Stephen King

All posts tagged Stephen King

Review: Gray Matter

Published December 14, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Gray

What signifies a great horror project is its emotional relatability. Therefore, anyone who has been mystified by the behavior of their parents as a child is sure to find true connectivity to Red Clark’s Gray Matter.

Here a small town boy seeks asylum from his home life by approaching a motley group of pub regulars. His alcoholic father (finely played by indie wonder kind Larry Fessenden) has begun acting strangely and the kid has begun to fear for his life. His rescuers get more than they bargained for, though, as their worlds soon dissolve into gooey mayhem.

Based on a Stephen King story, this short film is filled with impressive natural effects. But what is most significant is the atmosphere that Clark creates. He and his believable cast, including Chicago theater actor Aaron Christensen, honestly capture the rhythms of rural life and its grizzled inhabitants. Everyone who grew up, awestruck, in such circumstances will find a piece of their past magnified, wisely, onscreen for them here.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Book Review: Blood Cruise

Published August 31, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

bloodcruise1

The forbidden thrill of being a small town 14 year old diving into epic novels like Stephen King’s The Shining and Salem’s Lot can never be replicated. But floating through Mats Strandberg’s Blood Cruise, as an adult, definitely brings back a wonderful sense memory of those exciting, long ago afternoons.

While, joyfully, reveling in the visceral antics of grand horror fiction, this fine book also offers up an intricate look at the emotional lives of a wide variety of vacationers whose quick boat trip in Sweden turns into an odyssey of terror. Nicely, many of these individuals are relatable to queer terror lovers who often feel like they are left on the outside of both mainstream and alternative culture.

The proceedings begin with an introduction to Marianne, a still attractive senior citizen who feels as if life has passed her by. Readers will definitely feel for her as she is courted by a charming rogue and recognize all the insecurities and fears that she experiences as she begins to open up her heart and live again.

Nicely, another primary focus here is Calle, a former employee of the cruise line on which all the action occurs. His marriage proposal to his handsome boyfriend gone awry, this despondent romantic soon finds himself in charge of a couple of frantic pre-teens and eventually discovers the hero that resides deep within him.

Throughout, while rotating a dozen or so primary characters and various plotlines, Strandberg skillfully paints a true picture of life’s often harsh complexities. Here frazzled family dynamics, self image issues, rivalries and bitter regrets color in the personalities of all his characters. It is not always a pretty picture, but it is an accurate one …and as some of each reader’s favorite participants are bound to meet their deaths in a variety of unpleasant ways, it nicely binds the characters to us, making their ends all the more tragic. As all well rounded creative types do, Strandberg even paints in some nice emotional layers to his toothy, vengeful villains, granting them have a degree of sympathy, as well.

The most enjoyable thing here, perhaps, though is discovering the ways in which beloved individuals orbit into each other’s stories. Equally as fun, are those moments when one realizes that one personality’s point of view about themselves is often very different from those that encounter him or her.  These instances emphasize Strandberg’s talent for weaving not only a multi-faceted story but for inventing believable characters, as well.

A top ten seller across Europe, Blood Cruise, is available for purchase on www.amazon.com. Strandberg, whose book The Circle was turned into a hit movie by ABBA founder Benny Andersson, can be located on Instagram and Twitter @matsstranberg_ and online at www.matsstrandberg.se.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Betty Buckley

Published May 27, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Betty Carrie

She’s one of Broadway’s reigning divas. Fans of Carrie and Split also claim her as their own. But there are probably few as singular and solitary minded as the exquisitely talented Betty Buckley.

Interestingly (and in a twist of fate as unusual as herself), Buckley who played the kindly Miss Collins in Brian DePalma’s classic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel also played Carrie’s deluded mother Margaret in the widely panned, short lived Broadway adaptation of this beloved horror shocker.

Recent reexamination has given this work a renewed appreciation. But, as evidenced in the video below, Buckley always seemed to know the piece’s worth. Her performance here is deliberate, delicate and captivating.

Buckley, meanwhile, who is releasing a new recording called Hope in June, is always bringing heart and soul to www.facebook.com/BettyBuckley/ and www.bettybuckley.com.

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

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Retro Sharkbait Village: City Killer

Published February 1, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

City Killer Heather Mad

Naturally, Heather Locklear’s got the perfect feathered hair…the perfect apartment…and her stalker is of the handsome picture perfect variety that ‘80s television executives loved to provide for their perfectly eager audiences. City Killer was probably the perfect title to get audiences watching back in that soap-centric decade, as well. Riding high on the successes of Dynasty and TJ Hooker, here pixie cute Locklear faces down the wrath of a lovelorn demolitions expert while, simultaneously, finding romance with a moustache sporting daddy.

City Killer AudreyNicely, clear eyed viewers will also spot noir icon Audrey Totter as a secretary in Locklear’s office. Here, Totter provides some old school Hollywood rational amongst this television film’s ridiculously over-the-top offerings.

