E is for Ego

E is for Ego.           As his mother I have to take a certain amount of responsibility to the way things came to this. Of course I thought he was the most beautiful, special baby in the whole wide world, and that was something that I told him every day he was growing up. His father thought the same, but really it was me who pushed the image that our son Read more

D is for Darkness

D is for Darkness The cupboard under the stairs had always been a dumping ground for stuff that might be of use, and so over the years it has become quite full. When he shone the torch past the clutter a shiver rippled throughout him, the beam seemed to go way beyond the wall at the back. The rational side of him told him to shut the door on the Read more

C is for clown

Take a lette rof teh alpherbet and write flash horror fiction within half an hour C is for clown. Her name was Fiz, well her name was actually Caroline, but everyone called her Fiz on the account that she was so god damn physically fit! Not that you would recognise Fiz these days, she’s changed. No scratch that, she has transformed into something completely different, not through her own choosing mind. No Read more

B is for Bonsai

Take a letter of the alphabet, write flash fiction within half an hour. B is for Bonsai. The art of Bonsai has always been a passion of mine, the art of keeping something so delicate in a miniature state takes a real skill, not to mention patience and dedication. Gradual manipulation of limbs, breaking and resetting the natural will. It was these skills that came into their own fifty years ago. My Read more

Saluting the Sissy: Part Two

Saluting the Sissy part 2. In his book, The Celluloid Closet, Vito Russo highlights how the character of the sissy has been an obsession of the American movies. From the days of silent films the effeminate actions of the sissy had their origins in the vaudeville, where men dressing up in drag was all part of the collective mixture of stage acts. The drag element would quickly full out of Read more

E is for Ego

E is for Ego.

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As his mother I have to take a certain amount of responsibility to the way things came to this. Of course I thought he was the most beautiful, special baby in the whole wide world, and that was something that I told him every day he was growing up. His father thought the same, but really it was me who pushed the image that our son was the ‘bees knees’ the cat’s pyjamas’ my golden boy. You have to understand that I was only wanting him to have everything I didn’t.

As the father of this monster, I have to say I never saw it coming. My wife idolised the boy and to keep the peace I went along with it thinking that a bit of praise would get him to the top of the pile, but I wanted to discipline him more but was always held back. My wife was never one for corporal punishment, it never did me any harm, now I wish I had beaten some sense into him before it had got to this.

As the family priest I took his confessions, listened to all the terrible ungodly things he said he wanted to do and as my faith dictates, I could do nothing but offer spiritual guidance.

As the teacher I could only request that he be home schooled, passing the buck? You bet yah! It only takes one bad egg to ruin the lives of the other children. Besides, I’m not paid enough to put up with that kind of behaviour, I knew things were only going to get worse and I was not going to be part of it.

As his mate, I was well up for a bit of mischief, hey we were kids, that’s what was expected of us, a bit of smoking weed in the park, playing silly pranks on the neighbours’. You have to believe me I had no idea he would do the thing he did, but then no one was telling him not to.

As the police officer on the scene I was horrified that a boy that age could commit such an act, but as he is under age I can give no further comment.

As the judge I would have sent him down without any possibility for parole, but I have to abide by the letter of the law. Youth custody will only exasperate his ego, in five years he’ll be out, worst then ever. Maybe next time i’ll be able to right this wrong.

As the victim I want to tell him his actions have been life changing in the worst possible way. I had hoped that our meet would make him see the error of his ways, I had hoped he would at least apologies, but all I got was a smirk. My life will never be the same again.

As the child I can do what the hell I like. I am the Ego.

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D is for Darkness

D is for Darkness

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The cupboard under the stairs had always been a dumping ground for stuff that might be of use, and so over the years it has become quite full. When he shone the torch past the clutter a shiver rippled throughout him, the beam seemed to go way beyond the wall at the back. The rational side of him told him to shut the door on the junk and get back to what he was doing, but the niggling voice at the very back of his skull said he really had no choice, he had to go.

And so he began to pull out all the rubbish and dumped it in the hall, with the promise to himself that he would sort through it later, but first he needed to explore the darkness. His mind was taken back to when his older brother would routinely throw his shoes to the back of the cupboard under the stairs and then dare him to venture into the bleakness, telling him it was where the bad things lived.

Taking a deep breath he began to venture further inwards, stumbling over long forgotten rubbish as he went. It was only when he looked back that he realised he had gone deeper then he had wanted too and yet there was further darkness ahead. The walls closed in as he crawled further onwards on his hands and knees. Turning every now and then, the door through which he had came was now a long, long way off: a pinhole of light. The boy he had been a long time ago would have hurried back, but he was a man now, a man who should no longer be afraid to face the darkness, and so he carried on.

The ceiling gradually lowered meaning that now he was now slithering along on his belly.
With great difficulty, he turned his head, but the light through which he came was now a long distant memory, darkness stretched behind him as it did in front with no end in sight and so he carried on crawling.
As he crawled, the light from the torch began to diminish. He knocked it against the side of the wall that now felt harder, solid like the inside of a cave. The light extinguished, forcing him to reach out in blindness as he carried on feeling his way. Gradually the space began to open up, higher and higher until he found he could stand. Searching his pocket he found some matchers, lit one illuminating the walls around him. Marks covered the walls, at first making no sense, as he was staring, the match burnt his fingers, making him let out a yelp, which echoed back, but in a long forgotten voice. Spooked, he tried to reach for his way back but each time he found a wall blocking his escape. Panic filled his head as he grabbed the matches, striking one, but it failed to light, as did the next and the next. Taking a deep breath, he took hold of a match, the last of three in the box. Slowly, carefully he pulled it across the side of the strike pad, the spark fizzed and lit, the bright light showing row upon row of tally score marks chalked into the black walls.
“What the fff…” Before he could finish his sentence, the match once again burnt his fingers, causing him to once again yelp, which was once again echoed, but in a strained, once familiar voice.
Tentatively he pulled out the second match, struck it a light and stared at the marks. Raising the match he saw the wall went up for eternity. He tried to spy for his way back home, only for the match to extinguish before he could make up his mind which way to turn. With just one more match left, he desperately tried again to find a way out. He waited and waited, hoping to wake from this very bad dream, until he gave in and lit the match. Looking down he spied a piece of chalk, “Oh” said a voice he now recognised all to well, as he struck the next tally mark on the wall.

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C is for clown

Take a lette rof teh alpherbet and write flash horror fiction within half an hour

www.evilclowns.org

C is for clown

C is for clown.
Her name was Fiz, well her name was actually Caroline, but everyone called her Fiz on the account that she was so god damn physically fit! Not that you would recognise Fiz these days, she’s changed. No scratch that, she has transformed into something completely different, not through her own choosing mind.
No one has any idea who was behind the nightmare, but there must have been a world wide group involved because the pandemic spread within days. I think Fiz was the first victim. As much as I miss her, I’m glad it was her who answered the door and saw the package, I know, I know, selfish comment, but she is no longer aware of who she was. To be honest, I’m not sure I would be able to tell her in a line up, not that I would want to put myself through that.
I’m running away with myself now, I need to tell you about the package. I guess Fiz thought it was a gift to her, admirers were forever leaving things on the front step, flowers, chocolates, one guy even left her a teapot, I think it was his way of being romantic, “Let’s meet over tea” something like that. It was a lovely teapot, makes a great brew and the spout never drips.
Sorry, I’m transgressing again aren’t I, where was I? Oh yes the package, it was plain brown paper and string, Fiz might have thought that was quaint, you know plain flicker.comand simple, I don’t think Fiz ever had anything plain or simple in her life, ever. She loved to accessories, I know, I’m digressing, but it will help you get a better idea of who Fizz was. Do you know those, Sobranie cocktail cigarettes? Fiz would coordinate her clothes to match the coloured cocktail cigarettes. She would make me laugh, her funny ways. The ironic thing about the whole situation is that she was never particularly funny, never cracked a joke. Don’t get me wrong, she liked to laugh, more of a titter when she’s had a little bit to drink of fizz but never, never loud, not like that time.
I’m running ahead aren’t I. So, it was a Wednesday morning, I was still in bed, so were our flatmates, Posh-Sarah and King Albert, both have excellent breeding but absolutely hopeless in a crises. I heard Fiz shuffling about downstairs, making herself a cup of tea, no doubt she had a pink Sobranie on the go as she always wore pink pyjamas. I then heard her go to the front door and then there was a long silence, I think she was drinking her tea, bit of toast, cigarette. Then I heard this terrible scream. All three of us came running down to see Fiz sitting at the kitchen table, parcel opened in front of her with Fiz herself holding the side of her face; we all thought she had been slapped.
Fiz was more angry then upset, it took a lot to pull tears from her face. She then pointed a finger at the sprung snake and tin on the floor. It was King Albert who picked the tin up. It transpired to be a joke, one of those fake tins that when you shake it you think there’s something inside, Fiz thought it was jewellery or something, but when she opened it out sprung a fake snake, hitting Fiz on the side of the cheek.
None of us thought much more of it, I think privately we all chuckled to ourselves but that was it. It wasn’t until later in the day that I noticed a white streak across Fiz’s face. At first Fiz wouldn’t believe me, she refused to get out her hand mirror to look, (which belive me was a shock in itself!) It was only when I picked up a magazine,Majesty or Posh I think and pretended to read it that I noticed from the corner of my eye Fiz sneaking her mirror out and having a look. She didn’t say anything, she just got up and went to her room. She was in their for an age, I mean it felt like forever. Eventually I tapped on her door and asked if she was okay. Fiz mumbled something then opened the door a fraction. I was shocked at her red eyes, she had been crying. I don’t think she knew what to do, so she just opened the door a little more and showed me the side of her face. The small white mark had spread rapidly, completely covering the side of her face.
I think Fiz was hoping that I wasn’t seeing what she was seeing, but when she quickly realised I did she yelled, pulled me into her bedroom and slammed the door behind me.
I’d never been in Fiz’s bedroom before, It was a lot messier then I imagined, knickers on the floor, a plate with some unfinshed dinner by the foot of the bed and an ashtray filled with multi-coloured tips. Okay, okay, I’ll get on with the story at hand. Together we went through every lotion and potion Fiz had but nothing would remove the white. It was only while she was trying her Joan Malone face wipes that I noticed her lips getting redder. At first I thought it was because she had been rubbing her face so much or that she was having some kind of allergic reaction to all the stuff she had spread across her face.
Fiz must have seen my face because she started to panic, she ran over to her dressing table and tried to scream, but her face just kind of froze. I was watching her transformation from across the room, reflected in the mirror, it was all so surreal, like I was watching something on the television. The red smear grew into a wide grin, while the white covered her whole face, blue stars sprang up and bled across each eye and her perfect nose blew up big and bulbous. I went to take a step closer to Fiz, only for this chilling chuckle gurgled from her open mouth…

