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Review: Fort Doom

Published November 16, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

debbie fort doomPost-election week there may, surprisingly, not be a more appropriate horror film to watch than 2004’s Fort Doom. A low budget, seemingly home grown effort, this feature stars the always compelling Debbie Rochon and the eternally gothic Billy Drago, who gives a very disturbing, leveled performance as one of the production’s not so red herring villains here.

The film itself follows the Southern adventures of Lacy Everett (Rochon) and her group of working girls as they set up shop in a seemingly idyllic community. The Civil War has been recently fought and lost, and while there is emotional fallout to be found everywhere, hope abounds, as well. That is until Everett and her ladies discover that a serial killer is loose in their new tightly locked home base. As folks begin to disappear and it looks like all evidence points to the demented town mortician (Drago), it soon appears that a deeper, more deadly conspiracy at hand.

As with many indie terror efforts, there are many passages of stationary dialoging here. One also almost wishes that the producers had picked a different period of time to recreate due to the college theater costuming alone. While some of Rochon’s outfits have a bit of a stream punk effect, more than anything it is obvious that the budget did not allow for a real life recreation of the clothes that the characters would have actually worn in this era. Kind viewers will find that this gives the enterprise an enjoyable silliness, though. Others, well…Fort Doom.jpg

Surprisingly, what is not silly here is how accurately screenwriter Matthew Howe, who developed the story with the film’s director J. Christian Ingvordsen, seemingly predicated our current misogynistic and racist government controlled by powerful white men. Willing to do anything to stay in power, the vengeful founding father types in this film ultimately serve as a chilling prophecy and a reminder of how this destructive mindset has always existed in our culture.

That Rochon, who has survived her own share of personal hardships over the years, is our stand-in here, supplying strength and resolve and sassiness, is also a plus and an assurance that perhaps, like her Lacy, we will truly rise above this current regime, as well.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Pointer Sisters

Published November 11, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Pointer sisters group

Sibling rivalry does its thing. My sister’s love of Beauty and the Beat by The Go-Go’s meant that I was unable to truly worship at its punk-pop greatness until nostalgia hit me in my mid-40s. Meanwhile, my brother’s love of Madonna and Olivia Newton-John left their charms eternally foreign to me. Another of his favorite records, the Pointer Sisters’ Contact, also came under my powers of derision. But a recent pick-up from a dollar bin has uncovered its darker, smoky charms to me. The popular Dare Me, for example, seems like the perfect background music to the violent cat and mouse face-offs that exist between such supernatural slasher icons as Freddy and Jason and their (often ingeniously) wily targets, Nancy Thompson and Laurie Strode.

Thankfully, The Pointer Sisters are still spreading their rich magic – one of their songs was even used on Ryan Murphy’s short lived Scream Queens – and showing the world how their blend of pop, rock, soul and (even) country music made them one of the world’s truly under-sung super groups. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/The-Pointer-Sisters-Official-131523497289/

pointer sisters contact.jpg

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Nona Hendryx

Published November 4, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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In the week that we totally need to rock the vote, no one gets more nominations for awesomeness than the amazing Nona Hendryx. As a vital part of Labelle, the legendary super group responsible for the rightfully celebrated Lady Marmalade, Hendryx did much of the group’s writing, allowing them to dive into rare stratospheres of rock and roll and fabulous science fiction flecked soul.

Hendryx, who had a couple of compositions decorating late night cable thriller The Surrogate, also married the thrills of romantic adventure with the perfect description for horror film victims with her infectious song Soft Targets.