Built around stock footage of major buildings collapsing in unison, things reach a highpoint in this thriller when swarthy Terrence Knox’s deranged Leo Kalb brings an entire urban oasis to its knees with his demands. Of course, Locklear’s compassionate Andrea is one of them and there may be nothing that the concerned Lieutenant Eckford, played with rascally compassion by Simon and Simon’s Gerald McRaney, can do to stop him.City Killer Explosion

Highlighted by an action packed ending and by the awkward visual fact that none of the actors are actually anywhere near the rumbling destruction detailed, City Killer is, nicely, also bolstered by a solid, tempered performance from Locklear. Particularly in her first confrontation scene with Knox, Locklear shows, precisely, Andrea’s fear, frustration and anger. In this #metoo generation, harassment perhaps is no longer a flyaway plot point for cheesy entertainment, but here Locklear is able to show that, even in less aware decades, there were always strong emotional repercussions to this kind of abuse.

City Killer Heather HorrifiedLocklear, of course, made other genre-centric appearances in such projects as the big budget Stephen King adaptation Firestarter and the charming (very low budget) Return of the Swamp Thing. Interestingly, in a complete turnaround from his work here, Knox wound up playing a concerned father in 1992’s Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice. (Heads up: it wasn’t.)

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

City Killer Terrence.jpg

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Book Review: Town & Train

Published February 17, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

town and train
When I was a kid, I loved Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, soap operas and horror films. Let’s just say that I didn’t fit in the small farm town of 600 that I grew up in…and all I dreamed of, at the time, was escape. Therefore, I can definitely relate to the beating pulse behind Town & Train, James K. Moran’s debut novel.

Taking place in a small, financially strapped Canadian town in the early 90s, Moran captures the wanderlust of both his teen and adult characters while simultaneously adding elements of Peter Straub and Stephen King into the mix. His invention of a supernaturally clouded locomotive, helmed by an evil shape shifting conductor is, also, certainly unique.

Unfortunately, while Moran definitely has talent, he lacks certain cohesive skills as an author, at this point in time. Much of the narrative here brims with awkwardness. This result is that, while he seems to know them well, his characters, ultimately, never truly come alive on the page. His ways of parlaying information about the town are odd, as well. Deep historical facts are planted in passages about both longtime residents and teen members of the community, giving off the vibe that everyone in this narrative is a historian, something which hardly seems possible.

While, Moran, nicely, tries to tackle issues of homophobia here, exploring the struggles of a bisexual police officer, this intent, also, falls a bit flat. It is not just the town’s hoods who use words like “fag” and “faggy”, but the narrative’s young hero, John, is often prone to use those terms, as well. This lessens the effect of Moran’s seeming point of ignorance, and, also, renders John’s toughened stance at the end of the novel a bit moot.

Still, Moran fares better as the novel gains steam and he creates some tense, nicely accomplished scenes of horror as he races towards the conclusion. It does seem odd that the death of one major character is kept almost entirely off the page during the interesting climax, especially considering the amount of attention that Moran pays to other details.

Thus, in the state it’s in now, Town & Train reads more like a noble failure than a truly successful excursion into social anthropology and fright. But, thankfully, there is enough of interest here to make one long to read a revised version of this tale. Moran, also, seems to be someone worth reading more of, whatever the project may be, once the kinks in his style are finally worked out.

Town & Train is published by Lethe Press, a publisher with a variety of very interesting queer genre books among their offerings. Dive into their impressive catalog at http://www.lethepressbooks.com.

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Bad CGI Friday’s: Nightmares and Dreamscapes (2006)

Published November 28, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

CGI2
If there is anything more shocking than a half naked John Boy in the Autopsy Room 4 entry of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes, it has to be the sight of an obviously computer generated snake as it strikes out at its prey in that very same episode.

But you have to admit that, as a man in his late 50s (when the show was filmed), actor Richard Thomas (Battle Beyond the Stars and The Waltons, as referenced above) is looking pretty good. Spending the majority of the episode with flanks (etc..) bared on an autopsy table, Thomas fills his role, a war wounded businessman put in a death resembling coma by above said snake, with hard won regret and humor.

Greta romances, Thomas sleeps!

Greta romances, Thomas sleeps!

Thus, Thomas’ efforts and the elegant presence of Greta Scacchi (as a medical official gone giddy with love) help make this one of the better (if comically drawn out) entries in this occasionally lackluster TNT mini-series from 2006. And, of course, there is always that snake!

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Holy Bloody Confetti! Chatting with the Chicago Cast of Carrie, The Musical!

Published June 11, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

CARRIE
I left my prom dress at home – but the kind cast of Bailiwick Chicago’s production of Carrie, The Musical still allowed me to chat with them after a recent show.

Carrie, the Musical runs through July 12th, 2014 in Chicago at the Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. Further information is available at http://www.bailiwickchicago.com.

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

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan