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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Helen Morgan and Lillian Roth

Published October 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Helen Morgan’s lovely take on Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man from Show Boat is used to grand effect in Alfred Sole’s unusually powerful horror effort Alice, Sweet Alice. Introducing the pivotal presence of Mr. Alphonso, a creepy landlord who antagonistically preys upon the title character, Sole uses this number in the background to illustrate the strange emotional landscape of this sometimes pitiful, always unsavory character.

Morgan (above left), who died of alcoholism at an early age, had two biographies filmed of her life and troubled times. In an interesting coincidence, Sole cast Lillian Roth (above right), a singer and actress in the tradition of Morgan, in a small but pivotal role of a pathologist in the film. In reality, Roth’s path echoed Morgan’s on many levels, adding a nice layer of show business coincidence to this well loved film, which was recently given the deluxe Blu-ray treatment from Arrow Video. As with Morgan, Roth’s life was given a cinematic appraisal by Susan Hayward, who was nominated for an Oscar for her work, in I’ll Cry Tomorrow.

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

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Laurinda Barrett

Published October 3, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Edge Laurinda

Esteemed theater actress Laurinda Barrett is probably best known to celluloid buffs from her work in the 1968 film adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Eagle eyed viewers will also remember her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, as well.

Laurinda Wrong ManThankfully, working with the Master of Suspense must have prepared Barrett for her work as Molly Sherwood on the long running mystery soap The Edge of Night. With knife like precision and incisive skill, Barrett enacted Sherwood’s reign of terror with a rare sensitivity – and a cold blooded determination. Illogically predisposed to do away with anyone who seemingly threatened a loved one, Sherwood not only calmly killed those she considered perpetrators, but also anyone she suspected may have knowledge of her crimes.

Utilizing horror influences to the extreme here, this EON plotline reached its pinnacle when Sherwood stabbed one offender while wearing a disturbingly cheery clown hand puppet to mask her fingerprints.

A veteran of multiple soap operas, including All My Children and Guiding Light, it is ultimately Barrett’s macabre run as Molly that lingers on in viewers’ minds. Decades after those initial airdates, this observation is a true testament to the richness and power of her work all those years ago – and proves that even without superstar status, this dedicated performer made a true impact on people’s lives.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By – Little Boots

Published September 29, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Tenth anniversary analysis articles on Jennifer’s Body, the feminist horror buddy flick scripted by Diablo Cody, have focused on the much renewed appreciation brewing for this initially maligned exercise in fright making. (For the record…I loved it from the get go and saw it twice in the theater before it quickly disappeared from the screens.)

Besides its energetic performances and enthusiastic direction, the film also featured a killer soundtrack. One of the most notable numbers was the perky yet strangely ominous New in Town, sassily essayed by the unforgettable Little Boots.

Perfectly capturing the film’s essence with that song, Little Boots is now winning over fans’ hearts anew while touring in celebration of Hands, the album that initially featured this tune.

https://www.facebook.com/littleboots  https://www.littlebootsmusic.co.uk/

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

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: K.T. Stevens

Published September 27, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Sometimes heroines of horror are unsung simply because they don’t have any true horror projects to their credit. Take the unforgettable K. T. Stevens for example. While she doesn’t have a Frankenstein or Dracula on her resume, she did play Vanessa Prentiss on The Young and the Restless for years. Her face hidden behind magnificent veils due to traumatic scarring, this character was one of the more gothic villainesses of the classic early ‘80s of soapdom. The perfect amalgamation of one dark stormy night theatrics, Vanessa made life a living nightmare for Laurie, the soap’s most prominent anti-heroine. In fact, upon learning that she was terminally ill, Prentiss staged a fight with her rival and then threw herself off the balcony of her apartment building. This assured that Laurie would be charged with her murder, a final revenge as surely psychotic as anything that Peter Lorre cooked up in Mad Love. KT 3

Starting out as a juvenile lead opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Great Man’s Lady, Stevens enjoyed a fairly distinguished career including noir adventures (Port of New York) and guest shots on classic television shows (I Love Lucy, The Big Valley). She even took a shot gun blast to the chest as a supporting player in the T & A thriller They’re Playing with Fire.

Graced with a layered yet formidable presence, she was also a favorite of the producers of Thriller; the Boris Karloff hosted anthology series that always dealt with matters of the macabre. Stevens’ episodes were more criminal minds in nature than exercises in terror, but she got to show some range. She was the Capri pants wearing, con minded other woman in a first season episode entitled The Merriweather File. The second season’s Kill My Love found her calmly enacting calculated patrician control as the wealthy Olive Guthrie. Even though Guthrie is ultimately the victim here, her chilling use of subtle silence lingers long after the episode ends.

