The Walking Dead

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Marguerite Churchill

Published October 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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One of early horror’s most refreshing presences, the glorious Marguerite Churchill charmed her way through two significant entries of macabre mayhem in 1936.

Working with Boris Karloff under the intense supervision of the distinguished Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), Churchill’s Nancy spends the majority of The Walking Dead radiating with lush concern for Karloff’s ill used John Ellman. Brought back to life after being sent to his death by a crew of mob lowlifes, including the eternally oily Ricardo Cortez as Nolan, Ellman’s revenge fueled actions are magnified in an understanding light here via Karloff’s haunted facial tics and Churchill’s sympathetic glow.

Marguerite-Draculas-Daughter_02Dracula’s Daughter meanwhile allowed Churchill to display a sassier nature. Consistently providing comic aggravation for esteemed psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger), Churchill is full of zesty energy here. Even when her character faces peril as the victim of the exotic Countess Marya (Gloria Holden), Churchill shines with warmth. It’s no surprise that, at the film’s fade out, the darker charms of Holden pale next to Holden’s vibrant spark and Kruger’s Garth is as smitten with her as those many lucky viewers in the dark.

Ultimately surviving two of her three children by several years, Churchill retired from the screen in the early ‘50s. Later she spent many years overseas, before putting down roots in Oklahoma. Wherever she went, though, one hopes that she understood the depths of her filmic legacy and all the happiness that she provided cinema lovers, worldwide.

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


Music to Make Horror Movies By: The Jones Girls

Published July 23, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan


For several years, I lived with a guy with the last name of Jones. His mom was a petite blonde woman named Shirley. I could probably, truthfully, claim that I’ve never really been in love. But if I miss anyone, it has to be this guy. Therefore, (R and B sensations) The Jones Girls, no relation to my long distant paramour by the way, have always sparked a subtle interest in me.

Nicely, I have recently discovered that they performed a mysterious and sensuous version of Children of the Night, probably best known as a semi-standard of The Stylistics. (It’s even rumored that their version found its way onto an episode of The Walking Dead.) But, I have always preferred my luscious divas to my dapper gents and the spooky vibe provided by these siblings, including (perhaps necessarily) a sister named Shirley, makes me imagine that any creature, be it seductive vampire or trembling love struck ghoul, could find some romance in the witching hour.

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

Review: Zombie Broads

Published November 5, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan


Ladies and gentlemen, I know you’ve been a bit worried, but at last…my butt has been fully restored. Yes. After sitting through countless half-assed productions, often scribbled out by established playwrights, at such venerable institutions as The Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf –Be honest. How many times have you thought to yourself, “Now, why the fuck did they spend all that money to do…that?!?” – I have been posteriorly redefined by some good old fashioned, gnawingly eviscerating storefront theater.

Factory Theatre’s latest production is a horror comedy that goes by the name of Zombie Broads.  The title is a reference to a book club featuring many of the show’s female characters, but it is also indicative of the fact that playwrights Corbette Pasko and Sara Sevigny have focused the mayhem here around a series of powerful and resourceful femmes. It’s a nice contrast to The Walking Dead, World War Z and other popular forms of undead entertainment that, granted, contain some awesome female characters, but are seemingly more focused on the male perspective in times of apocalyptic crisis.

Here, former cosplayers turned survivalists, Maxine and Marco, are bringing up Shelby, their exasperated daughter, in a shelter style environment. Shelby, certain that a ghoulish uprising is out of the question, just wants a cell phone, a normal job and to be able to spend some less secretive time with her boyfriend, Alex. But sometimes the folks are right, and when Shelby finds out the dead actually can have real bite, she is glad for all the preriquisite training. If only she weren’t feeling so strange…zombie-broads

Nicely, all of Maxine and Marco’s battle minded compatriots are women and the involved and inventive fight choreography by Matt Engle shows these actresses and, therefore, their characters off to strong intent. Indeed, the audience emotionally connects with all of them.

But if I must choose a favorite…I have decided that I want the divine Haley Rice to be my best friend, in real life, forever! Her subtle, slightly bored take on Isabel, the saucy custodian who starts off the crisis, is comic gold. I! Love! Her!

Granted, the second act does lose some of the zippy breeze established in the first, settling into much more nihilistic vibe. Tone-wise, it’s a bit jarring, as is the semi- cliffhanger ending. But the uniformly enjoyable cast is always a treat and it would be damn hard to find original scripting as zanily courageous and heartfelt, amplified by Janice L. Blizt’s flinty direction, as this anywhere else.

Zombie Broads runs at The Factory Theatre in Rogers Park in Chicago through November 26th. More information is available at and

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

Kyra Schon: The Joie de Vivre of Everyone’s Favorite Ghoul Girl!

Published April 10, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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Holy Cement Spades!! On the eve of her appearance at the Sci-Fi Spectacular 2014 in Chicago, the fun and inventive Kyra Schon, Karen Cooper from the original Night of the Living Dead, took a moment to talk with Big Gay Horror Fan about the film’s legacy and her own artwork.

BGHF: Hi, Kyra! So, if we could go back in a time machine, and you actually were Karen Cooper, what mistakes would you fix?

Kyra: Did she make any mistakes? I don’t know if she did.

BGHF: Murdering her parents…

Kyra: Oh, she didn’t make any mistakes! She was just following her instincts. She was hungry. What are you going to do?

BGHF: So, if she had them, would she have been able to show more control with her own children?

Kyra: I kind of doubt it. (Laughs) When you’re hungry what are you going to do? She would have been eating her babies left and right!

BGHF: (Laughing) True! Hamsters do it; cats do it, fish… She would just be following the whole spectrum of nature.

Kyra: (Laughing along) Right! Exactly!

kyra jewelryBGHF: So, fast forwarding to (the real) present, what inspired your jewelry making?

Kyra: Well, I’ve done art my whole life. It was really what I loved to do. In school, it was the only subject that I was ever really good in. The only classes that I did not cut were art classes. So, I wound up teaching ceramics for 25 years in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I took an early retirement from that, four years ago, because they were cutting funding and cutting hours. I worked at an arts magnet school for creative and performing arts…and they were cutting art classes. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in an art school…but there it is. I had been making jewelry for a number of years and really enjoyed it. So, I thought now I have all my time to devote to this. I really just started doing little sculptures going directly to a mold and then casting them in pewter. So, that’s kind of how I am making a living, at this point. I sell that stuff. I have an Etsy shop. So, that’s what keeps me off the streets now.

BGHF: (Laughing) Unless you really want to be on the streets…then go for it!

Kyra: (Laughs) Exactly! Exactly! Live big!!

BGHF: You have been captured onscreen as Karen, who will be forever young. Do you feel like you have a young heart, yourself?kyra3

Kyra: I don’t know. For some people, I am always going to be nine years old. I don’t feel like that myself. I wish I did. I think it would be nice to have that joie de vivre of a 9 or 10 year old. People at conventions look at me and expect me, after 45 years of whatever, to still be 9 years old. No. Time catches up with all of us.

BGHF: (Laughing) It sure does!

Kyra: Yeah! I guess in some universe, I am always going to be that kid. Now, I’ve gotten old …what are you going to do?

BGHF: Well you still sound pretty awesome to me!

Kaya-SchonKyra: Thank you! You know, people have actually asked me why I don’t wear a dress like Karen Cooper’s at the conventions. Well…because I am 56 years old. I am not 9. It would be creepy on an entirely different level. I don’t want to go there, thank you! (Laughs)

BGHF: Bill Hinzman could get away with it because his character was an adult.

Kyra: Exactly! He was an adult. Everyone else in the film can get away with it because they were adults at the time, too. Could you imagine what people would be saying about me if I did that? Did you see that crazy woman? She thinks she’s nine years old.

BGHF: (Laughs) Well if you want to get them talking, you have the perfect way to do it!

Kyra: (Laughing) Exactly! Yeah!

BGHF: You mentioned the conventions. Is it a bittersweet for you, now, that people like Bill Hinzman have begun to pass away or retire from the scene due to age?

Kyra: When I think of the conventions that I used to do…my dad would be there and Bill Hinzman. It is sad. We all die. We all lose our family members. But this very small group just gets smaller every year. It’s like…Oh, my god! Who’s going to be the last one? Who’s going to be next? It’s sad and it’s creepy. Now, I’m starting to do cons on my own. I do get lonely. None of my buddies are there. Well, its life…A little slice of real life. kyra2

BGHF: Do you think 20, 30, 50 years into the future that this movie is still going have the resonance it has now?

Kyra: That’s a good question. It just seems lately it’s been very overshadowed by The Walking Dead. That’s a completely different audience. A lot of the fans of The Walking Dead are not necessarily Night of the Living Dead fans. They are not necessarily fans of any other zombie movie. They are just sort of The Walking Dead fans. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I don’t know. I’d be really, really surprised if 30 years, 50 years down the road anybody remembers this film. Maybe people in film classes will. I don’t know.

BGHF: So, what has the overall legacy of this film been for you? When you finally stop the convention circuit, for example, what do you think you’ll have taken away?

Kyra: I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been. I am so blessed to have been in this movie. I don’t use that word loosely. I really feel that way. Of all the kids on this planet, I was chosen to be this creepy little ghoul girl. It’s so amazing. I was so lucky. It never goes away. There was a time after we made the movie in 68 that it just kind of went to sleep. I didn’t think about it anymore. I didn’t hear about it anymore. Then, years later in 1988, this guy calls me out of the clear blue sky. He was a promoter. He told me he was a promoter and he’d love to have me at this convention. I was like – what convention? What are you talking about? I had heard of Star Trek conventions and thought that was quite possibly the strangest thing I had ever heard of. He said it’s a Sci Fi Horror convention. I said, Really? These things exist for horror movies? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’d love to have you! So we did this thing. It changed my life. It was like, “Oh my god! These are my people!” I didn’t feel like a freak. Nobody said that we don’t believe you were in this movie. They were asking me to sign their stuff. Really!? Really!? You really believe I was in this movie and you’re really interested in that? It was fun. I was kind of a geek for all things horror, too. But, I didn’t have anybody to share that with. My friends could take it or leave it. So, suddenly this world just opened up. I thought this was just amazing. So, I don’t think I will ever stop doing conventions. (Laughs) Even if I am not welcome, I’m going anyway!

BGHF: You’ll be there as a fan!

Kyra: Exactly!

Be sure to come meet Kyra in Chicago, this weekend (Saturday, April 14th), at the SCI-SPECTACULAR 2014 ( You can keep in touch with her, year round, and purchase items at, as well.

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

Sabrina Wagner: Walking the Dead with Make-Up’s Finest!

Published February 5, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

Big Gay Horror Fan has been touched by a angel! Well, maybe one with a bit of demon thrown in for good measure! Yep, I have been made up by miraculous make-up artist Sabrina Wagner and I am still feeling the glow!

Below, as a work-in-progress, I chat with the amazing Wagner, who has worked on the first season of The Walking Dead and such independent horror epics as Motor Home Massacre.

You can find out more about her work at world famous haunt Netherworld at