An activist and a mighty force of nature, Hendryx is still keeping the rhythm alive at https://www.facebook.com/nonahendryxofficial/ and https://www.nonahendryx.com/.

nona album 2

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

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Adam E. Hoak and Jose Nateras: The Gay Appeal of Suspiria

Published November 2, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

 

Dario Argento’s superior Italian horror Suspiria has long held a fascination for the LGBTQ community. With Luca Guadagnino’s reimagining currently hitting the theaters, I decided to ask Adam E. Hoak and Jose Nateras, two of my favorite Chicago actors (and enthusiastic horror buffs) to chat with me about their love for the film, their thoughts on why they think it resonates so deeply within our gay culture and their hopes for this new take on it. Interestingly, both of these talented performers are appearing in genre style shows (based on important works of literature) at the moment. Nateras is currently flaunting some spooky excellence in Remy Bumppo’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein while Hoak is applying his beautiful voice to Saint Sebastian Players’ take on The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a musical inspired by the book written by Charles Dickens.

Adam, can you recall the first time that you saw the original Suspiria?

Adam E. Hoak: In the early 00’s I worked in media resources at my undergraduate campus library. Fortunately for me, we had a crazy good selection of VHS and a small but mighty nascent DVD collection. Both had a nice smattering of films I had only heard of but never seen, including Suspiria. I remember being immediately dazed by the colors and the score, like Argento and Goblin just threw me in the deep end. The sheer opulence of the film was (and remains) stunning to me, and I think that has a lot to do with my appreciation of it. Suspiria is horror in drag: lush and loud; gaudy and gorgeous, things my burgeoning baby-gay found intrinsic to my newfound queerness.

suspiria-Technicolor

Nice. I love how these films can inform and help define us. Have you always been a horror fan, Jose?

Jose Nateras: I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. Even before I actually was old enough to watch scary things I was drawn to the genre, lingering in the horror aisle of The Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. A lot of time and thought has been spent on why the queer community is so often drawn to horror films. Maybe it’s because so much of our early, closeted lives were spent in fear: of being outed, of being rejected, of being alone, of being different, of… so many things.  But horror is so much more than that too. Not only does it take fear and make it a shareable and enjoyable experience, it takes the fearful and the grotesque and the horrifying and turns it into something beautiful and glamorous. It can be sexy, campy, gory, but as a genre that is so much more nuanced and diverse in form than it gets credit for, horror has always been about pushing boundaries and confronting (for better or worse) those things and people on the outside of the social norm– the often feared and vilified Other, the outsider — in such a way, that even if that Othered Force is the monster/villain/bad guy, horror at least confronts and directly grapples with that Force’s existence. It allows that Force, and those of us who came up feeling marginalized, to be seen as opposed to ignoring us; as in most other genres, forms of media, and arenas of society, which would usually prefer to pretend we don’t exist.

Argento seems definitely straight, but he has to have some queer sensibility – especially visually.

AH: Seriously, the wallpaper alone in this film still makes my gay little heart skip a beat! Throw in ballet, witches, Udo Kier (known to me at the time as “the guy” from Madonna’s Deeper and Deeper video), the allure of the faded Hollywood icon, Joan Bennett, and Alida Valli as the elegantly butch Miss Tanner and it’s a smorgasbord of queerness.Alida Joan Suspiria

JN:  If you’re talking about horror film and cinema, you can’t not talk about Dario Argento! His jaw-dropping use of color and imagery, surreal, grotesque, and beautiful all at once, the inspired score by Goblin, all came together to make Suspiria a dreamily unsettling movie with enough squirm inducing deaths and vividly colored splashes of blood to earn it a place in the cannon of horror masterpieces. The deeply 70’s Euro aesthetic makes it sexily nostalgic for viewers in much the same way viewing porn of a certain era might. Like many horror movies of the time, Suspiria offers a Final Girl/Strong Female Protagonist in the form of Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper). Yet instead of fighting for her life against a homicidal man in a mask, Suzy finds herself the center of attention of a deadly coven of witches, established within the confines of a prestigious ballet academy. Ballet, witches, strong women, all of it is perfectly suited to the taste of any queer cinemaphile, especially if they happen to be horror fans.

Agreed! What are you two hoping for with this new version?

JN: Though to some, it might seem counter intuitive to have Luca Guadagnino directing the highly anticipated remake, especially considering his previous work includes films like Call Me By Your Name and I Am Love, in reality, Guadagnino just might be the perfect fit. Call Me By Your Name had sexy-Euro-nostalgia-style in spades and his work is consistently visually striking and equally dreamy, often alluding to the surreal while tapping into richly grounded sensory imagery. Imagine what such an expert skill set might do when deployed in a horror film context as opposed to that of a sensual romance. With the iconic Tilda Swinton (a frequent Guadagnino collaborator) bringing her brand of androgynous, otherworldly, and simultaneously beautiful and intimidating talents to the film, it’s hard to think of a re-make with more potential. If the early buzz, teaser images, and trailer are any indicator; fans of the original, of the genre at large, and film buffs of all sorts are sure to find something to love or at least talk about when Suspiria comes out later this month. As ever, though, the queer community is sure to be watching with the sort of context, appreciation, and finely tuned meter for subtext to have plenty to unpack in a remake of something so dear to so many of our hearts.

dakota-johnson-suspiria-500x332AH: As for the new version, I’m certainly looking forward to Tilda and perhaps a smidge more plot. Also for a film set in a famed dance academy, the original kind of half-asses any on-screen dancing, so I’ve got high hopes for the new choreography based on the trailer.

Well, I always like to leave ‘em with high hopes! So, thanks, gents! Everyone else be sure to check out Jose in Frankenstein (www.remybumppo.org) running until November 17th and Adam in Drood (www.saintsebastionplayers.org), running until November 18th – both in Chicago proper.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Mystery of Edwin Drood

 

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Adele Bertei

Published October 28, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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She’s my favorite eclectic monstress, her work pitching from No Wave aggression to pop smoothness and back again. Her collaborators, ranging from the queenly Nona Hendryx to the sci-fi flecked Thomas Dolby, have also expanded her artistic reach, making Adele Bertei one of the most interesting figures in the ‘80s cultural landscape and beyond.

Not only has her art celebrated queer feministic contexts, but Little Lives, Big Love, the single from her unjustly underappreciated solo album on Chrysalis, also sent out a strong anti-apartheid message.

Thankfully, Bertei, who is also a writer and filmmaker, is still creating vast, rich cultural landscapes at https://www.adelebertei.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/AdeleBertei/.

adele bertei 2

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Slumber Party Reunion in Tampa!

Published October 23, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Slumber_Party_Massacre

This is the kind event that made me hop online, pronto! I needed to see if there were any cheap round trip tickets available to get me there. Alas, that is not to be. But…you can still go! Tampa Theatre in Florida is hosting a reunion of several cast members of feminist slasher Slumber Party Massacre on Thursday, October 25th.

What makes this enterprise so special is that Michele Michaels, who played party throwing Trish, is making her first appearance at a fan gathering for the film here. She will be joined by the amazing Debra DeLiso (Kim) and Joe Johnson (Neil), as well.

All the whirling, lingerie clad details are in the link, below.

www.tampatheatre.org/movie/the-slumber-party-massacre/

Have fun for me…and until the next time, SWEET love, pink GRUE and many pillow fights,

Big Gay Horror Fan!

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BGHF with Debra DeLiso and Joseph Alan Johnson

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Bruce Davison

Published October 21, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

bruce davison willard

Beloved by the queer community for his Oscar nominated work in Longtime Companion, an acclaimed look at the effects of the AIDS crisis, the eclectic Bruce Davison has also worked with a number of classic film’s acclaimed divas.

Bruce-Davison-Mame-1974In the skittering horror of Willard, Davison shared significant screen time with Elsa Lanchester, the Frankenstein Monster’s favored bride. A few years later, he played the nephew of comedic genius Lucille Ball in the celluloid version of the musical Mame. In that project, he added the role of vocalist to the many notches on his creative belt.

Nicely, Davison is still providing layered and passionate support to many of gothic filmdom’s talented divas. His recent work opposite Lin Shaye in Insidious: The Last Key provided both performers with the chance to connect with subtle yet deep emotion. He also provided a glow of kind energy against the more nefarious outpourings of such genre pros as Meg Foster and Dee Wallace in Rob Zombie’s very personal Lords of Salem.

Bruce and me

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

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