Science Fiction

All posts in the Science Fiction category

Hopelessly Devoted to: Mary Wickes

Published December 1, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Mary W2.jpg

Mary Wickes was well known for adding a bit of dour (and occasionally judgmental) hilarity to many television shows and classic films. Her appearance as a frustrated, world renowned choreographer on The Ballet, a first season episode of I Love Lucy, for example, helped make that show one of the legendary series’ most hilarious offerings. Mary W4

Best known to many modern audiences as Sister Mary Lazarus in the Sister Act movies, cinema sleuths drawn to the darker side may be fonder of her quirky appearances on such shows as Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, though.

The Baby Sitter, a first season AHP episode, actually found Wickes in familiar comic territory. As Blanche Armstaedter, the best friend of Thelma Ritter’s love lost Lottie Slocum, Wickes adds plenty of humorous appeal. In fact, as she offers up tempting ice cream treats to Lottie, Wickes often comes off as a monument to devilish frivolity. Her delight in the fact that her fondest companion may be a cold blooded murderess makes Wickes’ Blanche the story’s standout, with this one of a kind performer  stealing scenes from her co-star, the well seasoned, virtuosic Ritter. Mary W6

Toby, on the anthology show’s second season, provided a more somber character for Wickes to attach her skills to. Working with a bit of a Tennessee Williams’ vibe, this production concentrates on the arrival of a fragile old maid type to a rambling boarding house. As Edwina Freel, the land lady of the establishment, Wickes provides plenty of heart and weathered kindness here. She seems to know that the romance between this crumbling flower and a long term resident is doomed to failure and her scenes resonate with both wearied hardness and a bit of tender concern.

Nicely, her tart edge is in full effect again with They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be offering on The Night Stalker. As Dr. Bess Winestock, a zoologist that Darren McGavin’s always curious Kolshak interacts with, Wickes delivers her lines with a tangy twist, often providing laugh out loud results. This particular venture is more science fiction in nature than some of this iconic show’s more horrific offerings. But Wickes does get to reveal the truly chilling fact that the bone marrow of the animals in her character’s care has been devoured then rejected by the hungry aliens that dominate this output’s proceedings here.

Mary W1Exposed as an often rigid and uncompromising force in Steve Taravella’s well researched biography I Know I’ve Seen That Face Before, these three varied appearances (among so many others) prove that Wickes will forever be one of the world’s premium actresses of any (and every) variety.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Forever Charmed: A Little on T’Pau, AKA Kara Zediker

Published March 24, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

charmed kara.png

I’ve never pictured myself as one of the cool kids or one of those guys that everyone is desperate to hang out with. Honestly, I am still a little shocked when people agree to join me on sudden movie going ventures or to celebrate events of any nature. But, as we all do, I’ve learned to push back those disbeliefs and have even found myself becoming friends with people who, at one time, seemed unreachable.

My buddy Kara Zediker is a prime example. We were acquaintances in college, but in many ways, she seemed of another world. She was one of those theater students (at Columbia College in Chicago) who always seemed to be bathed in some kind of electric glow…and, indeed, the world at large took notice of that essence.  Her time in Hollywood gained her prime guest shots on shows such 24, Charmed, The Legendary Adventures of Hercules and Star Trek: Enterprise. She will, rightfully, claim it was hard work and luck. But, those who know her are also keenly aware that her quirky and kindly spirit probably had something to do with her success, as well. t'pau 2

She was drawn back to the Midwest, a number of years ago, and a sudden meeting on an el train drew us back, happily, into each others’ orbits. We’ve seen a lot of theater and films together. (We both even found a way to connect, emotionally, with the technical wonders of a touring production of Ghost: The Musical – the show, itself, was fairly mediocre, maybe even awful, but our childlike response to the special effects still makes it one of my favorite Broadway in Chicago evenings in memory.) We’ve also shared some meals and bar time together and…this Sunday, at the Fantastic Fantasy film festival, we will even be sharing the stage!

