So much about Pscyho fascinates me. A balls-out, in-your-face shocker from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, it hit the big screen in 1960 to very mixed reviews. It was seen as a cheap schlockfest, it was seen as scandalous in how it stuck two fingers up to the moral decency code that had made movies keep their clothes on for years, but most of all it thrilled the general public. So no matter how sniffy the critics might have been, it got bums on seats and became the blueprint for every slasher movie that followed over a decade later.

From its opening bars, literally coming at you thanks to the strings of Bernard Herrmann, you know you’re not in for a subtle time. Then the first scene, sliding through an open window on a hot Arizona day to find a couple of lovers half naked and post-coital, sets the tone for a film that is about sex and loneliness. Heroine Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) wants to be respectable and settle down to the life society thinks she should lead, but shock horror she’s in love with the recently separated Sam Loomis (John Gavin) who isn’t divorced yet. So like a pair of adulterers they’re forced to meet in hotel rooms that you rent by the hour for a little afternoon delight. Personally meeting John Gavin for a sex session every week in a stuffy hotel room would suit me down to the ground, but things were very different for an office working female in the 60s.


She’s boiling over, desperate for escape, trapped in a rut by her financial situation and Sam’s. So when opportunity presents itself in the form of $40,000 waved under her nose by a rich Texan, she makes a snap decision that will change her life forever, and dare I say – SPOILER – end it.

Marion jumps from one trap into another, and when she stops at the Bates Motel she meets the shy, awkward but rather gorgeous Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). He’s trapped by his own circumstances – a domineering mother, a life unfulfilled, and his crippling shyness belies a desperate loneliness. In a fantastically written and played scene Norman and Marion compare battle scars of those who are trapped and alone, and Norman convinces Marion to turn on her heels and dig herself out of her hole. But before she can do that, she needs to take a shower. And Norman’s mother isn’t happy to find her son perving over this naked lady as she switches on the hot water and begins to cleanse herself of past mistakes.


Anyone who doesn’t know the twist that comes when Marion hops into the shower has either been living under a rock their whole life or is very lucky. In recording this podcast, Martin was surprised to find his partner Matt was indeed one of the lucky ones. What an absolute thrill to be taken by surprise when the inevitable fate befalls our heroine. That’s the thing with Psycho, there is a sense of inevitability and doom that scores its entire first half. You’re asked to sit and watch as Marion makes mistake after mistake, when all you want to do is reach into the TV and shake her, tell her to keep driving or to go back. But she doesn’t, and that’s what is so shocking. Not only does it make you feel voyeuristic and helpless, it leaves you conflicted. Because when Norman’s got a mess on his hands, you kinda want him to get away with it. A film of two halves that set the bar for shock twists as, we tend to forget, not only does it have the shock shower scene… but there is another twist 10 minutes before the ending, when Mrs Bates shows her bony face.


Hitchcock had a wicked old sense of humour. He took glee and relish in horrifying us whether it was a bird attack on the fabulous Tippi Hedren or a dead body in a trunk whilst the corpse’s loved ones sipped wine and wondered where he’d got to. In Psycho his wicked humour plays out like a carnival ghost train. He tips a wink to the audience whilst traumatising us, which is perfectly summed up in the comedic and macabre trailer for Psycho. Here Hitch takes us around the scene of a crime, beckoning us into darkened rooms, daring us to feast our eyes on the horrors within.

Many rumours exist over the making of Psycho. That Hitch shocked Janet Leigh with cold water in the shower scene, that Anthony Perkins drew from real life (and very disturbing) experience for Norman’s mother/son relationship, and that it was the first movie to ever feature a flushing toilet! Not to mention Marion’s license plate – was it on purpose? To find out give our new podcast a listen. It’s a feature length episode with clips and music aplenty, and one where we discuss everything from Pat Hitchcock’s tranquilisers to the sad death of Anthony Perkins from Aids.


At the heart of it we talk about our love for the movie and just what makes Psycho a bona fide slasher movie to beat them all. Apologies in advance for my constant references to Gavin and Perkins indulging in sodomy. What can I say? They were made for each other!

