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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Man Meat

Published August 12, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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The one thing that has always struck me as both unique and heartbreaking about the theatrical performance is its impermanence. Once it is done, it’s done and if you weren’t there, it isn’t even a vaporous speck in your consciousness. Of course occasionally, whether in rehearsal or secretively done during a performance, footage can be recorded for posterity.

Such is the case with Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical. I wrote the book for this show that premiered during the Halloween season in Chicago last fall. Along with the ghastly limb chewing action and romance – (Yes, romance. This was a musical, after all.) – that occurred onstage; some ghostly presence got some recorded evidence of the show. Now we have a super cool music video of one of composer-lyricist Scott Free’s most aggressive numbers, Man Meat.

Nicely, this leaves an imprint for both the work of director Dan Foss and one of the show’s inspirations, Joey Kissling. Foss, who was suffering from kidney and heart disease, died nine days after the close of the show. His imaginativeness helped flesh out the show’s structure and his love for the cast allowed everyone to overcome the emotional hurdles involved with mounting a larger production with ease.  Kissling, meanwhile, provided the spiritual outline for Michael, the show’s conflicted and defiant lead. Kissling succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer in the spring of 2016 and Michael was created in his honor. Now, thanks to the existence of this video, they both have a more permanent and much deserved legacy.

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Dan Foss directing the ZB cast.

For those interested in the production itself, please feel free to visit www.zombiebathhouse.net/.

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

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Hopelessly Devoted To: Julie Strain

Published August 11, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Julie Strain

It is hard to think of a cult figure that has been more impactful than the glorious Julie Strain. After a tragic equestrian accident, this 6’1” beauty transformed herself from a thin beauty into an Amazonian goddess. She then went on to conquer the worlds of late night cable and print media proving, behind a doubt, that we are all capable of doing anything when we put our minds to it. This hard won success, nicely, has made her a true inspiration to anyone who has felt slighted or ignored or misjudged…a true champion for the underdog and the unappreciated.

julie strain double impactComing on like Jane Russell for the midnight set, Strain has well over 100 movie credits including such mainstream fare as Out for Justice, Double Impact, Beverly Hills Cop 3 and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. While she eventually made her cultural mark as one of the boldest bad-asses in Andy and Arlene Sidaris’ series of beloved female charged action adventure projects, she has made many other notable appearances, as well. MCDUNTW EC002

For instance, only someone of Strain’s magnitude could effectively play a Lovecraftian creature…something she did to menacingly aerobatic effect in The Unnameable II.

This goddess with the raven tresses also proved to be quite lethal in the noir-esque Starstruck. Throwing off an aura of hypnotic destruction, she provided a slinky ambience to the hardboiled action here…and her watery fade-out provides the proceedings with a memorable aquatic twist.

Julie Strain StarstruckHer most amusing work, on the other hand, may have occurred in How to Make a Monster, a remake of a classic ‘50s monster fest, which allowed her to play an over-the-top, extremely demanding version of herself. Her committed and enthusiastic work in Delta Delta Die! also rates high on the humor scales, with Strain’s maniacal Marilyn Fitch stealing the show as she madly grinds up frat boys into meat soufflés.

Subtler and deeper work is nicely provided by this icon in Magus, one of her last acting roles. Playing the spiritually sensitive Madame Zelda, Strain connects with softness and concern, proving that her range, despite her comic book athleticism, is a wide one. This along with her enthusiastic love for her fans and often self-deprecating humor truly makes this celluloid exploitation goddess one for the ages.

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

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Judie Aronson in Sledge Hammer!

Published August 3, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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My sister could be all sweetness and light, one moment. Then the next, she’d be slapping the neighbor’s pet raccoon for stealing her sugar cookie. Such is the case with Francine Flambo, the privileged mayor’s daughter who suffers an alleged kidnapping, on the premiere episode of the short lived action spoof Sledge Hammer!

Judie SH3Flambo, as enacted by the multi-layered Judi Aronson, seems to be a poor, tortured soul when first encountered by series regular Doris Doreau (Anne Marie Martin), who is sent to rescue the young heiress. But (spoiler alert) when it is quickly discovered that Flambo was in on her own kidnapping, the young socialite’s attitude flips and soon Doreau finds her life on the line.

