Larry Cohen

All posts tagged Larry Cohen

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Isaac Hayes

Published July 26, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Isaac Hayes_Courtesy of Stax Archives (2)

A generation knew the iconic Isaac Hayes as the deep voiced patriarch behind South Park’s love-fetching Chef. Music fiends, meanwhile, adored him for his revolutionary soundtrack to Shaft, perhaps one of the most cherished and influential celluloid musical foundations of all time.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, Hayes had a large body of acting credits, with many notches on his genre belt, as well. Films like Escape from New York, Guilty as Charged, Acting on Impulse and the Larry Cohen-William Lustig partnered Uncle Sam all benefited greatly from his unique and powerful presence.

Dying at the (far too young) age of 65 in 2008, Hayes’ multi-faceted career is thankfully and continually being honored at www.isaachayes.com and https://www.facebook.com/isaachayes.

Isaac Uncle Sam

Hayes in Uncle Sam

 

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

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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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Unsung Heroines of Horror: June Havoc and Evelyn Keyes

Published March 12, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

June and Evelyn A Return

Two years before infamously giving Bette Davis her last role in the horror comedy Wicked Stepmother, esteemed cult director Larry Cohen cast two other veteran beauties in 1987’s A Return to Salem’s Lot, his sequel to the Stephen King vampire story.

Here, Cohen gave June Havoc and Evelyn Keyes meaty roles as the matriarchs of a town filled with the blood sucking undead. Keyes, known for playing Vivian Leigh’s sister in Gone With the Wind and a series of femme fatales in noir flicks, was cast as the judge’s wife, lending not only her show business prestige to the proceedings, but a regal sense of bearing, as well.

Havoc, a Broadway legend and a vivacious presence in a series of Golden Age musicals and the acclaimed drama Gentleman’s Agreement, was cast as the former caretaker of the film’s lead, played by quirky Cohen regular Michael Moriarty. Tenderly trying to reconnect with the horrified Moriarty, Havoc is definitely given the more significant role here.

But both she and Keyes dive into the lurid circumstances at hand with glee. Tearing into their characters’ victims with malevolence, they also somehow keep their dignity intact. In fact, one of the funniest moments occurs as Havoc’s prim Aunt Clara takes time to adjust her lipstick after a particularly aggressive feeding.

June solo Return

Meanwhile, the film itself, containing dollops of Cohen’s odd sense of humor and strange plot structuring, was not well received by fans upon its release. But lovers of old school Hollywood should be charmed not only by the presence of Havoc and Keyes, but by maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller (Shock Corridor, White Dog) who puts in a rascally appearance as a vampire hunter. Interestingly, singer-songwriter and A Nightmare on Elm Street star Ronee Blakley also turns in one of her last screen roles (as Moriarty’s ex-wife) while future terror regular and eternal media catastrophe Tara Reid commits to one of her first.

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

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June and Michael A Return

Music to Make Horror Movies By – June Havoc

Published February 9, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

June Havoc

Sporting one of the most unique life resumes for a performer, the unstoppable June Havoc was a vaudevillian, playwright, film actress and the owner-landlord of an entire town during her lifetime. Perhaps best known as the inspiration for the character of Baby June in the classic musical Gypsy, a theatrical offering she always emphasized was a fable not reality, Havoc also gave vampirism a distinguished glow in Larry Cohen’s A Return to Salem’s Lot. June Havoc Salems

Of course, her vampishly dynamic performances in a series of Hollywood musicals left quite an impression on a generation of young men, as well.

Sinful Cindy Lou from Sing Your Worries Away paired her with the rubbery Buddy Ebsen and comic legend Patsy Kelly.

Meanwhile, The Man With the Big Sombrero from Hi Diddle Diddle allowed her to sonically compete with herself.

The maverick Havoc, who died in 2010 at the age of 97, actually has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was nominated for a Tony Award as the director of Marathon ’33, a play that she also wrote.

June Havoc signed

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

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