Uncategorized

All posts in the Uncategorized category

Maid for Horror: Leila Bennett

Published December 8, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Leila Terror 1

With elastic eyes and a rubbery physique, Leila Bennett enlivened multiple Golden Age comedies, almost always playing domestics. On a controversial level, she even played a maid named Hattie, in black face, in both the stage and screen versions of a piece called The First Year. While this is a decision she probably would have neLeila Dr X 2ver made in a more enlightened time period, thankfully, she did make some correct assessments, career wise. For example, classic fright fans will forever benefit from her choice to appear in a number of fun, highly regarded gothic horrors.

In 1932’s Doctor X, Bennett’s often timid Mamie is forced to reenact the death throes of a serial killer’s victim through the investigative experiments of Lionel Atwill’s determined titular character. Nicely, when Mamie isn’t being terrified by Atwill, she is tending to Joanne, his supportive daughter who is played by the legendary Fay Wray. Coming to Joanne’s defense when Lee Tracy’s manipulative reporter tries to con her, Bennett is able to also display some feistiness here, giving her screen time a fine sense of fun and inventive balance. Leila Terror 2

In 1933’s lesser known Terror Aboard, Bennett displays an aggressiveness not seen in Doctor X. Here, as a maid named Lena, she pursues famed comedian Charles Ruggles’ frazzled steward, Blackie, with an ardent surety. Harassment as humor turns to horror, though, when Lena discovers that John Halliday’s smooth Maximilian, the owner of the ship on which this misadventure occurs, is the man responsible for all of the mayhem and bloodshed that the guests are experiencing. Bennett, nicely, applies a little coy navigation to her concern here, but her efforts to outwit Halliday end in failure. Thrown overboard by the villain, Bennett’s Lena joins the other victims in this Pre-Code slasher pre-curser. Mostly ignored upon its release, this piece’s interesting kills, including death by freezing and assisted suicide, have begun to give it a bit of recognition among gothic connoisseurs, as of late. This will, hopefully, help to put an end Bennett’s semi-obscurity, as well.

Leila Mark 11935’s Mark of the Vampire, dominated by Bela Lugosi’s haunting presence as Count Mora, is probably the most famous of this moldable pro’s terror offerings. But, Maria, her character, is, perhaps, the most pedestrian of the trio represented here. Put in charge of watching over Irina, the film’s heroine played by the regal Elizabeth Allan, Bennett is required to do little more than react in ever growing fright. Her presence, as in the other roles, is substantial and committed to with boundless energy, though. In fact, Bennett has more screen time than the mystical Carroll Borland, whose exotic nature and haunting composure have long made her one of this project’s most memorable features.

Leila Dr X 1.jpg

Seemingly retiring from acting in 1936, Bennett died in New York City at the age of 72. But, forever young in celluloid, this engaging, unique performer is truly ripe for deserved rediscovery now.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Zombie Bathhouse Chronicles: Paging Dr. Martino!

Published October 21, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

D223F900-5EA5-48D2-BE22-8AE95C15492C.jpeg

Hmmm…That old performing truism about not writing something for a cast member that you wouldn’t do yourself has come back to haunt me, as of late.

For years, I’ve been working with composer-lyricist (and Chicago institution) Scott Free on a project called Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical. After a number of readings (and lots and lots of rewriting and reimagining and… well, you get the picture), we were ready to hit those Midwest stages, last week, for a professional run. Naturally, our amazing and dedicated cast was firmly in place, when circumstances twisted, as they are want to do, and I found myself recruited – or ham that I am, did I offer myself up willing!?!? – to take over the role of the mysterious Dr. Martino, the man responsible for the many nightmares endured by the show’s tortured romantic hero, Michael.

Honestly, it’s the last position that I expected to find myself in…but after some inner grumbling and heavy sighing, I’ve actually found myself immensely enjoying being one of the many creepy cogs in a creative machine again. My artistic journey began in the theatrical trenches and I had forgotten how amazing backstage comradery can feel. It’s been very satisfying being part of a unit working for a common goal…and the fact that this, (quite possibly) my final theatrical stage appearance, is in a work of horror makes it all the more satisfying.

More than anything, though, this experience makes me respect artists everywhere all the more. There are so many beautiful things involved with creating something, but so many risks and heartaches, as well. Sometimes those negatives can even outweigh the positives…and, damn, don’t those failures fucking burn?!? But, still we persist. Therefore, I want to send up a salute to my fellow cast mates and to all who dare to risk, to dream and to falter, on a daily basis. We’re warriors, folks, and even the mysterious and totally unsavory Dr. Martino would probably have to bow down to that.

Zombie Bathhouse runs until October 29th at The Center on Halsted. Further information is available at

https://m.facebook.com/ZombieBathhouse/

Until the next time, Sweet love and pink Grue, Big Gay Horror Fan!

https://m.facebook.com/BigGayHorrorFan/

 

 

 

Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Josie Cotton

Published June 18, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

josiecotton-jimmylovesmaryann

Johnny Are You Queer? put her on her on the map, but the fabulous Josie Cotton actually released a couple of albums in the ’80s, chock full of gorgeous New Wave tunes, that were worthy of equal attention. Nicely, she also applied a distinctly creepy vibe as she and Adam Ant stalked Pierce Brosnan and Lesley-Anne Down throughout the LA underground in the dreamy horror flick Nomads.

