GLBT issues

All posts in the GLBT issues category

Review: Deviance

Published March 31, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Deviance-poster

Deviance is probably not the gay themed horror film that the community wants right now. With our liberties in danger and the powers-that-be convinced that we are less than deserving of normal rights, a movie about a queer hustler and a possible homosexual serial killer is probably not the shining beacon of positivity that activists are looking for. Even in ordinary circumstances, writer-director James Hennigan’s dark look at perverted lust and unsavory life choices may have earned a raised glance or two. But art is not supposed to be politically correct or follow conscionable trends. Thus, this is an often brave and revealing piece of celluloid.

High school student Connor (Hennigan) is living with his drunk, abusive father (Greg Thompson) and his concerned sister (Tracey Allyn). When he is caught kissing another boy, he is thrown out of the house and takes to the streets. Meanwhile, the shy, sheltered Milton (Tim Torre) is under the sway of his extremely religious mother (Melissa B. Robinson). His obsession with a handsome jock soon takes a twisted turn, though, and, as a result, his family life is completely blown apart. Years later, Milton is still struggling with his violent impulses while Connor’s continued reliance on prostitution to make ends meet collides with a moment of murderous rage, as well. The two outsiders are eventually drawn together and, as the movie races to a close, only one may make it out alive.

Deviance-mainFilled with strong performances and a look at homosexual sensuality that owes much to the grisly novels of alternative queer icon Dennis Cooper, Deviance also deals honestly with how bad parenting and the extreme tenets of hypocritical faith can destroy the souls of the young, no matter their orientation. Hennigan, Thompson, Allyn and Robinson shine in their various scenes, committing fully to their roles, whether sympathetic or not. But this is Torre’s show. He physically embodies all the awkwardness of Milton’s desires with a concise neediness and skilled precision. It’s a powerful, multi-leveled performance.

Hennigan, meanwhile, directs with a taut understanding of his two troubled protagonists. In a minor misstep, has take on the surprise ending is more in keeping with the slasher motif and seems at odds with the film’s layered and dramatic tension. But, if it means more films with Torre as Milton, then it is a forgivable offense. It is about time that we have a gay monster to march up the body strewn paths previously occupied by Michael, Freddy and Jason and this character just may be the one to do it.

Deviance is available for viewing on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Deviance-Tim-Torre/dp/B06WP55DN5

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

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Dreaming of Kaycee Ortiz

Published December 1, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

kaycee-ortiz

I don’t know about you, but I actually sleep better knowing that the divine Kaycee Ortiz is out there creating amazing music – including Dream Warrior – a spookily hypnotic and potently empowering tribute to the A Nightmare on Elm Street legacy.

Nocturnal bliss, no?

…and to keep up with all Ortiz’s dynamic activities and poetic offerings, be sure to follow along at: https://www.facebook.com/KayceeOrtiz21.

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

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Zine Review: Aversion

Published November 12, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

aversion-photo

If famed exploitation filmmaker Jess Franco had been a young, queer Midwest writer then Aversion: A Zine of Therapeutic Vignettes may have been something that he might have dreamed up. But it is the talented Aaron Eischeid who actually offers up the first chapter of a very spooky and hallucinogenic world here.

In the first segment of this ongoing series, Eischeid introduces us to Owen, a confused youth who finds himself encountering a possibly lethal librarian type, a monstrous eye, a dead deer and an extremely invasive therapist. Presented as a stream of consciousness study of the horrors of conversion therapy, Eischeid finds wonderful details to concentrate on here – a fascination with a mother’s pearls, for example. The sudden surprise of Owen being caught in a sexual encounter with a classmate is delivered both with real life poignancy and bit of the fantastic, as well. All these elements add up to something original while retaining the bizarre and dreamlike structures of the Euro cinema of Franco and so many others.

Featuring potent yet simple artwork by Oats Redding, this first installment is printed out almost diary style, in what seems to be Owen’s own handwriting. Creative touches such as these should make readers of this newfound adventure eager for new chapters.

