Film

All posts in the Film category

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

 

ann sothern

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?

the manitou poster

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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Music to Make Horror Movies By: The Weather Girls

Published July 15, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

The Weather Girls

The sassy novelty of The Weather Girls’ huge hit It’s Raining Men has found it a placement in such disparate films as Easy Money, Eraser, Stuck on You and Vampires Suck.

But the unstoppable team of Izora Armstead and Martha Wash knew their way around songs of every distinction. For instance, Big Girls Don’t Cry, their second album, found them doing a variety of covers – one of the more anthemic being their powerful take on John Fogerty’s Down on the Corner.

 Currently, Wash still has a deserved place in the public eye, but the unfortunate passing of Armstead in 2004 means we will never see these two multi-talented performers reunite. Still, their work, from their early days backing up disco icon Sylvester to their own lauded output, will live on forever in the hearts of their fans and those who, thankfully, are still discovering them anew.

Weather Girls cover

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Suzanne Somers

Published July 8, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Suzanne Ants!

Nothing quite stings like the heartbreak caused by romantic rejection. Well…except for maybe the bites of hundreds of extremely poisonous ants. Indeed, the radiant Suzanne Somers suffered, gamely (and glamorously), at the machinations of these insistent creatures in the classic made for television animals-gone-wild horror fest known as It Happened at Lakewood Manor (AKA Ants!) .

Of course, if Somers had only shown those vicious creatures “a new attitude” – as she did a few years later on a fun television special – the fate of her character may have been a bit different.

Somers, a true Renaissance woman who was also Seduced by Evil and made a deal with Lucifer in Devil’s Food, is always showing the wisdom of her ways at www.suzannesomers.com, as well.

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

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