Filmmakers

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On Set Memories – Hollywood Warrioress: War of the Gods

Published August 17, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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You spend your 20s doing your morning workouts while watching the exploitation films you’ve taped off of cable the night before. Time, as it does, swirls by and, one day, you find yourself acting in a movie with one of the actresses that you adored during those AM stretching sessions. It’s surreal. It’s a bit mindboggling. It’s also vital proof that life is full of surprises and asserts the fact that even when certain dreams crumble, other unexpected ones can replace them.

Indeed, during a summer when Wonder Woman and (to a lesser degree) Atomic Blonde proved that female action blockbusters were important, both socially and financially, I found myself performing in a femme based comic book film myself. Created and executed produced by beloved scream queen Deborah Dutch (Hard to Die, Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell), Hollywood Warrioress: War of the Gods explores the continuing adventures of a West Coast actress who has been imbued with the powers of Athena. (Note: The first Hollywood Warrioress film is available to rent on Amazon and has just received national distribution.) FW5

Nicely, Dutch’s goal of bringing a sense of justice and harmony to the screen was amplified on the Chicago set. Firstly, in a moment of supreme camaraderie, she flew into Chicago to make sure that we were sharing the same space as performers instead of connecting through green screen magic. Supportively, our mutual friends at the award winning AlleyCat Comics allowed us to film in their open courtyard space while director Chad Hawks returned (from the original  production) to guide us, with caring conciseness, through our paces. Granted, my role as interviewer to Dutch’s heroic interviewee felt pretty natural…but I still had to, metaphorically, pinch myself from time to time. Luckily, I was also aware enough to appreciate the significance of the afternoon. I was surrounded by loved ones and positive energy (and beautiful weather) doing something creative and incredibly fun.

This joyous enthusiasm wasn’t contained to just the set either. A trip to a local ice cream shop, during a break, brought out a new sense of excitement as Deborah, still in costume, got quite a response…not only for her ensemble, but for the film, as well.

Of course, you, too, can keep apprised of everything that is happening, goddess-style, at https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodwarrioress/.

… and until the next time…appreciate all the unexpected wonders that life offers you…and SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

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Help The Ball!

Published July 21, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

The Ball

Courtney Love meets Vincent Price? Count me in!

Indeed, The Ball, the upcoming project from the truly colorful and always inventive Count the Clock Productions, promises an aesthetic meeting of these two very creative, yet seeming dissimilar minds (among others). Renowned for such shorts as Pep, I Love Lucy and The Cheerleader Trials, this also promises to be CTCP’s most ambitious project to date.

Thus, if you have a pretty penny or two jangling around in those ragged cut-offs, be sure to throw them some help at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ball-horror#/. There, you can also explore the majestic originality of some of their previous work, as well.

Now, with my Good Samaritan cap firmly askew… I wish you SWEET love and pink GRUE, and a wonderful weekend!

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Review: Necroplasmosis

Published June 17, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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In the early ‘90s, long before the days of instant internet accessibility, those who loved their ladies of horror had two places to go: the glossy, more mainstream Femme Fatales magazine and the grittier, homegrown Draculina. Harkening back to that underground Draculina vibe, writer-director-performer Henry Frias Leon and co-writer-lead actress Courtney Perkins create something very visceral with Necroplasmosis, their latest short film.

Perkins plays Lucinda, a photographer with slightly macabre subject matter, and Leon is the obsessed filmmaker who is following her around. Strong and resourceful, Lucinda ultimately finds the most cutting way to deal with an errant beau here. Nicely, unlike the days when Hugh Gallagher seemed to control everything that came out of Draculina, Perkins and Leon seem to be equal partners in Necroplasmosis. Thus, the world they create seems free of exploitation and centered around mutual interest.

Here’s hoping, though, that future installments will show Lucinda taking out her skills of vengeance upon all those right wing bigots and power figures that are still threatening to keep women from their equal rights.

