Richard Dawson taunted Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Conchita Alonso bravely plotted an escape.  We brought in that new year with fries and sex and Stephen King and it felt like a miracle, like the life I had dreamed about for so long was finally beginning. It was the first ideal afternoon I had ever experienced and it seemed to finally confirm my worth to the world. My importance to the universe seemed completely sure. In that moment. I would have never recognized myself as that soon-to-be tremulous lover who needed emotional games to feel in control. And for a moment, perhaps he too, thought his sorrow was over. My doppelganger banished from his mind in that still glittery seasonal glow as the world reset itself…bringing not only a new year, but a new sense of hope…a heart completely reborn.

So, maybe it is not only just his silvery outline that whispers to me slightly out of frame, as of late – but my own, as well. For that momentarily confident version of me belongs to this year, somehow, just as much as that unburdened version of him – though I have not regarded this past self seriously for decades. This year of hopes dashed so unreservedly, a year where light’s dearth has blinded us all, if only for smaller pockets of time, most assuredly would be the one to bring his essence back, unchecked – that past, very wishful, soon to be obliterated self. He worries me again beneath the piped-in carols…besieges me bittersweetly upon restlessly waking.

But perhaps he also teaches me that all this current sorrow, much like that old, old hurt, is survivable. He fills me with understanding, and most beautifully I think, compassion. Compassion for the person that I once was and, perhaps most importantly now, for the person that I am soon about to become.

Lady Possessed (1952).

Published March 28, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Lady Poster

1952’s Lady Possessed featured the distinguished pairing of the elegant James Mason and the always dramatic June Havoc. As veteran performers with such credits as A Star Is Born and Gentleman’s Agreement between them, they naturally imbued the supernatural melodramatics of the story here with an air of earnest believability.

Lady Mash-UpAfter a traumatic miscarriage, Jean Wilson (Havoc) begins renting a country cottage, due to the insistent recommendation of her husband (Stephen Dunne), in order to recuperate. But rest is the last thing that occurs for our beleaguered heroine when the house’s former mistress begins to take over her personality. Jean is soon tracking down the dead woman’s husband (James Mason), a famous novelty pianist, and integrating herself into his life. A disastrous séance, moodily filmed by directors Roy Kellino and William Spier, a change in her hair color and bouts of sleepless, incredibly erratic behavior ultimately lead to a moodily gothic yet emotionally abrupt climax here.

Produced by Mason and based on a story-script by his wife Pamela, who also sharply enacts Havoc’s sassy best friend Sybil, this project is also notable for providing Havoc with the rare opportunity to play a lead in a film. Always memorable, she was often cast in the Sybil role in her projects, perfecting the art of playing the bright, smart talking companion to a variety of leading ladies including Alice Faye, Dorothy McGuire and Gene Tierney. Lady Seance

Interestingly, years later Mason and Havoc would also be connected through their appearances in two different projects based on Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Mason, of course, played the mysterious Straker in Tobe Hooper’s popular 1979 television adaptation of the book. Havoc, meanwhile, played the devoted yet bloodsucking Aunt Clara in Larry Cohen’s less successful A Return to Salem’s Lot in 1987.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Fred Astaire

Published June 24, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

fred astaire

The essence of cool suave in an every man’s persona, Fred Astaire lit up dozens of enjoyable musicals for a stretch of over twenty years.

His final role in the film adaptation of Peter Straub’s powerful Ghost Story, meanwhile, saw him adding a nice helping of contemplative sorrow to the spooky proceedings.

Of course, this celluloid ease was put to grand display in The Gay Divorcee, one of the classics that he made with Ginger Rogers, his most notable dancing partner. Cole Porter’s Night and Day may have been sung better by others, but it never looked more grandly elegant.

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

ghost-story-poster

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Ghosts

Published December 26, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

ghosts

Who am I to say? That might be my father, two tables over, staring out at me from behind that old man’s eyes, as I drink my iced coffee and try, unsuccessfully, to leaf through this mammoth brand new copy of Stephen King’s It.  I mean, we all have our ghosts…and as it is two weeks from Christmas, it would be in keeping with some kind of Dickensian sense of poetic justice, I suppose.

I just wish he wasn’t looking out at me…staring at me actually…with such directness…with so little warmth. There almost seems to be a sorrow there, a hurt. …and of course, ever analyzing, I could see how my father would think I had betrayed him, given the world a flawed impression. So, I sit here, guilt boiling, tears almost welling up in my eyes….and…

I think back to recent Facebook posts I’ve made to commemorate certain events – the anniversary of his death or his birthday. They’ve always been difficult for me to write, even though I’ve felt compelled to do them. I’ve never been able to compose simple, carefree posts about him. Our relationship was rocky at times and while I’ve tried balancing my ruminations with fairness, I’ve also tried to be honest. The wounds still run deep. But my dad was always someone who kept his council, his deepest thoughts and secrets were shadowed things…and I have made private things public, if even in a slightly masked way.

So, I begin to talk to my father in my head. I reassure him that I know he loves me. I tell him that I know he is looking out for me still. That I know, days ago, when I accidentally kicked the stuffed lion, that he gave me for a long ago birthday, out of my bed during the night, and it landed at the foot of my mattress in a protective pose, that he was watching out for me and that I felt comforted, protected. I tell him I love him and that I miss him, but that I also must tell the truth about the sad times, the frustrating times, the hurt.

…and this man continues to look me straight in the face, unmoved. …and still in his focused orbs, I see the exact replica of my father.  In reality, I know this stranger, who seems to be so wired to my presence, is probably not even aware of me. He is probably lost in some other place and time. He is probably not even there. Look…his female companion is crumbling his food up and feeding him, bite by bite. He accepts the nourishment, blankly, with no true sense of need or desire. But, I also (unreasonably, perhaps) believe this could make him the perfect vessel for my father. Would there be anything wrong with possessing someone who is totally unaware? Would there be any danger to someone’s soul then? I know I am actually not the one to seriously analyze these implications. I categorize myself as agnostic because I know that there is no way for me to truly guess at all the world’s mysteries. Who am I to say for sure that there is no god? Who am I to refuse to believe that a spirit could imbue the husk of some old soul… even momentarily?

I contemplate these things as I put on and zip up my hoodies and then throw on my coat. I ponder these mysteries even as I head to the garbage bins to throw away my plastic cup. And still he looks through me, unconvinced. And in turn, I keep looking back for some acknowledgment, some relief, as I walk away. I seek some understanding from him and there is none. And this could be because this really is just some poor lost man on his last wavelength of life. Or…this could be because it is two weeks before Christmas and, in some sense of Dickensian poetic justice, this really is the essence of my father pouring forth from this stranger’s intent gazes. He could be here to remind me to be very careful of what I reveal, to remind me that there are a million sides to every story and that he will never be appeased by any of my attempts at heart filled reasoning.

And who am I to say that this isn’t so? I know really nothing about god…about life…except that it is the holiday season and I could very well be seeing ghosts.
dad

The Feminine Focus of Insidious Chapter 3

Published March 26, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

insidious
On Tuesday, March 17th, the same day that the Insidious Chapter 3 trailer dropped online, a handful of lucky Chicago residents got to see this preview launch at the historic Vic Theatre.

Local haunting expert Ursula Bielski warmed the audience up by introducing participants to the ghosts, including one named (aptly enough) Victoria, that have been rumored to linger along the arches of the well known establishment’s halls. She, also, enthusiastically asserted that the Insidious films contain accurate representations of astral projection, something that she and her brother have experienced in her own investigations into the mysterious and unknown.

The primary treat of the night, though, was the presence of actress Hayley Kiyoko. Kiyoko, currently appearing as a regular on CSI: Cyber, portrays Maggie, the best friend of the lead character, Quinn (Stefanie Scott). In addition to the nice adjustment of the series focusing on a young woman, Kiyoko also revealed that her character is Quinn’s primary source of support during the ghostly occurrences in the film, hinting that the feature will have some increasingly strong femme overtones.

BGHF & Kiyoko

BGHF & Kiyoko

The friendly Kiyoko, admittedly not a fan of the horror genre due to being easily frightened, also maintained that making the feature was just as scary as watching it. While she and the other actors knew the circumstances behind the scares in each scene, director Leigh Whannell would often vary the rhythm in which the shocks where delivered when filming, allowing for maximum fright among the cast.

You can view some of the results here:

Keep up with Insidious Chapter 3 as it makes its way toward theaters at https://www.facebook.com/InsidiousMovie.

More information on Bielski and her Chicago Hauntings Tours is available at http://www.chicagohauntings.com, as well.

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

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Now This is Scary! The Oddity Files Investigates Real Hauntings!

Published January 9, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

Real fear? A life without knowing the fabulous Kitsie Duncan!

Real fear? A life without knowing the fabulous Kitsie Duncan!


Real life serial killers and poltergeists freak me out. Give me my fake monsters any day of the week! But I would follow independent scream queen Kitsie Duncan (Lethal Obsession…) anywhere – even into an actual, completely scary haunted house! Therefore, I love her new web series Oddity Files in which she and a crew of paranormal investigators research different sites, all rumored to have occurrences of true psychic phenomenon.

Be sure to check out the Oddity Files FB page –
https://www.facebook.com/OddityFIles

And if you truly want to go that ghostly extra mile, give them a super cool nomination in the Shorty Awards, as well:
http://shortyawards.com/OddityFIles?fb=1&sid=3lB

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

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