Beautiful Stranger

The Countess comes to Liverpool…

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We’ve been talking to Liverpool Pride about bringing queer horror to a scouse audience and they could not have been more excited. As a result, one of our favourite movies EVER is coming to Picturehouse at FACT for Halloween. Well, the day after to be precise. On Wednesday 1st November 2017 ‘Daughters of Darkness’ will be screened to an unsuspecting audience. This under-appreciated gem needs a new audience… and we’re hoping people crawl out of their crypts to enjoy it. But why?

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“I’m just an outmoded character, nothing more. You know, the beautiful stranger, slightly sad, slightly mysterious, who haunts one place after another. Two weeks ago in Nice and Monte Carlo, two days ago in Bruges….”

The gays love a tragic heroine. Throw in the glamour of this beautiful shadow of a woman languishing in the heat of the South of France, sipping cocktails and longing to be eternally youthful and you’ve got camp dynamite. Only we don’t pick up The Countess in Nice or Monaco, but in a rainy, out of season, desolate hotel in Ostend. However we do get languishing, we do get cocktails (of the troubling green variety), and we do get a tragic figure… if not a heroine, then a timely echo of the youth-obsessed culture we’re more immersed in than ever…

Countess Elizabeth Báthory doesn’t fill her face with Botox to maintain a youthful glow – but the blood of virgins. By any means necessary. She swans across Europe, her cape billowing in the wind, shimmering in an impossibly glam outfit that she got from Marlene Dietrich, with her companion du jour at her side. Right now it’s Ilona, the glum-faced young beauty styled after Louise Brooks. The Countess isn’t particularly interested with finding a hunky young man to carry her hat boxes and tuck her in at night (or should that be at dawn?), but with nubile young women just desperate to be plucked from a life of patriarchal servitude and treated to a life of luxury, trailing on her aristrocatic fur coat-tails from one penthouse to the next. Only Ilona doesn’t look too happy about it. At one point she even moans “You call this living?” The Countess, obsessed with the surface beauty of eternal youth and bourgeouis excess, fails to acknowledge that she’s not saving enslaved women and liberating them – she’s just taking them out of the frying pan and plonking them mid-sizzle into her cool blue fire. She doesn’t particularly care whether they like it or not, they just have to match her purple ostrich feather ensembles and look good on her arm at the ambassador’s party.

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If Ilona hates the ‘life’ she’s been blood-sucked into then her luck might just be in. Because when we check in with the vamps we meet newlyweds Stefan and Valerie, fresh off an overnight train having had a whirlwind marriage, en route back to England where Valerie is to meet Stefan’s formidable mother. But all is not what it seems. Stefan is a sadistic misogynist who believes women should do his bidding, and Valerie is far from happy. Stefan is also keeping a pretty big secret about his Mother – one I won’t spoil here but let’s just say the film’s queer credentials don’t end at Sapphic vampirism…

So begins a ridiculously camp and stylish tale of the seduction of Valerie by Countess Elizabeth. Made in 1970 (released in 71), the film is loaded down with problematic attitudes to both women and homosexuality. But never let that get in the way of a good horror film. Especially one as beautiful as this. Delphine Seyrig – the best damn Marlene Dietrich you’re gonna get post-Marlene Dietrich – imbues her immortal lesbian vampire with both a coquettish brass nerve and a sad, longing vulnerability. In a film with more than its share of humdinger lines and hammy performances she’s shockingly plausible as a seductress, and engaging to the very end. Whether she’s spreading her sparkly cape to warm the chilled shoulders of her shivering charge and resembling a Weimar-era giant bat in the process, or recounting graphic tales of torture whilst sipping her crème de menthe in the hotel bar, you just cannot get enough of her. She carries the film, with the other players curled at her feet. Eagle-eyed viewers of a certain age may notice that posh-boy-wifebeater Stefan is played by John Karlen, who smartened up his act ten years later, got a job on a building site and married Mary Beth in the role of Harv in Cagney and Lacey. Or you might just be too distracted by his ever-so-short tomato robe and slippers. Not to mention the fact that he treats poor Valerie like absolute dirt.