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The eclectic professionalism of Stevens, who passed away at the age of 74 in 1994, should come as no surprise, though. Her father was director Sam Wood (A Night at the Opera, King’s Row) and she made her debut at the age of two in one of his silent features with (child prodigy) Jackie Coogan, later Uncle Fester in the original The Addams Family.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: My Boyfriend’s Back

Published September 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Boyfriend

The Angels sweet, valedictory take on My Boyfriend’s Back has insured that number a place in musical history. Their original version has even appeared in Matinee, Joe Dante’s loving nod to genre cinema and its great showmen. It was also the obvious inspiration for the beloved early ‘90s, Sean S. Cunningham produced horror-comedy My Boyfriend’s Back.

As with many iconic ‘60s songs, there have been a multitude of cover versions to charm and/or amuse the ears. Everyone from Kristy and Jimmy McNichol to Melissa Manchester and The Raveonettes have put their mark on this cheery yet revenge fueled composition.

One of the favored takes was provided by popular soap actress Sharon Gabet in the early ‘80s. At the time of the recording, Gabet was starring as Raven on the gothic mystery sudser Edge of Night. Nicely, the dark rhythms of that show’s plotlines emerge in the pulsing backgrounds in this harder edged takeover.

Gabet, a veritable soap hopper who also appeared on Another World and One Life to Live, is now the author of a number of  books including From Raven to the Dove, which beautifully describes her seven year experience working on Edge and her life since then.

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P.S.: Those with sharp ears might even catch Donna De Lory’s vocals on the background of this track. De Lory, of course, has long been a part of Madonna’s roving troupe of players and is an established solo artist in her own right, as well. 

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

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Halloween in Salem!

Published September 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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It is starting to smell like Halloween in Salem! In the past few weeks, the setting place of (the long running soap opera) Days of Our Lives has had long lost characters rise from the dead while a mad scientist runs amuck, his chemical concoctions exploding around him! One of the show’s major heroines has also just been kidnapped by a silent, shrouded figure.

One recent ghoul stained returnee has even taken a deadly shine to some of her old, mischievous tricks. Vivian Alamain (currently being played by daytime icon Robin Strasser) has always had a thing for burying folks alive…but her latest victim Kate Roberts (the incomparable Lauren Koslow) wasn’t giving up her mortal coil easily. After being shot by Vivian and covered in graveyard dirt, this resourceful anti-heroine crawled out of her makeshift resting place and dragged her nearly expired glam gal self to the local hospital. Naturally, as the writers stretch out this macabre yarn, Kate’s life still hangs in the balance…and Vivian is prowling the hospital corridors, hoping to drag her off of that precarious ledge.Days Kate

Of course, this is all being done with a sense of grand, over-the-top fun. But more than anything, it’s been a twisted joy watching glamorous, dedicated pros like Strasser, who gets more assured and enjoyably cunning with every appearance, and Koslow go at it with few (if any) holds barred. The producers also, nicely, gave longtime soap lovers a special treat by recently reuniting Strasser and Kassie DePaiva, who plays town pariah Eve with distinctive panache, for a brief scene. For decades these legacy performers went at it with love (and occasional wraith) as aunt and niece, respectively, on the late lamented One Life to Live.

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Intrigued by all this deadly, pumpkin spiced mayhem? Well, be sure to tune in, daily, at https://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Perry Lee Blackwell

Published September 15, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Perry Combo

She made two memorable film appearances and worked with many of the jazz greats throughout her career, but there is very little information available about the exquisitely talented Perry Lee Blackwell. Sometimes credited as Perri Lee, this joyous multi-hyphenate (pianist-organist-vocalist) released at least two recordings during her career and she was the featured performer at the historic Parisian Room in Los Angeles for many years, as well.

Nicely, her love of performing is apparent in her scenes in Dead Ringer, one of Bette Davis’ latter day gothic horror projects. While that film has a huge cult following, Blackwell is still probably best known for her iconic interactions with Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the beloved romantic comedy Pillow Talk.

 

With her recordings available from outlets like Discogs and a number of blogs beginning to extol her virtues, it seems like the perfect time to rediscover the amazing Blackwell, who, in her 90’s now, seems to truly appreciate hearing about the latter day love she has been receiving from fans.

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

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