Theater

All posts in the Theater category

Cowardly Scarecrow Announces Cabaret

Published August 27, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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The Chicago theater community has, as a friend likes to say, “Huge News!!!” Cowardly Scarecrow Productions has recently announced its fall production of Cabaret, beginning on October 5th, 2019. Renowned for their long running production of Musical of the Living Dead, this version of the Kander & Ebb classic is sure to be filled with this production house’s finely tuned sense of the gothic. No macabre essence of this piece is sure to go unexplored here.

This version is also armed with the undeniable talents of Caitlin Jackson (above), this site’s choice as the Midwest’s premium diva of the silver tongued boards! Jackson, who was recently nominated for a Jeff Award for her skillful performance of Cheryl in (last year’s hysterically fun, progressive version of) Evil Dead: The Musical, is sure to create a Sally Bowles for the memory books!

Cowardly Scarecrow Benefit Picture

Local enthusiasts can help CSP achieve their ultimate creative intentions by attending a benefit for them on August 31st: https://www.facebook.com/events/2426383007409353/.

Others, meanwhile, can hum charmingly off key versions of Tomorrow Belongs to Me while checking out the show’s growth at https://www.cowardlyscarecrow.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/CSTCINC/.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Dietz and Schwartz

Published August 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Composed for the 1931 Broadway show The Bandwagon, Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz’s classic tune Dancing in the Dark has found its way into many films, including a self titled offering in 1949 starring William Powell. Of course, many of these movies feature the song with an emphasis on its classic, moody jazz tones – much like this live version by the irreplaceable Sarah Vaughan.

The gloomier implications of its title, though, have helped this distinguished number find a home in a number of horror projects including 1988’s Twice Dead and 1995’s Lord of Illusions. Nicely, the version in the latter film was dominated, ominously, by avant garde singing sensation Diamanda Galas.

Meanwhile, Dietz and Schwartz, whose other well known compositions include That’s Entertainment and I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plans, are given a nice career overview at https://masterworksbroadway.com/artist/howard-dietz-and-arthur-schwartz/.

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

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Duo

Pride Month Dagger Cast – with Kyra Leigh

Published June 29, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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It’s the end of Pride Month and you’re probably still go-go-going!

But if you need to catch your breath for a moment, feel free to take a second and listen to the latest episode of Dagger Cast with the amazing Kyra Leigh. Leigh is also always go-go-going as the musical director of Chicago’s production of Head Over Heels, the Go-Go’s musical, and here she talks about that project and her take on horror as a Trans Woman. We discuss Sleepaway Camp, Dressed to Kill and how Leigh feels the Trans Community should fit into upcoming genre films. It’s an important and informative talk fueled by her grand heart and infectious spirit.

https://soundcloud.com/daggercast/ep-8-kyra-leigh

Happy Pride kisses to everyone, all year long, and….until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror!

Pride kisses

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Review: Black Button Eyes’ Evil Dead the Musical

Published February 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Cheryl Williams is the specter that forever haunts my friend Kirsten. The classic image of that Evil Dead character’s zombiefied face peeking through a crack in the cellar door endlessly chills her. Thus, we have a proud woman of horror being successfully thrilled by another proud woman in horror.

This cycle continues with Black Button Eyes Productions current mounting of Evil Dead the Musical. Enacted by an incredibly talented ensemble of eight, this Midwest event is proudly presided over by actress Caitlin Jackson’s often ecstatic take on Cheryl. Her energy and skill, coincidentally, make this role a true celebration of one of my favorite yearly events, February’s Woman in Horror Month. Jackson’s ability to present multiple shades of one individual in a comedic terror piece proves that the eclecticism and uniqueness of the macabre arts are often most truly presented in a feminine form. Indeed, suffering and the humor needed to overcome certain tragedies are an essential part of her take on this shy, often abused wallflower who finally finds the devilish power within. Cheryl_Possessed_by_the_Demons

Of course, this is a rather heady take on a show that promotes goofy, blood stained shenanigans. Combining plot points from Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead films, EDTM finds proud S-Mart employee Ash Williams breaking into a woods strewn cottage with his closest family and friends. The discovery and subsequent reading of a skin stained, rustic book soon finds him surrounded by possessed, tune humming demons. Therefore, even with the help of an accomplished, talkative scholar, Ash may soon find himself dead before dawn!

Nicely, by hiring a diverse ensemble and toning down some of the more obvious frat boy antics of the original material, director Ed Rutherford presents one of the more balanced productions of this beloved and zany show. Jon Beal’s fight choreography presents all sexes in a strong light and the live band, led by Oliver Townsend, gives audience members an immediate, joyful feel for the limb flinging proceedings.

Evil Dead Jordan

But this would all be for naught, perhaps, without the proper take on Ash, a character adored by scare fiends, far and wide. Fortunately, the handsome and charismatic Jordan Dell Harris nails it here. Coming off like Bruce Campbell’s younger doppelganger, Harris sings and dances with charming aplomb. Nicely, he intuitively adds an uncomplicated honesty and heart to Ash’s often over-the-top bravado, succeeding in winning the crowds of people, whom have been rightly flocking to this show, over entirely.

Evil Dead the Musical runs through February 16th at The Pride Arts Center in Chicago. Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/blackbuttoneyesproductions/.  Tell ‘em Kirsten and Cheryl sent ya!

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

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The Traditional Joys of Dee Snider

Published December 25, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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For about five years, when I wasn’t trying to be the biggest, gayest horror fan in the universe, I had a side career as the theater editor of a women’s magazine. (Which is actually pretty gay in and of itself, right?!?!) While I loved my board treading adventures, it was always a giddy bonus for me when the world of terror stepped into my more straight forward occupation. Such was the case when I was able to interview amazing rocker, writer and horror entrepreneur Dee Snider. Snider was in Chicago in late 2014 to premiere his holiday musical Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas Tale and shared amazing stories of his life with me during a quick moving fifteen minute chat. With only about 5% of the actual interview ending up in that initial magazine piece, I believe that the world was truly missing out on some amazing stories from that full lunged metal icon and loving daddy to Captain Howdy. So, clutch that pristine Stay Hungry LP to your chest and prepare to get flashback Snider-ized. You’re gonna dig it!

BGHF: Hey, Dee! Let’s dispel something.

Dee Snider: Cool!

Dee Snider Rock n Roll 2B: Despite the image that’s projected of you as the horror loving rocker, it truly seems like you are a very traditional father and husband.

Dee: I am! I am very traditional. My wife and I have been together for 38 years.

B: Wow! That’s not the typical rock n roll story, either.

Dee: No, it’s not. You don’t hear much about successful longstanding relationships, but they do exist. Still, it is a credit to the two of us and the desire for stability and our love for each other. We not only have been married for a long time, but we have four grown kids now, and we had a real desire to provide a very traditional and stable household. One of the big catch phrases at our house was ‘You Leave Your Cool at the Door’.  That means that I wasn’t a rock star at home.  I’m just dad. I’d come in from these tours and float into the house like “I’m a GOD!!!!” She’d go, “Yeah, take out the garbage. It smells like dirty diapers.” What? “Take out the garbage!” Oh, okay. Alright, I’m back! That rock god shit doesn’t play at home.

B: Your wife sounds awesome!

Dee: Thank you!  She is. Suzette’s a fashion institute graduate, a professional make-up artist and hairdresser; she designed all the costumes for Twisted Sister. But, she gave up a potentially huge career because someone needed to be at home with the kids.  While I was out on the road, there was always somebody there. There were no latch key kids. That was always a thing with us. We didn’t want to be away working and have the kids taking care of themselves. So, Suzette gave up her career. Now that our kids are out of the house, she’s back in full action again. It’s kind of cool. And by the way, don’t forget we have three grandchildren now. Dee Snider Rock n Roll

B: No way! And just like Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry and others of your generation, you’re still rocking!

Dee: That’s another weirdly surreal aspect of it. I was planning to do this until I was 35 and then…he lived happily ever after! But now I’m still on stage and I’m booking close to 60. Holy Shit! Who saw this?  If you think about, historically, you’ve got the jazz greats. You go to the blues greats. They started as young men and we’ve seen them as old men still performing. So, the reality is do you stop? Do you quit? Do you give up? NO!!!  Although, I fully intend to stop at some point, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that a lot of people are still out there doing it. This is what we do. It’s life. We perform. We rock!

