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Dagger Cast

Published March 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Stevie Nicks may have celebrated the Edge of Seventeen, but as I stand on the verge of 51, I have to laud Dagger Cast! Initiated by Jared Olsen, one half of edgy production company nite smoke, this podcast looks at horror from the sense of the other. By the celebrating the LGBTQ, Black, Latinx and female (etc. etc…) viewpoint of horror, this podcast aims to reach into the hidden depths of the horror community, gazing far past the straight white gaze that has dominated it for so many years. DC Logo

As my co-host, the dynamic Lindsey Charles (lead singer of The Cell Phones), has often asked of our guests, we want to find out what you, that special and unique force in society, needs from this genre – a genre that can so beautiful express the hopes and fears of outsiders everywhere. Of course, we aim to do this with a sense of fun and irreverent punk rock spirit, as well!

To determine if we’ve succeeded, you can check out our first few episodes at https://soundcloud.com/daggercast.

Meanwhile, more information is available at https://www.facebook.com/daggercast/, as well.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

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.

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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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Tuesday Rules The Massacre

Published January 1, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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She stood up to Freddy in one of the favorite installments of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Nicely, this past fall The Dream Master’s eternally cool Tuesday Knight also stood up before a sold out crowd at The Davis Theatre in Chicago (for their annual 24 hour The Massacre) and regaled them with onset memories and more.

For those who weren’t able to make it, here is the Q and A that I was lucky enough to conduct with this talented actress and singer-songwriter. Be sure to look out for her next project, the highly anticipated The Bloody Man, as well.

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.

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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!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Mystery of Edwin Drood

 

 

In Remembrance: Stevie Dismie

Published August 20, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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When someone dies…especially when they leave this plane of existence far too soon, it is always a reminder to live life more boldly, to strive harder to find a way across our insecurities and connect with the world at large more. It’s a reminder that our regrets, should we choose to have them, should be for the failure of things that we’ve attempted and not for the things that we were too scared to even contemplate doing.

I didn’t know Stevie Dismie well. But I have a feeling that is what he would want us to do in the wake of his passing. Dismie, one of the sassy, fun forces behind the original Comic Book Queers Podcast, lost his battle with cancer on August 16th, 2018 and the world of fandom now is lacking an alternative force of nature.

Thankfully, Dismie, who also hosted many events in Chicago celebrating the queer connection to the superhero universe, will always have a legacy as one of the important voices in helping the world realize that the LGBTQ community was invaluable to the world of geekdom. With that in mind, let’s vow to laugh a bit more, live a bit more fearlessly and, of course, read some more damn graphic novels already!

May his double page spread float on forever.

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

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(Special thanks to Dismie’s dear friend Lindsay Silk-Kremenak…who provided the slightly pilfered image. I feel it probably captured his essence really nicely.)

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Vito Price

Published July 1, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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Recorded by both Anita O’Day and Bing Crosby, the song Beautiful Love played in the background of the ball scene in Universal’s classic The Mummy. Serving as atmosphere there, jazz saxophonist Vito Price put the tune itself to the fore on this joyous take for his well regarded LP Swingin’ in the Loop.

It’s a recording that definitely makes you feel like you’re the participant in a sophisticated virtual reality experiment – you experience the neon joy of an old school Chicago music club like The Green Mill in every bouncing note that bursts from Price’s ebullient horn.

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

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Killer Piñata 2 Kickstarter

Published May 4, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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Angry Mule Productions is back at it again. Thankfully! This groovy group of Chicago based independent filmmakers is revisiting the world of their truly fun independent horror Killer Piñata, a great return to the goofy strain of low budget ‘80s horror, with a follow-up, Killer Piñata 2: More of Them.

Nicely, working that throwback vibe succinctly, Danny Hassel from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series fame will be joining the madness this time around. Even more importantly, the sexuality of Eliza, the film’s original lead, will be more fully explored in this venture. She will even have a kick-ass girlfriend to help her deal with the film’s horrific, candy spewing onslaught.

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To get involved and make sure that this inclusive, comedic offering sees the light of day, be sure to visit the Kickstarter campaign at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/453452365/killer-pinata-2-more-of-them-feature-length-horror

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

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