But rest assured he gets his comeuppance. This being a 70s Eurotrash lesbian vampire movie, it’s not long before Valerie falls under the spell of the Countess. Ilona, for all her whingeing, isn’t going to be happy about that – and neither is Stefan. The blood flows in some of the most awkward and inexplicable death scenes you’ll ever witness. For softcore horror fans – don’t be put off by this. The blood is minimal. However there’s plenty of nudity, with an impromptu naked moon dance from Ilona that has to be seen to be believed.

You’ll come out scratching your head – what was the film saying? Was it demonizing misogyny, the aristocracy, or was it aligning homosexuality with deviance and decadence? Or was it subverting the genre with the marabou slipper suddenly on the other foot as the Countess toys with Stefan’s masculinity and casts him aside to swoop in on his new bride? Maybe you’ll still be under the spell of the Countess and you won’t care. Whatever happens, sit back and let this languid, beautiful movie wash over you.

Fans of Screaming Queenz will remember our podcast on the movie. But if you haven’t heard it then click away below. There are spoilers so beware…

Get your tickets for this screening here. We’ll be there, possibly in our purple ostrich feathers. Come and get your teeth into it and we’ll have a good old laugh in the bar after!

http://www.fact.co.uk/whats-on/current/halloween-at-fact-with-liverpool-pride-flis-mitchell.aspx

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Bottoms up…

JL

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Previously, on Screaming Queenz…

We’ll be back after our little Summer break next week. Meanwhile have you caught up on all our podcast episodes so far? Here’s a selection for your delectation. A mix of vampires, witches, Italian slashers and good old-fashioned monster movies. All of them come with an unhealthy dose of camp humour, poor taste and disgusting language!

From Peter Cushing to porno, the references for Fright Night come thick and fast…

So who the fuck died and made the Babadook a gay icon? With a little help from The Village People we decipher just why this demonic children’s fable cashed in on the pink pound…

Who knew the eternally young Lost Boys would ever hit 30? Well they just did, so reminisce with big hair, 80s power rock, and the dark underbelly of Hollywood paedophiles…

Which witch are you? A badass 90s high-schooler or a psychadelic 70s lesbian with a penchant for S&M? Check out our two-parter on witches in horror, both parts here:

Do you like giallo? We love giallo. What the fuck is giallo? Find out here:

There’s like 37 more episodes for you to get your teeth into over on SoundCloud but you can also hear them via Podbean and Itunes, links below. So listen, laugh, loathe if you must. Get in touch and let us know your thoughts, get me on twitter @jonnylarkin or email us at Screamingqueenz@gmail.com!

JL

http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/screaming-queenz/id1070845275?mt=2

Five Desperate Women!

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OK so there is no exclamation point in the original title of this TV movie from 1971, but surely it deserves one? Growing up a queer teenager with a love for glossy American soaps like Dynasty and Melrose Place, there were two words that would set my little gay heart alight at the mere hint of them. Aaron Spelling. So confronted with the possibility of a proto-slasher TV movie produced by the very man himself – and starring Stefanie Powers to boot – you could colour me very excited.

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Having struck up a Twitter friendship with the fabulous Amanda Reyes and invested in her amazing book, ‘Are You In The House Alone: A TV Movie Compendium’, my trawl through American TV movies with a campy horror edge had to begin with this gem. The premise is simple – five female friends head out to a remote island for their college reunion. Only an escaped lunatic is on the loose and looks set to pick them off one by one. So far, so slasher. But remember this is 1971, and apart from Bay of Blood (Mario Bava), slasher movies as we know them were still in their infancy. This, coupled with the fact that a TV movie couldn’t get away with showing explicit gore, nudity or a particularly high body count, meant that ‘Five Desperate Women’ would be low on the kills and the blood.

But what it’s high on is the camp! The cast of five women consists of Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart), Joan Hackett, Jill Sommars, Denise Nicholas and the fabulously named Anjanette Comer. In that lineup you get a Southern belle drunkard, an effortlessly stylish lady of colour, a sardonic cynic, and a mentally unstable pathological liar. You can’t go wrong. Particularly when these ladies dress to impress in the best that early 70s beach-wear has to offer. Think Biba-60s it-girl by way of middle class housewife chic and you’re halfway there. In fact here’s some devastating imagery to better explain!

