Jazz

All posts tagged Jazz

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Chris Connor

Published November 22, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

With her dusky warble and effortless sense of restraint, jazz icon Chris Connors is the height of nighttime cool. Of course, as chill evening turns to desolate midnight, danger often lurks. Sometimes, that hazard even comes from within.

Connors’ take on Margo Guryan’s somber Lonely Woman truly embodies that notion. With a foreboding shriek, this number perfectly highlights the haunted reality of an all too solitary type with too many vanquished dreams.

Sharply atmospheric, this meeting between two femme wunderkinds* would fit perfectly in the background of a number of women-on-the-verge horror pieces – whether it be a modern take on Rosemary’s Baby or simply played on repeat while watching Let’s Scare Jessica to Death with that film’s sound pulled down to zero.

*Guryan is a highly regarded cult figure who wrote a number of successful ‘60s singles. Her oft reissued recording Take a Picture is loftily regarded by many music connoisseurs, as well.

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

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Va-Va-Villainess: Mara Corday

Published May 23, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Mara Corday (1954)

“A disgusting turn of events, Mr. Gunn. You’ve wasted everybody’s evening. It’s going to cost you!” – Emily (Mara Corday)

Keep Smiling, the 26th episode of Peter Gunn, the suave jazz flecked detective series created by Blake Edwards, has to be one of the hippest half hours of television ever produced. Directed by the legendary Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Incredible Shrinking Man), this episode accentuates its coolness most fully at the story’s midpoint. As acclaimed drummer Shelly Manne manipulates the skins on stage, Gunn (Craig Stevens) puts the hooks into Mara Corday’s sexy serial blackmailer while an eager whistleblower (played by The Addams Family’s Jackie Coogan) looks on.

Mara TarantulaCorday, of course, efficiently and naturally played a series of valiant heroines in such science fiction-horror pictures as The Giant Claw, The Black Scorpion and (the Arnold directed) Tarantula. Here, she obviously relishes being the bad girl, biting into her lines with acidic menace. It’s a tart performance that radiates with a calm evil, proving that Corday was a step above many of the other model-actresses who played similar roles in that same period of time.

The 90-year-old Corday, who parlayed her longtime friendship with Clint Eastwood into roles in several of his films, is still active at http://maracorday.com/. Those wishing to indulge in the full ecstasies of her presence can find Keep Smiling on Amazon Prime, as well.

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

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mara

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ethel Ennis

Published May 17, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Ethel Ennis

Her take on The Star-Spangled Banner may have helped heal the nation during the Viet Nam War, but joyful terror tykes across the continents are probably most aware of the smooth tones of the divine Ethel Ennis due to her singing the theme song of the stop motion classic Mad Monster Party.

Credited as being a jazz icon, Ennis did not like to be sonically labeled, preferring to add her lilting personality and unique presence into whatever genre of music that she chose to sing.

But she was proud to be claimed by her native Baltimore as one of their prime attractions, dying at the age of 86 in 2019 after dedicating nearly 70 years of her life to the arts.

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

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Ethel Ennis Mad Monster Party

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Perry Lee Blackwell

Published September 15, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Perry Combo

She made two memorable film appearances and worked with many of the jazz greats throughout her career, but there is very little information available about the exquisitely talented Perry Lee Blackwell. Sometimes credited as Perri Lee, this joyous multi-hyphenate (pianist-organist-vocalist) released at least two recordings during her career and she was the featured performer at the historic Parisian Room in Los Angeles for many years, as well.

Nicely, her love of performing is apparent in her scenes in Dead Ringer, one of Bette Davis’ latter day gothic horror projects. While that film has a huge cult following, Blackwell is still probably best known for her iconic interactions with Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the beloved romantic comedy Pillow Talk.

 

With her recordings available from outlets like Discogs and a number of blogs beginning to extol her virtues, it seems like the perfect time to rediscover the amazing Blackwell, who, in her 90’s now, seems to truly appreciate hearing about the latter day love she has been receiving from fans.

Perry Lee Blackwell 1

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Anita Ellis

Published April 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Anita Ellis

Providing the ‘40s singing voice for everyone from MGM’s Vera Ellen to the stunning Rita Haworth, the versatile Anita Ellis earned her terror pedigree by having her vocals included in the 1964 horror cheese fest The Flesh Eaters. The sister of Larry Kert, the gay actor-singer who found acclaim in the original stage production of West Side Story, Ellis eventually courted success as a jazz singer in her latter day career – even though a particularly vicious form of stage fright often robbed her of her voice.

Still, her talent and skill will forever reverberate in numbers such as this.

Meanwhile, a more complete biography of this magnificent performer is available at https://www.oldies.com/artist-biography/Anita-Ellis.html.

The-flesh-eaters.jpg

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Vito Price

Published July 1, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

vito price

Recorded by both Anita O’Day and Bing Crosby, the song Beautiful Love played in the background of the ball scene in Universal’s classic The Mummy. Serving as atmosphere there, jazz saxophonist Vito Price put the tune itself to the fore on this joyous take for his well regarded LP Swingin’ in the Loop.

It’s a recording that definitely makes you feel like you’re the participant in a sophisticated virtual reality experiment – you experience the neon joy of an old school Chicago music club like The Green Mill in every bouncing note that bursts from Price’s ebullient horn.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Peggy Lee

Published January 7, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Peggy Lee

Irreplaceable writer-director George Romero was always adding surprises into his cinematic universes. He added political undertones to his zombie epics, a gay couple to the testosterone driven Knight Riders and…he added a number of Peggy Lee songs to the animal gone wild thriller Monkey Shines.

Wisely, along with such well known standards like That’s All and Ain’t We Got Fun, he utilized a number that Lee herself wrote, the melancholy yet hopeful There’ll Be Another Spring.

Nicely, Lee, who famously wrote many of the numbers for Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, has also had songs that she sang featured in other such genre projects as Exorcist: The Beginning, (the television show) Nightmare Café and the 2005 version of King Kong.

…and if that doesn’t give you fever, I don’t know what will! 

fever

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Barbara Dane, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”

Published March 9, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

barbara
I’ve tasted the gritty – especially after that psychotic killer clown pushed my face into the ground when I was 10!

But there is nothing as earthy (and fabulous) as the vocals of legendary folk, jazz and blues artist Barbara Dane! Even cinema’s master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, would have to agree with me on that one. (Although, he agrees with me on so little, nowadays. Pesky, I tell you. Just plain pesky!) He included the magnificent Dane in the 1962 episode Captive Audience (starring the distinguished James Mason of Salems Lot and Frankenstein: The True Story fame) on his own Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Don’t believe me? You can check it, here, yourself:

Then be sure to hang with Dane, often, at http://www.barbaradane.net. This politically charged dynamo is still performing and highly worthy of your support.

barbara livin

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

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