The Tip of the Scalpel tribute is awarded to individuals who have impressed the genre community with their contributions to the world of horror. Our first honor goes to Bill Moseley.
“The boogeyman is real, and you found him.”
It was those words that transformed our first Tip of the Scalpel recipient, Bill Moseley, from a ‘one-hit wonder’ to an iconic figure in modern horror.
Moseley has been in a number of films, but it’s two roles in particular for which he is recognized here.
He skyrocketed to prominence in the horror community in 1986 with his role as Chop-Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Although moviegoers were standing in line to see Leatherface up to his old tricks again, it was Moseley’s portrayal of Chop-Top which completely stole the show. From the original look of the character with the “Sonny Bono wig,” to his unveiled head wound, plate and all, Chop-Top was an unsettling sight. However, Moseley was able to make the character even more disturbing with his spot-on delivery of some of the most memorable lines of 80′s horror. Who could forget the Chop-Top-isms “Music is my life,” “You’re my faaaave,” “Incoming mail!,” “E-X-I-T … exit. Goodbye,” or the unforgettable “Lick my plate, you dog dick!” All these and more (“Dog will hunt!”) as well as the creepy, at times nearly orgasmic, head wound scratching with the heated coat hanger all came from one brilliant horrific performance. And then, as quickly as he arrived, Moseley disappeared from the spotlight.
He could be spotted in smaller roles from time to time, appearing in remakes of The Blob and Night of the Living Dead and even Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. But it wasn’t until 2003 when he returned with a character that was even more memorable than his first.
I clearly remember sitting in the theater when the first trailer for House of 1000 Corpses ran. The audience was staring at the screen in rapt attention. No one spoke until the name “Rob Zombie” appeared. An audible intake of breath could be heard as moviegoers collectively gasped at the prospect of a Rob Zombie directed horror film. Then the final scene of the trailer, a tight shot of a man pulling a mask off his face. He stares into the camera and says “… the boogeyman is real … and you found him.”
I recognized the face, but I couldn’t immediately place where I’d seen him before. Then it clicked … ”That’s the dude from Texas Chainsaw 2!” I gave quick mental kudos to Zombie for casting him as I instantly remembered what a fantastic job he had done the last time I’d seen him.
Unfortunately, it would be a while before we ever got to see House of 1000 Corpses as Universal Studios did not release the film, fearing an NC-17 rating. However, Lionsgate stepped in, and House of 1000 Corpses made it to the big screen in 2003. It was well worth the wait.
And once again, Moseley led the way. His character, Otis B. Driftwood, was by far the most disturbed of the Firefly Clan (and that’s saying something). Already assured of being a horror convention mainstay with his Texas Chainsaw 2 performance, Moseley made himself into a horror hall of famer by bringing Otis to life. And as excellent as his portrayal was in House of 1000 Corpses, he raised the bar again in the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Stripped away was the comic undertones of House of 1000 Corpses, leaving Rejects with nothing but raw power, and nowhere was it more evident than in Otis’ “Let’s go get the guns” scene, where he puts a permanent end to “The Banjo and Sullivan Show” and returns with a horrific trophy.
Since then Moseley has recently appeared in Repo! The Genetic Opera, Tortured and the upcoming Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D, reprising his role as Johnnie, but it was that initial role of Chop-Top that made us fall in love with him, and he solidified his place in horror history with Otis, perhaps the most notable slasher of the new millennium.
For more on this actor/musician, check out Chop-Top’s BBQ, but for today, we thank him for all the memorable performances and recognize Bill Moseley with a Doctor Gash Tip of the Scalpel.
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