Nicely, Aronson, who is best known to horror fans for her passionate portrayal of Samantha in Friday the 13th: Final Chapter, embraces all the facets of Francine’s personality. She is as convincing as when the character is demurely trembling as when she is savagely threatening to murder everyone around her. Most importantly, Aronson seems to be having a ball and that joyful energy rolls off the screen in delightful waves.Judie SH2

Genre fans should be thrilled to note, as well, that Aronson, who also appeared in such fright flicks as After Midnight and The Sleeping Car, shares most of her screen time with the talented Martin. Martin, before gaining recognition for her work on shows like Days Our Lives, appeared in such slasher stalwarts as Prom Night and The Boogens. Thus, their work here marks the meeting of two genre queens at the top of their game, a true pleasure to watch unfold.

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

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Judie Aronson in Desert Kickboxer

Published August 1, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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She may have succumbed to the icy depravity of Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, but the always revivable Judie Aronson was, thankfully,  able to turn the tables on all conquering villainy with her appearance in 1992’s sandy action-fest Desert Kickboxer.

Here as the determined Claudia Valenti, Aronson is able to get the goods on her shady, drug dealing employer and live on until the movie’s romantic, sun streaked fadeout. While filled with the standard good cop-bad cop dynamics of such fare (IE: the chiseled yet damaged hero, the moustache twirling antagonist), Aronson is actually given a full range of emotions to play – feistiness, terror and remorse – and she makes the most of them. Judie 2

While most of her screen time is opposite John Haymes Newton’s troubled yet victorious Hawk, genre fans may be more specifically attuned to her scenes with genre veteran Paul L. Smith. Smith, who did acclaimed work as dark figures in such acclaimed/cult affairs as Midnight Express, Popeye and Pieces, barely has to lift a muscle here to project all the monstrous activities that his Santos is capable of. Aronson reacts to this deviousness with panache. She allows Claudia both a cautiousness and steel resolve that gives the early encounters between these skilled performers a fun sense of cat and mouse.

Thus, while her work on such projects as Friday, Weird Science and After Midnight may command focus, fans of her eclectic resume are sure to find much to enjoy in this less visible project, as well.

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Be sure to keep track of Aronson and her many other projects at https://www.facebook.com/JudieAronsonFanPage/.

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

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Music To Make Horror Movies By: Ann Sothern

Published July 29, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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In a career spanning 60 years, the magnetic Ann Sothern mastered everything from the pratfalls of delightful physical comedy to the art of pulling heartstrings, subtly, in the form of classic musicals. As many Pre-Code beauties before her, Sothern also dabbled in the darker avenues offered by such Gothic outings as Lady in a Cage, The Killing Kind and The Manitouann sothern lady in a cage

 

1948’s Words and Music, nicely, gave Sothern a justifiably deserved Technicolor moment as she, feelingly, asked Where’s That Rainbow?

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

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The Wild Inclusiveness of Jason Goes to Hell

Published July 26, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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If queer slasher fans could view only one entry in the Friday the 13th series during Pride Month, they probably couldn’t make a better choice than the 8th follow up to the famed 1980 original, Jason Goes to Hell. Written and directed by (the then 23 year old) Adam Marcus, this sequel, which wildly introduced a body hopping mythology to the Jason legend, has some of the most intriguingly gay elements ever committed to a mainstream horror enterprise.

J3Working against the grain, the straight yet incredibly inclusive Marcus, even found his way around studio tampering. An edict to add a more traditional camper-bloodbath sequence to his unconventional narrative inspired him to balance out the (frequently unfair) exploitation scales by adding extensive male nudity to the requested material. While Friday the 13th, The Final Chapter featured a couple of its party happy male characters doffing their shorts for a brief skinny dipping sequence, the shots involving the charismatic and handsome Michael B. Silver here are probably still some of the most significant, purposely photographed expressions of male beauty in a horror series – especially one beloved by heteronormative bro types.