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B is for Bonsai

Take a letter of the alphabet, write flash fiction within half an hour.
B is for Bonsai.

photo by afterorangecountry.comThe art of Bonsai has always been a passion of mine, the art of keeping something so delicate in a miniature state takes a real skill, not to mention patience and dedication. Gradual manipulation of limbs, breaking and resetting the natural will. It was these skills that came into their own fifty years ago.
My daughter is as delicate as a lotus flower, as was her mother, but alas her mother was too delicate too survive. It filled my heart with such sadness to know that my beautiful daughter would never know her mother’s love.
It was the shock that I could lose somthing so precious, so easily that made me realise I had to do all I could to protect my daughter.
Have you got children? Yes! Then you will surely understand why I had to do everything in my power to keep her safe.
Please take that look of your face, you are seeing things from the point of view of a world constricted with rules and regulations, but it is these very things precisely that have enabled me to keep my daughter safe. In all the years she has never had an accident and I in turn have never had need to worry.
I home study her, everything she needs to know about the world she has learnt through me.

I believe, deep down she has no understanding of her diffrences, as far as we are concerned her world is normal. Her world is defended against all the horrors that ravarge and steal.
It is my job as a father to protect her. In the beginning I just bound her feet. Yes, there was much pain for both of us, but I knew I was doing the right thing for my daughter. Despite her bound feet, she still managed to crawl around at great speed. There were times when I needed to leave her for lengths of time, further binding was the only answer. As with her feet, I broke and bound her hands, arms across her chest. I made the decision that my hands would be her hands, I would feed her, wash her, stoke the side of her face when she cried.
As time passed, she began to grow at an alarming rate, something that I knew would only bring misery to us both and so I bound her whole body.
It took a lot of patience for the final part of the process, but as with the Bonsai, dedication brought out the true beauty.
Each day I would help stretch her legs backwards, folding, until eventually they lay flush with her back.
Eventually she came to understand that she had no need to worry about anything, all she needed was me.

www.ancient-orgins.net

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Saluting the Sissy: Part Two

Saluting the Sissy part 2.

In his book, The Celluloid Closet, Vito Russo highlights how the character of the sissy has been an obsession of the American movies. From the days of silent films the effeminate actions of the sissy had their origins in the vaudeville, where men dressing up in drag was all part of the collective mixture of stage acts. The drag element would quickly full out of fashion in early silent films; the main contribution for this was America movies obsession of the all American, masculine hero and the inevitable need of a foil, the sissy. The role of the Sissy was the emphasise the manliness of the hero while underlining the message, to be female is to be weak, to act effeminate means you are not a real man.
Real men in movies are admired by other men and desired by women and to save the day. The sissy is not allowed any of these tropes. The role of the sissy in movies is to be camp, insignificant, a bit of a joke.
Over time, this idea of what it means to be masculine trickled down into the underground gay scene. A very good example was shown in Quieten Crisp’s autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant. From his teenage years onwards Quieten Crisp made the decision not to hide his homosexuality. This he achieved through wearing make up, hennaing his hair and painting his nails red. Upon entering a 1950’s underground gay bar, Quentin sees everyone is dressed in tuxedos, men dancing with men. As he is to obviously gay, the host tears up Quentin’s membership card, with the clear message, if the place was raided, all the men can act masculine, act straight.
Over the next two decades the sissy would continue to be a fixture in films as the character that women saw as harmless fun and men saw as pests, but importantly echoed their own masculinity through the Sissy’s effeminate ways.
1969 America, the underground bars were filled with sissies, sashaying around, mixing with other groups including, lesbian’s, trans women and male prostitutes knowing that a police raid would be imminent. It is of great importance that we all remember that after another police raid at the Stonewall bar, this group of people had enough and fought back, including the sissy.
It would be great to say that after these raids, after the protest marches for equality that the gay community came together, excepting each other. Instead there was a backlash against the sissy. For many gay men, to be equal meant buying into the idea of what it means to be a man, a fantasy that could be seen on the movie screens. After all, we all know that to be queer in the movies means you will never make it to the final reel.
And so we had the rise of the ultra masculine man, taking notes from the Marlboro Man, to any one of Tom of Finland’s incarnations.
Some sissies scoffed at these images and carried on regardless, while other’s embraced the butch drag. From the 70’s onwards the idea of what it means to be a man has rumbled on, with the sissy being seen as the far end of the benchmark.
Whereas glam rock was seen as a bit un-masculine, it would be the 1980’s UK music scene that really shook things up with the idea of what it meant to be a man.
The tabloids went mad for the music fashion scene that would be coined as, New Romantics. Gender was fluid, what it meant to be masculine was played with, through the style of dress and the new trend to wear make up, even the boys from Village People gave the look a go….
It is without a doubt that the resilience of the sissy to stand up against adversity each and every tim, decade after decade that we witness the evolution of what it means to be a man. Most recently we have seen the New Man, now known as The Hipster, taking care of his appearance, being aware of what it means to treat not only the opposite sex, but all sexes with respect.
Of course there will always be those who think that to be a man they have to act rough and tough, not to show emotions and to dress in a certain way, but equally there are those who are comfortable living their lives at the other end of the spectrum. What we need to understand is that this does not make the sissy any less of a man, being a sissy is no longer an indication of a man’s sexuality, it never was; such ideas were created in the movies. Being a man comes in many different guises, the way we behave should never be taken as an indication of our strength as a loving human being.

Villiage People:5 o’clock in the morning,

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A is for Arachnophobia

A to Z of horror. Write flash fiction based on that letter.

A is for Arachnophobia

lots of spiders

In all it took him an hour to take his final breath, made all the worse by the paralysis  and the harrowing side effects.
We’d been working the graveyard shift at the supermarket warehouse, unloading crates of bananas. It wasn’t until it was too late that I realised just what had happened. A huge spider sprang out of no where, it was Mick who spotted it, and stamped on it. Neither of us were to know the damn thing was pregnant… it really was like something from a horror film, a hundred baby spiders sprang out of their mother’s wound and covered the floor.

In a flash they were crawling up every surface, including us. Together we were like a pair of flamingo dancers, stamping the floor. It was only when Mick screamed a really high pitch scream that I realised one of the bastard had got on his skin and bitten him; the two tiny pinpricks were only visible by the two tiny drips of blood that appeared on the side of his neck. It was while I was looking at the tiny wounds that I got bitten on the leg. I grabbed some twine and wrapped it round my leg, I think it is that that is keeping the worst of the side effects at bay.