Until then, be sure to check out this initial DIY work at:

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

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Review: Juggernaut Film Festival 2017

Published March 18, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Perianova’s Snowgirl

For film enthusiasts living in Chicago, the historic Music Box Theatre has been a defining color in the many shades of their film going experiences. On Saturday March 4th, Otherworld Theatre added to this celluloid kaleidoscope, masterfully, with The 5th Annual Juggernaut Film Festival. Wisely curated by the company, which is devoted to performing works of science fiction and fantasy, this event proved, beyond a doubt, that the short film can be a complete and satisfying experience unto itself. Ranging in style, these short works were often visually stunning, and whether you had a preference for the ridiculous or the mystical, you were sure to find a winner here.

For example, the comic Illegal Aliens, written and directed by Justin and Kristin Schaack, was a prescient look at contemporary politics in the guise of a silly space debate. Similar in tone, Steve Gast’s Monsters Anonymous provided a glance into a therapy session with some classic Universal creatures as they, vainly, make their attempts to fit into the 9 to 5 world.

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Fonte’s Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance, one of the festival’s best entries, meanwhile, took a surprising look at how women can be treated in this current, often very scary climate. Of course, this revenge thriller turned the tables on surface expectations quickly. Brilliantly paced by writer-director Bears Fonte, it is soon obvious here that every beautiful blonde hitchhiker may not be as helpless as she seems.

Fairy tales, of course, have often produced nightmarish concepts, but their more bittersweet and magical properties were explored in Ilina Perianova’s stunning Snowgirl. A gorgeous look at a lonely couple who adopt a mysterious young girl, Perianova, a Baltic creator, works with a sense of wonder and sadness here, making this another highlight of the 25 works featured . The parents soon discover their daughter is made of some unknown arctic properties and as they eventually lose her to a new love and the dangers of the outside world, the audience soon discovers that new beginnings are always possible.

Of course, to keep discovering the endless possibilities of Otherworld Theatre, and to be kept in the loop about next year’s festival, be sure to follow them at https://www.facebook.com/OtherworldTheatre/ and www.otherworldtheatre.org.

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

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Dinner with Herschell

Published September 30, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Creatively, he revolutionized the horror genre by inventing an offshoot that revolved around excessive gore. Due to his business acumen, you can probably blame a lot of the junk mail that fills your mail boxes on him, as well. Meanwhile, personally, filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis, who died this week at the age of 90, was a compelling presence whose commands were not to be ignored – even by the youngest of us.

I know this.

It’s mid-October of 2011 and Lewis is appearing at a 24 hour horror movie marathon in Chicago. In the evening, a few of us retire to a pub, next door, for dinner. Lewis is, happily, leading the conversation, taking our enthusiastic questions and giving them detailed and energetic answers. He is in his element except — a child in a high chair is letting out high pitched and elastic screeches, every couple of minutes or so, in the booth directly behind us. Each shriek jolts him out of his reveries and it is obvious, as time wears on, that he is losing all patience.

Finally, as the cranky babe lets out another voluminous wail, Lewis raises himself up, with grave dignity, and still seated, bellows out, in the direction of the child, with Greek authoritarianism, “STOP – THAT – NOW!” Each word is a separate thought, punctuated with irritation and will.

The toddler halts mid-cry and…is totally and completely silent for the rest of the meal.

Now perhaps, there are two sides of the table to fall on, socially, here. One side will be sympathetic towards struggling parents with infants and understanding of the need to get out with friends and colleagues, sometimes even with a whiney child in tow. The other side may feel, emphatically, that, in the name of common courtesy, children should be kept at home until they are more manageable. Good points, each.

But…I have a feeling that both sides can agree on the fact that even a mewling babe knew that it was important, if not vital, to listen to and obey Herschell Gordon Lewis – a sure and fabulous testament to his effective worth,  if there ever was one!

So, Rest in Peace (whoops, I almost wrote ‘piece’), you crazy and creative bastard! You will be missed.

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

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In Remembrance: Betsy Palmer

Published June 3, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

Betsy Palmer1Those who were lucky enough to meet actress Betsy Palmer, who died at the age of 88 this past weekend, in person, often found themselves inundated with delightful information. Mention her role in a production of Countess Dracula in 1979, at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, and she’d blush with love for that particular character and then swiftly reminisce about how she had to make the quickest and most difficult costume changes ever imagined during its run. Producing a leggy, cheesecake photo for her to sign, would elicit a remembrance of how all the young starlets in the 1950s, no matter how serious their intentions, were required to pose for such seductive publicity images. Inquire about her long run as a game show guest during television’s golden years and she’d reveal how she never got to see herself in any of those productions as they were all performed live.

For those who didn’t make Ms. Palmer’s acquaintance, and even for those who had, director S. Shane Marr does the world a great service with Betsy Palmer: A Scream Queen Legend in Her Own Words. Marr, who worked with Palmer on Bell Witch: The Movie, was so enchanted by Palmer’s show biz stories that he ingeniously decided to have her sit before his camera and talk to it as if it were an eager new friend.betsy palmer madame dracula

We get the familiar Friday the 13th story. Palmer’s car broke down and needing the $10,000, she accepted the role of Mrs. Voorhees even though she hated the script. Palmer delights in the irony that while this killer mommy is her best known role, her decision was initially made because she thought that no one would ever see the film. It is interesting to watch her make sense of her place in film history and hear her analyzing the appeal of her most popular character.

More than that, we learn of Palmer’s humble beginnings and her gradual indoctrination into an acting career.
She regales us with stories of working with famed director John Ford and the behind the scenes controversies of one of her earliest, best known films Mister Roberts. We are, also, told that she actually got along with the combative Joan Crawford on the set of their film Queen Bee. One of the most interesting stories is about her adventures making the obscure, low budget The True Story of Lynn Stuart with Hawaii Five-0′s Jack Lord. Apparently, the real Lynn Stuart visited the set and brought more attention to her presence by elaborately masking herself then if she had just shown up and silently observed.

betsy2It would have been nice to have learned something about Palmer’s other genre credits (1999’s The Fear: Resurrection and 2005’s Penny Dreadful) yet she does speak glowingly of the Bell Witch: The Movie and of her then hopes to be involved in any sequels.

Overall, Marr allows us to see Palmer as she truly was – warm and sharply inviting. Here, she, ultimately, proves herself to be that lively aunt or grandmotherly figure that has lived a life that most could only dream of. It’s a visual document that makes her passing all the more bittersweet.

Betsy Palmer: A Scream Queen Legend in Her Own Words is available for free viewing on YouTube and for purchase from Amazon in various formats.

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

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ShaLenn Madness!

Published March 29, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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So, I had this uptight designer make me a baseball cap consisting of nothing but ice. I was just trying to be as cool as some of these awesome independent exploitation directors that I know. It didn’t work. Still, my consolation prize is that I can promote these spine tingling ladies and gents until time freezes over or my bloodstained weave falls out. Here goes…

Cory J. Udler, founder of ShaLenn Productions and that awesome king of Wisconsin filmic craziness, is at it again! His brilliant freak-out on American values and small town perversion, Mediatrix, is now available on VHS (see photo above).

First Day of Girl filming.

First Day of Girl filming.

And…continuing in that film’s delirious vein, he is now hard at work on his next feature, The Girl Who Played with the Dead! Featuring performances from (former) Fangoria goddess Shannon Lark and cult icon Lloyd Kaufman, this epic is sure to push all of Middle America’s (way too) fuzzy buttons.

You can keep track of Girl at:
https://www.facebook.com/thegirlwhoplayedwiththedeadmovie

…and purchase Mediatrix at http://www.incestdeathsquad.com.

In a parallel universe, this HAS to be the perfect couple: director Cory J Udler and BGHF!

In a parallel universe, this HAS to be the perfect couple: director Cory J Udler and BGHF!


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

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