Our ladies are taken to the island by captain Meeker (Bradford Dillman), a shifty drifter type who’s immediately set up as the would-be killer. But once they get to the island and meet the more heroic and affable handyman Wylie – played by Robert Conrad – it becomes obvious to us hardened horror hounds that the more placid, respectable male eye candy is the one to watch. Eagle-eyed queer viewers like myself will also have one extra advantage on their side when sniffing out the bad guy. In the prologue we see the escaped convict bump off an unsuspecting man on a beach, but to keep the villain’s identity a secret we only ever see him from the waist down. To put it mildly, Captain Meeker’s posterior doesn’t match up to the killer’s, so we know the minute we see Wylie’s peachy behind that he must be the psycho!

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Like any good TV movie, Five Desperate Women is efficient in its pacing. It only has one hour ten minutes (if you take out the ad breaks) to get the job done so there is no messing around. But there’s still time for some great character development as we see dippy Dorian (Hackett) become overly attached to a stray dog and go off at the deep end in glorious camp fashion when it meets a grisly end. Spoiler – she’s also the killer’s first female victim, meeting her maker in a surprisingly scary strangling scene.

Meanwhile the other ladies turn to booze and histrionics to cope with the realisation they’re stuck on an island with a crazy person. The only way off is their boat, which of course explodes before they can reach it. So faced with spending the night here they actually do all the right things – namely they lock both men out of the house and hunker down to wait for daylight and tomorrow’s supply boat. This gives us time for some juicy dialogue between surprisingly well drawn and brilliantly acted (except for a dodgy Southern accent) characters.

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So whilst we don’t get a Michael Myers style stalk and slash massacre we do get all of the camp fun vintage TV boxes ticked. One inexplicable moment, which can only have come from a misguided attempt to eek out the tension, shows Mary Grace (Sommars) being strangled by Wylie whilst the three remaining women simply stand there and throw rocks! After almost a minute of head-scratching they do finally leap to their friend’s rescue and club the villain to death. But what the hell took them so long? Were they so whacked out on Dorian’s valium and vodka that they couldn’t bring themselves to bare their claws?

A minor quibble. Five Desperate Women is a fabulous way to pass an hour or so and well worth the watch for fans of big hair, big female voices and a nice build of tension and drama. See it here in all its VHS glory:

Thank you Amanda Reyes for bringing this gem to my attention. Grab her book here:

JL

 

The Love Witch Review

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Sashaying her way on to Blu Ray/VOD this week is Anna Biller’s ‘The Love Witch.’ Starring Samantha Robinson, this technicolor treat for the eyes follows Elaine, the titular witch, as she travels from San Francisco to small town California to start a new life and find… you guessed it. Love.

Elaine’s got a past. As the film progresses at a sometimes problematic leisurely pace, we learn that Elaine suffered mental abuse at the hands of her husband who put her down and made her feel worthless. So to counter that she did the only logical thing a woman could do and joined a coven of witches housed in a San Francisco strip joint. So what made her flee Frisco for small-town life? I won’t spoil that.

Suffice to say Elaine just wants to be loved – and what better way to find l’amour than to use love potions and cast her spell over every eligible man she can find. I use the term eligible loosely as we come to realise that Elaine is not above stealing another woman’s man. But Elaine needs all-encompassing, heart-pounding, Mills and Boons love… and we soon come to realise that most of these macho men just ain’t up to the job. A woman knows how to survive the floodgates opening and her emotions taking over – but a man? As we come to find out, fellas just can’t handle it. And the bodies start to pile up…

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To say this film is camp would be an understatement. Viewers queer and otherwise are in for an indulgent delight with a film bathed in hot pinks and reds. The sets, the wardrobe, the make-up and even a used-tampon burst with colour. Much has been made of this film paying tribute to Russ Meyer and Roger Corman but for me the stylistic influences were more Suspiria than Supervixen. The witchcraft element will forever be linked to the Argento classic, but with the spells and potions aside this is a massive nod to sexploitation and eurotrash cinema.

