Society

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Vincent Price and Pride

Published June 23, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

vincent price

Its Pride Week here in Chicago and my mind keeps going back to Vincent Price.

On a press tour a couple of years ago, his daughter Victoria told reporters that she was certain that this macabre matinee idol had sexual relationships with both men and women. Honestly, it’s not something I really care about one way or other. But anytime an icon of horror is put in proximity with the queer community, there is reason to celebrate. The terror crowd, by and large, is still a very straight and, even more surprisingly, an often right wing one. More than anything, though, it is a silent one.

This makes me love Vincent Price even more. Not because of his bedroom proclivities, but because, even in an era when it was much more dangerous to do so, he spoke out. In that (fairly recent) round of press statements, the thing his daughter stressed more than any romantic suppositions was that Price was a true activist for the LGBTQA community. He spoke out against Anita Bryant’s anti-gay platforms in the ‘70s. He joined PFLAG as an honorary member and did an AIDS PSA in the ‘80s.

 

Vincent Price Oscar Wilde

Price as Oscar Wilde

This makes me sad about some of the people I know (and don’t know), though. A few years ago, I was asked to write for a site, but was told that they didn’t do “gay” content. This, in essence, meant that I was supposed to take a straight white perspective when composing for them. What the person who contacted me didn’t realize was that, even with news items and film reviews, he was reacting to them with his own learned insights and background and interests. Of course, that was the style I was supposed to adopt. He thought it was a neutral one. It isn’t. How could it be? He will always react to things the way a straight male would. A Latinx woman will react to them another way. A transgender person, meanwhile, will focus on another aspect of the same story. As will I.

That was more about quieting my true voice, though. What concerns me here is that, as rights are threatened more and more by the current powers-that-be, I still have ‘friends’ in fright circles that look at me and tell that they are “fiscally conservative, but socially liberal”. They say they will speak out when the time comes. Instead, I see them sharing news items from Breitbart that mock celebrities for speaking out on social justice issues. Breitbart, by the way, is run by Stephen Bannon, a man who would like to obliterate me (and so many others I know) from the planet. So…thanks!

But they are giving a nod to something, at least. There are others who say nothing, at all. Perhaps, they believe human rights are politics and that where one stands on that side of the curtain is a private affair. Maybe they are afraid. Maybe they have become resigned and wearily complacent like me. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I picked up the phone to protest something to some senator or public official. But 40 years ago, Vincent Price, a hero for many of us, wasn’t scared or tentative or let his thoughts grow muted. He got down in the trenches with the underdogs and stood proud. Let’s hope that his truly distinctive voice raised, all those years ago, can bring others out into the open now. Let’s hope it can reawaken mine. We need it.

Review: Necroplasmosis

Published June 17, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

necroplasmosis

In the early ‘90s, long before the days of instant internet accessibility, those who loved their ladies of horror had two places to go: the glossy, more mainstream Femme Fatales magazine and the grittier, homegrown Draculina. Harkening back to that underground Draculina vibe, writer-director-performer Henry Frias Leon and co-writer-lead actress Courtney Perkins create something very visceral with Necroplasmosis, their latest short film.

Perkins plays Lucinda, a photographer with slightly macabre subject matter, and Leon is the obsessed filmmaker who is following her around. Strong and resourceful, Lucinda ultimately finds the most cutting way to deal with an errant beau here. Nicely, unlike the days when Hugh Gallagher seemed to control everything that came out of Draculina, Perkins and Leon seem to be equal partners in Necroplasmosis. Thus, the world they create seems free of exploitation and centered around mutual interest.

Here’s hoping, though, that future installments will show Lucinda taking out her skills of vengeance upon all those right wing bigots and power figures that are still threatening to keep women from their equal rights.