Interestingly, in her own right, Cotton is a lover of B-Movies and odd cinema. Thus her 2007 recording Invasion of the B-Girls, containing the theme songs to various drive-in classics, was born.

Here, though, she supplies a spooky carnival vibe, years before Ryan Murphy went there with American Horror Story, with the video to Jimmy Loves Maryann. It’s a highlight from 1984’s From the Hip, her excellent second album.

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

josie cotton nomads

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Madeline Bell

Published May 7, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Madeline-Bell

She’s a Queen! Perhaps overshadowed by friends such as Dusty Springfield and Elton John, the super cool Madeline Bell still provided tons of silky and soulful tunes to Brits hungry for such smooth stylings in the ’60s… and beyond!

Her horror roots are tangled up in rock history, as well. Bell worked with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on the soundtrack of Michael Winner’s horror thriller Scream for Help. But, as evidenced by her cool take on I’m Gonna Leave You, this divine creature needs no assistance when telling a cool jerk to take a hike!

Today, Bell is still bringing audiences to their knees at http://madelinebell.com.

Scream_for_Help

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

 

 

 

.

 

Spotlight: Christina Koenig, Filmmaker

Published February 16, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

christina

As an indie filmmaker you’ve got to be inventive. As evidenced by You’re Not Here Now, her starkly effective horror short, transgender writer/director/actress Christina Koenig is truly running high on inspiration. Simple yet haunting, this piece features a nice representation of solitary terror and a truly formidable sense of (increasingly desperate) time and space, as well. Visually, the colors’ pop, and fans of The Twilight Zone, especially the more apocalyptic episodes, should find much to enjoy here, as well.

Koenig is, currently, working on her follow-up production, Deviance. More information on that (sure to be interesting) project is available at: https://www.facebook.com/DevianceOfficiaHorrorMovieMN/.

deviance

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Amy Irving

Published February 12, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

amy irving carrie.png

Amy Irving regretted picking on Carrie and lived to tell the tale. Of course, as everyone knows, any wickedness in the world of horror is eventually compensated for. Therefore, Irving’s Sue Snell did eventually pay the ultimate price for her past misdeeds in 1999’s highly contested sequel The Rage: Carrie 2.

Perhaps, she could have taken some advice from Jessica Rabbit, the character she voiced/sang in 1988’s modern classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Irving, who also provided some sweet tunefulness in (the Willie Nelson starring) Honeysuckle Rose, famously sent John Cassavetes’ evil Ben Childress to a fiery grave in Brian DePalma’s The Fury, as well. Now, that’s a nice record!

amy-irving-the-fury

Until the next (semi-explosive) time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: Housesitters

Published February 10, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

house

I’m a little jealous. In my stints as a house and dog sitter I found some weird things – homemade porn, leopard print sheets scented with perfume. I even got shown around one apartment by an owner who made no effort to hide his early morning boner. But, I never sat at a place with a creepy pentagram strewn basement and its own personal demon!

Best friends and eternal wisecrackers Angie (Annie Watkins) and Izzy (Jamie Jirak) hit the jackpot in director-writer Jason Coffman’s truly fun horror-comedy Housesitters, though.  Left a credit card and enough 80s/90s fashions in one closet for an effective musical montage, all they need is a couple of hot, trouble making  dudes to make their first house sitting adventure a total success. That’s where Greg (James Timothy Peters), a pizza delivery guy, and Zach (Peter Ash), Izzy’s boyfriend, come in.  Zach, in a nonverbal apology for eating all of Angie’s brownies, also brings along her current crush, Mark (Ben Schlotfelt).

But soon Greg and Mark are attacked by a miniature green creature and disappear. The appearance of Zach’s friend Dan (Jay J. Bidwell) singles more mayhem. Unable to leave the house due to their benefactor’s devilish dealings, the group venture to the basement to try to resolve their problems. The wounded Dan, though, emerges as something a bit more demonic and life between the bosom companions will never be the same again.

Smartly utilizing one location, haunted by Dustin Wayde Mills’ ravenously adorable monster-puppet, Coffman wisely builds the relationships between his main characters here. In fact, Watkins and Jirak are so natural and spontaneously goofy that they become the highlight of this tight yet carefree production. As the closing credits roll, it is obvious that they were allowed to riff on and improvise a large part of their material, making “Broad City Meets Monster Movie” a hoped for trend in the near future.

The duo’s male co-stars, Ash, Schlotfelt, Peters and Bidwell, also key into their low-key, naturalistic vibe. They all deliver believable and slightly ironic performances, surely a product of their seeming theatrical groundedness. Their skill, coupled with the surprising twists that Coffman provides for their characters in the film’s final moments, ultimately make Housesitters a truly entertaining celluloid outing. That it is also one filled with femme powered horror amusements is probably its greatest strength and joy. Let’s hope this really is a trend!

Note: This review was done on a work-in-progress version of the movie as it gears up for festival submissions. To be sure to join Angie and Izzy as they party their way to different events, follow https://www.facebook.com/HousesittersMovie/.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan