She was one of the queens of the Broadway stage and the cabaret circuit. But the multi-talented Barbara Cook also took a turn towards the gothic as one of Hitchcock’s famously conflicted blondes in the A Little Sleepepisode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Long considered to possess one of the sweetest, nuanced soprano voices, Cook was a 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree and, appropriately, received many other honors (including a Tony Award) before her death in 2017 at the age of 89.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Folks, just listen to Bette Davis. Okay? She’s lived and she knows a lot of shit and she really means it when she tells you to go away! There’s a reason at work there.
Of course, if Sian Barbara Allen’s determined Peggy had listened to Davis’ abrupt Mrs. Elliot in the 1973 ABC Suspense Movie Scream, Pretty Peggy, we would have lost about 60 minutes of film time…and that ridiculous ending carved from the static of Robert Bloch’s mind would have been lost forever, as well! So there is that to say for not listening to a wise traveler’s advice.
Indeed, this creepy mansion based time warp, bred from the same cloth as William Castle’s Homicidal and Bloch’s Psycho, may not fly, politically, today. But Allen offers a very determined heroine and while the character’s reckless stupidity is paramount, the enthusiasm with which the actress attacks the role almost verges on making Peggy a feministic heroine. Doubtless, this character’s strong willed nature was surely what drew this busy actress, who also enacted the rites of fear in the psycho-chiller You’ll Like My Mother, to the role. Well, that and the pay check, of course!
Moodily directed by Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again, The Oblong Box, Cry of the Banshee), this sadistic potboiler, focusing on Peggy playing housekeeper to a distinguished yet mysterious artist and his secretive family, is obvious enhanced by Davis’ presence. But eagle eyed partiers will also recognize Tovah Feldshuh (as the first victim here) and Claude Rains’ daughter Jessica as an snarky employment agency worker.
Readily available on YouTube, this twist back in time is definitely worth a rainy afternoon (or morning) of any happy nostalgia buff’s time.
Until the next offering, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Filled with iconic musical numbers, the 1943 revue-style film Thank Your Lucky Stars is notable for showing the world a much sillier side to the usually regal and calmly gentile Olivia de Haviland. In the goofy The Dreamer, wherein this award winning performer is paired with George Tobias and the equally iconic Ida Lupino (Thriller, The Devil’s Rain, Food of the Gods), she so revels in the chance to be outrageous that the fact that her singing voice was dubbed by Lynn Martin doesn’t do anything to diminish her work here.
Haviland, who is still living a life of refinement and grace in England, nicely, lent her talents to such goth-tinged efforts as The Dark Mirror, in which she plays twins suspected of nefarious dealings, Lady in a Cage, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and The Swarm, as well. These credits add irrefutable evidence to the fact that she is the one of the true queens of all genres of filmmaking prowess. Hail, hail!
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Move over, Riverdale! The sexy cast of Wicked Enigma is ready to take your place.
Big words, perhaps, but this LGBTQ friendly project, revolving around the gothic, soap strewn craziness that ensues after a tragic onset accident, is full of attractive, well cast people doing their devious best to stay alive….very much like a certain, very popular CW show.
Nicely, queer fans are sure to thrill to the complicated romance of Max (Terrence Edmonds), an out and proud cinematic genius in the making, and Austin (Andrew Etzel), a well known yet extremely closeted actor. Edmonds and Etzel provide nice layers to their characterizations, aligning themselves, sympathetically, with the audience. But directors Edmonds and Jake Doull work wonders with all of the performers, particularly with Charlotte Evelyn Williams, who shines with vibrant defiance as the rejected Sasha, making the first episode a true pleasure to view.
Though they share no screen time, 1934’s Of Human Bondage proved to be a successful project for Frances Dee, who would go on to headline Val Lewton’s classic 1943 offering I Walked With a Zombie, and Bette Davis, whose take on the spiteful Mildred Rogers finally established her as a star of significant reckoning.
Davis, of course, would go on to become one of the queens of gothic horror with appearances in such revered projects as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Here, though, her determination to artistic truth emerged via her insistence that Mildred’s decline not be a pretty one, but a dark and realistic journey. Her perseverance was also tested here as she was, reportedly, not treated well by her co-star Leslie Howard, who felt that a Brit should have been cast in the role in deference to the film’s English setting.
Dee has the nicer, less meaty role here. As the kind and understanding woman who eventually gains Howard’s heart, she does project a luminous quality that would bring her good stead in her most famous role of Betsey Connell, a nurse introduced to the ominous world of voodoo in (the above mentioned) I Walked with a Zombie.
This is truly Davis’ show, though. Compelling even as her repellant actions to Howard’s club footed Philip Carey make one wonder what he could ever see in her, she provides a bravura performance that has lingered in the public consciousness for decades.
Now, be sure to wipe your mouth, wipe your mouth…and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
(Hell of a Gal explores the films of the powerful, ever luscious Euro Vixen Helga Liné.)
Jealous looks good on Helga Liné. Of course, it should be noted, that almost everything looks absolutely fabulous on this devilish wonder. But most fans would probably agree that her dual role in the classic Nightmare Castle shows her off best of all.
As Solange, the devoted companion to the crazed Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Muller), Liné makes her first appearance in this black and white gothic adventure as a withered crone. But, when we see her next, this gorgeous creature’s true beauty is shining through. (Hmmm…I just had to work a Melanie Griffith title into the proceedings, didn’t I?) It seems that Arrowsmith’s experiments have given the aged Solange the glow of youth…and a bit of possessiveness, as well. Solange is definitely not happy with the arrival of Jenny, played by the irreplaceable Barbara Steele. Jenny is the exact replica of Arrowsmith’s late wife and although she may hold the key to their fortune, Solange would, from all appearances, like her dispatched as quickly as possible.
Of course, all does not go according to plan in the world of villainy and the arrival of Jenny’s handsome and kindly doctor (Marino Mase) and a couple of vengeful ghosts soon spell doom for Arrowsmith and Solange.
But despite the corrosiveness of her character, Steele and director Mario Caiano have nothing but praise for Line’s beauty and talent on the special features of Severin’s beautifully restored copy of the film. Indeed, Liné is, nicely, given more range to play here than is normally required of her and while Ms. Steele, rightfully, has claimed the top spot in my many terror lovers’ hearts, Line’s take on Solange here proves that, in a fair world, she would be right up there with her.
Time moves along, as it likes to do, and sometimes you find your personality twisting from petulant victim to mysterious doomsayer. Such is the case with actress Tiffany Helm – or at least with the characters she portrays.
Beloved among terror hounds, worldwide, for playing Violet, the doomed punk in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Helm has recently returned to the acting scene with a spooky appearance in Come True, a new horror film directed by Anthony Scott Burns. Here, though, as the above on set photo indicts, she just might be the harbinger of nasty things to come instead of being the recipient of them.
Fans, of course, are thrilled about this return to celluloid roots and Helm has already booked a follow-up role in another horror project, as of this writing.