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Giallo fans will no doubt spot the soundtrack references – The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh being one of them, and it’s undeniable that Samantha Robinson comes across like the love-child of Edwige Fenech and Lana Del Rey. She disrobes plenty, but the nudity is played as a tease more than anything. And restoring the balance just a little, Anna Biller’s lens lingers on the male flesh just as much as the female. Elaine’s first seduction, Wayne, played by Mad Men and daytime soap star Jeffrey Vincent Parise, puts his pert butt on display more prominently than Elaine does in their first sex scene. And the eventual love interest and romantic hero Detective Griff (Gian Keys), has all the square-jaw, twinkly-eyed, wavy-haired matinee idol chops to make the most hardened heterosexual male admit he’s swoonsome!

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Biller uses a dainty dessert fork to poke at the gender politics of the 60s and 70s. In one scene Elaine advises her best friend Trish that women should be every fantasy sex doll their man wants and needs. But no more than 20 minutes later she’s got a dead hunk on her hands because he was just too weak to be the man she needed. For good measure she then waves a bloody tampon in front of the camera to remind us that The Love Witch won’t be bringing us our morning paper and getting on her knees for Steak and BJ Wednesday any time soon.

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It’s lovingly crafted, expertly so by Anna Biller who had a hand in the set design, the costumes, the paintings on the walls of Elaine’s sumptuous gothic apartment, not to mention writing and directing AND putting together the score. The Love Witch is a triumphant work of art, although I do think it could have been 20 minutes shorter. But then I think that of most films being released these days. The pace did suffer from lingering a little too much on minor details – but when they look this good you can’t really complain.

Not if you know what’s good for you…

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(JL)

Sleazy Does It – Deviating with D’Amato

Last night I thought I’d treat myself to two of Joe D’Amato’s notorious sleazy horrors from 1979/1981. This is the guy who brought us the wonderfully titled ‘Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals’. So you can imagine what I was letting myself in for.

I caught Emanuelle last year and loved it so I thought I’d treat myself to the 88 Films releases of Beyond the Darkness (1979) and Absurd (1981). Having done minor research on both I knew Absurd, an original video nasty, was held in high esteem by fans of all things sleazy and bloody. But surprisingly I preferred Beyond…

Absurd is basically a Halloween copy, only without the expert tension and atmosphere. What you do get is some nasty splatter – think guts ripped out on spiky fences, nurse with needled drilled into temple, babysitter crisped up in the oven. All good stuff and seriously unpleasant. It’s hampered by some very shoddy pacing though, and I had to keep checking I hadn’t accidentally watched a 3 hour director’s cut. The 94 minute run time dragged thanks to scenes where it took every character about 10 minutes to actually do… well, anything. But I do recommend for splatter fans if only for the gore. And queer/female viewers with bad taste in men (like me) – George Eastman, regular D’Amato collaborator who wrote this piece of work, also plays the killer and is a great hulking wall of man meat.

Beyond the Darkness, on the other hand, was a far more enjoyable watch. Kieran Canter plays Italian playboy Frank, who lives with a pervy Mrs Danvers-style housekeeper, Iris, who likes to breast feed him. The film opens with Iris making a voodoo doll of Frank’s beloved wife, causing her slow death in a hospital bed. Insane with grief, Frank steals her corpse, embalms it in a very nasty autopsy scene complete with entrails and guts, and keeps the corpse for sexy funtime. Obviously he is discovered and things get messy – fingernails yanked out with pliers, bodies dismembered and flung with gay abandon into acid baths, and even some casual cannibalism thrown in for good measure. Add to this a rather funky score by Goblin and this was the clear winner of the two.

D’Amato’s ‘Emanuelle’ cannibal outing is also available on Blu Ray via 88 Films, and that certainly doesn’t suffer from a slow pace. It also doesn’t concern itself with any kind of moral compass so if you’re looking for sleaze of the highest order I’d put that at the top of your chopping list.

Here are some lovely offensive photographs from all three, and yes that is Emanuelle fingering a girl in a straight-jacket.

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Screaming Queenz 2: Martin’s Revenge

Welcome to Series 2 of Screaming Queenz. Listen to our new episode on ‘Neon Demon’ and you’ll be surprised to find that bitch Martin Fenerty has stolen my slot and is hosting the show! I plan to claw my way back, maybe take him from behind with a straight razor and gut him like a little gay fish.

I’m just kidding. I wouldn’t dirty my blade on him. We decided that for our second series we’d change it up. You’ll be hearing a whole lot more from Martin, Jon and Stephen as we go along.

Why did I decide to break the show up into series’ (or seasons you might want to say – that’s fine if you’re American) you might ask? No reason in particular, other than it being an excuse to find some new soundbites for the opening music and give us a reset button moment. A way to start again, go bigger and better. When I was a kid one of the queer nerdy things I used to love was waiting to see the new opening credits on a new series of Melrose Place, or Buffy, or The X Files (which never happened, well not until I stopped watching it and they brought in replacements). So this was my way of creating my own version of that. God I’m pathetic. And I love it.

Keen-eared listeners will spot familiar soundbites in there. Some not so familiar. You can think of the opening credits as a mission statement, an action plan, a promise, or maybe a threat, of things to come in the new run of shows. We’ve barely scratched the tip of the queer horror iceberg in series 1. So much still to cover.

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Psycho, for instance, the ultimate in repressed sexuality brought to startling life in bloody monochrome. The cross-dressing Norman declaring that “a boy’s best friend is his mother”. Bless him. We all know where he’s coming from. Even the queens who’ve lost their mother, through fate or through design, find a best friend in a patriarch. It could be Cher cooing you to sleep through a vocoder. It could be Auntie Mame cuddling you close as she gives you your first sip of a dirty Martini. Or, indeed, it could be the malicious bitch you just poisoned, skinned and stepped into to create a better, more glamorous version of Mummy. We need to talk about Norman. And we will. Once that psychiatrist gets through explaining the ins and outs of this weird little perversion he calls transsexualism. Of course we don’t think it’s perverted. Or maybe we do and that’s why we identify with it so much? We all go a little pervy sometimes.

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Speaking of pervy, just how many jockstrap references did Victor Salva squeeze un-lubed into his Jeepers Creepers movies? I mean seriously, a serial killing demon who likes to sniff the soiled underwear of teenage guys before ingesting their vital organs to make himself whole again? Anyone would think this stuff was written by a letchy old dirtbag. Oh. Wait. Either way we’re covering Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 at some point down the line and we will leave no stone unturned in the debate that rages now in the horror community. Is watching these movies – and the imminent sequel – immoral in the wake of the scandal that surrounds their creator? Or should art be judged on its own merits and not those of the dirty old man behind the curtain? Which leads nicely to a love of mine I want to explore in the coming year.

Childhood horror the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Dorothy returned to Oz. When little Fairuza Balk – before she tore up the screen as uber-bitch-in-charge Nancy in The Craft – was strapped to a table about to be pumped full of electro shock therapy, the target audience cowered. The parents complained. The popcorn was ditched and eyes were shielded. But little horror-loving queens like me sat up and took notice. The promise of horror from Wizard of Oz’s Miss Gulch never quite delivered. I wanted her to track down Toto and make a little hot dog too. Anyone else? Just me? Okay I’ll take that. But what did you love as a child? What horrors crept out of that screen and thrilled you when all your friends were crying in the corner? And what went too far? That episode of ‘Hammer House of Horror’ with the hitch-hiker doppelganger and the long black fingernail STILL haunts me to this day. As does the phone-call to babysitter Jill asking if she’s checked the children in ‘When a Stranger Calls’. But it didn’t land me in therapy. It landed me in bed with my aunt and uncle terrified of the shadows but wanting more!

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If you’re reading this then I want you to send me your favourite childhood horror – whether it thrilled you or terrified you I want to know. So tweet me at @jonnylarkin, or email screamingqueenz@gmail.com. Or just comment below.

There’s a fabulous line in the new opening montage. “Ursula Andress belongs with the transvestites, not the perverts!” It is, of course, an excerpt from the giallo ‘Bird with the Crystal Plumage.’ Giallo is something we all discovered quite recently at Screaming Queenz. We dipped our toe last year and our downloads went through the roof. Since then we’ve covered more gialli and the new series will be no different. In fact we’ll be covering so much Italian crime horror that we thought it only fitting to include the afore-mentioned snippet in our theme song. Not only did we find a subgenre oozing style and slightly misogynistic charm, we found a wading pool overflowing with campness and complex, sometimes problematic queer chops.

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For the uninitiated a giallo is an Italian pulp thriller with heavy gothic horror overtones. Mainly from the 60s and 70s and then petering out in the 80s, and hailing from Catholic, macho Italy, it’s no surprise these films are laden with women being sliced and diced and often falling into the category of victim, pervert or predator. Nothing scares a macho 70s heterosexual male more than a woman he can’t fuck, a woman he can’t save, or a woman who wants to bump him off!  But scratch the surface and there’s a much more complicated narrative to explore. To write these works of art off as cheap sleazy exercises in bigotry and misogyny would be lazy. And also a travesty if you like your horror camp, kitsch and genuinely shocking. You’d be missing out on so many treats – and one of the few subgenres of horror to feature gay men and women – and trans characters – in prominent roles. Admittedly the roles range from vacuous to offensive but there are gems to behold. And we’re here to pick them out just for you.

So we hope you’ll stick with us into our second series. I don’t want to give too much away at this point but we’ve got surprises planned, although we won’t be messing with the formula too much. If it ain’t broke, don’t cut the fucker up. But as ever want your feedback. Email, tweet, whatever. Get mad.

We all go a little mad sometimes…

(JL)

 

 

New Year’s Evil

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Ah New Year’s Eve! That time of year when every Tom Dick and Harry puts together their list. 2016 in review. The year we realised the world wasn’t going mad anymore. It was already drooling into its oatmeal ahead of a date with Dr Electro-shock. Well before it smears ‘Help me’ in its own excrement on the nearest white surface let me chime in.

This horror nerd had a great year. It was 12 months where we took our little podcast and got us a following, and we’re ending 2016 with over 2500 downloads. In 12 months? That ain’t bad going.

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Today I thought I’d try and cram in some of the more recent horrors so I could put together a review of my own but, having only been mildly entertained by Starry Eyes, and bored rigid by the overwritten script in Green Room, I’m not really in the mood to do that anymore. I might just sit back and watch the Criterion Blu Ray of Cat People instead. This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed what’s been on offer this year. Don’t Breathe was a particular pleasant surprise. And we will get round to posting our Neon Demon podcast in January…

Before that I’d like to thank my gorgeous co-podcasters for helping me realize an ambition and also letting me indulge them in their supreme geekdom. We’ve learned as the year has progressed and I’m sure as 2017 swings round we’ll keep learning.

One of the more surprising things I learned this year is that I shouldn’t call Barbara Crampton a scream queen. The irony of this is I’d never heard of her before Jonathan Butler chose her as his scream queen of choice for our Scream Queen special. See how many times I said scream queen there? I’m going to say it as much as possible whenever and however I like. You see the funny thing is, when you grow up queer, you learn about the importance of language and context. You learn the power of words and how they can be used in such different ways by different people. You learn that not everything is so black and white. Somebody screaming ‘queer’ at me in the street before throwing a brick… that’s bad. But somebody kissing me all over my face and handing me a drink and saying ‘where the fuck have you been you queer, you were supposed to be here an hour ago!’ That’s good. You might think that sounds obvious and maybe a little patronising. But hey that’s the world we live in. Apparently we all need to be taught to suck eggs because we’re so stupid we don’t understand things like context.

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I don’t make a habit of spelling things out for people so it ends there. Let’s just say, when I call somebody a Scream Queen, that word I’m using, queen, is something that comes with a crown atop its head, it’s a term of endearment, of power. So when you come to me and accuse me of denigrating, of reducing, of demeaning? Well you better just give me the money back I paid for your DVDs, your signed picture, or indeed, that new extension you just got built on your third home in the Hollywood hills. But hey. No shade. We’re all about the love. Honest.

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But hey, each month there’s a new term, a new word, a new name even, that has been adopted by sycophants and keyboard warriors to plaster on a meme or a banner as being offensive. Shit happens. And it will continue to happen in 2017.

What will also continue is our amazing little podcast. We’re the best queer horror cast out there and if you haven’t listened yet then come on! Get your shit together. We don’t sit talking about dicks and wigs and makeup for the whole hour. We’re serious horror fans. We know our shit. So it’s OK for you to listen to it if you’re not queer too. You might even learn something. You probably won’t. But you’ll laugh with us, I’m sure, and you may hear of a horror movie you haven’t seen yet and seek it out.

