Psycho

All posts tagged Psycho

Days of Horror: The Thrillers of Doris Day

Published January 12, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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Known primarily as a musical comedy star and cotton candy-like romantic siren, film legend Doris Day also managed to work up a nerve wracking scream or two when the screenplay required it. In fact, her startled yelp in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much should, justifiably, be considered one of film land’s most iconic moments. Still, Day (ascertained to be one of the most naturally proficient un-trained film actresses by many scholars) often got so emotionally involved with her character’s inner lives that she limited her thrilled based appearances to just a few.

day julie posterHer entrance into the scare sweepstakes was in a 1956 wife-in-peril feature called Julie. The film opens up with Day, frantically, running from danger. Nicely, the film’s lush yet pulsing theme song, naturally sung by Day, plays in the background, as she sprints for her life. Unfortunately, Day’s Julia is soon nabbed by the suave Louis Jourdan, who plays her conniving husband. Taken on a ride from hell, Julia barely escapes with her life. Of course, Jourdan’s villainous Lyle is far from done with her. By the production’s end, Day’s plucky stewardess heroine, foreshadowing Karen Black by twenty years, must help land the aircraft she is stationed on as Lyle has emasculated all of the crew.

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 In The Man Who Knew Too Much, filmed in the same year as Julie, Day is placed in familiar territory, character wise.  Here, she is Jo, a former singing sensation, living a low-key life with her doctor husband (James Stewart) and their lively son. While on vacation in Morocco, Stewart’s character receives details of an assassination plot from a dying acquaintance. Soon the duo’s son is mysteriously kidnapped to buy a measure of silence. Unaware, Day’s character is drugged into calmness and then told of her son’s disappearance. Day’s multi-leveled portrayal in this scene is matched only by her subtle reactions in the film’s final sequence. Here, Jo has to play piano and sing for a gathering of London diplomats while simultaneously trying to rescue her son with nothing more than the sound of her voice. This is almost inconceivably amazing performing on Day’s part. Along with Hitchcock’s storytelling skill and the quirkily enjoyable performances from genre icons Reggie Nalder (Mark of the Devil, Zoltan) and Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family, House of Wax), it is the primary reason for indulging in this suspenseful, beautifully photographed picture.

day lace posterIn 1960’s Midnight Lace, Day actually became so involved in the travails of her wealthy Kit that she was rumored to have had a nervous breakdown on the set. In fact, several acquaintances (and a gossip columnist or two) reported that Day did not want to do the picture, but was strong armed into doing it by her then husband, the film’s producer Marty Melcher.

 While Lace (unreasonably dismissed by several Day biographers) centers around a fairly standard Gaslight plot, it is also lushly filmed and contains many moments of true suspense.  In fact, anyone who has been spooked when walking alone in the dark or has felt the claustrophobic fear of being caught in an enclosed space will have much to relate to in the film’s tensest moments. While the opening credits pass by, Day’s Kit is stalked down a foggy London street. The dense cinematography and Day’s realistic reactions make it a strikingly suspenseful sequence…and an electric start to the feature as a whole. Day’s escalating terror as Kit is eventually trapped in an elevator and frantically fights for her life, leaves no doubt to her attentiveness to detail as a performer and, on a more lurid note, is strong evidence for the multiple reports of Day’s subsequent collapse on set. day lace

Worthy of multiple viewings for its atmospheric attention to detail alone, this film also features John Gavin of Psycho fame, the legendary Myrna Loy (Ants) as Kit’s kindly aunt and Roddy McDowall, whose many genre credits include the original Planet of the Apes films and the blackly disturbing (and often ridiculous) killer baboon project Shakma.

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All of these Day dominated films feature subtle elements of terror and are definitely recommended for those rare nights when another bloodbath just seems too much for your system to take or when your non-horror loving companion needs a little break from all those scenes of relentless gore.

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Chad Everett

Published December 31, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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His seven year stint on Medical Center assured him a place on the list of the world’s handsomest television doctors. But Chad Everett also supplied some grizzled atmospherics to the Alien-like television horror The Intruder Within. The role of businessman Tom Cassidy gave him an opportunity to add some roguish charm to Gus Van Sant’s much reviled Psycho reimagining, as well.

Not altogether surprisingly, as many heartthrobs before him, Everett also had a modest recording career in the ‘70s. Interestingly, the arrangement of his take on Nights on Broadway, off of his self titled release, gives that song a much more somber glow than the Bee Gees’ hit version.  Here, he continues that serious vibe with this version of Ain’t No Sunshine.

Everett, who died from cancer complications in 2012, gave genre enthusiasts further hope with appearances on Supernatural and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, as well.

May he rest where all bright things glow, forever!

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

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Review: Split

Published January 19, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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Don’t Breathe. Lights Out. Occulus. Insidious 2. The Conjuring. Those are just some of the recent horror films that, off handedly, paint their maternal characters, in lead or supporting roles, in a bad light. Perhaps, the fact that these women are failing their children due to emotional issues (Don’t Breathe, Lights Out, Insidious 2) or from a form of supernatural possession (Occulus, The Conjuring) does raise the dramatic stakes for some. But, upon reading that James McAvoy’s character in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split was suffering from dissociative identity disorder due to the severe abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother, I was truly tremulous about another round of matriarchal bashing, celluloid style.