Until then, be sure to check out this initial DIY work at:

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Linnea Quigley: Tinker Hell and the Nonexistent Imp

Published June 9, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

linnea fun

Spider and Samantha are the names of the characters that forever charming horror goddess Linnea Quigley embodied in the cult classics Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama. Spider, a hardened thief who takes on a murderous imp, and Samantha, who searches for her missing sister with determined grace, are also true evidence of the inherent feminist themes in B-Movies that have attracted fans, and even scholars like Carol J. Clover (Men, Women and Chainsaws), to these films for decades. On the eve of rare screenings of these fan favorites at Summer Scares in Chicago, Quigley, happily, shared some memories about the making of these mini-masterpieces of divine mayhem.

BGHF: Hey, Linnea! I’m so excited that they’re showing Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama this weekend at Summer Scares. It’s one of my favorites.  Linnea: Me, too!

I think Spider, the character you portray, embodies so much of what is important about the female characters in those direct to VHS years. She’s strong and resourceful and gives off such a feminist vibe. Oh! Yeah. Because a guy wasn’t saving the day, she was. Thank you!linnea sorority

I think that’s why that Scream Queen Era was so important to so many people. Those films gave the actresses great opportunities. You were able to play doctors and scientists and cat burglars. I don’t think you got that in a lot of the mainstream films of that time. Oh, wow! You’re right.  We got to play murderesses and crazy people. The good ones!

Are there any memories that stand out to you about Sorority Babes? Weren’t the performers all housed together on location? Yeah. We were all at a La Quinta. We weren’t too far from the set. I had my own room because I insisted on it. I didn’t want to be in a room with someone who was wild or was staying up half the morning! (Laughs) I say morning because we shot at night. I like my own space.

It was a short shoot, correct? Actually, for a David DeCoteau film, it was a long shoot. It was seven days.

Seven days? That’s nothing! What was the usual time frame for shooting a movie like that? Oh, gee. Three days. A weekend!

Wow! Do you have any fun memories from working on Sorority Babes?  Yeah. There were a lot of weird things. My room was next to Andras Jones (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Warriors). I thought he was cute. I had a little crush on him. But he was younger than me and he was in the prime of those hormone years. He was destroying his room and just being wild. I guess he was getting the last of that kid out of him and was being really silly and funny. He and the others would go out into town, which was a sea port, and everyone was just kind of all over the place.

Was there any else that was interesting? Of course, we had to act to nothing. The imp wasn’t there when we filmed and we didn’t know what it was going to look like.

David didn’t give you any clues? I don’t know about other people’s interactions with him, but he didn’t with me. He just let us go and do what we felt was right. If we had to be louder for the camera or if we were out of frame, he’d let us know that. He was really good about just letting us do our thing.

I understand that he let you choose the role that you wanted to play, as well. Yes! He gave the script to me and told me to choose the part that I wanted. It took me like two seconds. I want this part, I want this part!

Who wouldn’t want to be Spider? Of course! I didn’t want the other parts, I wanted that one. …and I had fun with it. I had so much fun. linnea hollywood

Did you have the same kind of fun on Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers? Well, that came about because Fred Olen Ray had a camera for four days over a holiday weekend. He and David DeCoteau would have bets over who could make a movie the fastest. It was funny. It was the first and last time that I worked for Fred. He just called me and wanted me to do the part. I was just excited to get roles. …and I liked the role. It was fun. (Laughs) I got to work with chainsaws.

Was there any kind of protection on set when you were doing your famous chainsaw dance? No! (Laughs) Of course not! Oh, the things won’t be on. It’s okay! Then I’m doing my dance and I felt something like hot oil on me. I didn’t want to stop the take. In my mind I was thinking that my legs were going to be scarred up. I don’t know what it was. It could have been oil. It was a little bit freaky. Fred kept saying, Dance sexy! Those chainsaws are so heavy! I was taking it seriously, too. I was really trying to dance sexy. It was so hard!

Your hardship was rewarded. The film’s a cult classic and I think many people discovered you through it and adore you. So, I guess the work is worth it, occasionally. Oh. Yes! Yes!

