The one time queen of MGM…and Warner Brothers…and the daytime soap scene, Joan Crawford has a special place in the heart of distinguished horror lovers everywhere. Allowing herself to be humbled for her art, she gave victimhood a special glow in the classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Her subsequent terror offerings may not have been as distinguished as this oft nominated chiller, but they sure were fun! From Strait Jacket to Berserk! to Trog, the lady Crawford always gave her professional best.
She was similarly committed when given a song and dance number to do in The Hollywood Revue of 1929.
Meanwhile, The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia covers everything else that this golden age superstar accomplished in her lifetime.
She is the essence of smooth British soul, making her the perfect soundtrack vocalist. Indeed, Dusty Springfield, one of the essential goddesses of sixties pop, has decorated the background of many a celluloid landscape. Nicely, her smoky version of Spookyhighlights the first kiss between childhood sweethearts in 2017’s fun horror comedy The Babysitter. Countered by exploding bodies and cranial blood bursts, this tender moment could not have a more perfect aural illustration.
Springfield is also of special interest to the LGBTQIA community. Romantically linked with a number of women, including Rough Trade’s magnetic Carole Pope, she is one of the many exceptionally talented performers that we can claim as family. Her immaculate voice and silvery presence grandly live on despite her death in 1999 due to cancer, at the far too young age of 59.
From The Mummy to Thinner to Drag Me to Hell, gypsies have been colorful characters in the world of horror. While their predictions and curses have long generated trauma and ruin for the people they encounter in these films, the divine Pearl Bailey gave us a more jovial approach to their abilities with the amusing The Gypsy Goofed.
A powerful icon in her own right, Bailey commanded the worlds of film, stage and television. Famously replacing the (seemingly) irreplaceable Carol Channing in the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly, this undefeatable songstress is rightfully remembered, in perpetuity, as one of the giants of the entertainment industry.
June Allyson was the girl that every G.I. wanted to marry. Her sweet presence provided a happy glow to many 1940’s musical-romances. But ever a true performer, her roles in the ‘70s showed a darker depth. She found the emotional heart of a vengeful bisexual in the Giallo style murder mystery They Only Kill Their Masters, giving the film’s final moments an understated punch. The television film The Curse of the Black Widowprovided a bit more of the fun side of horror with Allyson’s Olga getting the sticky end of an old family curse.
But even in supernatural circumstances, this Golden Age icon was always accessible. Anyone with an ounce of humanity and self doubt could definitely relate to Allyson’s sorrowful take on Just Imaginefrom Good News, one of her most popular projects.
After Hattie McDaniel won her Oscar in 1940, it was 24 years before another black performer received the statuette. While criticized for taking on stereotypical roles in her lifetime, McDaniel is now often praised for being a pioneer in the entertainment industry and for her commanding performances under frequently humbling circumstances. Nicely, the fun revue Thank Your Lucky Starsallowed her majestic personality to fill the frame as something other than a domestic and she appears to truly be enjoying herself as the neighborhood gossip in the number below, Ice Cold Katie.
Granted, McDaniel’s connections to the horror genre were small as she was mainly cast in comedies. But she did appear alongside terror icon Bela Lugosi in 1935’s Murder By Television. As the cook Isabella, she provided the studio mandated, over exaggerated comic relief, but she is eventually given a couple of more level headed moments. In one more progressive segment, she even interrupts a murder scene intruder and helps throw him out, proof positive of her power and strength as a performer.
Until then next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
She, rightfully, became one of the queens of country music due to her feministic response song It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. This majestic call to arms has been featured in such diverse horror projects as Needful Things, The Devil’s Rejects and Wicked Lake.
But the divine Kitty Wells knew what the true terror was to many a game of romance – a younger woman.
Wisely, Wells also seemed to know just what to do when confronted by a supernaturally inclined, unstoppable killer — Step Aside!
A favorite of Rob Zombie, who also used a track of hers in 31, this iconic performer received many lifetime achievement awards before her death at the age of 92. She continues to be honored, daily, at www.kittywells.com.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Filled with sexy action and cinematic intrigue, Ruger, a new comic book created and written by genre goddess Sybil Danning, is a welcome treat for many reasons. The primary pleasure, though, is the lead character, herself. Strong, mysterious and enjoyably anti-authoritarian, Ruger is definitely deserving of becoming a well recognized feminist icon.
Based upon the character from the popular late ‘80s action flick L.A. Bounty, here our heroine is out to nab a payday by bringing in a charismatic Canadian diplomat. The only problem is that he is under the protection of the Federal Government of the United States. Naturally, flying bullets, explosions and epic car crashes are part of the journey that the primary focus takes to try to claim her mark.
Agreeably, the artistic team, including Scott Ethan Ambruson, G.W. Fisher and Dash Martin, have a natural affinity for the exploitation films that Danning is honoring here. They particularly capture Ruger’s chill, insolent nature as she toys with the soldiers and officials who are busy at work trying to neutralize her plans.
Nicely, this buoyant energy makes one truly excited for the future adventures that are sure unfold around this irreverent bounty hunter in the next two issues of the series.