I’m so excited for the coming year. We’ve got more giallo, we’ve got more cult classics, we’ve got guest spots lined up (two of whom share the surname La Rue, how weird is that), and we’ve got a stack of DVDs and Blu Rays waiting to be watched, enjoyed, berated, and watched again.

We love you for listening. And we hope you love us. Screaming Queenz need the most love.

All episodes available here:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/screaming-queenz/id1070845275?mt=2

Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/screaming-queenz

Podbean: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/screamingqueenzpodcast

We thank you from the bottom of our bleeding hearts 😉

JL @jonnylarkin

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LUCKY 13! Our first series of podcasts all in one place…

Having reached our 13th episode and 1000 downloads it felt a good time to look back over the podcasts so far. We started out experimenting to see if we were actually any good at this – and it turns out we’re kinda cool!

I always felt I had something to say about the genre that came from a personal place. Whether it was reminiscing about my childhood via my love of horror movies, or looking at them through the queer lens that a lot of horror fans might never have looked through before… I knew I wanted to do something. I don’t have the ego or the inclination to get on camera and subject the Youtube-going public to my ramblings. So I thought a podcast was a happy medium. Less invasive. More low-key. And you can get away with using audio clips more! Plus we can now secretly send out soundwaves that will do this to all the people we hate…

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If you go back to the beginning with the Hammer Horror episode, we’re still finding our feet and the flow isn’t quite there yet. But we still riff on everything from Ingrid Pitt’s lesbian temptress in The Vampire Lovers to the camp count Karnstein in Twins of Evil. Not to mention hissy sissy Baron Meinster and his fierce almost-drag mother the Baroness in Brides of Dracula. Our guest podcaster Stephen Blundell talks about that cosy feeling that comes from watching Hammer late at night as a young boy with a taste for fangs, reanimated corpses and misty graveyards.

Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-2-hammer-horror/

The good thing about having a mix of ages, ranging from 25 to… well, last time I checked Martin was 103, is that our conversations throw in references from very different times in the genre’s history. So when we’re talking Video Nasties in Episode 3, not only do you have Stephen Moore being brand new to a lot of the titles like Driller Killer and Island of Death, but you also get Martin Fenerty’s personal touch. He was there when the Video Nasty madness first kicked in. And even more interesting, he was around when Liverpool had its very own grindhouse cinema. Not only do we laugh at the non-PC attitude towards gays, drag queens and lesbians across a lot of the video nasties, poke fun at the horrendous, tasteless Nazi-sploitation of Ilsa She Wolf of the SS, and cringe at the rape-revenge ‘feminism’ of I Spit On Your Grave, but we also get a little political. It’s hard not to when you come from one of the cities that was hit hardest by Thatcher’s iron lady-fist, the same one that smashed up our working class haven – the VIDEO SHOP – and told us what we could and couldn’t watch.

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-3-video-nasties/

Creepshow was a staple of my local video shop. And it was also where I developed a crippling fear of cockroaches! It’s the centre piece of the Anthology/Portmanteau episode that goes back to the Amicus titles like Tales from the Crypt but also brings you bang up to date with VHS and ABCs of Death. Sometimes we let the queer angle slip and just wanna talk horror whether it’s campy or not. But what a pleasant surprise I got when I settled down to Tales from the Crypt for the first time and was greeted with Joan Collins murdering her husband on Christmas Eve, rocking the smoky eye make-up and decanting blood into a champagne flute to save on the cleaning bill!

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-4-portmanteau-horror/

I’ll let you in on a secret. Well it’s not so secret. We podcast from my house, and more specifically, my BAR. So when we sat down to record a mammoth 4 hour epic on the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the gin and the beer was flowing all damn night. We split that talk into three episodes. Going back to the video shop – and I always do – the poster for Nightmare 2, with Freddy towering over the school bus, is a relic of my childhood. I would gaze up at that thing over the desk at the video shop and wish so badly that I could have it. I didn’t get it. But I did get the movie. And seeing as I was about 9 at the time I finally got to watch it, it was still a little too early for me to realise I was looking at one of the most homosexual pieces of film ever made.