Aversion is available for purchase at:

https://paradigmshiftprods.wordpress.com/

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

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House of Purgatory’s Tyler Christensen

Published October 31, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Based on an urban legend revolving around a haunted house so scary that guests are paid if they survive it, House of Purgatory is writer-director Tyler Christensen’s debut feature. But the openly gay Christensen adds an interesting social subtext to the proceedings here by concentrating on the youthful fears and tortured secrets of his protagonists. Excited about the recent release of this emotional, horror filled outing on various media platforms, Christensen took a moment to chat with me about his inspirations for the film, his eclectic and talented cast and the film’s psychological repercussions.

BGHF: Hi, Tyler! I’m calling you on a surprisingly summer like fall day in Chicago. Tyler: Well, it’s raining here in L.A.

I stole your thunder, man! You did!

I’ll give it back, I swear. Probably by tomorrow! No worries. I’m actually enjoying this. It reminds me of growing up in Wisconsin.

Is that where the concept for House of Purgatory began?  I had heard the urban legend in it, growing up. Was it something you were familiar with?

No. I had never heard of that one. It was a very popular legend in Wisconsin. Every Halloween, someone was talking about someone’s cousin who had done it or someone’s brother.  So, then I went to college in Oshkosh and, years later, I sat down to write a film. I knew, specifically, that I wanted to produce it and put it together. You write a lot of projects that are pie in the sky. Things that you’d love to make…one day, once money is no object. So, this is the first time that I decided to write a script that was producible. I planned on directing it. So, what could it be? I came across this very urban legend again. What? I couldn’t believe it was an urban legend. I totally fell for it when I was growing up. I was intrigued by it. I decided to pretend that it was a real thing. If it was, what would be so scary in a haunted house that people wouldn’t be able to make it through? It would have to be tailor made to each person. We all, obviously, have much different fears. So, if I’m going to tailor make the house, I decided it was going to know their secrets and it just grew from that.house of purgatory cast.png

I was a little worried that the characters were going to turn out to be dead like Mary Henry in Carnival of Souls. I think that reveal has been used once too often. Carnival of Souls did that so well. Other movies have done it since. If it’s not done well, technically, which 90% of the time it isn’t, it just comes off as a cop out. Oh, this is how we’re going to explain all these supernatural things. They’re dead! Come on!

I just get disappointed because it’s easy to figure out what’s going on. Oh, fuck, I know what’s going on halfway through. Exactly!

There’s no surprise. So, I appreciated that it didn’t happen here. Thank you! (Laughing) I said I know what Brian wants…and he’s going to be disappointed if I don’t do it!

Finally! A man who knows what I want! It took awhile, but the day has arrived. (Laughing) Nice!

So, let’s talk about your cast. Anne Leighton, the lead, is doing quite well now with Grimm and other projects. How did you discover her and what was it like working with her? She was great. Travis Moody, the producer, had worked with her on a project. She wasn’t doing quite as much as she is doing now, but she was still very successful. He told me to send the script over to her because he thought that she would react well to it, that it was right up her alley. She has a thing for the genre, in general. It was fun coming in, being a first time feature director; you can tell when you’re working with professionals. People not only come prepared, but they ask you questions and have thoughts. Anne would come to me with ideas about Melanie’s relationship with her mother. I would be like, “Sure, I totally had that planned out.” It was fun because she would dive into it, even deeper than I did.

Of course, your veteran was Brian Krause from such projects as Sleepwalkers and Charmed. He was great. I was a little nervous. He was a bigger name. While he has done some low budget stuff, I thought he might come in like, “Really guys? This tiny little thing?” But, he was great. He was so hands on and ready to go with his ideas and thoughts about the role. It took some trial and error to get his make-up just right. He was a trooper. He and the make-up artist would sit there and do an hour or two of work. Then I’d see it and go, “Nope. That’s not what I’m thinking. Start over.” So, it took a lot of time to get the make-up right. I guess I thought, “Here’s the star in our movie and let’s cover him up with make-up so no one knows it’s him.”  (Laughs) The marketing team just loves that.