In between the illustrious, far flung wonders of films such as Masters of the Universe, Dune, Flash Gordon and Dark Crystal, I will be querying her about what it was like to play T’Pau on Enterprise, a younger version of Penny Halliwell on Charmed and one of her latest projects, Dig Two Graves, a horror film with Ted Levine that has gotten incredible feedback from the audiences that have seen it. This will also be her first appearance at an event of this nature, so those looking for the singular, and believe me, that word describes my friend Ms. Zediker perfectly, won’t want to miss this.

me and kara

Fantastic Fantasy will be held at The Vic Theatre in Chicago on Sunday, March 26th. More info is available here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1250287605055922/

Meanwhile, you can keep apprised of Dig Two Graves, which is opening in select theatres and on VOD on March 24th at https://www.facebook.com/digtwograves/.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Feed That Frankenstein: Goldengirl

Published March 10, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

goldengirl

(Feed That Frankenstein focuses on the many pictures that use variants on the themes that the underappreciated Mary Shelley began writing about all those thunderstruck evenings ago.)

Estimating that the evilest of scientists are from a European descent, the creators of Goldengirl naturally went full Neo-Nazi with Curt Jurgens’ experimenting Dr. Serafin. Or did they?

Focusing on the Olympic ascension of the magnificent Goldine (Susan Anton), Serafin’s stepdaughter, this 1979 science fiction piece replaces Mary Shelley’s elegantly stitched together monster with a sporty, statuesque blonde. Of course, being beautiful is a curse here. Goldine is treated to electroshock therapy to increase her speed and those pesky injections (administered by her father) may increase her stature and stamina, but they also leave her diabetic and predisposed to a twisted, violent streak. Meanwhile, a series of backers wanting a payoff means that she has to achieve an unheard of three gold medals in track and field. Add in the fact that her fledgling romance with legendary sports agent Jack Dryden (James Coburn) appears as if it will never get past the tentative stage…and a girl could just go completely bonkers! original_goldengirl2

…and she does…a little bit. Goldine subjugates Jack to a bit of humiliation, here and there, and she has a diva meltdown on a fellow Olympian, but there are no huge monstrous altercations in this fun celluloid jumble. Instead, the powers-that-be decide to concentrate on the almost nonexistent romantic elements of the plotline. Thus, revealing, at the fadeout, that the worst thing that can happen to a chemically and socially manipulated femme fatale is… heartbreak.

The lack of oomph in the production is most likely attributed to the fact that the producers had a change of heart during its troubled genesis. All original allegations of Dr. Serafin’s master plan and deviant ties to the Third Reich were stripped from the narrative. Instead he is portrayed as a flawed (and slightly crazed) humanist who wants to increase the possibilities of the biological form.  Therefore, a whistle blowing associate, played by the always intriguing Jessica Walter, is totally cut from the proceedings. (Although, she is briefly glimpsed in a scene in which Goldine’s benefactors first arrive to check out their potential client.)It’s a strange move that leaves the film in a never world. It’s a bit sports movie and a bit Jekyll and Hyde monster flick. There are glimpses of a science fiction thriller and a smidge of tepid May-December romance. All in all, it’s a gelatin take on celluloid intrigue – slightly shimmering with nothing too caloric to stick to the viewer’s senses at the end mark.

goldengirlinsertAnton, meanwhile, in her major motion picture debut, does her damnedest to register assuredly. She manages it at times, always appearing physically magnificent, but sometimes the pure awkwardness of the setups causes her to strain a bit unconvincingly. She might have been helped a bit if she had been paired against someone other than Coburn. Always a master of low key manliness, he is just too cool a cucumber to truly sell the more seductive elements of the plot.

