Science Fiction

All posts in the Science Fiction category

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

Published March 24, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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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

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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!

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5th Annual Juggernaut Film Festival

Published March 3, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Carly Simon

Published April 26, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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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!

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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!

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Jack Sholder: Generation Awesome!

Published April 16, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

Jack
Director Jack Sholder is, perhaps, best known for a trio of 80s horror and science fiction titles, Alone in the Dark, Nightmare on Elm St 2: Freddy’s Revenge and The Hidden. But his adventurous resume includes such features as Renegades (featuring Kiefer Sutherland) , an episode of the short-lived television version of Tremors and (another terror sequel) Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. Plenty of comic book aficionados, though, still thrill to Sholder’s Generation X, a fun television film based on the X-Men comic spin-off. Here, on the eve of his appearance at the Sci-Fi Spectacular, where The Hidden will be screened, Sholder takes a moment to talk about the behind the scenes dynamics of Generation X and his experiences working with some of Hollywood’s most established talents.

BGHF: The Sci Fi Spectacular will be showing The Hidden this weekend and everyone knows you for Alone in the Dark and Nightmare on Elm St 2, as well. But, I’m actually thrilled to be talking to you because I love so much of your work: By Dawn’s Early Light, Generation XTwelve Days of Terror, which I think is really, really well done.

Jack Sholder: Thank you. I’m really glad that you have seen some of my other films. 12:01. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen 12:01

BG: I haven’t.GenerationX-poster

Sholder: You should really see that one. I think that it’s certainly in my top 3.

BG: Awesome! I’ll have to check it out. That would have been one of my questions: what’s a neglected favorite of yours? So, I’m glad you brought it up. But, as a burgeoning comic book geek, I’d really love to talk about Generation X, here. Matt Frewer, as the villain Dr. Tresh, is just over the top and amazing in it. What kind of experience was it like working with him?

Sholder: Oh, Matt?

BG: Yeah!

generation x mattSholder: Matt was fantastic! As a matter of fact, the writer was one of the producers, and he was extremely protective of his work. He didn’t want anything changed. He was on set everyday and criticized me for having the actors move around too much! (Laughs) He just wanted them to stand still and say his lines. We didn’t always see eye to eye. He didn’t want anyone changing his dialogue. But as far as Matt went, he’d let Matt do anything! Matt was brilliant. He’s kind of like a Jim Carrey. He never quite got that kind of recognition, but he’d just improvise and he was unbelievable. He was kind of like a genius. He was a lot of fun. He was a great guy.

BG: He’s so well balanced by Finola Hughes in that, who is just so cool and detached and sexy as Emma Frost!

Sholder: Yeah. That was a difficult film to make because we were trying to do something extremely ambitious. The means were very limited, though. New World Pictures, which was the producing entity, had been taken over by Revlon, I think. They were doing the film for Fox, but they wanted to run it like a normal business. Like, “If you say you’re going to bring the film in for $6,000,000 or $7,000,000, you can’t go to $7,000,000 and 10 cents! So, everyone was very nervous and people were standing around with their arms crossed, keeping an eye on me. So, there was a lot of pressure. But, it was a great shoot and it was really fun to do. It was fun to be able to push things really far, visually, and in terms of performances.

generation x finolaBG: On that, you worked with Frewer and Hughes, who were well honed, but a lot of the cast was younger and just starting out. Do you work differently with seasoned actors than with fresh talent?

Sholder: Yes. When you’re working with younger talent, they’re very open. They’re not set in their ways. They’re grateful for whatever they get. But, sometimes, they don’t quite have the chops. When you’re working with the old guys, the seasoned guys, they really know what they’re doing. But, occasionally, they can get a little grumpy. On By Dawn’s Early Light, Darren McGavin could be a little grumpy. Martin Landau is lovely. He’s a terrific guy. He’s actually been sort of a mentor of mine in terms of how to work with actors. Rip Torn was kind of a handful. But, he’s a great actor. James Earl Jones…you know, it doesn’t get any better! I love working with those guys. I did a pilot for NBC. The series never got made. I had Norman Lloyd. He had been in the Mercury Theatre with Orson Welles. He was the guy who fell off the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur by Alfred Hitchcock. He used to play tennis with Charlie Chaplin. He was friends with Chaplin! He was friends with Welles and Bertolt Brecht! So, just by having lunch with him, I was only one step removed from almost everyone who was ever great in Hollywood

BG: That’s amazing! I’m a theater critic on the side, so those names are killing me!

Sholder: Oh, nice! Speaking of great, great theater actors, I worked with Beatrice Straight.

BG: I love her. Hopefully, she will come back into public consciousness a bit with this Poltergeist remake coming out. She was so great in the original.
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Sholder: She got an Academy Award for Network. She played William Holden’s wife. She was basically in two scenes. There was one small scene and then there was one big scene where she finds out that he has been having an affair with Faye Dunaway. That got her an Academy Award.

BG: …and it was so well deserved! I love those character actresses who made such a mark, but don’t have the recognition of Meryl Streep or what-have-you!

Sholder: Yeah. Oh, yeah! Me, too!

(Note: The film that Sholder worked with Straight on was a 25 minute adaptation of The Garden Party, a Katharine Mansfield story. It was shown on PBS and won a number of awards, further proof of this director’s amazingly eclectic skills.)

Be sure to meet Sholder this Saturday, April 18th, in Chicago at the Sci Fi Spectacular. After the screening, Sholder will be discussing The Hidden and many of his other projects. There will be a number of cool vendors, free autographs and photos and, in addition to The Hidden, there will be 16 hours of cool horror and science fiction films, including Screamers and Alien, shown, as well. Get more information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/771555102921288/.

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan