Lon Chaney Jr.

All posts tagged Lon Chaney Jr.

Horror Mash-Up: Mae Clarke and Lon Chaney, Jr.

Published April 25, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan


Screen legend Robert Mitchum tussled with such bad asses as Lee Marvin, George Kennedy, Jean Simmons and Jane Russell onscreen throughout his career as Hollywood’s smoothest tough guy. In 1955’s melodramatic medical drama Not As A Stranger this maverick met his match, though, while appearing opposite two of Universal Horror’s shining lights.

Here the incomparable Lon Chaney Jr., who appeared most famously as the original Wolf Man, dominates his tiny bit of screen time opposite Mitchum’s emotionally remote medical student Lucas March. As March’s alcoholic father, Chaney brings his own experience with that insidious disease to the fore, creating a truly sorrowful, emotionally impactful presence. Of course, those who have appreciated Chaney’s latter-day work in such projects as Spider Baby know what an amazing dramatic performer that he was.


Once March graduates, he wanders into the orbit of Mae Clarke’s steely Odell, a nurse who questions his knowledge and authority. A far cry from Frankenstein’s victimized Elizabeth, Clarke resonates with a determined attitude and a sense of unique force. Nicely, her final moments opposite Mitchum do give her a chance to show a tart sympathy, allowing her to create a rounded portrait within the few quick scenes that she is given to perform in.

Mae Lon Classic

Masters of their craft. Chaney and Clarke deserve recognition for all their celluloid contributions. A quick online search of their credits should lead you into many fascinating cinematic journeys.

Happy hunting and…

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


Lon Chaney, Jr. in Happy Landing

Published June 2, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Lon solo

Truly one of the oddest stardom stories must belong to Sonja Henie. A world famous Olympian skater, Henie made a huge mark on Hollywood in the 1930s. Providing an exuberant presence with modest acting skills, she appeared in vehicles that revolved around her ability to perform in huge Busby Berkeley style numbers on acres of ice. Many of these spectacles made tons of money, meaning Henie became one of the most poLon grouppular stars of her time…albeit in some of the strangest cinema ever produced.

Nicely, in 1938’s Happy Landing, Henie shares a brief scene with a future horror icon. Appearing here as Trudy Ericksen, a small town Norwegian hopeful who has started to make good in the Big Apple, Henie impulsively declares that she is going to marry a playboy, enacted smoothly by Cesar Romero (Two on a Guillotine, Batman), to an overeager reporter – –  played with gusto by none other than Lon Chaney, Jr. ! Nicely, Chaney’s goofy everyman energy is in full if modest supply here. For terror fans, it is a truly pleasant surprise, and one of the many things that makes the viewing of these old black and white programmers such a pleasure.

Sonia HenieNaturally, Henie, who spends much of the movie in close-ups featuring an approximation of thoughtful whimsy, finds her true love by the film’s spectacular finish. Chaney, of course, would go on to classic monster status with his appearances in such films as 1941’s The Wolf Man, 1943’s Son of Dracula and 1944’s The Mummy’s Ghost.

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


Patricia Morison: B Movies’ Regal Queen

Published March 18, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

As pink studded buildings collapse and the twisted spirals of despair clutch at his nightmare ridden feet, Big Gay Horror Fan reaches out, desperately, and always the ebony Rapunzel-like hair of stage goddess Patricia Morison comes floating past. Clutching at it, he is once again, pulled from his hideous dreams, waking up to a new morning.

calling%20dr%20deathRegal to the point of otherworldliness and always exquisitely beautiful, exotic Patricia Morison gained eternal fame as Cole Porter’s muse for his classic 1948 musical Kiss Me Kate. For many, this artistic opportunity saved her from appearances in a variety of low budget Hollywood programmers. But, for cinematic fetishists in the know, these cheap wonders always highlighted Morison’s eclectic grace.

In 1943’s Calling Dr. Death, Morison radiates with concern as Stella Madden, Dr. Mark Steel’s (Lon Chaney, Jr.) prized assistant. But Morison always allows a tone of mystery to pervade her actions – a grand move as Stella soon appears to know more about the death of Steel’s wife than she is letting on. Indeed, during a nightmarish sequence Morison finds herself running between shadowy, toppling set pieces in a brilliantly conceived dance of guilt. The presence of Chaney and J. Carrol Naish (The Monster Maker, House of Frankenstein) along with the moody direction of Reginald Le Borg (The Mummy’s Ghost, Weird Woman) makes this among Morison’s more fright based efforts. But, the dedicated Morison always gave up the exploitation gold in a number of other genre projects, as well.patriciabuilding

dressed-to-kill-1946-jj As Mrs. Hilda Courtney in the 1946 Sherlock Holmes adventure Dressed to Kill, Morison truly gives distinguished Basil Rathbone (Tales of Terror, Queen of Blood, The Black Cat, The Mad Doctor, Tower of London) a run for his money. She excels at sophisticated villainy here, but she is obviously having the most fun when duplicitously disguised as a homely working class matron. But whether grand or downtrodden, Morison shows all her fabulous colors here making one marvel at the fact that the studio system never figured out a grand scheme for her.

In 1947’s Queen of the Amazons, Morison shows much spunk and zeal as Jean Preston. Determined to find her missing fiancé in the wilds of the jungle, Morison sparks immediately with Robert Lowery as experienced guide, Gary Lambert. The two are destined for romance in the Hepburn-Tracy variety, but only after it is discovered that Preston’s fiancé has fallen in love with the vicious and vengeful Zita, the queen of the jungle. Morison’s gritty elegance here is in direct contrast to the extremely awkward (thus thoroughly enjoyable) performance of Amira Moustafa as Zita.
Be sure to check back often as Big Gay Horror Fan (https://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan ) frequently exposes the wondrous exploitation foibles of the most glorious femmes of entertainment.

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