Still, this hodge podge affair has its charms. Particularly, it is nice to experience a feminine focus point in a variation on a narrative that Mary Shelley, a young woman herself, created all those many dark and stormy nights ago.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

5th Annual Juggernaut Film Festival

Published March 3, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

juggernaut-film-fest-16

I gave up on being cool, long ago. But…I have had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of some terminally arctic sorts. For instance, the folks at Chicago’s Otherworld Theatre Company are pretty fantastic, frequently bringing science fiction, fantasy and the underbelly of mysteriously dark worlds to life on the stages of the Midwest.

Their Juggernaut Film Festival, now celebrating its fifth year, is another one of their amazing activities. Also celebrating works of science fiction and fantasy, this event brings together filmmakers from around the world who share their visions of electric landscapes and ever shifting possibilities. This year the paranormal will raise its ghostly hands in such works as Moth, Shell and The Seal of Corruption, as well.

otherworld theatre.png

Produced as a benefit, allowing this incredibly creative and eternally attractive team, including my forever gay boy crush gal: the divine Mary Kate Arnold, to continue their work throughout the year, The Fifth Annual Juggernaut Film Festival will arrive on Saturday, March 4th at the legendary Music Box Theatre in Chicago. 25 films will be screened from 11:30 am – 6 pm, along with networking sessions and an awards ceremony.

Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/events/111300332710354/.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: I Love Lucy

Published July 7, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

I Love Lucy

If only…I had known about that paternal lycanthrope curse. Those full moons in my thirties might have been a lot easier.

Likewise, writer-director-editor Zach Lorkiewicz explores some mysterious traits and hidden personalities, but within high school culture, with his latest, colorful short I Love Lucy. Here, beautiful Lucy (an ethereal Danielle Lauder) is nervously looking forward to her prom date, and all that may follow, with the cherub cute Rex (a spot-on, charming Jacob Kogan). Encouraged by her friends and a couple of ominously over interested school officials, Lucy’s preparations for her special night may be bit more bloody and freakishly revealing than anyone could possibly anticipate, though.

Combining the sunny world of teen comedies with science fiction and horror overtones, Lorkiewicz creates a fuzzily unique universe here. Aided immeasurably by Tracy Rosenblum’s special effects work and the sonic backgrounds created by Alison Ho and Catherine Yang, I Love Lucy is truly an intriguing and artistically superior work. Its ending may be open to interpretation, but anyone who has experienced the cold hard truth that everyone around them is virtually unknowable with find much to chew over here.

You can watch the short, in full, at:

 

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Carly Simon

Published April 26, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

carlysimon-tired600
I once wore white socks with my business suit and my boss, the Dragon Lady, never let me forget it!

Thankfully, 30 years ago, the interstellar Carly Simon, along with director Jeremy “Dead Ringers” Irons, blended styles much more successfully with their video for Tired of Being Blonde.

Released as the first single off of Simon’s 1985 commercially aggressive pop offering Spoiled Girl, this visual bombshell contains moments of film noir rhapsody, science fiction glamour and exquisite Ingmar Bergman style angst – all wrapped in the sugary sheen of bubblegum goodness.

Carly Simon as Barbarella? Carly Simon as Bibi Andersson in a cocktail dress?!? Best video ever, no?!!!?

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Concrete Blonde

Published April 19, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

concrete blonde
If you travel across the galaxies, I’m sure you will find multiple differences among the various populations.

But, one thing will always be true: As evidenced by (director) Jack Sholder’s modern science fiction-thriller classic The Hidden, even aliens with voraciously murderous appetites dig Concrete Blonde! So, in some ways, they really are just like everyone else!the hidden william

Indeed, one of the film’s most memorable sequences occurs when (actor) William Boyett’s Jonathan Miller, possessed by a destructive space creature, creates a scenes of sonic mayhem in a Los Angeles diner, with Concrete Blonde’s Still in Hollywood blaring from his stolen, ever present jukebox.

But, after listening to that, can you blame anyone for being totally entranced with singer Johnette Napolitano’s eternally gravelly yet always passionate voice?!?

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan