Television

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Laurinda Barrett

Published October 3, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Edge Laurinda

Esteemed theater actress Laurinda Barrett is probably best known to celluloid buffs from her work in the 1968 film adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Eagle eyed viewers will also remember her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, as well.

Laurinda Wrong ManThankfully, working with the Master of Suspense must have prepared Barrett for her work as Molly Sherwood on the long running mystery soap The Edge of Night. With knife like precision and incisive skill, Barrett enacted Sherwood’s reign of terror with a rare sensitivity – and a cold blooded determination. Illogically predisposed to do away with anyone who seemingly threatened a loved one, Sherwood not only calmly killed those she considered perpetrators, but also anyone she suspected may have knowledge of her crimes.

Utilizing horror influences to the extreme here, this EON plotline reached its pinnacle when Sherwood stabbed one offender while wearing a disturbingly cheery clown hand puppet to mask her fingerprints.

A veteran of multiple soap operas, including All My Children and Guiding Light, it is ultimately Barrett’s macabre run as Molly that lingers on in viewers’ minds. Decades after those initial airdates, this observation is a true testament to the richness and power of her work all those years ago – and proves that even without superstar status, this dedicated performer made a true impact on people’s lives.

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

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: K.T. Stevens

Published September 27, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Sometimes heroines of horror are unsung simply because they don’t have any true horror projects to their credit. Take the unforgettable K. T. Stevens for example. While she doesn’t have a Frankenstein or Dracula on her resume, she did play Vanessa Prentiss on The Young and the Restless for years. Her face hidden behind magnificent veils due to traumatic scarring, this character was one of the more gothic villainesses of the classic early ‘80s of soapdom. The perfect amalgamation of one dark stormy night theatrics, Vanessa made life a living nightmare for Laurie, the soap’s most prominent anti-heroine. In fact, upon learning that she was terminally ill, Prentiss staged a fight with her rival and then threw herself off the balcony of her apartment building. This assured that Laurie would be charged with her murder, a final revenge as surely psychotic as anything that Peter Lorre cooked up in Mad Love. KT 3

Starting out as a juvenile lead opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Great Man’s Lady, Stevens enjoyed a fairly distinguished career including noir adventures (Port of New York) and guest shots on classic television shows (I Love Lucy, The Big Valley). She even took a shot gun blast to the chest as a supporting player in the T & A thriller They’re Playing with Fire.

Graced with a layered yet formidable presence, she was also a favorite of the producers of Thriller; the Boris Karloff hosted anthology series that always dealt with matters of the macabre. Stevens’ episodes were more criminal minds in nature than exercises in terror, but she got to show some range. She was the Capri pants wearing, con minded other woman in a first season episode entitled The Merriweather File. The second season’s Kill My Love found her calmly enacting calculated patrician control as the wealthy Olive Guthrie. Even though Guthrie is ultimately the victim here, her chilling use of subtle silence lingers long after the episode ends.

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The eclectic professionalism of Stevens, who passed away at the age of 74 in 1994, should come as no surprise, though. Her father was director Sam Wood (A Night at the Opera, King’s Row) and she made her debut at the age of two in one of his silent features with (child prodigy) Jackie Coogan, later Uncle Fester in the original The Addams Family.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: My Boyfriend’s Back

Published September 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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The Angels sweet, valedictory take on My Boyfriend’s Back has insured that number a place in musical history. Their original version has even appeared in Matinee, Joe Dante’s loving nod to genre cinema and its great showmen. It was also the obvious inspiration for the beloved early ‘90s, Sean S. Cunningham produced horror-comedy My Boyfriend’s Back.

As with many iconic ‘60s songs, there have been a multitude of cover versions to charm and/or amuse the ears. Everyone from Kristy and Jimmy McNichol to Melissa Manchester and The Raveonettes have put their mark on this cheery yet revenge fueled composition.

One of the favored takes was provided by popular soap actress Sharon Gabet in the early ‘80s. At the time of the recording, Gabet was starring as Raven on the gothic mystery sudser Edge of Night. Nicely, the dark rhythms of that show’s plotlines emerge in the pulsing backgrounds in this harder edged takeover.

Gabet, a veritable soap hopper who also appeared on Another World and One Life to Live, is now the author of a number of  books including From Raven to the Dove, which beautifully describes her seven year experience working on Edge and her life since then.

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P.S.: Those with sharp ears might even catch Donna De Lory’s vocals on the background of this track. De Lory, of course, has long been a part of Madonna’s roving troupe of players and is an established solo artist in her own right, as well. 

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

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Halloween in Salem!

Published September 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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It is starting to smell like Halloween in Salem! In the past few weeks, the setting place of (the long running soap opera) Days of Our Lives has had long lost characters rise from the dead while a mad scientist runs amuck, his chemical concoctions exploding around him! One of the show’s major heroines has also just been kidnapped by a silent, shrouded figure.