Nicely, despite some issues in tone and pacing, Shyamalan does balance things out in this, his second low budget horror outing since his return-to-form with 2015’s highly recommended The Visit.  By the final moments he is able to show that oppression and violence, unfortunately, exist across all spectrums of parental guidance. The emotional fate of Casey, his young heroine, thoughtfully and quietly played by The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy, therefore resonates, profoundly, long after the director-writer provides the audience with his form of a Marvel movie nod as the film moves into its somber credit sequence.

split-annaCasey, as sharpened movie fans know, is one of three girls kidnapped by McAvoy’s Kevin, whose twenty-three personalities are beginning to shift with the more mischievous and violent of them gaining control over the others. Despite their fear, the girls find ways to fight back as Kevin’s various alters warn them about the coming of something referred to as The Beast. (In particular, it is nice to see such a strong reaction from female characters who, in another universe, would be caricaturized as insecure and indecisive victims.) Meanwhile, Karen Fletcher, Kevin’s therapist, who is working on an academic theory that her patients’ severe traumas have actually shaped them into something far outside of the ordinary, begins to suspect that something is not right with Kevin and begins to investigate.

Definitely vibing on Hitchcock by way of DePalma, everything from Spellbound to Psycho to Dressed to Kill might come to mind here, Shyamalan crafts some wonderfully tense set-ups.  Even when things go deliciously astray, he occasionally evokes the fun rhythms of DePalma’s (less well received) Raising Cain. This is in large part due to McAvoy’s enthusiastic mastery. Whether he is embodying the peculiar Hedwig, a nine year old who thinks kissing leads to pregnancy, or the primly efficient Patricia, he supplies the project with nervy energy and a strange, much needed sense of black humor.split-betty

Meanwhile, it is nice to see the divine Betty Buckley with a prominent role in a horror feature, forty years after her film debut as the sympathetic Miss Collins in Carrie. Calm yet passionate, her Dr. Fletcher often floats past in soft, curvy waves, accentuated by large necklaces and gesticulating, jeweled fingers. She is the smart, revolutionary aunt that young feminists (of every sex) would love to claim as their own. Unfortunately, Shyamalan doesn’t quite find a way to balance her scenes with those of the young women in peril. Therefore, momentum is lost and the tension flags.

Still, there are enough wildly eccentric ideas on display, including some the mental health industry might find questionable, and enough of Shyamalan’s astute artistry here to qualify this picture as a particular success. The last look at Taylor-Joy’s haunted eyes might also find a significant entryway into your soul, as well.

https://www.facebook.com/SplitMovie  https://twitter.com/splitmovie

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

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Sue Thompson, “Norman”

Published September 27, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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The name Norman may be ubiquitous with Hitchcock and Psycho, but it, also, finds sweet pervasiveness with 60s pop and country star Sue Thompson.

Already in her mid-30s, Thompson’s hits, Sad Movies and Norman, found her competing, successfully, with such teen rivals as Brenda Lee, Lesley Gore and Connie Francis.

Of course, the number we are concerned with here, has nothing to do with Anthony Perkins’ most famous portrayal, but it does put a certain twist on things if we imagine that it does.

Hmmm…so what exactly is that dress you’re making for Norman really made of, Sue?!?

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

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Barmy Battles: Psycho Vs. The Exorcist!

Published July 18, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

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Usually the toughest thing that Big Gay Horror Fan has to decide on is whether to wear the large Freddy t-shirt or the extra-large (depending on how much he’s consumed the previous week)!

The truly exciting site Barmy Battles has upped the difficulty in the choice factor this week, though, by proposing a count-off between two horror classics: Alfred Hitchcock’s momma loving Psycho (1960) and William Peter Blatty’s devil smeared The Exorcist (1973).

You can make your (almost impossible) choice between the two, until the end of August 2013 at:

http://www.barmybattles.com/2013/06/25/the-exorcist-vs-psycho/

And – tell them Big Gay Horror Fan sent you!

Be sure to check out www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Kyle Greer and the Closet – Skeleton Key

Published February 11, 2013 by biggayhorrorfan

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Finances crumble, friendships topple and the nuns of the apocalypse escape from their velvet tombs – but in Big Gay Horror Fan’s world there is always one solace filled constant – music!

Of course, it’s even better when our favorite tunes contain small quirks of horror. Eclectic piano pop maestro Kyle Greer’s Skeleton Key EP is one such work.

Sprinkled with small tastes of gothic and the macabre, this work is layered with cascading musical variations on such propulsive tunes as Loverboy for Louisa and Dogkiller. Meanwhile, Little Arsonist would fit perfectly in a comedy about dysfunctional serial killers or coming out of the speakers of a party van in the latest retro-slasher.

perkinsReaching dramatically, into the highest levels of his vocal register, Greer’s penultimate moment here is the fun, sweetly beautiful Mother. A ballad song in the voice of Norman Bates, this is musical theatre and arch comedy at its finest. Let’s hope Greer has a whole Psycho musical up his white and black colored sleeves.

To find more about Kyle and to purchase Skeleton Key be sure to visit www.kylegreerrocks.com!

Big Gay Horror Fan, meanwhile, is always busy exploring the film oeuvre of Anthony Perkins at http://www.facebook.com/#!/BigGayHorrorFan, as well.

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