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If you’re a fan of this blog, or the podcast, you’re no stranger to the world of jockstraps, leather bars and sweaty 80s hard-body boys that is Nightmare 2. But let’s face it the whole series had a kinda queer edge. The campness of Nancy’s mom in the first movie, who Jonathan Butler describes as being “the colour no other human has ever been”, is enough to give this film cult queer status alone. But add to that a young Johnny Depp rocking a crop top and an ass that won’t quit and you’ve got a rainbow-coloured night in front of the TV right there. And as the series progresses to 80s power rock, shitty celebrity cameos and Kelly Rowland using the term ‘faggot’, there is much for a queer audience to chew the fat on. And that we did. You can hear how drunk we got particularly in part 3 of the Freddy podcast.

Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-5-nightmare-on-elm-st-1-of-3/

Here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-6-nightmare-on-elm-st-3-5/

And here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-7-freddys-dead-stop-remaking-him/

By this point it was time to bring things a little up to date so we went in on The Witch, The Boy and Netflix horror Hush. And we also managed to go in on the increasingly irritating multiplex cinema crowd that, for me, are ruining the movie-going experience. Put your God damn phone away, forget social media for 90 minutes and lose yourself in the movie for God’s sake! Or is it just me? Am I getting old? Don’t answer that.

Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-episode-8-black-philip-is-my-homeboy/

Maybe I was just gunning for an argument from being wound up by the noisy cinema crowd when I brought up the idea of a 2-part special looking at horror movies everybody totally loves… that we hate. The Shining, The Exorcist, Cabin in the Woods and Coppola’s Crapula, sorry DRACULA, come under fire, but we’re not unanimous on these choices. I mean… hear the passive aggressive tone in my voice when Stephen Moore disses the Exorcist. I didn’t spit pea soup but I did jam a crucifix up his ass. And he loved it. Not as much as we love Chris Hemsworth in Cabin… but you’ll have to listen to the show to see how filthy we get over him.

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-ep-9-classic-horror-says-who-part-1/

And here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/classic-horror-says-who-part-2/

Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno follow. Our first real foray into Italian horror. The beautiful, operatic world of the witchy dance school in Suspiria is like a queer fever dream in itself. Argento’s giallo movies are subject of an upcoming episode but for now we stick with the supernatural, and we throw in a quick review of The Conjuring 2 as well…

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-ep-11-conjuring-argento/

Many declare Nightmare 2 to be the pinnacle of queertastic horror but I argue that Sleepaway Camp is the queen bitch. I mean. Short shorts. A LOT of short shorts. Skinny-dipping. And that iconic twist ending which basically stuck a finger – or a penis – up at slasher movie conventions in the early 80s. Some think it’s an insane film. I agree. But I also think it’s got giant balls, and most of them are on show through denim!

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-ep-12-sleepaway-camp/

The most recent episode, lucky 13, goes back to witchcraft. Gays love a witch. She’s shunned, but fierce, she wears a lot of black, a lot of drag queen makeup, and the bitch owns her shit. I am, of course, mainly talking about Fairuza Balk in The Craft. But kudos must be given to Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus whether we like the movie or not, and not to mention that beacon of all that is camp and fabulous, Jessica Lange in AHS: Coven.

With Adam Wingard pulling the rug from under us and revealing that his generi-shocker The Woods is actually a Blair Witch sequel, this podcast was eerily timely. It’s almost like we planned it. We didn’t, of course.

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Listen here: http://screamingqueenz.podbean.com/e/screaming-queenz-ep-13-wicca-please-part-1/

If you listen to us back to back from 1 to 13 you’ll see how our rapport grows, how the gin intake increases, but mostly you’ll hear how much we love this genre. The only thing better than watching a horror movie is dissecting it afterwards (NOT DURING, TURN YOUR PHONE OFF) with your friends. Screaming Queenz doesn’t take itself seriously but it takes its horror seriously, and it has a lot of fun doing it.

We’re also on Soundcloud now!

And I’m so lazy I haven’t started a Screaming Queenz twitter yet, so if you have feedback – PLEASE give us feedback – get me on my personal account: @jonnylarkin