May 17, 2014

Ghoul: The Kid from "Modern Family" Fights Zombies

Ghoul  is a gay-subtext buddy-bonding horror novel by Brian Keene (2007), who specializes in postapocalyptic zombie novels.

A ghoul, a monster that lives on dead human meat, is terrorizing the town, getting most of its victims in the cemetery run by Clark, who is violently abusive to his son Barry.  Barry gradually realizes that his father is assisting the ghoul, and has even kidnapped a woman from town to become its mate.

Barry's friends, Timmy and Doug, agree to help him look for the ghoul, but they have problems of their own.

Doug is being sexually abused by his mother.

Timmy is being emotionally abused by his father.

The real monsters are the adults.

Doug is quiet, passive, rather chunky, probably gay, and interested in Timmy (who, unfortunately has a girlfriend).  He is the one who gets eaten by the ghoul.  

I wonder why Keene decided to make Doug's mother the abuser.  In real-life, the father is the offender in 90% of cases of sexual abuse.  Maybe he didn't want to reflect the myth that same-sex abuse causes kids to "turn" gay.  Or maybe he wanted to add some diversity by making one of the evil parents a woman. 

The ghoul ends up kidnapping Timmy's girlfriend, and Barry and Timmy rush to the rescue.  They all escape.

But not entirely.  Twenty years later, when Timmy returns to the cemetery to bury his father, he sees that Barry is now the caretaker, and his son has bruises consistent with abuse.

The real monsters are the adults.

The novel was made into a tv movie in 2012, but it aired on the Chiller Network, so I haven't seen it, and I don't know if the gay subtext was retained.   It starred Nolan Gould of Modern Family as Timmy, Mattie Liptak, left, as Steve (the gay-vague Doug character), and Zack Rand as Ronny (the Barry character).  Brett Lapeyrouse (top photo) played Pat.

Gay characters appear often in the works of Brian Keen, including the protagonists of The Rising and of Dead Sea.  

May 14, 2014

Jean-Claude Brialy: Gay Actor in 1960s France

Gay actor Jean-Claude Brialy (1933-2007) lived in the days when LGBT people had to spend their lives hiding, so he hid, coming out only in his autobiography  Le Ruisseau des singes (The River of Monkeys).  But he managed to include a substantial number of gay-coded characters in his long film career.

Les Garcons (La Notte Brava, 1959), an adaption of Pasolini's novel Ragazzi di vita, follows the exploits of a gay-vague criminal couple (Brialy, Laurent Terzieff).

Une femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman, 1961):  Brialy's girlfriend wants a baby, but he isn't ready, so he enlists the aid of his best buddy (Jean-Paul Belmondo).

Cheri (1962): The bisexual male prostitute from the Colette novel.

L'oiseau rare (The Rare Bird, 1973): a gay-vague waiter gets involved with the problems of his customers.

Robert et Robert (1978).  The two Roberts form a bromance while trying to find heterosexual partners through a computer dating service run by the gay-vague Brialy.

La nuit de Varennes (1982): during the French Revolution, a gay-vague hairdresser encounters the legendary lover Casanova (Marcello Mastroianni) and American patriot Thomas Paine (Harvey Keitel).

The Innocents (1987):  In his most overtly gay role, Brialy plays a German composer whose son is having an affair with his favorite male prostitute.

By the way, he's written several interesting books available on Amazon France, such as Les Pensées les plus drôles des acteurs.

See also: Colette's Cheri: A Male Prostitute Finds Love.

Prime Time Drama Thinks You Don't Exist

I usually don't watch contemporary tv dramas, because I never get past the first episode, no matter how interesting the premise.  Every one of them, at least every one that I've tried to watch, begins with a hysterical assertion that the protagonist is not gay.  It doesn't take long -- a few seconds of loud smooching, a bedroom scene, some flirtation.  Then, the heterosexuals assured once again that they are alone in the universe, we can get on with the plot.  By that time, I have usually changed the channel in disgust.

Fringe (2008): Special agent Olivia (Anna Torv) has sex with her boyfriend.  He dies. She's not gay!!!!! Thank goodness!  Now she can get to the business of investigating the paranormal.  (See: The 12 Beefcake Stars of Fringe.)

White Collar (2009): Neal Caffrey (gay actor Matt Bomer) is visited in prison by his girlfriend.  They touch hands through the glass window separating them. He's not gay!!!!  Thank goodness!  Now he can get to the business of investigating forgeries and frauds.

Person of Interest (2011): CIA agent John Reese (Jim Cavaziel, left) smooches with his girlfriend.  She dies.  He's not gay!!!!  Thank goodness!  Now he can get to the business of stopping crimes before they happen.

Under the Dome (2013): Every one of the 9 main characters, with the exception of the lesbian attorney, spends the first episode kissing, flirting, losing a husband/wife, or discussing a husband/wife.

Dexter (2006) was the most egregious offender, maybe because forensic scientist/serial killer Dexter was played by Michael C. Hall (below), fresh from a gay role on Six Feet Under, and it was introduced through a full-page ad in The Advocate, openly inviting gay viewers. Naturally, one assumed that it would be gay-friendly. Yet the opening scenes scream loudly, over and over, that gay people ABSOLUTELY DO NOT EXIST.

Dexter doesn't have a girlfriend, but they find other ways to proclaim universal heterosexuality:
1. He goes to a crime scene, where one of the investigators exclaims that his sister is hot and the other commentss on the dismembered woman's attractiveness.
2. He goes to the police station, inquires about the hetero-romances of his coworkers, and talks to an older women, who advises "You should find a pretty girl,” utterly unaware that some men are gay.

3. Then – and only five minutes of air time have passed -- it’s Friday night, “date night in Miami; everybody’s having sex.” Many shots of men and women dining al fresco in the heart of a gay neighborhood that is utterly gay free.
4. Dexter announces that he doesn't experience emotion, and doesn't care for sex, although he "appreciates women, like every man."
5. However, in order to keep up an "appearance of normalcy," he is dating a woman.

Why go through the trouble of advertising a television program to an audience, and then devote the entire first episode to chanting "You don't exist!  Ha-ha!"

May 12, 2014

Samson Burke: the Villain of 1960s Bodybuilding Movies

If you saw The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962) -- and every Boomer kid did -- you probably that Joe DeRita, the most flamboyantly feminine of the Stooges, was trying his best to appear afraid rather than excited during his scenes with the super-muscular Hercules.

This was a rare example of a villainous Hercules, played by 6'6", 275 lbs Samson Burke (born Samuel Burke), a Canadian-born Olympic athlete, bodybuilder (a former Mr. Canada), pro wrestler, and budding peplum star whose Vengeance of Ursus had just been released (1961).

He went on to specialize in more rare examples of villainous bodybuilders: King Blo-Edin in the German Nibelungen series, Khemal in Three Green Dogs (1967), and Polyphemus the Cyclops in an Italian tv version of The Odyssey.  After a minor role in the Italian comedy Satiricosissimo (1970), he retired from acting.

He moved to Hawaii to pursue his interest in fitness (and incidentally joined the crew of Magnum P.I. when it was filming in Hawaii during the 1980s).  The Three Stooges film brought him his greatest popularity, and he still appears at fan conventions, where his bicep is still capable of crushing heads.

On his personal website, he advises: "once you're finished browsing, get out from behind your computer and exercise!  Taking care of your body is something you will benefit from for the rest of your life."

Good advice from a 84 year old bodybuilder.

Burke  has never married.  I don't know if he's gay or not, but on Hollywood Teen Movies, the interview keeps feeding him openings like "that actress you worked with was very beautiful" and "that actress was very attractive," but Burke won't own up to any heterosexual interest, limiting himself to evaluations of her physical fitness:  "yes, she was fit and healthy."

See also: The Three Stooges; Sword and Sandal.

Weeds: Gay and Gay-Vague Drug Dealers

You're probably wondering what Alexander Gould has been up to since he played David Collins, the young heir to the Collins fortune, in the 2005 reboot of the vampire soap opera Dark Shadows.

He's done some voice over work and guest starred on several dramas, such as Supernatural and Pushing Daisies.

He starred in How to Eat Fried Worms (2006) and the short Ties (2011), about a man (Jacob Grodnik) who gets stuck in a junkyard while taking his father's ashes to a memorial service, and bonds with the teenage Evan (Alexander Gould).

But he's most famous for Weeds (2005-2012), about suburban housewife Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), who begins selling marijuana to support her family after her husband dies, and eventually rises through the ranks of an international drug syndicate.  Her oldest son Silas (Hunter Parrish, left) assists her.

Alexander played Shane, her youngest son, a sensitive, often-bullied boy with a violent, unpredictable side.  After several seasons of out-of-control behavior, he settled down, went to the police academy and became a LAPD cop.

Shane expressed little heterosexual interest, except when he was goaded on by his friends or his uncle, leading fans to wonder if he was gay.  Not to worry: in Season 6, the writers took care of that little "problem" by giving him a girlfriend.

There were a couple of "real" gay characters on the show: Sanjay (gay actor Maulik Pancholy), one of Nancy's dealers, who was gay for a few seasons then turned straight and married a woman; and Josh (Justin Chatwin), who was selling marijuana to kids, breaking Nancy's cardinal rule, until she discovered that he was gay and blackmailed him.

Sounds rather homophobic.

Oh well, at least there was ample beefcake.  And Alexander is a gay ally.  He wore a white knot to the 2009 Emmy Awards to symbolize his commitment to marriage equality.

See also: David Collins, Gay Heir to the Throne

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