One recent ghoul stained returnee has even taken a deadly shine to some of her old, mischievous tricks. Vivian Alamain (currently being played by daytime icon Robin Strasser) has always had a thing for burying folks alive…but her latest victim Kate Roberts (the incomparable Lauren Koslow) wasn’t giving up her mortal coil easily. After being shot by Vivian and covered in graveyard dirt, this resourceful anti-heroine crawled out of her makeshift resting place and dragged her nearly expired glam gal self to the local hospital. Naturally, as the writers stretch out this macabre yarn, Kate’s life still hangs in the balance…and Vivian is prowling the hospital corridors, hoping to drag her off of that precarious ledge.Days Kate

Of course, this is all being done with a sense of grand, over-the-top fun. But more than anything, it’s been a twisted joy watching glamorous, dedicated pros like Strasser, who gets more assured and enjoyably cunning with every appearance, and Koslow go at it with few (if any) holds barred. The producers also, nicely, gave longtime soap lovers a special treat by recently reuniting Strasser and Kassie DePaiva, who plays town pariah Eve with distinctive panache, for a brief scene. For decades these legacy performers went at it with love (and occasional wraith) as aunt and niece, respectively, on the late lamented One Life to Live.

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Intrigued by all this deadly, pumpkin spiced mayhem? Well, be sure to tune in, daily, at https://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives.

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

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Jill Whitlow

Published August 2, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Jill Main

Not many people can say that they were kidnapped by a soap opera king, but Jill Whitlow, who supplied a refreshing presence to a number of television and films in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, can actually lay claim to that cinematic honor. On the Short Walk to Freedom episode of Airwolf, the popular television show that featured Jan Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine, her spoiled Kay Freestone finds herself a captive of John Aniston’s Colonel Arturo Alzar. Aniston, known primarily to network comedy lovers as Jennifer’s father, has spent the last 30 years intriguing daydream believers as the venomous Victor Kiriakis on Days of our Lives. Here, he spreads some of that poisonous energy out onto Whitlow and crew.

Jill KidnappedAdmired, widely, for the sweet courageousness she brought to Cynthia, the heroine of Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps, it is fun to see Whitlow portray the more unsavory aspects of Kay’s character here. After being taking hostage during a Latin American excavation trip, Whitlow fully embraces the pouty antics of her role…faking illnesses and taking extra sips of rationed water with a silver glint in her eye.

Whitlow also brought the same kind of expressiveness to the Mother’s Day episode of Freddy’s Nightmares. She gives Barbara Gamble, the troubled character she plays, a jaunty air as she explores the house where Freddy Krueger committed his most heinous crimes. But even more so than Airwolf episode, the script here, by well traveled television writer David Ehrman, allows her some depth.Jill flirt

While her mischievous nature is in fine form when flirting with cute co-star Byron Thames, she supplies true sorrow to her moments with the accomplished Judith Baldwin (The Stepford Wives), who plays Barbara’s successful yet neglectful radio psychologist mother.

These moments here prove that beyond her most popular roles – arguably in Creeps and Weird Science – Whitlow did impressive work that is well worth seeking out. Be sure to check out her other credits at https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0926114/ and….

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

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Rose Marie

Published July 26, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Beginning her career as an infant in vaudeville, the distinctive Rose Marie was probably best known for her snappy work on the iconic Dick Van Dyke Show in the ‘60s. Thankfully, for horror honeys everywhere, she made a number of appearances in projects that relished terror filled antics, as well.

Her best known work in genre films may her memorable appearance as Mrs. Moses, the inquisitive landlady in Kevin Tenney’s popular Witchboard, but she also found time to appear in 2000’s Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th, a ridiculous parody in the style of Scary Movie. Rose Marie witchboard

Another of her ghoulish outings is 1985’s fun Jack the Ripper inspired Terror at the London Bridge (AKA Bridge Across Time). As Alma Bellock, the curious clerk at a rundown hotel, she interacts with a mysterious tenant – who just may be the world’s most notorious serial killer sprung fully back to life in another century! Ever the professional, Rose Marie imbues her moments here with a suspicious sense of fun.

Rose Marie and guestIn her final moments she even shares the screen with ‘80s era action hunks David Hasselhoff and Randolph Mantooth, giving those (then) famous youngsters a crash course in how to handle a scene!

Nicely, even though this indomitable spirit passed away in 2017 at the age of 94, her family and friends are keeping her memory alive at http://missrosemarie.com/.

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

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Barbara Bingham in Terror At London Bridge

Published July 19, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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My friends Kirsten and Bryan are in the process of making these multi layered candles. In every level, they bury a surprise trinket. As the wax melts, the treat emerges. For me, certain movies contain these kinds of unique gifts, as well. Utilizing my online media memberships for maximum benefit on a recent vacation, I dove into the low budget latter day oeuvre of Eric Roberts and several lurid television films of the exploitation genre. Upon viewing 1985’s Terror at the London Bridge (AKA Bridge Across Time), I anticipated the participation of such performers as Adrienne Barbeau and Rose Marie from the opening credits. But my little unexpected nugget of delight was the unanticipated appearance of actress Barbara Bingham.

Barbara TerrorHere Bingham, best known to terror enthusiasts as the kind Ms. Van Deusen in Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, appears as Alice Williamson, a wealthy traveler who soon finds that her adventurousness will lead to a bloody end. An accident, as she traipses across the restored London Bridge in a tourist town in Arizona, puts her face to face with the resurrected Jack the Ripper. Nicely, Bingham radiates with a warm presence in her early scenes while providing the requisite terror in her final moments onscreen. Therefore, it is a shame that, despite lead roles in other genre projects such as Claudio Fragasso’s Beyond Darkness, she didn’t go on to become a bigger name in the entertainment industry. Barbara Terror 2

Still, with an eye on longevity (which is certainly the most important thing to a performer), Bingham has become a commercial force in Australia, appearing in numerous ads and pictorials. More info on her career is available at https://barbarabingham.com/.

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

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