B: Your longevity has been amazing, but you’ve surely had some hard knocks along the way, as well. Dee Snider Captain Howdy 3

Dee: Are you kidding me? A couple years ago I wrote a book – Shut Up and Give me the Mike! I wrote it myself. That’s another highly unusual thing. Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you can control the stage as the front of a rock band. Just because you can sing in a band doesn’t mean you can write a book. But I have been blessed with a variety of gifts. I wrote a few chapters and when the editors saw my writing, they said holy shit, you’re a natural. Just go for it. So, I wrote my own book. In it, there are, literally, Dee life lessons. I actually have done motivational talks and I have taught some of these life lessons. Because the lessons I’ve learned in my life can apply to everybody. They go across the board. By 1992, this is well documented in the book, I lost everything. I spent everything, actually, not lost. I knew where it was and that was in somebody else’s pocket! I spent every dollar and it was over. Grunge hit. I had no options. There was no interest in me. I couldn’t be deader and I was married and I had three kids. It was like – well, what now? We only had one car and my wife needed it. So, I, literally, was riding a bicycle to a desk job, answering phones, on and off, for $200 a week. This was ‘92, so only 5 years after the heyday of the band. People were coming into the office and going – aren’t you…? I would end up going “No!” They would go, “Wow, it’s so uncanny, you look just like him!” I would say, “I know, right? If only!” I was so embarrassed. I needed to do something to bring some money home. I was truly to reinvent myself. I learned a gazillion lessons but the biggest one was the humbling. I think everybody needs to be humbled. I bought my own hype. I nearly became a megalomaniac. Once I started to be proven right with the success of the band, I listened to nobody. Then, I was out of the band, nearly got divorced from my wife. I nearly destroyed my life – because I was so caught up in being a rock star and being… I don’t know what the hell I thought I was. I got knocked down hard. I finally got back up and I said, be grateful that you have these opportunities and you have this attention and – don’t be a dick! That’s a lesson – don’t be a dick! And I was! I’ll tell you, man! Mid-80s, I was an asshole. My wife will tell ya! But I’m better now, much better now.

B: Well, you sound like an amazing guy!

Dee Snider 1.pngDee: Ah, I appreciate that! Like I said, it was a tough ten years of struggling and crawling back and reinventing myself with radio and television and movies and things like that. I am back and I am more successful. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t look up and go, “Thank you! Thank you! I won’t fuck it up, again!”

B: Before we go, can you talk a little bit about Strangeland?

Dee: Oh, man! To sit and have an idea in my head, put in on a piece of paper, and then see it brought to life before my eyes with actors and sets and all those things – it’s just miraculous! We were doing one of the most intense scenes in Strangeland, where the detective discovers Captain Howdy’s lair and he shoots me and all my victims are strung up around me; his daughter’s in a cage. We’re filming that scene. I’m lying on the ground. “Alright, action!” They start acting and I start laughing. They went – “Cut, cut, cut! Dee, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m sorry. I remember sitting in the basement writing: he lay his face down on the ground with his victims around him. And I am laying face down on the ground with my victims around me!” It just hit me how wonderfully absurd and great this is, to be able to see things brought to life. Seeing an idea manifest in a physical form is amazing!

Be sure to keep being amazing by keeping up with all that Snider has going on at www.deesnider.com.

Dee Snider Captain Howdy 2

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

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The Creeping

Published November 24, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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This fall I discovered, once again, how effectively the things that haunt you can be made into art.  The revelations of the predatory status of multiple priests in such areas as Western New York, Philadelphia and Indiana definitely triggered something deep within me – and with the help of the horror genre and my writing background, I was able to parlay these emotions into a creative project.

Thankfully, this exploration quickly found a home. My short play, The Creeping, debuted this October at the UWWFest at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago.  Thus, I was not only able to explore the ever tangled tendrils of my past, but I got to watch a small cast of actors grow, immeasurably, throughout the process. That the director of the event, Davette Franklin, is a young black woman was also an incredibly encouraging development. As I care, less and less, about the straight white male take on what haunts us, it was a beautiful feeling to be a part of an event curated by a young, strong female who chose pieces that spoke, in some way, to her experience in the world.

In gratitude, I present The Creeping here for anyone who may be interested in reading it.

(Marlene is sitting at the kitchen table, cutting articles out of a stack of newspapers. Christian enters, sleep bleared and hesitant. He stops and watches Marlene. She notices him and points to a plastic thermos on the table.)

Marlene: Orange juice mixed with a generic sports drink will not make one’s stomach erupt. Contrary to popular belief, that little kid from the cereal commercial is still alive and well and selling insurance in Minnesota.

Christian: I know. I slept with him when I was touring with those Tennessee Williams one acts. Remember?

Marlene: Hey, that’s right!

Christian: And that wasn’t meant for you.

Creeping 4.jpg(Christian grabs the thermos from the counter, walks to the sink and empties it.)