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Marcus also introduces a backroom leather bar essence to the film by adding a gay S and M quality to one of the transference sequences. When the body of Richard Gant’s coroner, the first to be overtaken by the supernaturally pulsing heart of Jason, has reached the limit of physical abuse it can take, he chooses a police officer named Josh (Andrew Bloch) to replace him. Naturally, he strips Josh of his clothes, binds him down and shaves his face with a straight razor. Not only are both actors middle aged (with bodies marking that status), giving the sequence a bizarre swipe of realism, but the fact that Gant is Black and Bloch is white also adds another dose of edginess that was sure to have more conservative connoisseurs of slasher films either shaking their heads in queasy wonderment or outright ignoring what had just been placed in front of them.  While other entries in the series has employed minority actors in a variety of functions, the fact that the first interracial kiss in the Friday the 13th cannon is between two men is not only a hysterical back slap to the rampant heterosexuality championed by these films, but is seemingly an almost historical moment, as well.

J5Marcus’ provocative sense also extends to the relationship between Steven Freeman, the film’s hero as brought to life by Friday the 13th, The Series’ John D. LeMay, and Creighton Duke, a mysterious bounty hunter played by Steven Williams. The completely unique Duke, arguably this enterprise’s most popular character, confronts Freeman in his jail cell and offers to provide him with life saving information… for a price. Duke then proceeds to break two of Freeman’s fingers with a lingering almost salacious intent. Once again here, Duke is Black and Freeman is white…marking this not only as another homoerotic exchange but also adding a social context to the material, as well. One could almost imagine that Duke is making the clean cut Freeman pay for all the racism and stereotyping that he has endured in his lifetime from the Caucasian world–at-large. Thus, this film not only utilizes a queer sensibility, but seems relentlessly contemporary given our current reexamination of issues of prejudice and race…a perhaps accidental yet truly major achievement.

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Furthering the dialogue, in the know fans could almost invent an alternative back story to the comic relief coupling of the statuesque Joey (Rusty Schwimmer) and the tiny Shelby (Leslie Jordan). Jordan, an openly gay comic and popular television actor, and Schwimmer, whose other genre work includes The Belko Experiment and an episode of Tales from the Crypt, truly commit to the love that these two characters have for each other. But alternative scholars could imagine that these two characters, both fitting certain known stereotypes on the rainbow spectrum, could have connected in an era when their preferences weren’t appreciated and, through mutual affection and lack of viable options, decided to settle down and produce a family. Granted, this may be a slight stretch…but, then again, considering Marcus’ determination to push buttons…maybe not. He did cast adorable Broadway veteran and Kate and Allie co-star Allison Smith, who holds the record for playing the part of Annie the longest on the Great White Way, as that couple’s devoted co-worker. So…how far off could I be?

Nicely, this determined creator is continuing his diverse approach to filmmaking. Marcus’ latest, Secret Santa features a cast that defies ageism, sexism and is a cocktail of cultures and different backgrounds.  Importantly, the film also has a strong, multi-layered gay outreach, as well. You can follow all the wintery mayhem of that project at https://www.facebook.com/secretsantathemovie/.

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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: Elaine Paige

Published July 22, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Some people may appreciate 1978’s The Boys from Brazil for its mad scientist Frankenstein-ian themes. Those who feel revulsion for the Three Men and a Baby films may enjoy this dark conspiratorial yarn for its swift deposal of Steve Guttenberg’s nosy do-gooder in the opening sequence. Musical theater buffs meanwhile might dive into this horror hybrid because one of its main themes, We’re Home Again, was sung by Elaine Paige, one of the multi-talented, undisputed queens of the ever glittering boards.

Paige has won countless awards for her work on shows like Evita, Cats and Anything Goes. Along with Barbara Dickson, she also introduced the pop world to I Know Him So Well, a powerhouse duet from Chess, co-written by Tim Rice and Abba’s Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus.

Paige, who recently celebrated her 50th anniversary in show business, is forever bringing good protein to the entertainment smorgasbord at www.elainepaige.com and https://www.facebook.com/elainepaigeofficial/. 

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

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