house-of-purgatory-redWas there a moment that you enjoyed the most when filming? I think the most fun was the moment when the cast has that first conversation with Brian, as The Skeleton, at the ticket booth. That was the first time that the actors had seen his make-up. It was in this field, in the middle of the woods. The night was perfect. It was a cool night with fog. It just lent itself so well to the mood. It was also Brian’s first scene on set, so there was this extra buzz and excitement about having him there. When I saw him in his make-up, after they had gotten it right, and in his costume…I was like, “I have Brian Krause in my movie! How cool is this?” When you write something, you have one vision. As you are producing it and putting it together, it sort of becomes another vision. When you’re directing and looking at the monitor, it becomes a third vision. More often than not, it goes downhill. You wrote it, you had this great vision, but reality sets in, and its nothing like you imagined and you get mad. But, this was exactly what I had envisioned. It was such a cool feeling. There’s a scene in the pumpkin patch, as well, that was special for me. As soon as we had it lit, I was standing in the middle of it, turning around and staring at all these pumpkins. It was the coolest thing ever.

I liked that there is some social subtext to this piece. It is more emotionally resonant than the typical slasher.

I, obviously, related to the gay character. Growing up, I never thought my friends and family would act in a nightmarish way upon my coming out. But I think everyone has those sorts of things to deal with. At that age, you’re so concerned and one of your biggest fears is disappointing your parents. When you do something and they yell at you, it’s bad. But when you do something and they say that they are disappointed in you, it cuts so much deeper. A lot of the teen slashers, we’ve seen it. You smoke weed, you die. You drink, you die. You have sex, you die. There’s so much more to kids at that age. We don’t always see it unless the movie, as a whole, is a statement. We don’t get to see their everyday issues. There is a lot of fear.house of purgatory trailer.png

I appreciated that you walked a fine line with the film. There are people who could feel that you are condemning the characters. There were a couple people who read it, who didn’t know my background, and thought I was taking some kind of stance. They thought I was making an anti-this or anti-that film. I did go back and tweak things. I was so upset when I first got that reaction. I couldn’t believe people thought that I would write something like that. I went back and reread and dove in to make sure that it is clear that these are their secrets and that they are not being punished for sins. It never once says sin in the script. It’s always a secret. Even the sign on the door as they walk up to the house says “Secrets, secrets are so fun. Your secrets here can come undone”. I’m saying the word secret three times in a sentence. I think I’m safe. But, I think anytime that you are dealing with real world, hot button issues, issues that people can be really divided on…there’s going to be talk. That’s a good thing. I’d rather make a movie that starts dialogue. There are very few movies, especially in the horror world, that you can talk about.

Agreed!

House of Purgatory is available, currently, on iTunes, Xbox, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, PlayStation, YouTube, and Vimeo On Demand. The film is also set to be released on Amazon Prime, 24-Hour Movie Channel on Roku, DVD and Cable VOD at a later date.

More information is available at https://www.facebook.com/HouseofPurgatory.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Vivian Blaine

Published August 28, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

vivian 1

She added a little sophistication and dignity to cheesy, fun monster fests such as 1979’s The Dark and to 1982’s Parasite, but the glorious Vivian Blaine was best known for her take on the ditzy Adelaide in the original Broadway and movie versions of Guys and Dolls. Most importantly, perhaps, Blaine was also one of the first celebrity advocates for the AIDS crisis, providing a very visible presence in a time when most public figures shunned the realities of the disease.

Blaine, who also acted and sang in multiple movie musicals with the likes of the vivacious Carmen Miranda and smooth crooner Perry Como, reprised Adelaide’s Lament, her most famous number from Guys and Dolls, on the 1971 Tony Awards, twenty years after her debut in the role. There, she proved, beyond a doubt, that no one could portray the little quirks and eccentricities of the character quite like she could.

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

vivian 2

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Viewing with Father Lou

Published August 20, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Priest

“Be faithful to me tonight,” he cooed, prettily, wrapping himself around my leg as I tried to retain my concentration on Traci Lords and her notoriously notable, legitimate acting debut in the remake of Not of This Earth.

It was the spring of 1988. I was home, on a quick break from college, and the “he” in question was my first horror movie buddy. He had a tendency to annoy me with such requests, over the years, as we watched such outrageous fare as Bloodsucking Freaks, Creepers and Friday the 13th, Part 4 together. I knew him as Father Lou and I think, despite our family’s closeness to him, that is what I always referred to him by. I can’t ever remember just calling him “Lou”. Due to my dad’s insistence, he gained a position as “favorite family uncle” during the latter part of my freshman year of high school. My father, a determined social achiever who was running a huge school district by the end of his career, was hot to make his way into the upper reaches of our local parish and a friendship with the new priest was a sure way to do it.