Marlene: I hope not. (She contemplates as she cuts and then she laughs out loud.) You always were such a little star fucker. Even as a teen you used to moon over all those daddy types on the soap operas. You’d rush in all sweaty and out of breath just to catch the last 15 minutes of Guiding Light or General Hospital or whatever the hell you were watching at the time.

Christian: Thanks…mom…for the memories. You do know I wasn’t sprinting home from school just to partake in Michael Swan’s abs. I was trying to avoid being slaughtered by Mick Finney and his gang.

(Christian eyes something outside the window. The Creeper slinks into view. The two look at each other and Christian gasps. The Creeper disappears.)

Marlene: What?

Christian: Nothing.

Marlene: Well, why are you looking around so nervously? (She starts to catch his nervous energy.) They’re not still out there…are they?

Christian: No

Marlene: Stop making me so anxious then. Hell, I don’t know why I’m worrying. Finney died in a motorcycle accident years ago…or was it testicular cancer that got him?

Christian: How could you confuse the two?

Marlene: They both have the same outcome.

(Christian moves closer to Marlene, pacing and keeping an eye out for movement outside the window. The Creeper emerges and disappears throughout their conversation, circling closer and closer to them.)

Christian: How many of those are you cutting up?

Marlene: 25…or 50! Hell, there may even be 100 here. We have been vindicated. Lou and 25 other priests were named in this newspaper. I’m just letting certain people know.

Christian: Facebook’s not good enough for you?

Marlene: There’s just something about the fucking stamp fairy that does my heart good, you know? Hey. Instead of just pacing back and forth, you could clean up some of that wax and glass in the spare bedroom. It’s just like you’re in high school again. What the hell were you doing in there, anyhow?

(She goes to put her breakfast plate away in the sink. She and Christian face each other, awkwardly.)

Christian: Why, Marlene?

Marlene: What?

Christian: Why did you have to pursue this? Why couldn’t you just let it stay in the past?

Marlene: The truth deserved to be told, Christian.

Christian: Sure. Names should be named. The villagers need to know about the monsters in their midst.

Marlene: C’mon! The church put those perverts back out into world without letting anyone know. They were living next to schools and dog parks and…

Christian: But sometimes the monsters aren’t just flesh and blood, mother. You know that.

Marlene: Oh, please. Unless you call on them, other monsters aren’t real. You haven’t called on them have you, Chris?Creeping 5.jpg

Christian: You know that I walked in on them – Dad and Father Lou. Before Lou started with… well, you know.

Marlene: Of course I knew. Then there was everyone who doubted you, me…for years.

Christian: I don’t care about them. I cared about you.

Marlene: Oh, I know you did, honey.

Christian: I cared that you wouldn’t listen to me, wouldn’t let this drop. So, I –

Marlene: What?

Christian: Oh, mom. You always say you understand.

Marlene: I do.

Christian: But you couldn’t possibly. The things you brought up again with this quest….the twisted memories. I couldn’t sleep at night. They warped my mind. I wanted to send them back to the dark place, that land of vaporous, slightly out of reach nightmares. I needed to.

Marlene: Chris? What the hell are you telling me?

Christian: All those years of avoiding sidewalk cracks, ignoring neighborhood taunts about your eccentricities…I didn’t want to hurt you…then. But after these past months of your insistent questioning… this invasive preoccupation of yours… You had to know exactly what went on in the rectory, detail by brain curdling detail.

Marlene: It was the only way to get the courts to believe us.

Christian: No.

Marlene: Please! Besides, it had happened so long ago. It shouldn’t have affected you like this. Always flittering off on some artistic journey…it was important for you to man up and stick around, make sure all the new charges would stick.

Christian:  Don’t you see? No matter what good you were trying to do, all I wanted to do was get away from you. Then, after awhile, all I wanted was for it to take you away from me…take away the past, everything you dredged up. I wanted to be free of you, finally free.

Marlene: No.

(The Creeper circles ever closer and closer to Christian. They become more and more aware of each other.)

Christian: So, I called to it again…bled myself…offered up that wine you got from Italy last year…the cheese from that Amish farm in Pennsylvania. I gave it gifts, chanted in chalk circles, for hours, while you canvassed the suburbs and led rallies on street corners.

Marlene: But that’s just a myth. It’s just a myth, a legend. And…what do you mean? Called to it again!?

