Horror

All posts tagged Horror

Zombie Bathhouse Chronicles: Paging Dr. Martino!

Published October 21, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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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!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Robey

Published May 28, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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The scintillatingly singular Robey spent three years in the late ‘80s hunting down cursed objects on Friday the 13th: The Series. Nicely, while Micki, her compassionate and adventurous character, continuously saved the world from mass destruction, Robey was also setting the music world on fire with a number of hummable dance tracks.

Her most popular song, of course, was a cover of One Night in Bangkok from the musical Chess. The astoundingly cool video also features a number of horror tinged references proving that this amber waved lass was always looking out for her favorite horror freaks, wherever they happened to roam.

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

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Review: Blessed Are the Children

Published February 2, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

blessed-are-posterWillow, the adorable toddler in the apartment across from me, always seems to be in front of my door when I’m making a quick exit for work or the grocery store. She, breathlessly, will tell me about her adventures at her babysitter’s house or how her cat, always misbehaving, has stepped on her feet again. I’ll cluck, encouragingly or sympathetically (whatever the case may call for), and hurry on my way. If that is stalking, I’ll take it.

Traci, a woman breaking away from a violent relationship, in director-writer Chris Moore’s emotional Blessed Are the Children, though, finds herself, unfortunately, fixated upon by some violent, mask wearing strangers after her visit to a women’s clinic. These mysterious villains are soon obliterating the men in her life and are also putting Traci and her roommates, Mandy and Erin, in harm’s way, as well. Could these figures be tied in with Traci’s disapproving mother or is there something much more malevolent at work here?

Whatever the answers, Moore is to be highly commended for taking a series of social issues and placing them, firmly, in the context of the traditional slasher film. He delves into all the reasons that Traci (a finely modulated Kaley Ball) decides an abortion is the right decision for her and, with the effervescent help of actress Keni Bounds, he creates one of the strongest lesbian characters to ever benefit a genre film with Mandy. Fun, mothering and complex, she is the standout personality here.blessed-are-mandy

Granted, it’s a fine line to walk in a film wallowing in violence and retribution. There is always the chance that certain viewers will assume that Moore is suggesting that Traci and Mandy deserve any bad tidings that come their way. But by the film’s end, one almost imagines that it is this duo, along with Arian Thigpen’s delightfully awkward Erin, that are the real “children” being referred to in the movie’s title, so lovingly are their quirks, foibles and devotion for each other explored. 

Nicely, Moore also provides the expected bloodshed and several twists are sure to give audience members’ a nice sense of surprise, as well. One almost wishes the final act of the film was a bit tighter, but the penultimate moments of the movie are chillingly and haunting rendered, making this project, as a whole, an extremely memorable one. Most importantly, this fadeout also provides a prescient and poetic mediation on the current state of the world, one where hate and bigotry seem relentless and never-ending and we are all innocents in danger of losing not only are freedoms, but our very lives, as well.

https://www.facebook.com/childrenareblessed/

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

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Review: Party Night

Published December 29, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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From torrential rainfall to broken hearts to pyrotechnic teens, prom nights have always had the potential for disaster. Unfortunately for them (and lucky for us), the soon to be graduating friends in writer-director Troy Escamilla’s fun throwback Party Night find that this particular rite of passage can be very deadly, as well.

Here, sensitive Amy and crew head to her boyfriend’s uncle’s remote house for an intimate celebration after their prom. Of course, girls have been disappearing at an alarming rate, nearby, and the six young adults soon find that they have landed right in the killer’s lair. Amid drunken relationship trauma and the angry rhythms of growing pains, members of the group are soon separated from each other and meet their fates at a stealthy killer’s savage hands…and his various knives and assorted kitchen pottery, as well. Soon the ever reliable final girl is fighting for her life as gallons of red stuff spews and lives are irreparably damaged forever.

With loving reverence, Escamilla plays with the familiar tropes of these films…an important event, a secluded location and lots of bloodshed. We get the expected characters, as well, with the intelligent, slightly awkward heroine, her sensitive boyfriend and a variety of sexually adventurous and hard partying companions. But as a writer, Escamilla adds nice shades of angst and normalcy to his stock personas, giving all of the major characters a nice sense of depth.

The actors also accomplish much in making this an effective exercise. Nicely, they are a diverse lot, culturally, and despite a bit of awkwardness here and there, they deliver solid performances. Laurel Toupal is, perhaps, the most natural and endearing as Amy, with her final moments ringing with true emotion. Tommie Vegas, meanwhile, brings a nice sense of effective sass to Molly while Ryan Poole and Drew Shotwell each perform with a natural grace and a definite color of urgency when the stakes of their characters’ lives are thrown into savage turmoil. Nicely, as an antidote to the expected female nudity, it is Poole who spends the final third of the film shirtless while Toupal’s Amy fights for her life in a formal gown.

The film’s true highlights, though, just may be Mark D’Errico’s gloomy and prescient score and Heather Benson’s special effects work. Benson’s wounds are simple yet effective, but she definitely luxuriates in the red stuff, making Party Night one of the bloodiest slasher films ever made, a fine achievement for a film made from a very obvious love for the genre, but very little cash.

https://www.facebook.com/partynightmovie

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Barbi Benton

Published December 26, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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There are many ways that people get from Point A to Point B, but for those who wonder how Susan Jeremy wound up being threatened at that nefarious, under-populated medical institution in X-Ray (AKA Hospital Massacre), Brass Buttons, the number 5 song by that beleaguered horror heroine’s portrayer Barbi Benton, certainly won’t provide any clues.

Of course, this little country ditty, written by Bobby Borchera and Mack Vickery, does seem to take its inspiration from Benton’s physique and her years as a Playboy model. But why, oh, why didn’t the two ever write about her adventures filming Deathstalker or her days flirting with David Doyle’s Bosley on Charlie’s Angels? Now, that would really be a song!

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Joi Lansing

Published November 20, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Nobody messes with a woman who can play a character named Boots Malone. …and nobody can replace the silky magic and larger than life pin-up appeal provided by the actress and singer known as Joi Lansing. Lansing, who played Malone in the ridiculously bad horror comedy Hillbillies in a Haunted House, had such presence that even her cameos in classic films such as Easter Parade and Singin’ in the Rain held maximum impact. Of course, she also graced such cult fare as Queen of Outer Space, Orson Welles’ well regarded Touch of Evil and Bigfoot, providing silky star power to those efforts, as well.bigfoot-joi-lansing-stills-08

Always a lady, with reports that she vehemently objected to efforts to mar her appearance after her character was kidnapped by the titular beast in Bigfoot, Lansing definitely provides smooth and sophisticated sensuality as she warbles Web of Love, a classic Scopitone that contains many elements of ‘50s exploitation efforts, as well.

Be sure to visit www.joilansing.com – a site dedicated to honoring Lansing’s memory – and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Stalking Ilan

Published November 17, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Aw…all he really ever wanted was love. Indeed, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, best known as Wyatt, part of the awkward duo that helped create a magically scintillating temptress in the popular science fiction comedy Weird Science, ended his quest for the perfect woman with his final acting role on a steamy episode of the syndicated series Silk Stalkings.

The television version of the straight-to-video thriller that clogged the HBO and Showtime airways throughout the  ’80s and the ’90s, Silk Stalkings was a weekly Femme Fatales magazine come to life. Featuring gorgeous women who plotted and connived and/or who were often the victims of savagery and twisted sexual domination, Stalkings, as with much exploitation fare, also featured a tough, take charge female at its heart. Here it’s in the form of Mitzi Kapture’s razor talking police sergeant, Rita. Kapture often narrated the episodes with a ’40s gumshoe vibe and successfully got away with the show’s most humorously sarcastic lines.

mitzi_kapture_001In this particular episode, entitled Men Seeking Women, a bevy of beauties are being viciously annihilated, with their fingernails being pried off during the death throes. Rita and her partner Chris, played by the unbelievably handsome Rob Estes, soon determine a serial killer is at work, targeting females who have posted in a singles magazine. Rita sets herself up as bait and, unwittingly, allows Mitchell-Smith’s nervously quiet Gabriel Evans access to her home address. Indeed, playing against expectations (but without any real surprises), it is the meek Evans who is the culprit here and Rita is soon fighting for her life, with Chris, eventually, rushing in to aid her in her desperate battle.ilan-2

What is surprising is that, despite top guest billing and the fact that his character is the focus of the proceedings, Mitchell-Smith is absent from most of the episode. He appears in two brief scenes – his first meeting with Rita and his attack on her. Instead, much of the episode is devoted to Chris’ budding romance with an exotic dancer and his struggles to deal with her profession. It does, perhaps, add a bit of ironic appeal – contrasting the tough-ass too sensitive to accept his girlfriend’s exhibitionism with the meeker underling who makes a more violent display of his discontent. Still, Mitchell- Smith radiates essential goodness in his first appearance and a more pathetically destructive essence in his final moments, allowing fans to wish that he had continued in the profession a bit longer. 

Currently, a professor of Medieval Literature and an enthusiastic gamer, Mitchell-Smith’s tweets prove him to be a fun and honestly liberal presence, deserving of following at www.twitter.com/IlanMS. 

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

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