Daughter of Dr. Jekyll

Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957)


Movie divas come and go, some of the classic idols like Norma Desmond and Margo Channing never seem to disappear; they appeal to each generation in new Hollywood Babylonic ways, but for me it was Gloria Glendale aka Gloria Talbott, not the greatest Scream Queen of horror flicks like Evelyn Ankers and Louis Allbritton, but for me growing up in the late ‘50s going to Horror High, Gloria Talbott was the epitome of gay bildungsroman camp, her pretty face contorted in the same fear and self-loathing I felt back then, with her icky look of yuk & ennui, confronting the day-to-day horror of being who she was.

Movies like I Married a Monster From Outer Space, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll and The Leech Woman were more than just campy Grade-B horror flicks—they were Saturday Night Snake Pit Drive In journeys into the horrible realization that I was indeed married to a monster from outer space—myself!!! Nobody else talked about it or seemed to know about it—but Gloria Talbott knew. She knew all about it, lived with it, suffered the same shock of horror that overcame me—that indeed I was a Leech Woman and that I had Bad Seed inside me that made me more queer than a $3 bill…

That was the main reason, I suppose, I worshipped Gloria Talbott back then in 1957—the year I came to the fatal realization that I was the blood-hungry spawn of the world’s most bestial fiend!!! I indeed was The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll!!!

The look on Gloria Talbott’s face was my look—the look of utter shock and shuddering disbelief. That look of sheer unadulterated queer horror—that kind of cringing distasteful unpleasant look that comes over Gloria’s face in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958). When she realizes on her honeymoon—that Tom Tyron isn’t exactly the man she thought he was. That instead he’s some kind of strange unmanly perhaps even faggy lover that wouldn’t or couldn’t give her what any woman would surely want, need or expect. The love that a bridegroom and bride should surely experience during their honeymoon—the precious love that grows into a successfully consummated and deeply fulfilled heterosexual man & wife relationship. Queered—queered forever and ever by unrelentingly evil Bad Seed.

Yes, that was the kind of look on Gloria Talbot’ts face—mirroring the gross, nasty, disgusted look on my face. The icky, ugly, yucky, foul, revolting, vulgar, blechy, horrible, dirty, blah, unappetizing, vile, repulsive, turdy, lousy, beastly, awful, barfy, shitty, obnoxious, noisome, rank, crappy, raunchy, fucked-up, stinking, odious, sickening look I saw when I looked in the mirror…

That was what I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) was all about—but Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957) was even worse. It came out a year earlier than I Married a Monster from Outer Space. It was about this sudden horrible realization that I had about myself—the one Gloria Talbott had about her husband Tom Tyron. Except mine was slightly different—it was about me not somebody else. I was the Freak—not Tom Tryon. Gloria Talbott and I were the freaks instead—we were both the daughters of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. She began to believe it like I did—that we both somehow possessed a split personality. Or rather that split personality possessed us—and it was a ruthless killer. Worse than that though—we were both vampires of Forbidden Love…

I remember that fateful day—as if it were yesterday. That day I had my denouement—the horrible realization I was in love with Donny Dumbowsky. It was in the seventh grade—during gym class. Mr. Bow-Wow—who later turned out rather faggy himself—had assigned Donny and me as “basket-boys.” We took-off 15-minutes before the end of gym-class—to take a shower together. Then we’d be ready to hand out clean towels— and take back baskets full of stinky gym clothes from the moiling mob of other little creepy cretins. It was a minor little duty—something that got rotated once a month.

I was so incredibly chicken & naïve back then—there was no coming-out-of-the-closet because the “closet” didn’t exist. Most boys bored me—like everything else. If there was any surprise it was more distasteful than anything—especially since it was the first time I’d been thrown together with a bunch of other junior high naked boys. There was the Peter Pan Pool every summer—but the booths for disrobing were tastefully discrete and I was so shy back then.

Not like the junior high showers and locker-room riff-raff—with 30 or 40 nude rude boys all tossed together like a crazy Caesar salad. Seventh, eighth, ninth grade young males—all goofy, horsing-around & gawking at each other. I was truly a modest little virgin then—blushing and avoiding any eye-contact whatsoever with you know what. It all seemed repugnant and so dirty-minded—much too animalesque for my hoity-toity uppity tastes.

I shudder to think even now—the shock of recognition that overcame me that fateful day. Donny seemed to know much more about me—than I did or ever wanted to know about myself. We skipped the shower—and got down to business. He had me down on my knees just like that—Donny truly owned a “Monster from Outer Space.”

Suddenly I realized what really happened in the Bible—that awful heartbreaking scene of expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It truly was the Tree of Knowledge—that vast root Donny forced down my gullet. Or was it the Tree of Eternal Life—that thick genealogical syrup that gushed such ungodly goop all over my face?

Surely I had a hidden split-personality deep inside me—like some famished Bestial Fiend. How else could I know without a doubt that very first time—that I was undoubtedly the blood-hungry Spawn of the Devil himself? That I indeed was the Scum of the Earth—after all what could be worse than a Queer Teenager in Love?

So that when I saw that uncomfortable look on Gloria Talbott’s face—I sensed immediately the same self-disgust she felt up there on the screen. The looming screen of the Snake Pit Drive In—that fateful 1957 Saturday night. When I put two and two together and realized the awful truth. That I too was indeed—the shameless Daughter of evil Dr. Jekyll?

I felt exactly the same way as Gloria Talbott—we even had the same look of “fear & loathing” on our faces. We knew that there was a Mr. Hyde inside us both—a loathsome Mr. Hyde that made me fall head over heels for Donny Dumbowsky. A shameless Mr. Hyde—that made me follow him home from school every day. Shadowing him in the hallways—dying to be around him every chance I got. Seeing his face with my eyes closed—whenever I thought about him. The way Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde—made me think unthinkable thoughts.

I knew it was sick—but I couldn’t help myself. I knew it wasn’t a grand illusion—watching I Married a Monster from Outer Space at the Drive-In later on. Because by then I’d already been prepped for the worst—by Gloria Talbott in her shocking Jekyll/Hyde horror movie. By then the fear and loathing had worn off—leaving a calculating plotting wanting-it-all-time Leech Woman “ho.”

I had no problem getting to the Snake Pit Drive In on weekends—in fact I usually came in handy when girlfriends wouldn’t put-out. The boyfriends knew I drew sustenance from young male bestiality—and they were only too willing to snicker and comply with my not-so-coy compulsions. Their bored yawning girlfriends were relieved as well—having such an eager-beaver gay proxy do the disgusting Double Feature dirty deed…

This fascination of mine with Gloria Talbott’s fatalistic faggy Filmography went on & on—how can I describe the strange way her movies segued into my desultory disillusioned dingbat adolescent life? Well, I suppose the next film to catch my attention along the slippery slope straight down to hell—was another horror flick along the same “vein.”

It was another Teenage Sexploitation movie designed by fiendish Hollywood Experts—for those like me who lived off the life blood of young male victims. Victims who moiled and lollygagged—around the risqué louche Snake Pit Drive In on Saturday nights. By then I had a reputation—all the boys had my number. They called me The Leech Woman (1960)…

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