You also mentored Gunnar Hansen on that, as well, correct? Didn’t you encourage him to get into the convention scene? Yes! We were standing around waiting for the next shot. I told him that he should be doing the convention scene. He didn’t believe me. He thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had happened so long before and that no one would want to meet him or get his autograph. He thought no one would remember him. I said, are you kidding me? I was so excited to meet you. I was a little afraid. But you would be so amazing at conventions. He kind of nah, nah’ed it. Then when I saw him on the convention scene, I was like, okay! He got it. linnea gunnar

A little blonde angel you were, guiding him. Yes, take my hand, Gunnar, and I will lead you to the convention circuit! I was a Tinker Bell.

…Or maybe a bad ass version of Tinker Bell. Yeah, a bad ass Tinker Bell, that’s better.  Tinker Hell!

Yes!  I’m Tinker Hell!

I think that needs to be the subtitle for this interview! Oh, great! I’d love that!

Forget Scream Queen or Goddess of Horror or Femme Fatale. You want to be a Tinker Hell! Yes! We’ll coin a new thing!

We will! Definitely! summer scares

Be sure to join the Tinker Hell Squad by meeting Linnea at Summer Scares on Saturday, June 10th at The Patio Theater in Chicago. Linnea will be joined by fellow guests, Ari Lehman (“Jason”, Friday the 13th) and Mark Patton, (“Jesse”, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). More information is available at https://www.facebook.com/events/813470602136871/.

Quigley, meanwhile, is always yielding dangerous accessories on the internet at www.linnea-quigley.com.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

The Queer Power of Alien: Covenant

Published May 29, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

alien-covenant

The slithering, orifice bursting monster babies of Alien: Covenant definitely rate high on my gore pleasure meter. But I will be viewing Ridley Scott’s second prequel to (his original masterpiece) Alien in the theater again for another reason: its strong queer pedigree.

Scripted by the openly gay John Logan, Covenant also features Empire’s sexually fluid Jussie Smollett as a decidedly straight crew member and two married male characters among its many hardy and adventurous potential victims.

Granted, it would be nice if the relationship between Demián Bichir’s Sergeant Lope and Nathaniel Dean’s Sergeant Hallett was more fully explored. Their true feelings for each other only surface during an intense crisis and, stylistically, their relationship feels dictated more by contemporary ease than as being a true part of the Alien universe. No LGBTQ relationships were presented in the original films and as this is a precursor to those stories, it makes it odd that the other films don’t have queer partnerships, the strong Sapphic following of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, this classic series’ toned and powerful heroine, aside.  

jussie alien

Still, the success of this relationship with viewers might make strides in compelling Hollywood executives to feature more homosexual bad asses in their action and terror outings and assure that they will continue to cast actors like Smolett, who have admitted their physical attraction to other men, a chance to play more than fey best friends and harried wedding planners.

Naturally, I am willing to concede that this is nothing more than wispy, celluloid pipe dream. But I am going to apply my hard earned dollars, another time or two, in the generous hope that it is not.

I hope you will join me!

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

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!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Book Review: Sharon Farrell, Siân Phillips

Published December 4, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

sharon-book

Written in completely different styles and featuring authors who arrive at their writing points from much different backgrounds, the memoirs of Siân Phillips (The Doctor and the Devils, Hammer House of Horror) and Sharon Farrell (It’s Alive, Night of the Comet) still manage to broker in the much of the same emotional currency and definitely illustrate how it is still the men in society who continue to steadily manipulate the fates of those around them.

sian-public-placesA prodigiously talented theater actress, Wales bred Phillips details her courtship and years of marriage to Peter O’Toole in Public Places, which was first published in the United States in 2003. While Phillips engaged, successfully, in a performing arts career, O’Toole, obviously, was the more famous of the two, reaching a worldwide platform with Lawrence of Arabia. He also definitely, as evenly and poetically described by Phillips, controlled the many specifics of their lives together. Fairly, Phillips often revels in the adventures she experienced while visiting O’Toole on his various film sets and, lovingly, describes a remote home on a mountain that she, painstakingly, created for him and their two daughters.

Phillips also shares stories of such legends as Katharine Hepburn, who frightened her children by vehemently suggesting that they should become something useful like plumbers, and My Fair Lady’s pompous Rex Harrison. Harrison, known for his misogynistic temper, is painted truthfully here and Phillips shows grace and courage when explaining how she mastered his moods while performing on stage with him. sian-hammer

In deep contrast to Phillips’ artfully measured tones, Farrell’s “Hollywood Princess” From Sioux City, Iowa is a messy and rambunctious offering, often filled with grammatical errors and with the names of famous participants misspelled. Yet, with pluck and little sense of bitterness, the actress traces her career which was often sidetracked by affairs, a miscarriage, rape, medical issues and mismanagement.

As with Phillips’ offering, Farrell’s honestly reveals how the males in power, here in LA (and beyond), frequently, shaped her destiny – from the unstableness of Hawaii Five-O’s Jack Lord to the peculiarities of Bill Bell, the creator of the popular soap The Young and the Restless. Farrell frequently found herself jobless due to their whims and when, onset, was subjected to unprofessionally bizarre behavior – prime examples being Dennis Hooper peeing on her while filming Out of Blue and a physical attack from a fellow performer on the location of The Reivers.

Still, Farrell, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, is often hardest on herself here and she acknowledges her own responsibility in many of the choices that she made. She is full of passion and heart and, despite the lack of editing, often sets up a nice sense of atmosphere and sense of time and place even when her viewpoint rambles some.

its-alive-sharon-farrellUnfortunately, neither actress concentrates much on their genre offerings here. Phillips does, happily, describe her interesting audition for David Lynch’s Dune and Farrell gives passing mention to such projects as The Premonition and The Fifth Floor. But, what is most poignant and interesting about each book, is the conclusion that readers can draw about society, itself. It is still a straight man’s world, as plainly evidenced in both writers’ circumstances. Here, they show how they overcame and thrived despite that sometimes overpowering obstacle.

Public Places is available, on sale, from various dealers on Amazon. Farrell’s tome, meanwhile, can be purchased from her at www.sharonfarrell.com.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 (Images of are Phillips in Hammer House of Horror and Farrell in It’s Alive.)

 

The Backside of Horror: Yuzna’s Society and Initiation

Published December 4, 2012 by biggayhorrorfan

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Big Gay Horror Fan has always believed balance should be more than just a nutrition bar in the health aisle at your local store. Of course, this rarely happens in real life, so I am forever grateful to director-writer-producer, Brian Yuzna.

Inspired by surrealism and working with a sure artist’s eye, eclectic auteur Yuzna has never shied away from showing male flesh as a delicious counterpart to the female nudity that has graced his exploitation epics

In fact, in an amusing antidote about Return of the Living Dead III (1993) on a feature in the More Brains! documentary, actor Trevor J. Edmund relates how Yuzna wanted to frame a shot using his bare ass as a focal point. The young actor only declined because he was afraid that his mother would kill him.

005Of course, Yuzna’s 1989 directorial debut Society is full of slimy gelatinous male nudity during that film’s notorious shunting sequence. But, lead actor Billy Warlock, at the height of his youthful beauty, is also often seen in lingering states of mouth watering undress.

tommy hinkleyPerhaps in homage to Psycho’s opening moments, movie buff Yuzna films an athletic lunch break motel rendezvous between his leads Neith Hunter and Tommy Hinkley in the beginning minutes of his goopy bug laden 1990 treatise Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4. Flipping their bodies amidst the sweaty sheets, both the beautiful Hunter and the buff Hinkley allow us ample views of their flesh – including a prime shot of Hinkley’s taut and healthy butt cheeks!silent night

Here’s a wet, but slightly less erotic clip from Initiation featuring Hunter and co-star Clint Howard:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4004380953/

Be sure to check back every other Monday as Big Gay Horror Fan exposes the backside of male horror. Of course, Big Gay Horror Fan is shaking it, every day of the week, at http://www.facebook.com/#!/BigGayHorrorFan – so check him out there, as well!

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