Father Lou endeared himself to us all, though, with his outrageous wit and sense of fun and cookie jars full of peanut M and M’s and red licorice. Most importantly, he embraced my love of all things terror related, something my parents thought made me a bit mentally unbalanced, and we were soon trading paperback novels with each other and, excitedly, rhapsodizing over our favorite films. While he made inappropriate comments, here or there, in my early teen years, it was once I hit 17 and he began to suspect that my friendships with other men in summer stock companies and various theater programs might be sexual in nature, that his efforts to seduce me tripled.

Once or twice, I would give in.

Questionable teen hormones and pure frustration allowed me to grant him a quick rendezvous or two in which his smooth rotund stomach and firm yet stubby penis were the primary participants. Both times, he would weakly ejaculate before I even had to touch him and he would quickly pull up his impossibly large tighty whities and run upstairs to clean up before my parents arrived to indulge in church gossip with him or just to simply visit.

Honestly, I’ve never quite known where to place him on my personal sexual registry. Inappropriateness aside, I was already 18 and in my final year of high school by the time, worn down from repeated advances, I allowed him a first, furtive dalliance. In many ways, I suppose my experiences with him are akin to the relations that I had with various men that I slept with, out of last call desperation, in my younger days in the city.  He’s just another example of bad, instantly regrettable sex – a bizarre and off color story of my youth. He haunts me only in these dusty nostalgic ramblings or in those midnight hours as I bike the city streets, worn out from a work shift at the rib joint, and recollections, distant at first and then furtively prying, such as this overtake me. Otherwise, therapy and distance have reduced his foothold in my life, long ago.CREEPERS

More than anything, as a fully fledged cine-maniac, what I am most thankful for, I realize as I devise this, is that these woeful encounters did not color my love for the films we viewed. Many of  them were indicative of the more sordid excesses of the genre – making the fact that my first viewing of them was with him all the more interesting, I suppose – and I still revel in that juicy freedom. Talk to an ardent fan of any type of media and oftentimes who they were with and the positivity that surrounded said creation are highly indicative of their devotion to it. Here, I am glad that sometimes celluloid itself is enough. That art, in whatever form it may arrive in, does indeed prevail.

I still adore Creepers (and Phenomena, its more legitimate rendering). It was my introduction to Italian horror cinema just as Bloodsucking Freaks was my first, very uncomfortable witnessing of an extreme form of grindhouse cinema. Both were bold and unconventional, aspects that I have wished for in my own life. These characteristics have, naturally, informed me more than anything else and I am fortified in the knowledge that they peek through at the most appropriate moments. Most especially, I hope, when recounting moments like this.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Sal Mineo

Published July 4, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Who Killed Teddy 3

Its 2016 and there are still inherent risks to being a member of the LGBT community. Thus, it is even more admirable to look back at the openness of Sal Mineo, an Academy nominated performer and former teen heartthrob, who brought a sense of sensitivity and despair to the psycho killer genre in 1965’s gritty, underappreciated thriller Who Killed Teddy Bear?

According to many reports, Mineo, who was murdered in 1976 during a robbery attempt, never hid his attraction for men and this may have hurt his latter day career choices. Of course, director Nicholas Ray famously capitalized on Mineo’s budding sexuality in Rebel Without A Cause. As Plato, his most famous role, Mineo’s attraction for James Dean’s Jim Stark was touchingly apparent. Proof of this is definitely contained in this loving video homage which highlights Mineo, who scored several hit singles as a teen, and his take on the song Young As We Are.

 

Of course, others may appreciate Mineo’s more garage-y sound on Little Pigeon, a number that is sure to put certain readers in mind of his theater career, which included a couple of takes on the prison drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes.

 

 

Meanwhile, Mineo’s most ardent fans keep the love flowing for him at www.salmineo.com, a beautiful website dedicated to this renaissance man and his career.

who killed teddy bear poster

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

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