Film Noir

All posts tagged Film Noir

Review: Lakeshore Drive

Published January 4, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

lakeshore drive

We make certain choices when we’re drunk or dead tired…others come about from unexpected happiness or over excitement. In the tight mini noir Lakeshore Drive, Peter Bowse and Tyler Eden’s script finds hardened rideshare driver Roger (a cucumber cool Darren Smith) making one choice out of compassion. He then may be forced to make another more consequential one out of pure fear.

Naturally, like most of the flawed heroes in those ‘40s detective stories, one feels for Roger and the tight spot that he is put in. Viewers here, though, will probably walk away from this taut exercise feeling the most sympathy for Kim (a grittily honest Lila Star), Roger’s troubled transgendered passenger. Facing the violence that many marginalized people do, Kim decides to take matters into her own hands…and may end up facing the deadly realities that haunt all too many in the trans community.

Directed with a poetic yet very true sense of danger by Bowse, Lakeshore Drive also features an understated yet devious performance from Frank Ondorf as the man who just might control the destiny of both Roger and Kim. Bowse and all three of these performers are truly deserving of all the respect that they are sure to receive as this short piece enters the festival circuit.

Be sure to keep up with all the upcoming screenings at https://www.facebook.com/LakeshoreDrive2017/.

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

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In Remembrance: Coleen Gray

Published August 29, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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Always friendly and happy to talk about her B movie past, the sweet Coleen Gray passed away, at the age of 92, on August 3rd, 2015.

Starting out in the tough talking world of noir, Gray made solid impressions in 1947 with Kiss of Death and Nightmare Alley, which was famous for Tyrone Power’s attempt to provide a more serious image for himself and featured some of Gray’s darker work as a loving carnie willing to go to desperate lengths for the man she loved.coleen 3

Often, though, her shining nature couldn’t be diminished and, among her bevy of Westerns and television programs, she provided 1957’s The Vampire with its share of screams as a concerned small town nurse. A rare turn as a powerful villainess provided Gray with, perhaps, her most notable role for genre fans, and until the end, she embraced the admiration she received for her work in 1960’s The Leech Woman. The interesting twist on this variation of The Wasp Woman, supposedly inspired by the tale of Elizabeth Bathory, was that the victims of June Talbot, the character Gray played, were mainly men not women.

coleen 2Gray was, also, proud of her work in a 1986 episode of Tales of the Darkside. She was quoted as being pleased to have worked with Lorna Luft, the daughter of an old friend, Judy Garland, in this, her last outing on the television screens of America.

A fond Rest in Peace to a beautiful and truly classy performer!

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Carly Simon

Published April 26, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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I once wore white socks with my business suit and my boss, the Dragon Lady, never let me forget it!

Thankfully, 30 years ago, the interstellar Carly Simon, along with director Jeremy “Dead Ringers” Irons, blended styles much more successfully with their video for Tired of Being Blonde.

Released as the first single off of Simon’s 1985 commercially aggressive pop offering Spoiled Girl, this visual bombshell contains moments of film noir rhapsody, science fiction glamour and exquisite Ingmar Bergman style angst – all wrapped in the sugary sheen of bubblegum goodness.

Carly Simon as Barbarella? Carly Simon as Bibi Andersson in a cocktail dress?!? Best video ever, no?!!!?

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

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Dreamy Horror: Rosalind Russell and the Gothic Noir of Night Must Fall

Published September 9, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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Known for her sense of staccato sass (His Girl Friday) and commanding grandeur (Auntie Mame, Gypsy), the compelling Rosalind Russell (1907-1976) also gave the world a portrait of dreamy wanderlust with her sweetly confused Olivia in the 1937 gothic noir Night Must Fall. It is a strong and poetic performance even when the film, itself, muddles with Russell’s towering commitment to the character.

Notable at the time for establishing lead actor Robert Taylor as something other than just a romantic comic, Night Must Fall was daring for its post-Code timeframe. Based on a successful play by Emilyn Williams, the film focuses on Walker’s charming bellboy Danny. Beguiling Mrs. Bramson, a manipulative dowager played by Dame May Whitty, Danny soon worms his way into her household. But a hideous murder has just occurred and when the headless body is found in Mrs. Bramson’s yard, it is soon made apparent that Danny is the culprit.night must fall

Throughout, Taylor supplies Danny with a nimble menace. Whitty’s performance is a bravura one, as well, particularly in her final scene. This moment brings her supposed invalid from terrified hysterics to unrepentant laughter within seconds of each other. Russell, meanwhile, glows with melancholy and cloudy indecision. Her character grows the most of the trio, forsaking her business-like spectacles for a regimen of inquisitive beauty due to Danny’s encouragement. Intrigued yet leery of her aunt’s new tenant, she initially investigates him, diving into his meager belongings with Marple-like interest. Still unsure, she eventually assists him when his luck seems to be running out. The resulting scene is the most chilling one in the picture.nightmustfall4

Having discovered a bowling bag in Danny’s lodgings earlier in the proceedings, Olivia is aware that it could contain the missing head of the victim. But when a local police official asks to examine it, Olivia claims it as her own. Just after the officer leaves, the relieved Danny faints from tense exertion, seemingly giving him away for good.

After this, though, screenwriter John Van Druten clouds the path of Russell’s character. Due to the carnival-like atmosphere at their home (with Whitty’s character reveling in the attention brought on by the body’s discovery), Russell/Olivia ultimately decides to her leave her aunt with Danny. She seeks refuge in the family home of Justin (handsome Alan Marshal), a local businessman, whose affections she has been avoiding. But, she does return later that evening. Determined to give herself to Danny, she finds herself very surprised (and ultimately repulsed) by his true murderous nature. Thus, terrified she fights for her life.

nightmustfall3While this scenario is effective in the horror/thriller format, this result does tamper with everything that has seemingly gone before. Surely, Olivia must have suspected that Danny was the killer by her earlier actions. Indeed, that knowledge is what makes the character so interesting. Resistant to conformity, her gaze lands upon an unusual, deadly man and she finds herself drawn to him. That the ending screws with that established fact is a bit bewildering and that it, also, seems to suggest Olivia will settle for a secure, yet bland life with Justin is a disappointment for the viewers whom have invested in her adventurous spirit.

Still, Russell maintains a hypnotic presence from opening to closing and the film, itself, has enough moody suspense and solid acting craftsmanship for those desired repeated viewings.

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

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