Christian: Haven’t you wondered why there have been so many sudden disappearances over the years? What about the other members of Finney’s gang? They weren’t scholars. They didn’t scamper off to high paying jobs and distinguished tenures at heady, far off universities.

Marlene: I just thought they caroused themselves to death. Hell, I thought maybe even the sicko that had pestered you had gotten to them, as well. Made ‘em sink ship and drown…and good riddance!

Christian: You can’t blame every tragedy on organized religion. Some things you have to blame on me. You see that don’t you?

(Marlene begins to sense the presence of The Creeper and begins to buy into Christian’s story.)

Marlene: Looking at you, now I do. Yes.

Christian: They hurt me, mom. Even after I thought I escaped. So, I had to make them disappear. It helped.

Marlene: Now, I’ve hurt you, right?

Christian: Yes.

Marlene: Damn you. (She contemplates the situation for a moment.) Fine!

(Marlene begins to gather up the newspapers and paper scraps and begins to throw them away.)

Christian: So, what are you doing?

Marlene: Throwing these out, forgetting this madness. Get your things together. Pack just what you need. We’ll go to the lake house, escape for a few days. We’ll call your aunt. She’s always messing around with those tarot cards, metaphysical yoga techniques…all that crap. We’ll figure out a way. She’ll help us.

Christian: It’s too late. I’ve been feeling it get closer and closer for days.

Marlene: So, we run…far, far away.

Christian: That won’t work. Look. Look at me.  It’s like I’m fading away. It’s invading me…filling my pores. It’d find me anywhere we went.

Marlene: No. I’ll protect us. I’ll really protect you this time. I’ll…I’ll go clean up that room. If I destroy the evidence, wipe away its connection to us, it’ll disappear. It’ll find someone else to haunt.

Christian: No. (Christian grabs Marlene and stops her.)  I thought it’d be drawn to you…to your overwhelming energy…all that grasping, desperate need. But I didn’t realize how much despair lived on in me. Marlene, I discovered the truth about myself…and I’m lost.

Marlene: No, you’re not. Creeping 3

Christian: I am. You’re not. But I am. My soul is a yawning pit of quivering tar and it wants to wallow in all that misery, that dank fear. It’s here for me. Not for you. It tricked me. Can’t you feel it…there at the door!

(The Creeper draws closer and closer to the two of them.)

Marlene: Yes. Yes, I can.

Christian: But, mother…

Marlene: What?

(Christian and The Creeper lock eyes. They move towards each other.)

Christian: I think it’s going to be okay. Maybe…just maybe…in time, it’ll suck everything away…coat my synapses with its sticky webs of neediness…and maybe, just maybe…when I’m tucked somewhere in its yawning grasp, I will finally…finally be able to forget. Wouldn’t that be good?

Marlene: What? What, Chris?

Chris: To let all of this go – to be finally able to forget.

(The Creeper reaches his hands out to Christian, beckoning. Christian nods and moves toward him as Marlene, helplessly, watches. The lights go black.)

The Creeping by Brian Kirst premiered at The UWWFest at The Goodman Theatre, in Chicago, on October 27th, 2018. Director: Davette Franklin. Marlene: Kathryn Berghoff.  Christian: Shane Malecha. The Creeper: Jade Lun.

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

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Adam E. Hoak and Jose Nateras: The Gay Appeal of Suspiria

Published November 2, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

 

Dario Argento’s superior Italian horror Suspiria has long held a fascination for the LGBTQ community. With Luca Guadagnino’s reimagining currently hitting the theaters, I decided to ask Adam E. Hoak and Jose Nateras, two of my favorite Chicago actors (and enthusiastic horror buffs) to chat with me about their love for the film, their thoughts on why they think it resonates so deeply within our gay culture and their hopes for this new take on it. Interestingly, both of these talented performers are appearing in genre style shows (based on important works of literature) at the moment. Nateras is currently flaunting some spooky excellence in Remy Bumppo’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein while Hoak is applying his beautiful voice to Saint Sebastian Players’ take on The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a musical inspired by the book written by Charles Dickens.

Adam, can you recall the first time that you saw the original Suspiria?

Adam E. Hoak: In the early 00’s I worked in media resources at my undergraduate campus library. Fortunately for me, we had a crazy good selection of VHS and a small but mighty nascent DVD collection. Both had a nice smattering of films I had only heard of but never seen, including Suspiria. I remember being immediately dazed by the colors and the score, like Argento and Goblin just threw me in the deep end. The sheer opulence of the film was (and remains) stunning to me, and I think that has a lot to do with my appreciation of it. Suspiria is horror in drag: lush and loud; gaudy and gorgeous, things my burgeoning baby-gay found intrinsic to my newfound queerness.

suspiria-Technicolor

Nice. I love how these films can inform and help define us. Have you always been a horror fan, Jose?

Jose Nateras: I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. Even before I actually was old enough to watch scary things I was drawn to the genre, lingering in the horror aisle of The Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. A lot of time and thought has been spent on why the queer community is so often drawn to horror films. Maybe it’s because so much of our early, closeted lives were spent in fear: of being outed, of being rejected, of being alone, of being different, of… so many things.  But horror is so much more than that too. Not only does it take fear and make it a shareable and enjoyable experience, it takes the fearful and the grotesque and the horrifying and turns it into something beautiful and glamorous. It can be sexy, campy, gory, but as a genre that is so much more nuanced and diverse in form than it gets credit for, horror has always been about pushing boundaries and confronting (for better or worse) those things and people on the outside of the social norm– the often feared and vilified Other, the outsider — in such a way, that even if that Othered Force is the monster/villain/bad guy, horror at least confronts and directly grapples with that Force’s existence. It allows that Force, and those of us who came up feeling marginalized, to be seen as opposed to ignoring us; as in most other genres, forms of media, and arenas of society, which would usually prefer to pretend we don’t exist.

Argento seems definitely straight, but he has to have some queer sensibility – especially visually.

AH: Seriously, the wallpaper alone in this film still makes my gay little heart skip a beat! Throw in ballet, witches, Udo Kier (known to me at the time as “the guy” from Madonna’s Deeper and Deeper video), the allure of the faded Hollywood icon, Joan Bennett, and Alida Valli as the elegantly butch Miss Tanner and it’s a smorgasbord of queerness.Alida Joan Suspiria

JN:  If you’re talking about horror film and cinema, you can’t not talk about Dario Argento! His jaw-dropping use of color and imagery, surreal, grotesque, and beautiful all at once, the inspired score by Goblin, all came together to make Suspiria a dreamily unsettling movie with enough squirm inducing deaths and vividly colored splashes of blood to earn it a place in the cannon of horror masterpieces. The deeply 70’s Euro aesthetic makes it sexily nostalgic for viewers in much the same way viewing porn of a certain era might. Like many horror movies of the time, Suspiria offers a Final Girl/Strong Female Protagonist in the form of Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper). Yet instead of fighting for her life against a homicidal man in a mask, Suzy finds herself the center of attention of a deadly coven of witches, established within the confines of a prestigious ballet academy. Ballet, witches, strong women, all of it is perfectly suited to the taste of any queer cinemaphile, especially if they happen to be horror fans.

Agreed! What are you two hoping for with this new version?

JN: Though to some, it might seem counter intuitive to have Luca Guadagnino directing the highly anticipated remake, especially considering his previous work includes films like Call Me By Your Name and I Am Love, in reality, Guadagnino just might be the perfect fit. Call Me By Your Name had sexy-Euro-nostalgia-style in spades and his work is consistently visually striking and equally dreamy, often alluding to the surreal while tapping into richly grounded sensory imagery. Imagine what such an expert skill set might do when deployed in a horror film context as opposed to that of a sensual romance. With the iconic Tilda Swinton (a frequent Guadagnino collaborator) bringing her brand of androgynous, otherworldly, and simultaneously beautiful and intimidating talents to the film, it’s hard to think of a re-make with more potential. If the early buzz, teaser images, and trailer are any indicator; fans of the original, of the genre at large, and film buffs of all sorts are sure to find something to love or at least talk about when Suspiria comes out later this month. As ever, though, the queer community is sure to be watching with the sort of context, appreciation, and finely tuned meter for subtext to have plenty to unpack in a remake of something so dear to so many of our hearts.

dakota-johnson-suspiria-500x332AH: As for the new version, I’m certainly looking forward to Tilda and perhaps a smidge more plot. Also for a film set in a famed dance academy, the original kind of half-asses any on-screen dancing, so I’ve got high hopes for the new choreography based on the trailer.

Well, I always like to leave ‘em with high hopes! So, thanks, gents! Everyone else be sure to check out Jose in Frankenstein (www.remybumppo.org) running until November 17th and Adam in Drood (www.saintsebastionplayers.org), running until November 18th – both in Chicago proper.

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

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Mystery of Edwin Drood