Christmas

All posts tagged Christmas

Santa Destroyed!

Published January 4, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

 

santas-slay1.jpg

The locker room never quite felt like a safe place as a gay kid. Of course, it definitely wasn’t a haven for my buddy Jim one day, but not for any reason having to do with queerness. We were in fourth grade and our metabolism burning was done for the afternoon, but good old Jim was still hot under the collar.  We were changing back into our heavy winter sweaters and getting ready to head back to class when the subject of Santa came up. Jim insisted that he existed. He had met the elves and Claus’ effervescent wife at a holiday village somewhere and was convinced they all were the real deal. The others in my class thought this was ludicrous and a fiery debate ensued. Jim held his ground. The others held theirs while I, meanwhile, found my consciousness woken just a bit.

I had never given much thought to whether Santa existed or not. Ever the greedy minx, I was happy as long as there were presents under the tree. But this exchange opened a mental portal and when my mother did indeed inform me that Santa was a widely embraced fiction soon after this sweaty debate, I took it with a shrugging nonchalance. Hell, it made more sense that she and my dad would get me the soundtrack to New York, New York that year than some golly floating dude with a beard. ny ny

Others took that revelation with a sense of horror. My buddy Jared recently divulged that unexpected discovery blew his whole world apart. It opened a cavalcade of distress. For if there was no Santa then there was no floating reindeer or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy or leprechauns…in other words, no magic.

I contemplated this discussion often this holiday season.  As I walked through department stores overwhelmed with displays of traditional character strewn red and white, it did seem like a somewhat unconscionable thing for parents to do…building up the big red one only to pull the rug out at some vaguely determined Logan’s Run style execution date.  Of course, I reasoned there was the obvious theory that the joy found pre-betrayal outweighs the heartache experienced post. I even imagined that investing a child in the falsehood could be a preventative notion. Little Charlie or Diane or Aubrey is not going to be the one to let the entire second grade class know that their wintery dreams are an exorbitantly fluffy falsehood. Calls of outrage will not be made by angered colleagues with crying daughters and sons!  It must be the easier choice, as well. Fighting the common tide is always the roughest way to go and seasonal advertisements rage with a domineering effectiveness the moment that Halloween ends every year. 

As for myself, I can only think of positives. Learning Santa and his ilk were untruths probably opened up my mind to question many of the blanket statements provided by authority figures. It allowed me to doubt and explore issues of religion and politics. It gave me the tools to make up my own mind. I probably wouldn’t be the proud agnostic that I am today without that wintery invention being thrust on me for years. I like to imagine that it brought about a similar inquisitiveness for others like my friend Jared, as well. Coming out of the dark…emerging from the cobwebbed corners of the locker room – whatever that may signify to you – is always a bit traumatic, but is almost always a very, very good thing.

santasslay02

 

 

 

The Traditional Joys of Dee Snider

Published December 25, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Dee-Snider-headbanging-1000x600

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: Secret Santa

Published May 10, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Secret Santa

Some people like a little self referential humor in their horror films. Others like a little bit of Eugene O’Neill. As evidenced by Secret Santa, the talented folks at Skeleton Crew like a bit of both. This explosive horror comedy takes place on Christmas Day with one of the most dysfunctional, purely enjoyable families that you’ll ever meet…and the results are predictably (and, often, not so predictably) bloody.

With good reason, April is reluctantly bringing her boyfriend Ty home for the holidays. Her mother, Shari, is an arch diva. Her sister, Penny, is a resentful malcontent. On the other side of the sexes, her stepbrother, Jackson, is a little too touchy feely while her father, Leonard, is persona non grata around the premises. Soon, though, April is dealing with more than just tense talk and frayed emotions between meal courses. Someone on the premises is determined that things get real during this visit…real bloody, that is. Thus, the typical family battles now have a body count…a big one.

Secret Santa ShariSmarting from the way their work was transformed on the big budget Texas Chainsaw 3D, screenwriters Adam Marcus (Jason Goes to Hell) and Debra Sullivan work with relatable menace here. Everyone (with any kind of familial issue) will be able to recognize themselves in one awkward moment or another as the proceedings unfold. Thankfully, the script is also high on laughs and gruesome kills. Totally devoting themselves to the project, Marcus also directs the proceedings with pure joy. Sullivan, meanwhile, rings every note out of the self centered Shari. Hers is a delicious performance, worthy of applause from that master of diva characterizations, Tennessee Williams. In fact, that literary savant would have surely found his creative juices flowing if he had been lucky enough to see her work in this.

The cast, as a whole, is particularly good, though. Importantly, A Leslie Kies simply radiates as April, bringing heart, truth and fury to the role. She is matched, note for note, by her co-stars.

But what truly marks Secret Santa as something special is its diversity and inclusiveness. Marcus and Sullivan provide roles for women of body types and age ranges that are generally ignored here. Their cast is also racially and culturally diverse. In Kyle, enthusiastically and sensitively played by Drew Lynch, they also help create one of the most unique and interesting gay characters to ever be featured in a horror film. Sweet natured with a hesitant stutter, Kyle grows, immeasurably, throughout the film. Hiding his sexuality at first, by the film’s end he is out and proud and able to produce the film’s sweetest and truest moments with a determined grace. Here’s hoping, as the spectrum of the terror community grows ever more fluid, that Marcus and Sullivan will lead the way to more projects such as this one. It’s the horror future that all fans truly deserve. …and I’m sure that, in whatever universe they may be floating in now, Williams and O’Neill would totally (bloody) agree. Secret Santa Kyle

More information on Secret Santa, which is currently hitting a variety of festivals and film events, is available at https://www.facebook.com/secretsantathemovie/.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Sally Field

Published December 24, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

sally field home

Before performing matriarchal duties on Sunday night melodramas…before the Academy Award wins, the diverse Sally Field logged in some final girl duties in the 1972 made for television Christmas horror Home for the Holidays. Here, Field was joined by a powerhouse cast – Julie Harris, Jill Haworth, Eleanor Parker and Jessica Walter – and, nicely, came out ahead of the curve against the film’s tempest tossed, pitchfork yielding maniac.sally field lp 2

Of course media fetishists know that, at the beginning of her career, Field essayed a couple short lived, yet iconic characters – Gidget and The Flying Nun. Interestingly, while playing the sky bound Sister Bertrille, she even released an album, Sally Field, Star of The Flying Nun. Supposedly aiming for the heights of Julie Andrews, this offering actually lands in that sweet, silly fun spot of most celebrity recordings. Although, wouldn’t be nice if it was true that we always got braver as our voices grew louder?

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

To All a Goodnight

Published December 25, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

 

taagn-2

Years before the catty, ultra privileged collegiates of Fox’s Scream Queens faced down a red devil or two, the well-to-do sorority sisters of the 1980 winter slasher epic To All a Goodnight encountered a nearly unbeatable crimson killer of their own.

With shadings of everything from Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, perhaps the highest regarded holiday horror outing, to Friday the 13th, with the character of Leia, played here with arched theatricality by Judith Bridges, resembling Laura Bartram’s Brenda from Sean Cunningham’s much more imitated piece, To All a Goodnight definitely has a horror pedigree of its own. The solo full length directing credit of David Hess, best known to terror scholars from his twisted performances in Last House on the Left and others, this piece was also written by The Incredible Melting Man’s Alex Rebar and features a winsome and sensitive final girl in actress Jennifer Runyon, who would go on to appear in the mega-popular Ghostbusters and the Roger Corman produced cult classic Carnosaur.taagn-1

Here Rebar and Hess begin things in familiar territory. The film opens as a young woman, being chased by a bevy of cackling classmates, takes a fatal tumble off a balcony. The action then flash forwards to a handful of coeds who are staying in their rooms at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls over the Christmas holidays, two years later. Of course, most of the girls are up to no good and they soon drug their caretaker in order to welcome a bevy of boys, who have, unusually, arrived on a nearby field via a private airplane. Over the next two days, amid games of romantic roulette, most of the laughing partiers are done away with by a revenge fueled figure in a Santa costume. The ending, which prefigures Wes Craven’s Scream, reveals the possibility of more than one culprit and a very, very distraught, but still very, very alive heroine.

As much as it embraces the expected tropes, though, the film is done in a bit by its pacing. Many scenes feature the cast sitting around, chatting, or wandering, tentatively, throughout the house or across the property. There are some talented, but less than magnetic performers, many of whom would never work again, on display here, as well. But some of this oddness works in the piece’s favor and one can even grow affectionate over seemingly random incidents like the visit of an antagonistic neighborhood woman, who disappears after her first scene and has no relevance to the plot whatsoever. Those who love the idea of festive figures in compromising positions will find much to enjoy here, as well, as the Santa(s) eradicate with stealth, if not originality. taagn-3

Meanwhile, the pairing of the adorable Runyon and Forrest Swanson, as her nerdy yet protective beau, is sweet, with the duo’s energy being almost identically echoed, a few years later, by Kelli Maroney and Tony O’Dell in Chopping Mall. Still, it is Runyon, as a solo entity, who commands most of the attention and focus here. Even in her first major role, her star power is obvious and, after all these years, she is still the main reason to watch this enjoyable if flawed excursion into tinselly fright.

taagn-4

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan