Montgomery Clift

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Va-Va-Villainess: Katharine Hepburn

Published May 2, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

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Coming on like a perfect precursor to the diva heavy Gothic horrors of the ‘60s and ‘70s (including Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and many others), 1959’s Suddenly Last Summer gave the divine Katherine Hepburn a chance to bring a wickedly flawed character to the screen in the form of the matriarchal, incredibly wealthy Violet Venable.

As Venable uses all of her considerable influence to insure the lobotomization of her niece Catherine Holly, played with busty emotion by Elizabeth Taylor, Hepburn does add sympathetic touches to her portrayal (as any fine craftswoman would). Still, she doesn’t shy away from the uncontrollably evil nature of her character, ultimately creating a detailed look at a society matron compelled to carry out one of celluloid history’s more heinous acts.1959. Katharine HEPBURN during the filming of "Suddenly Last Summer."

Based on Tennessee Williams’ grotesque one act play, Hepburn’s own androgyny adds to the overriding gay mystique this piece offers up, as well. The screenplay here was not only adapted by queer literary icon Gore Vidal, but co-star Montgomery Clift, a performer whose sexual attraction to men has been well documented in various books on film history, gives it an inclusive vibe, as well.

 

Nicely, horror lovers on all sides of the spectrum can appreciate the visual background for the first meeting of the characters played by Clift and Hepburn. As Venable lays out her plans while walking through the mondo crazed garden of her estate, viewers can almost feel its macabre presence, entering them into a world akin to the twisted creations of Clive Barker and HR Giger.

 

LGBTQIA fans, though, will be glad that characters like Sebastian Venable, the unseen homosexual son of Venable who controls the plot from beyond his grave, are becoming rarer and rarer. A twisted individual who used both Hepburn’s grand dame and Taylor’s innocent minx, his is an example of the other at it’s most perverse, another artifact of how our community was considered to be akin to  chosen sickness and disease for decades.Katherine Suddenly

Hepburn, meanwhile, embraced the eccentricity of roles like Eleanor of Aquitaine (The Lion in Winter) and Countess Aurelia (The Madwoman of Chaillot) in the coming decades, but never again reached the divine fervor of her exquisite, unapproachable work here.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

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Review: Plain Devil

Published October 15, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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“We’re not She Devils! We’re just Plain Devils!” – Bomber, Plain Devil

Despite threats and offers of (lots of) candy from other (perhaps more influential) groups, the only sassy sorority that I truly want to join is The Mighty Followers of Tonjia Atomic! For this Seattle based multi-hyphenate has done it, once again, with her delightfully matter-of-fact look at urban gangs called Plain Devil.

Utilizing a swinging 50s ascetic in a modern setting, Atomic tells the story of Little Gypsy, an old school immigrant girl with a contemporary attitude. Setting off to find her destined romantic interests, Montgomery Clift and Mickey Rourke, Little Gypsy is soon verbally accosted by the sassy Bomber and her friends. Little Gypsy is heartbroken until their mutual love of Rourke, unexpectedly, brings her and Bomber together as companions. Soon, Bomber decides that she, Gypsy and co-conspirators, Einstein and Trashy, should form a gang.

Working evocatively against gender stereotypes, Atomic creates a surprisingly easy going vibe here. Things unfold patiently, with even the anticipated rumble arriving with honest charm. Atomic, also, smartly works societal nuances into the piece. The humorous analysis of why gangs are formed packs a true-to-life punch while a continual examination of sexist labels throughout the running time, also, hits home.

Filled with a groovy score and charming performances (particularly from Atomic as the forceful Bomber and Ada Karamanyan as the sweet Little Gypsy), this sunny John Waters-like homage is definitely Atomic’s best work thus far.

Therefore, when you’re done wielding that broken beer bottle in an alley fight; be sure to keep up with Plain Devil at https://www.facebook.com/PlainDevil.

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan