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The Traditional Joys of Dee Snider

Published December 25, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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For about five years, when I wasn’t trying to be the biggest, gayest horror fan in the universe, I had a side career as the theater editor of a women’s magazine. (Which is actually pretty gay in and of itself, right?!?!) While I loved my board treading adventures, it was always a giddy bonus for me when the world of terror stepped into my more straight forward occupation. Such was the case when I was able to interview amazing rocker, writer and horror entrepreneur Dee Snider. Snider was in Chicago in late 2014 to premiere his holiday musical Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas Tale and shared amazing stories of his life with me during a quick moving fifteen minute chat. With only about 5% of the actual interview ending up in that initial magazine piece, I believe that the world was truly missing out on some amazing stories from that full lunged metal icon and loving daddy to Captain Howdy. So, clutch that pristine Stay Hungry LP to your chest and prepare to get flashback Snider-ized. You’re gonna dig it!

BGHF: Hey, Dee! Let’s dispel something.

Dee Snider: Cool!

Dee Snider Rock n Roll 2B: Despite the image that’s projected of you as the horror loving rocker, it truly seems like you are a very traditional father and husband.

Dee: I am! I am very traditional. My wife and I have been together for 38 years.

B: Wow! That’s not the typical rock n roll story, either.

Dee: No, it’s not. You don’t hear much about successful longstanding relationships, but they do exist. Still, it is a credit to the two of us and the desire for stability and our love for each other. We not only have been married for a long time, but we have four grown kids now, and we had a real desire to provide a very traditional and stable household. One of the big catch phrases at our house was ‘You Leave Your Cool at the Door’.  That means that I wasn’t a rock star at home.  I’m just dad. I’d come in from these tours and float into the house like “I’m a GOD!!!!” She’d go, “Yeah, take out the garbage. It smells like dirty diapers.” What? “Take out the garbage!” Oh, okay. Alright, I’m back! That rock god shit doesn’t play at home.

B: Your wife sounds awesome!

Dee: Thank you!  She is. Suzette’s a fashion institute graduate, a professional make-up artist and hairdresser; she designed all the costumes for Twisted Sister. But, she gave up a potentially huge career because someone needed to be at home with the kids.  While I was out on the road, there was always somebody there. There were no latch key kids. That was always a thing with us. We didn’t want to be away working and have the kids taking care of themselves. So, Suzette gave up her career. Now that our kids are out of the house, she’s back in full action again. It’s kind of cool. And by the way, don’t forget we have three grandchildren now. Dee Snider Rock n Roll

B: No way! And just like Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry and others of your generation, you’re still rocking!

Dee: That’s another weirdly surreal aspect of it. I was planning to do this until I was 35 and then…he lived happily ever after! But now I’m still on stage and I’m booking close to 60. Holy Shit! Who saw this?  If you think about, historically, you’ve got the jazz greats. You go to the blues greats. They started as young men and we’ve seen them as old men still performing. So, the reality is do you stop? Do you quit? Do you give up? NO!!!  Although, I fully intend to stop at some point, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that a lot of people are still out there doing it. This is what we do. It’s life. We perform. We rock!

B: Your longevity has been amazing, but you’ve surely had some hard knocks along the way, as well. Dee Snider Captain Howdy 3

Dee: Are you kidding me? A couple years ago I wrote a book – Shut Up and Give me the Mike! I wrote it myself. That’s another highly unusual thing. Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you can control the stage as the front of a rock band. Just because you can sing in a band doesn’t mean you can write a book. But I have been blessed with a variety of gifts. I wrote a few chapters and when the editors saw my writing, they said holy shit, you’re a natural. Just go for it. So, I wrote my own book. In it, there are, literally, Dee life lessons. I actually have done motivational talks and I have taught some of these life lessons. Because the lessons I’ve learned in my life can apply to everybody. They go across the board. By 1992, this is well documented in the book, I lost everything. I spent everything, actually, not lost. I knew where it was and that was in somebody else’s pocket! I spent every dollar and it was over. Grunge hit. I had no options. There was no interest in me. I couldn’t be deader and I was married and I had three kids. It was like – well, what now? We only had one car and my wife needed it. So, I, literally, was riding a bicycle to a desk job, answering phones, on and off, for $200 a week. This was ‘92, so only 5 years after the heyday of the band. People were coming into the office and going – aren’t you…? I would end up going “No!” They would go, “Wow, it’s so uncanny, you look just like him!” I would say, “I know, right? If only!” I was so embarrassed. I needed to do something to bring some money home. I was truly to reinvent myself. I learned a gazillion lessons but the biggest one was the humbling. I think everybody needs to be humbled. I bought my own hype. I nearly became a megalomaniac. Once I started to be proven right with the success of the band, I listened to nobody. Then, I was out of the band, nearly got divorced from my wife. I nearly destroyed my life – because I was so caught up in being a rock star and being… I don’t know what the hell I thought I was. I got knocked down hard. I finally got back up and I said, be grateful that you have these opportunities and you have this attention and – don’t be a dick! That’s a lesson – don’t be a dick! And I was! I’ll tell you, man! Mid-80s, I was an asshole. My wife will tell ya! But I’m better now, much better now.

B: Well, you sound like an amazing guy!

Dee Snider 1.pngDee: Ah, I appreciate that! Like I said, it was a tough ten years of struggling and crawling back and reinventing myself with radio and television and movies and things like that. I am back and I am more successful. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t look up and go, “Thank you! Thank you! I won’t fuck it up, again!”

B: Before we go, can you talk a little bit about Strangeland?

Dee: Oh, man! To sit and have an idea in my head, put in on a piece of paper, and then see it brought to life before my eyes with actors and sets and all those things – it’s just miraculous! We were doing one of the most intense scenes in Strangeland, where the detective discovers Captain Howdy’s lair and he shoots me and all my victims are strung up around me; his daughter’s in a cage. We’re filming that scene. I’m lying on the ground. “Alright, action!” They start acting and I start laughing. They went – “Cut, cut, cut! Dee, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m sorry. I remember sitting in the basement writing: he lay his face down on the ground with his victims around him. And I am laying face down on the ground with my victims around me!” It just hit me how wonderfully absurd and great this is, to be able to see things brought to life. Seeing an idea manifest in a physical form is amazing!

Be sure to keep being amazing by keeping up with all that Snider has going on at www.deesnider.com.

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

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Review: Skeletons in the Closet

Published December 15, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Lately, I’ve enjoyed comparing my favorite horror and exploitation queens to the grand stars of old. For example…the statuesque Julie Strain is akin to the buxom Jane Russell.  Jennifer Rubin, who undulates with a smoky noir texture, is in the same school as Marie Windsor while the charms of Deborah Dutch emerge as a sexier version of cockeyed second banana Una Merkel. Skeletons ellie jean

Meanwhile, I believe that indie goddess Ellie Church has the looks and comedic chops of Jean Harlow in her prime. Church puts these glamorous elements into perfect use as The Widow, the prime wraparound character in the terror anthology Skeletons in the Closet. Here, she delivers her lines with low key sauciness and a sardonic timing and, handily, steals the show.

Riding the understandably undying love for the ‘80s, Skeletons’ other segments resemble the mixed bag of goods akin to other solid anthologies. Thankfully, this means that there is generally something here for everyone. Other standout segments, therefore, involve a sarcastic babysitter and her surprisingly crafty young ward and a scary visit with a mysterious grandmother that signals the arrival of a very savage curse.

Those who prefer a little deep thought and theatricality with their cinema will also appreciate the bloody artistry of the Meisner segment, anchored by writer-actress Rhiann Owen’s truly emotional work.

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Skeletons can be purchased at www.scotchworthy.com. More information is also available at https://www.facebook.com/skeletonsintheclosetmovie/.

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

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Review: Gray Matter

Published December 14, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Gray

What signifies a great horror project is its emotional relatability. Therefore, anyone who has been mystified by the behavior of their parents as a child is sure to find true connectivity to Red Clark’s Gray Matter.

Here a small town boy seeks asylum from his home life by approaching a motley group of pub regulars. His alcoholic father (finely played by indie wonder kind Larry Fessenden) has begun acting strangely and the kid has begun to fear for his life. His rescuers get more than they bargained for, though, as their worlds soon dissolve into gooey mayhem.

Based on a Stephen King story, this short film is filled with impressive natural effects. But what is most significant is the atmosphere that Clark creates. He and his believable cast, including Chicago theater actor Aaron Christensen, honestly capture the rhythms of rural life and its grizzled inhabitants. Everyone who grew up, awestruck, in such circumstances will find a piece of their past magnified, wisely, onscreen for them here.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Patsy Kensit

Published December 9, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Patsy Kensit (20)

The magnetic Patsy Kensit burst upon the global consciousness with her pert maneuverings in Absolute Beginners. Her band Eighth Wonder also made a positive dent in the music charts around the same time.

Kensit, best known for her roles in action films like Lethal Weapon 2, definitely proved her lack of fear by appearing in such genre flicks as The Turn of the Screw, Full Eclipse and Hell’s Gate (AKA Bad Karma). An entrepreneur as well as an actress, Kensit’s website is www.patsykensit.com.

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

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Trailer: Kicking Zombie Ass For Jesus

Published December 7, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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There is probably no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of George Romero’s insanely influential Night of the Living Dead than by welcoming a new cinematic twist on the undead oeuvre. With a leading cast of characters highlighted by a powerful trans woman and a take no prisoners lesbian, Israel Luna’s Kicking Zombie Ass For Jesus is surely the most likely entry to fit that bill!

Almost guaranteed to join Luna’s Ticked Off Trannies With Knives and Fright Flick as a must-see venture, you can keep up with all of ZAFJ’s ghoulish antics at https://www.facebook.com/KickingZombieAssForJesus/.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Velvet Underground

Published December 2, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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In the ‘60s Lou Reed and crew probably didn’t know that Venus in Furs, from Velvet Underground’s debut album with Nico, would define mystery, dark horror and sexiness for every generation that followed. Case in point, the song was just used in the 7th episode of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to highlight a moment of gothic sensuality. sabrina-1

But the band was always of their time and ahead of it, as well. 1971’s Candy Says detailed the experiences of Candy Darling, one of the first transgendered superstars, with a beautiful honesty.

Darling, who appeared in cult classics like 1972’s Silent Night , Bloody Night, has plenty of deserved online appreciation. The Velvet Underground, currently being celebrated with an art show in NYC, are always being celebrated at http://www.velvetundergroundmusic.com/, as well.

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

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Review: The Rake

Published November 30, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Rachel Melvin’s tenure on the soap opera Days of Our Lives is put to good use in the indie horror film The Rake. As much of a monster flick as an exploration of the emotional fallout of damaged childhoods, this horror exercise doesn’t overstay its welcome and emerges as a nice addition to the creature feature genre.

Clocking in under 80 minutes and featuring smart direction from Tony Wash, the primary running time of the film is focused around a weekend get together hosted by Nicole (Melvin) and her husband Andrew (Joey Bicicchi). As past hurts are examined and new hopes emerge, it appears that someone (or something) is hunting the couple and their family and friends. Soon reconciliation and redemption are replaced by grievous bloodshed…and death. The Rake

The script by Wash and Jeremy Silva doesn’t necessarily explain everything. One doesn’t totally grasp what the rake of the title is or gather all the details of how Nicole is connected with the others, but the final 30 minutes of the film is a beyond enjoyable stalk n slash. Melvin and her co-stars also deliver the dramatic goods, a testament to their impressive talents and Wash’s keen ability to work with them.

You can stream The Rake at https://www.amazon.com/Rake-Izabella-Miko/. You can also follow Skeletons in the Closet, another recent Wash project, at https://www.facebook.com/skeletonsintheclosetmovie/.

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

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