Without a doubt When I Close My Eyes I See Blood is one of the most memorable songs on the soundtrack of William Friedkin’s notorious Cruising. As the music wildly escalates, the ragged vocals seem to barely escape from the singer’s throat. In fact, one could imagine that this desperate sounding performer was picked out of the heroin-soaked chorus of some dimly lit drag revue and then discarded on the street the moment the track was set to tape. But Madelyn von Ritz, who perfectly matched the forbidden horror of the film’s milieu with the number, was actually a talented artist who went on to score a variety of ‘90s film projects, proving that old adage that sometimes talent and beauty are just not enough to make a permanent mark in show business.
Ritz’s story is actually more fascinating than many celluloid journeys, though. Growing up in less than ideal circumstances, she escaped through the magic of fairy tales and music. As Lynn Castle. she gained recognition in the ‘60s as a barber and when she wasn’t writing, she was catering to the longer hair of such notables as Sonny Bono and Lee Hazlewood. After making quick appearances on several television shows and films, her song Lady Barber caught the ears of Hazlewood. They eventually recorded that track and one other. Neither made an impact on the charts. Riding this mild momentum, Castle also put an album’s worth of demos to tape around the same time. Unfortunately, those unique numbers remained a mysterious trade secret for almost 40 years. Thankfully, intrepid music purveyors Light in the Attic released them on a special edition LP in 2017 and the world is finally discovering the rare, psychedelic beauty of this long-neglected songstress.
We have all been to the Castle…and our lives will never be the same!
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!