Get the podcast via iTunes here:


Enjoy. You might need a shower afterwards…




SS Experiment Camp (1976)


“That Nazi’s hot!”

Words you don’t expect to be saying on a drizzly Thursday night in front of the TV. Oh who am I kidding? Give me some Hugo Boss Jack-booted and slightly camp eye candy any day, I’m not ashamed. Blame Helmut Berger, Dirk Bogarde and all the other fine actors who’ve stepped into the leather boots of a morally troubling antagonist over the years, making me question just what it is about these movies I’m so drawn to.

Well sometimes you just want to be appalled by something, don’t you? Sit down to watch A Serbian Film, The Human Centipede, or I dare say Speed 2: Cruise Control and you’ll come out of the room satisfied and dirty and in need of a long hot shower. I get my freak show kicks all over the place but nothing makes you feel quite as wrong as Nazisploitation. Whether its the high end Salon Kitty with its camp Dietrich-cum-Lady-Gaga heroine rubbing oversized shoulder-pads with midget porn and slaughter-house footage, or bad old Ilsa She Wolf of the SS, with Dyanne Thorne looking like Krystle Carrington’s Nazi cousin with her blonde bangs and giant tits… you want nasty, go Nazi.

Salon Kitty alone features so much queer imagery mixed up in its dark maze of fetish and horror that I’ll be coming back to delve deeper into that in a future blog and podcast.

So I finally went for it and grabbed the 88 Films release of SS Experiment Camp. This film reportedly kicked off the ‘video nasty’ scandal, although I could have sworn that honour goes to Driller Killer, but either way the image of a naked girl bound naked upside down under the gaze of an evil Nazi commandant was always going to ruffle feathers. Think of every heartbreaking, infuriating and downright shocking image you’ve ever seen of ‘life’ in a concentration camp. Got it? Okay. Throw that away. Stamp all over any semblance of good taste. Replace the gaunt, emaciated victims of the holocaust with cheap, make-up-covered centrefold vixens, sprinkle in some rape, mutilation and any excuse for bare breasts and you’ve got this film.


Turned off? Repulsed? Horrified? Offended? You should be. The sheer horror loses its power when you see the execution of most of these films. I mean on one hand it makes you even more angry that they were made with such flimsy budgets and flimsier moral compasses, something so weighty, so unbelievably tragic, reduced to a tawdry sex movie with added blood and gore. But on the other hand, you came here to be shocked and offended so pipe down and watch the rest of the damn movie.

If you stick with it you’ll get a damp squib attempt at a love story, a predatory lesbian (obviously), a forced testicular transplant that must be seen to be believed, and – for fellow queer viewers and ladies who like men – you get some damn fine male flesh on show. In my ongoing crusade to re-address the balance in a genre seemingly hellbent on turning women into sex dolls splayed on a slab to be prodded, I’d like to salute the rather beautiful Mircha Carven.


Playing Nazi soldier Helmut, he’s the piercing blue eyed boy of the third reich is considered the most virile of the lot (yeah right, he’s never picked up a Luger in those manicured model hands), and after falling for a female POW during one of the camp’s many sexperiments he becomes the object of the commandant’s unwanted attention. He’s got something the boss Nazi wants – balls, big ones, and he’ll stop at nothing to get them.

No, this really happens. Somewhere amongst the rape and torture and terrible 70s hair, a beautiful man’s balls are at peril. I’m describing it in a way that makes it sound interesting, quirky and exciting, but the execution of this and all the other plot lines is so inept its rendered almost dull. But watch it for Mircha, watch it for the boys in the barracks being coraled to take part in the naked experiments which are carried out – and I quote the marketing of this fine piece of work – “in pursuit of a better tomorrow!”

SS Experiment Camp (Sergio Garrone 1976) 88 Films DVD Screenshot 003

Then go get that shower. You’re gonna need it.


The Love Witch Review


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…


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.


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!


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.


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…



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.


Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

(aka Invasion of the Flesh Hunters and a lot of other titles)

(Spoilers ahead)



I’ll be honest, I had two reasons to track down Cannibal Apocalypse. First up, with a title like that I was sure it would be quality exploitation trash – especially as it was one of the infamous Video Nasties. Secondly, I’ve got a major daddy crush on John Saxon. Ever since Nightmare on Elm Street he turned my head, then his brown-face ‘it’s OK it was the 80s’ portrayal of Rashid Ahmed in Dynasty sealed the deal. He’s a heaving hunk of man flesh.


Cannibal Apocalypse delivered on both counts. Opening in the middle of the Vietnam War, where Captain Norman Hopper (Saxon) storms a POW camp to rescue a couple of soldiers, we’re not even five minutes into the battle when a Vietnamese lady is cannibalised by the POWs… tits first! And it’s not the only time a female character loses her boobs to the chomping of a hungry cannibal. In the middle of the carnage Norman manages to get himself bitten too, but survives the attack. He wakes sweating from a dream a year later, still traumatised by his time in Nam.


Former POW cannibal Bukowski (John Morghen aka Giovanni Lombardo Radice of Cannibal Ferox fame) gets out of hospital and invites Norman out for a drink and a catch up. Bad timing, as Norman’s about to be seduced by jailbait neighbour Mary. A scene that can only be described as sleazetastic ensues, as Mary throws herself at Norman and… he bites her?

Yep, Norman got bit in ‘Nam, by Bukowski, and before long we find out that the bites are contagious. And if you survive a bite, you get carnivorous too! So having been stood up by Norman, Bukowski takes himself off to the local flea pit cinema where he watches a couple getting into some serious heavy petting in the next row. He decides to join in – only he takes it that step further by chowing down on the girl’s neck. All hell breaks loose from here on in…

The cannibal part of the title is more than justified, although when I saw the word ‘apocalypse’ I was thinking more Dawn of the Dead, end of the world type action. Instead we find Norman teaming up with the other cannibals and going on the run. In a strange twist we’re expected to sympathise with the cannibals and not the cops on their trail.

You can read as much or as little into this movie as you like. On the surface it’s a straight up hard-boiled video shop classic, with dodgy dubbing on almost everyone in the cast except Saxon, and some howlers in the script. Whilst Bukowski is holed up taking pot-shots at the cops, the police captain, hard-boiled in the old fashioned sense of the word, demands to know “Is he a subversive, a queer, a black, a commy, a muslim, what the hell is he?”

Cringes and laughs aside, part of me came away wondering if the whole thing wasn’t a metaphor for PTSD. We’re privy to the suffering of Norman and his bity comrades, but the psychological trauma they suffer is met with confusion, apathy and suspicion. They infect all they come into contact with, spreading madness and terror, the horrors they’ve encountered tainting those around them. They’re a lost cause, with no resources or understanding to address the suffering they’ve had all in the name of protecting and serving their country. Sounds familiar… Eerily in the final act, Norman dons his old army uniform and opts to put himself out of his misery so as not to drag out his suffering and that of his wife, Jane (Elizabeth Turner). In an added tragic twist Jane decides to die with her husband, and both hero and heroine go out in a suicide pact. But not to leave us totally depressed, a cheeky last bite comes when we realise jailbait Mary next door and her brother have succumbed to the spreading disease and have got their old aunt chopped up for later in the freezer.

So as an exploitation movie this stands up amongst the best. Director Antonio Margheriti also had a hand in Andy Warhol’s queertastic Frankenstein and Dracula outings. And for a macho blood and guts flick we get plenty of lingering shots on John Saxon in his boxer shorts and later in just a towel. We might actually see more of his tits than any of the ladies. As always he puts in a strong performance clothed or otherwise.


So take from it what you will. A comment on the trauma of war and the devastating after effects on its cannon fodder, or a good old-fashioned beer-and-pizza cannibal flick? I’m happy to see it as both. But then I’m greedy. Now where did I put those entrails?


As always, get me on twitter to vent if you disagree, or just kiss my ass if you love what I do! Either works for me! @jonnylarkin




Euro trash exploitation turns out to be a languid dreamscape oozing queer sensibilities!

Spoilers ahead…

Don’t roll your eyes at me. I know. That title! But in my defense… well there is no defense. A couple of years ago my husband who’s a very talented artist, made my portrait from a collage of VHS covers ranging from The Exorcist to Salon Kitty to… well, Violation of the Bitch. Neither of us had seen it, but a title that lurid and offensive just had to be included in the collage as a token of his love for me. Isn’t that sweet?

So since then I’ve been trying to track it down, and strangely enough since I watched it last night I’ve discovered you can watch it on an array of porn sites across the sticky dirty internet. Thankfully I’d got hold of a copy before I had to watch it covered in pop-ups of Polish housewives flicking themselves off on their kitchen tables. Being the fevered shock-seeking bag of filth I am I sat down waiting to be appalled by a film that carried such a title, only to be pleasantly surprised.


First up, its original title is ‘The Coming of Sin’ and whatever image that invokes for you is probably closer to the film you get than the filth ‘Violation…’ conjures up. The plot is simple. Rich white artist Lorna (Patricia Granada) takes in a simple (yet seductive) gypsy girl called Triana (Lidia Zuazo) whilst her employers are off on a business trip in the UK. Triana is plagued by frightening yet erotic nightmares in which a naked man rides around on a stallion splashing through water. To this viewer that would obviously be more of a wet dream than a nightmare but for some reason Triana is horrified and wakes in terror each time. Almost inexplicably Triana starts to make romantic overtures towards Lorna and thus begins a psycho-sexual drama, complicated further when the naked dream man turns up in the real world, named Chico, and things start to get messy…


Director José Ramon Larraz, Barcelona-born auteur of high trash, was also a doctor of philosophy and fine artist. Not merely an old pervert churning out flesh flicks for the grubby 42nd Street crowd, he managed to score the official British Palme d’Or entry at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival with ‘Symptoms’. The same year his film Vampyres, a lurid tale of lesbian vampirism, was put out to the exploitation market and has since become revered as a cult classic.

‘The Coming of Sin’ was Larraz’s answer to the hugely successful Emmanuelle. Dreamy, languid and running over with arthouse erotic imagery, the film he made was not the film I expected. At one point Triana dreams she is trapped naked and bent double inside a Trojan Horse, with Chico coming up behind her on his stallion, ready to mount. Freud would have a field day, but most softcore porno fans would be left scratching their heads.

Coming at this film from a queer perspective its certainly rich with subversive storytelling. Chico – played by the stunning Rafael Machado – spends just as much, if not more, screen time naked than the female cast members. Astride a stallion splashing through water, green eyes shimmering in the sun, he’s a feast for the queer eye. Aside from that, the exploration of gender roles in this film proved intriguing. Lorna, when not swanning about the place in a fabulous tassled shawl, dons a pants suit and takes Triana out into the real world for an education. After a sashay around the local art gallery, she takes Triana to a flamenco club. Triana, dressed very much like the ‘lady’ of the two, flanks the masculine, suit-wearing Lorna as they watch the flamenco dance. And who should be up there onstage, one in the traditional male garb and the other in a more glamorous flamenco dress? Two ladies.

The men in this movie, for the first half at least, are sidelined, with the male and female roles being played out largely by women. But the threat is always there on the horizon. Chico is looming, balls out, atop his steed, ready to man up their world. Blurring the lines of dream and reality, Chico strides out into the real world and just as you’re thinking that this film might not actually live up to the gaudy ‘Violation’ title it was branded with… he tries to rape Triana.

He then turns up at Lorna’s front door, unfortunately – clothed -and rather than be turned away, shamed, chastised for his rapey ways, he’s invited in! Lorna treats him like her new dark-skinned savage toy, demoting Triana to the role of servant girl. “So what if he tried to rape you, go and make him a coffee!” Not actual dialogue, but not far from it. In fact she scolds Triana for not being so welcoming to her would-be rapist with the classic line, “The least you could do is thank him for returning your necklace!” Lost in translation on the dub? Sadly I doubt it.

After a quick talk on Salomé and John the Baptist – Lorna is determined to educate these lowly gyspsy types – a random three way ensues with Lorna tied to the bed and feasted upon by Chico and Triana at the same time.

But the nightmares continue for Triana – just what is she so scared of? Men? Sex? The film constantly keeps you questioning both the characters’ motives, and those of the director. It’s Spain, in the 70s, you’re not going to get the most forward-thinking, balanced view of sexuality by any means. But surprisingly, lesbianism in the first act isn’t seen as particularly subversive or perverse. Nobody questions it.

In fact Triana was left in the care of Lorna by her previous employers because she bewitched the wife and the husband got jealous. Before and after Chico comes on the scene Lorna is fully in control of her sexuality. She likes women. She likes men. Even when Chico gets aggressive, flips her over in bed and takes her from behind you’re left questioning whether she orchestrated that too. Nothing is simple or straight forward. For a softcore slow paced exploiter it does get your brain ticking over.

Thrown into the melting pot of sin and soft focus we get a hint at the supernatural. Triana’s fear of Chico is explained when she visits a local witch, who re-affirms what Triana has been told before. It’s in her palm, in her destiny, that if she has sexual relations with a man, then someone will die.

Inevitably it happens, with the sexually liberated Lorna falling at the barrels of Triana’s shotgun, blasted to death by the jealous gypsy girl, who then helps Chico bury the body before they ride off on horseback together having helped themselves to her fabulous jewellery collection.

“She was taking advantage of the two of us,” Chico reasons. “They’re all pigs!”

So in the end Lorna must be punished. But for what? For her sexual freedom, or for being the rich white woman who sees the local gypsies as subjects, play-things to dress, educate and manipulate?

Whichever way you look at it, ‘The Coming of Sin’ delivers on its promises. You want nudity? Check. You want dreamy, arty imagery? Check. It’s an exploitation movie from 70s Spain so I’m assuming you want dodgy dubbing? Check check check. In fact Triana appears to have been dubbed by a drunk cockney sparrow.

Type either of its titles into a search engine and you’ll find it. The version I watched, 84 minutes long, comes with cuts unfortunately, one of them being a slightly more explicit rape scene. You’ll fork out about £90 for a dodgy cut DVD on Amazon so I do recommend you seek it out online.

As always you can give me your feedback on twitter @jonnylarkin What did you think of the movie? Do you agree with my take on it? We’ll be sticking with the Spanish theme in a future podcast, looking at the video nasty ‘The Cannibal Man’, so be sure to listen out for that. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for naked swarthy men on horseback, sauntering through the tall grass…



500 Days of Buffy Summers

When talking horror, often the big screen gets all the Glitz, Guts and Glory (holes)… but there’s another slightly smaller screen that can sometimes shine just as bright as Rihanna’s forehead. Television can be absolutely terrifying but if you turn off Piers Morgan there might be a great new horror show for you to sink your teeth into. Horror on TV continues to grow and grow with largely mixed results in quality. But when all is sliced and diced I just can’t help but think “why am I not re-watching Buffy right now?”

OK I realise I sound like I’m about to go on a “back in my day” rant here but…. back in my day we were spoilt by the best horror television show, like ever. I think of Buffy as my first introduction into what horror really is when you scratch the surface. It taught me how the horrors of life and film can in reality just be manifestations of our own fears, worries and doubts. If you feel like your mother is trying to live out her lost youth through you, then what’s to say she isn’t a witch trying to pull a Freaky Friday switch on you. If you feel like no one in school even realises or cares that you exist then maybe you literally will become invisible. If you do finally sleep with that caring loving boyfriend of yours and he suddenly becomes cruel and nasty then what’s to say he isn’t a 300 year old blood sucking vampire intent on killing you and destroying the world.

I could talk for days about the complexities of the characters, the wittiness of the dialogue, the sheer amount of pop culture references, the sense of female empowerment and the fact that Willow and Tara are in my opinion the most realistic portrayal of a gay couple on screen ever. But alas I digress…. it’s time to get back to the pointy end of the stake. What are the big shows of right now doing right and more importantly what are they doing wrong? The library is open.

So first up let’s talk American Horror Story. The acting is superb, the dialogue is witty and the women are fabulous. I am actually a fan, however it’s never good when your promos are better than the actual show. I appreciate that they want to let all of their talented ensemble cast shine but when you try and tell me 57 convoluted storylines in 12 short episodes it becomes hard work to even give a shit about most of the resolutions – which are all squished into the last two episodes anyway.

Then can we discuss that after a genius rendition of ‘The Name Game’ in AHS Asylum, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck thought they were back on the set of Glee. Suddenly this becomes a running theme and we get the fabulous Stevie Nicks appearing in Coven not once but twice just to shoe-horn in two of her greatest hits. We get Jessica Lange’s best David Bowie impression in every bloody episode of Freak Show and then finally we get Hotel, which as Jon Larkin has said previously on the podcast, is just an elongated Lady Gaga music video.

AHS prides itself on it’s reset refresh format from series to series. But as I’ve just highlighted above, so many of the same beats and themes have become repeated that for a show that tries to stay fresh it can fast become a little stale. Then when the inevitable ‘all- the-series-are-actually-linked-in-the-same-universe’ reveal came along it felt more like a kick in the teeth than something new and exciting to add.

The Walking Dead… if there was an award ceremony for generating overhype this show would take all the trophies. Hands up, I was sucked into the first series too. it does have some redeeming characters namely Carol, Michone and Daryl. I’ll even admit it has the best practical effects I’ve ever seen on tv. So now I’ve got the niceties out of the way let’s begin…

A Walking Dead season is typically 16 episodes in length but there are only four worth watching. The first, the two either side of the mid season break and the finale. The rest of the episodes are packed with more filler than The Best Of Nickelback (yes this album actually exists). It’s rather impressive how they have tricked the general public into watching that many episode where absolutely nothing happens and still have them return with the promise of a disappointing outcome to the latest overused cliff hanger. I’m starting to wonder if it’s all a big social experiment to see if The Walking Dead can transform the audience into The Watching Dead. Real people zombified by the banality of the show.

Alas this isn’t it’s only problem. I almost wish it was because there are much bigger flaws. Take for example its central character. Is Rick still good or has the harsh world turned him evil? That is the big question people debate about the show. Well It’s come to my attention that the he’s not switching between the two as he struggles with the concept and ramifications of good vs evil in a post apocalyptic world. No I believe it’s more the writers can’t make up their mind and just get him to behave in whatever way best suits the plot at that particular point even if it makes no sense to his character’s development. Oh and the most universally hated kid in the world is still alive in a show famous for killing all of its characters. They even shot him in the eye only to have him come back every week tempting me to claw out my own eyes… only stopping for the fact I’d be more like him.

And breathe…..

Ok so now I’ve ripped apart the two biggest shows is there actually anything worth watching and if so what?

Well I gave up on Supernatural after the brothers both died for the seventh time and it was apparent they were now solely writing the show for girls who write gay incestuous fan fiction.

I did thoroughly love Hannibal, and was very upset when it got cancelled. The show was beautiful but sometimes it did feel like it was having a self-congratulating jerk-off to its own stylistic approach.

You could watch the OA – it’s the defination of a Marmite show. It blends together sci fi, horror, fantasy in a modern setting and comes out with something rather unique and certainly worthy of a watch.

The Scream TV series was surprisingly good. Yes I’m biased about this as a massive Scream fan but I had no hope for it stretching out into a series and they actually managed it.

The other Screaming Queenz have been giving rave reviews of the Exorcist TV series but my controversial views on the original film have put me off this so far.

Jon Larkin is massive fan of Teen Wolf but as he refers to it as Teen Wank I believe his views are not entirely pure.

Perhaps my view has become more cynical as I’ve become more accustomed to horror. Perhaps I’m viewing Buffy through rose-tinted glasses. Perhaps Buffy really was just that good it’s spoilt me for life. Regardless of the answers I’m happy that If all else fails then I can head back to Sunnydale and dance with the hottest slayers in town…

Please send any hate for me slagging off your favourite tv show to @hste99 on Twitter. 😂😘


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.


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.


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!


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.


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…




New Year’s Evil


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.


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.


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.


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


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…


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.


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!

1 a crypty

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.


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.


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…


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!


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.


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