Soon after getting bitten, Mick said he felt really dizzy, that the room was spinning; he then fell back on to a crate. His eyes rolled back and he kept swiping the air in front of him before attacking his own skin. That’s when he really stated to scream the place down; I was kind of hoping someone would hear him and come running in, so joined in, I yelled and yelled, then suddenly Mick went dead quiet.

…I’m not one for faith, but I’m praying right now to any ‘God’ willing to listen. Hell if the Devil is tuned in, then please come and end this misery; my soul is for the taking.

I went to yell of us when the air changed with a smell I instantely recognised. Back in my youth I had worked at an abattoir, the same stench that came from the animals poured back into my head, mixed in with the fresh green scent of bananas. Mick jolted which made me jump up, only to instantely crumple back down, sensing his demise the spiders marched in. I scambled at the twines, pulling them tighter, begging to stop or at least delay the inevitable.

https://youtu.be/XnGt77u9ncU

 

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Gay Icons: Saluting the Sissy

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First published in www.gscene.com 01/01/2017:

Happy New Year! If I close my eyes I can take myself right back to living at home with my Nana and Sister, laughing at the campness of the likes of Larry Grayson (Shut that Door) and John Inman (I’m Free!) which we all really loved. As I got a bit older, these two characters where lambasted by right-on gay men, with cries that they did not represent the gay community. My guess was that it was never their intention, they were just being themselves, doing their job. There was further outcry that their characters were deemed safe’ to be on the telly as they were both sexless. I think if anyone bothered to re-watch a few episodes of Larry Grayson’s stand up performances they’d see plenty of sexual innuendo going on with his references to his postman, Pop it In Pete, or his more romantic suggestions with his song, My Friend Everard (get-it?) Is More Then A Friend To Me.th-1
Of course the writers of Our You Being Served and John Inmman both said the character, Mr Humpries wasn’t gay, the gag was the same with Mrs Slocombe was genuinely about her cat each time she mentioned her pussy, to do otherwise was to ruin the magicial nod, nod, wink wink on which the series was famed for. For me, I recognised the gay ellement in John Inman’s character and connected with that. I clearly remember sitting up straight when watching an episode of Are You Being Served, whth-3en John Inman suddenly popped out of a Wendy House, alongside a gorgeous bloke dressed up as a sailor, sporting a black beard…maybe that’s when my fixation with bearded men first began. To me, both these men are gay icons, along with the brilliant Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams aka Julian and Sandy (Ohh, how Bona!)

Sure, it would have been great to have a more diverse set of gay characters on the TV/radio but back then, and for a good while after, camp men where the only visible gays out there; the alternative would be guilt ridden stereotypes, I know which ones I prefer.
Another favourite gay icon of mine is Quentin Crisp. When I was eighteen, I saw Crisp’s autobiography TV drama, The Naked Civil Servant in which Crisp describes how he wanted to make his homosexuality, ‘abundantly clear’, by hennaing his hairand painting his nails red, even though such acts made him the target of homophobia. Crisp’s bravery made me all the more determined to be a happy, out, gay man.

Around this time, early 1980’s, there came a new influx of ballsie gay/bi men via the music scene, including: Marc Almond, Boy George, Marilyn, Pete Burns; these guys where ‘out there’ with their looks, but I was really drawn to the likes of Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford (Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and theth-5 trio from Bronski Beat, Jimmy Someville, Larry Stienbachek and Steve Bronski. Frankie for their sexually explicit lyrics and video for Relax and Bronski Beat for their many unashamedly political gay songs, from Small Town Boy, Why and It Ain’t Necessarily So.th-6 th-7

These musicians may name check, David Bowie as a major influence, but it is the likes of Grayson, Inmanand Crisp who way before them were shaking up the norm, paving the way for other peacocks to shine. However, there’s a section of society both LGBT and straight who find camp men offensive. I recently saw the Play, Boys in The Band  (see clips from the movie) that shows that although we can all be a bit camp, it is very easy to turn on the sissy. I personally salute the sissy, the camp man, the queer. What isn’t right is that there is still very little acknowledgement for these camp men’s (as Ru Paul would say) “Charisma, uniqueness, th-8nerve and talent”. They may not have seen themselves as queer pioneers but without them this world would most certainly be a much less interesting place.

for more camp:The Queens of Camp Comedy

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It’s Christmas time, so let’s get afraid…with a good christmas horror film!!!

I enjoy Christmas, putting the tinsel up and popping a fairy on top of an over decorated tree are all part of the festive cheer, but there can be a bit too much saccharine this time of year. Should you find yourself reaching for the insulin when Sugar plum fairy shoves bucket loads of sweets down your throat while watching The Nutcracker, then it really is time to seek out an anti-Christmas alternatives and what better way then to order in some classic Christmas horror (and one ghost) films.

For me, there is nothing worse then settling down with some popcorn, chocolate and a glass of eggnog, only to find that the film you have your warm woollen mitts on is just so lame that you end up fast forwarding it knowing full well who or why ‘did it’ and instantly forget (or care) by the end of the credits. So, with this in mind, here are my ‘Top Five Classic Christmas Horror (and one ghost) Films’.
5) Black Christmas 1974 (1974).

Black Christmas

This is one of my sister Dawn’s favourite 70’s horror films and one I remember her telling me all about the creative deaths! Way before the likes of lone stalker horror films like, Halloween and Friday the 13th came along, Black Christmas was setting up many of the tropes that would be exploited in the nod and wink, Scream series. The now familiar premise sees a group of ‘sorority girls’ getting ready to celebrate Christmas. The girls have been receiving anonymous phone calls from someone they call, The Moaner as he just breaths heavy down the phone.
After calling The Moaners bluff, he replies with the chilling threat that he will kill them all.
As with this slasher film and all the ones that would follow, it is the inventive way the killer bumps of his victims that stays with the audience. (Spoiler alert) The first death is particularly gruesome and will have you will be cling-filming that left over turkey in a very different way. For me, the most memorable murder comes when the killer (is it The Moaner?) bumps off the Housemother, Mrs Mac (a comical ‘fishwife’ character) who makes the classic Slasher film victim mistake by going up into the attic (The other ‘No, No,’ is to go down into the cellar or call out, “who’s there?” when going to investigate a noise outside). Anyway, back to Black Christmas, Mrs. Mac having no idea of the horror film rules pops up into the attic and sees the killers handy work of his cling-film victim. Mrs Mac is swiftly dispatched by a swinging hook and zipped up into the attic.
Black Christmas is a slow burner allowing plenty of time for the audience to get to like the characters and then in turn have an emotional connection with them, making the experience all the more terrifying. Their was a remake of Black Christmas (2006) which added more gore due to the success of gore-porn fest of films like Hostel. But where the likes Hostel and the original had a strong storyline, Black Christmas (2006) relied too much on splattering the screen with blood, so my advice, stick to watching the original. (Spoiler alert) What makes Black Christmas so good is it ambiguous ending; Although we think the killer is dead the phone starts to ring…

4) Gremlins: The worse Christmas ever…. (1984).

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There are so many brilliant parts to Gremlins, from the dad getting a cute Mogwai creature for his son, Billy, Christmas present, to said Mogwai spitting fur balls that transform into the title of the film. However, for me, the favourite part of the film comes when Billy’s girlfriend tell’s Billy why she doesn’t like Christmas by retelling the classic Urban Legend (Although it has since gone on to happen in real life more then once!) of how her dad had dressed up as Santa with the intention of slipping down the chimney to surprise his family with gifts. Unbeknown to his wife and daughter they think he has gone missing and wait four or five days….it’s cold so his daughter lights a fire “It is then I recognised the smell” Fire men come, and find her dad has broken his neck and got stuck halfway done the chimney! eke!

3) Tales from the Crypt. Killer santa on the loose!

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This is another favourite of my sister and I’s, starring the Brilliant Joan Collins. Collins, Like Steve McQueen, started their careers in B-movies. While McQueen was seeing off The Blob, Collins was fighting Giant ants (Empire of the Ants). But it is Collins turn as a murderess wife in Tales from the Crypt that get’s her onto this list.
Based on the 1950’s comics of the same name, Collins bumps of her wealthy husband and then makes it look (quite unconvincingly if you ask me) like an accident along with the worse fake blood imaginable; all of which makes this chapter from Tales form the Crypt worth a look, but there is so much more! Borrowing once again from the Bumper Book of Urban Legends, the story unfolds with the radio announcing that a psychopath has escaped from the local asylum and is dressed as in a Santa outfit (as you do). The next ten minutes sees Collins world collapse as the Psycho Santa tries to break into her house. Unable to call the police (dead husband) Collin’s whizzers around the house locking all the windows, checking all the locks. But poor old Joan hadn’t banked on her excited young daughter spying Santa (who, it has to be said, looks pretty ropy) outside so she lets him in. Seriously though, If that scene was remade now both mother and daughter would quickly get weaponed up and kick that psycho Santa’s boney arse! Alas, poor Joan get’s her comeuppance as is the rule with this type of Horror.

4) Silent Night, Deadly Night. Trailer

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Dawn, I think you’d like this film, not because it is one of the all time classic Christmas films of all time, but because it is so bad and because of that it is so good.
Okay, here’s the plot, Billy and his baby brother Ricky, along with their parents are off to see their granddad on Christmas Eve. Good old Grandad, who has not spoken in years, waits to get Billy on his own and speaks! but instead of sharing christmas cheer, he tells young Billy that Santa know’s he has been bad and will punish him! Eke, eke eke!!
On the way home a robber (dressed as Santa) kills Billy’s parents forcing Billy and Ricky into an Orphanage, run by stick nuns, twisting poor Billy even further.
Fast forward ten years, Billy is working in a toy shop and on Christmas Eve is forced to be father Christmas. Doh!
Poor Billy’s mind snaps, he goes on a killing spree and…well that would spoil the fun! The film was highly criticised upon its release by people who never saw the film by parents who didn’t think Santa should be depicted as a homicidal maniac. The publicity made the film a cult, which in turn spun four more sequels and a remake!
For me personally, the original is the best, although Micky Rooney in part 4 as a demonic toy makes that particular sequel well worth a look as it will surly banish all cutesy memories of him in any of the five films with Judy Garland a distant memory.
But back to SNDN1; it’s clear that the main part of the budget was spent on Billy’s Santa suit, It’s rich, it’s plush, it even has bells on! The special effects are a bit rubbish….really bad in fact, but that’s all part of it, it’s like watching a modern day Ed wood directed movie, what more of a recommendation do you need!

5) The Innocents. Trailer

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Based on one of my all time favourite ghost stories, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, which has been adapted into films, an opera and even a ballet is a truly unnerving experience. The premises is pretty simple; a young woman, Miss Giddens (the brilliant Deborah Kerr) with limited experience of the world becomes a governess to two perfect children, Flora and Miles who’s parents are both dead, leaving their uncle (Michael Redgrave) who has no desire to look after either of them except financially, by keeping Miles at a private school and for the new governess to home school Flora at his country estate in the middle of nowhere. Isolation is always a great setting for a horror film, but it isn’t just the setting that creates the isolation for the young governess, but the fact that the only other (living) adult is the cook, played by Megs Grose (people of a certain age will know her better as Mrs Bridges from Up Stairs Down stairs) who can not read or write, an important plot devise to create further uncertainty about Miss Giddens take on reality. Mrs Grose informs the governess about the previous Governess, Miss Jessel who had been influenced by the Uncle’s Valet the rough and ready, Quint; both of whom are now dead. As the story unfolds, the governess sees both Miss Giddens and Quint on numerous occasions and becomes convinced the evil pair have come back from the grave to takeover the bodies of the governesses young charges. What makes this film particularly creepy (and been particularly popular with New Criticism) is that as a viewer you are never too sure if there is really a unworldly presence, or if it is the governess who is seeing things. The innocents of the children and the lack of education from the cook only help to compound the feeling of what is going on. However, it is the ending that is truly shocking and makes this film a real must for a chilling Christmas treat.

Posted on by admin in film, Gothic, Gothic horror, Horror 2 Comments

Gscene piece: November 2016

th-1In my last column, I wrote about how their has been a steady change in segregation in the gay bars and clubs, with a younger generation seeing men only/women only places as a relic from the past. Although there will always be a need (I think) for some kind of segregation, we certainly have come a long way from the time I remember back in the 1980s, I can clearly remember some men being mortified if a woman wandered into their watering-hole and out would come the vile, flippant  misogynist comment from some of the older gay men, with their description of lesbian’s as well, I’ll reinterpret the vile line as, ‘fruits de la mer’. There was also a pub in Hove tried to implement a policy were women were only allowed if they were accompanied by a gay man.
It would take the catastrophic horrors of AIDS to bring these two communities together which was recalled in the amazing documentary, We Were Here, about the arrival of the AIDS Epidemic in the USA. With an urgent need for blood transfusions, lesbians in California garnered themselves together and gave blood. Here in the UK, I remember many lesbians came forward to volunteer in any way they could to support the gay men who were suffering in large numbers to the horrifying effects of AIDS; along with an onslaught of hatred and stigma from the tabloid press which fed in to the fear and anxiety of the wider public.th-2Thirty-four years on since, Terry Higgins, one of the first people to die from AIDS, we really have come along way with anti-retroviral treatments. The divisions within the LGBT community has shrunk considerably and when we work together we achieve amazing things as we will once again witness on December 1st, World AIDS Day. Unfortunately there is so much more to be done to tackle the stigma of living with an HIV+ diagnoses, particularly with HIV positive and HIV negative gay men.
For me, this issue has been brought sharply into focus with the increase of HIV+ dating apps. I really understand the need for such apps which allow HIV+ people to feel comfortable about their HIV+ status without fear of stigma or abuse but we are living in a time when we have a real opportunity to eradicate HIV through use of condoms, antiretroviral drugs, PrEP and a heavy dose of compassion.
HIV+ stigma seriously needs stamping out if we are to reach a time when HIV is assigned to the history books.
THT have been running a brilliant advertisement campaign, It Starts With Me, urging every sexually active individual to take responsibility for their own sexual health. Together as a community we can make a positive difference, if people change their negative attitude about those living with an HIV+ diagnose.
So from today let’s do that, let’s take responsibility for not only our individual sexual health, but start treating everyone with respect, regardless of their HIV status.

Posted on by admin in Gscene, Health, HIV/AIDS, LGBT Leave a comment

Love your Library

For many people who have not visited their local library for a long time, they may still have memories of places steeped in silence that should it be broken a stern librarian, wearing tweed and half rimmed glasses dishes out a severe, “SSSHHH!”th

 

 

 

 

The truth is many libraries are now far removed from this past image, anyone who visits Jubilee Library, Brighton (just up from the road from the Dome) will quickly realise just how much things have changed.

The award winning building, was built with energy efficiency in mind. As well as the building itself, Jubilee library’s collection of books are also diverse; from their rare books to the wide range of fiction and non fiction collections. You will find everything there from Africa, Animals, Anne Boleyn to Zombies, Zorro, to Zadie Smith.

As well as the physical books, there are also plenty of online material to get stuck into. All you need to do is to become a library member, which is free and then log into the Brighton and Hove Library website to have a plethora of information at your finger tips. What is your interest, newspapers, magazines, biographies, career help, Which magazine, (in libraries only), UK citizenship information, Academic research, it is all there waiting for you to discover it.
Fan of the graphic novel? not only is there a large collection of all your favourites along with a few hidden gems at Jubilee and Hove Library, but there are literally thousands of  comics and graphic novesl to download for free on to your device for you to view 24/7.

Libraries are all about diversity, In a town like Brighton, it would have been expected that such books would have always been on offer to the public, but it has only been in the last six years that this collection has . Of course, there have been LGBT themed novels available on the shelf, with the likes of Lesbian/gay classics, Radcliffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness and E.M. Forster’s Maurice, but now there are now a wide range of fiction, non fiction and a great collection of DVD’s aimed at the wide range of personalities that make up the LGBT communityth

There had been a consultation on whether in the 21 century if such book should just be absorbed within the libraries collection. I personally feel, that although we are living in a very forward thinking city, there is still a need for a dedicated LGBT collection that can be accessed easily.

In our city of Brighton it may be too easy to think that those within the LGBT community live their lives as if every day was a Pride celebration, but the fact is any one of us will at some point have to face up to any number of obstacles that can have an effect on our mental or physical health. Again, Jubilee and Hove Library, along with smaller collections in the branch libraries, have a fantastic collection of books shelved under, Books On Prescription.

th-3Books On Prescription are a carefully selected set of books, covering a wide range of health topics, including: anxiety, depression, phobias, eating/drinking/smoking addictions, sleep problems, dementia, that you can either access via the library or have recommended to you by your GP.
I’m guessing for those who have not been to their local library, be it Jubilee, Hove, Coldean, Hangleton, Hollingbury, Mile Oak, Moulscoomb, Patcham, Portslade, Rottingdean, Westdean Saltdean, Woodingdean and Whitehawk.

In a time when Libraries are closing across the country, Brighton and hove libraries are going from strength to strength, so go on, do yourself a favour and pop into your local library today to see what’s on offer.

Posted on by admin in Brighton, Brighton & Hove, Brighton and Hove Libraries, Gay, QueenSpark Books Leave a comment
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