This is the one you’ve all been waiting for! The number one film on Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies…Ever! And could there be any other film in the top spot besides the absolute nightmare that is The Exorcist? No way.
Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism.
Father Damien Karras: You would like that?
Karras: But wouldn’t that drive you out of Regan?
Demon: It would bring us together.
Karras: You and Regan?
Demon: You and us.
There can be only one. And in compiling Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies…Ever!, this was the easiest selection of the bunch. At times it was tough to decide which films would make the list and where their rightful spots were, but there was never a doubt of which film would be number one. And it’s number one with a bullet. You can get a second opinion, but for this doctor, The Exorcist is simply head and shoulders above the rest on being just plain scary.
When you’re growing up, plenty of movies scare the bejesus out of you. I remember being practically crippled with fear as a kid watching The Evil Dead. But once you’re older and more jaded, very few films can really get to you. You notice the warts and the shortcomings you didn’t see as a kid. For some reason, The Exorcist is the one that still gets to me. In the article for the number two film on the list, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I mentioned that Chain Saw was indeed my favorite horror film. But I couldn’t put it at number one because The Exorcist is exponentially more frightening to me. It’s a pleasure for me to sit down and watch Texas Chain Saw, it’s uncomfortable for me to watch The Exorcist (although I try to go back and give it a gander at least once a year).
A horrific Christmas gift to us in the winter of 1973, The Exorcist was released to an unsuspecting world on December 26 and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (winning for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay). It enjoyed incredible success at the box office. In fact, until Jaws surpassed it in 1975, The Exorcist had a brief run as the highest grossing film of all time.
Not only is it incredibly tense and suspenseful while viewing, The Exorcist sticks with you long after the show. And I’m talking years afterward. I literally still get chills when I see a picture of young Linda Blair in her full Regan MacNeil plumage…and the theme song, Tubular Bells, is simply haunting (and it makes a great ringtone). For me, this is the sign of a truly horrific film, one that stays with you, haunts you after you watch it…those movies you can’t shake after leaving the theater or turning off your television. The best, the most effective horror movies, are the ones that creep into your psyche and plant roots there. The ones that stay with you, and lay dormant, until you are alone, in a quiet, dark space with just your mind to entertain you. That’s when they tend to come back and remind you that they’re still there. The possessed Regan is in here with me just like the demon was in there with her, and she makes her presence felt every once in a while…and she still scares the shit out of me.
Director William Friedkin builds the story masterfully. And what an amazing story it is. Aside from the obvious focal point of the possessed girl, Father Damien Karras’ painful personal struggles add an additional level to the film and his loss of faith is woven into the main tale brilliantly. The demon cuts deep into Father Karras’ psyche, using every possible angle to weaken the faltering priest. Max Von Sydow’s experienced exorcist, Father Lankester Merrin, and his familiarity with the situation enlightens us to the power of the creature, making the climax of the film even creepier.
But what is it that really sticks with you after viewing the film? Everything behind that goddamn bedroom door is what sticks with you. The imagery of Regan as her body is ravaged by the demon is disturbing enough on its own. Add to this the incredible vocal work done by Mercedes McCambridge (the voice of the demon) and the intense content of the scenes and you have the perfect storm of horror. Fear, despair, sadness, loss of faith, loss of loved ones, denial, possession…it’s all there in The Exorcist. Incredible.
I must take one second to again mention Mercedes McCambridge because I do believe it’s the voice of the demon that truly puts this film over the top. Regan would not been nearly as frightening without the right voice, and this brilliant actress delivered the performance of a lifetime. Demons are scary, yes…but demons with just the right demonic presence are cripplingly scary.
For me, The Exorcist appears unapproachable as the scariest film of all time. It is Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Even the great movies gracing Doctor Gash’s Top 10 list come up short in comparison to the lasting impact this film has on this viewer. It’s a masterpiece of horror. Simply put,this is how it’s done.
But we’ve always got our eyes peeled for the next great film to make this list…
And with that, Dreaddies, I close this feature. I cannot thank you enough for your open-mindedness and participation in reading Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies…Ever! It’s a list that I’ve been wanting to share with you for a long time and thanks to Uncle Creepy and The Woman in Black I was able to do so. This is my Graceland. I know we didn’t all agree on every entry, but I appreciate you taking the time to read the articles to get an understanding of just what the hell I was thinking with each film on here. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it and again, thanks so much for your attention and comments. You guys rule! –Gash
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Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise
How can you escape death when all it does is wait for you to fall asleep? This question of human vulnerability led the late filmmaker Wes Craven on a journey that culminated in one of cinema’s most deleterious and recognizable horror film icons: Freddy Krueger. The man in the Christmas sweater and dirty brown hat is every bit as important to the horror genre as Darth Vader is to science fiction.
What ultimately separated the Elm Street ventures from other macabre movie franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween was the creativity with which Krueger disposed of his victims, and the fantasy-based elements of the kids’ extravagant nightmares. The gimmick of dying in the dream world equating to death in reality spelled doom for those trying to outrun Krueger’s wrath.
After nine feature films and a calamitous television series that is best left buried in the past, the Elm Street series was more hit than miss.
With that in mind, here are the Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise.
10. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (Carlos)
“Nice hearing from you, Carlos” – Only Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) was worse in the Elm Street saga than Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). However, the lackluster sixth installment of the franchise gives fans one very memorable, bone-chilling death sequence. Carlos (Ricky Dean Logan) is attacked by Freddy and the youth has his ears cleansed courtesy of a monstrous Q-tip. Carlos is deaf and loses his hearing aid in the scuffle. Carlos manages to retrieve it only to have the hearing aid meld with his head and ear.
Everything Carlos hears is amplified thanks to Freddy’s torturous hearing aid. Krueger pulls out a chalkboard and then scrapes his sharp claws across it to create an unbearably loud symphony of screeching, which results in Carlos’ head exploding. Freddy blows the kid’s mind, literally.
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Taryn)
“Let’s get high” – Director Chuck Russell and writer Frank Darabont’s much-needed assistance on the Elm Street series marked the beginnings of much more creative carnage, in terms of Freddy’s surreal means of disposing of his victims. While trying to join Kristen (Patricia Arquette) in the dream world, young Taryn (Jennifer Rubin) is separated from her fellow Dream Warriors. With her punk-rock hairdo and knives, the former junkie does battle with Krueger.
Just as Taryn thinks she has gained the upper hand, Freddy turns the tables on her. Krueger reveals that all of his fingers have been replaced with drug-filled syringes. Taryn gasps when she finds tiny little mouths have replaced her drug scars. Freddy injects all of the needles into her arm and pumps her full of the fatal cocktail. Taryn’s screams, as Freddy smirks, “What a rush.”
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Glen)
“I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy” – Johnny Depp made his acting debut in the original Nightmare (1984), but his character of Glen didn’t fair too well. Skeptical of the existence of child killer Fred Krueger, Glen comes to the same grisly fate as the other children of Elm Street even though his stalwart girlfriend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) implores that he doesn’t go to sleep. Glen welcomes his nightly slumber anyway.
Freddy’s glove emerges from the youth’s mattress, latches onto Glen, and pulls him into the bed. Blood explodes from the hole and cascades like a violent waterfall. In uncut footage from the scene, the bed even spits Glen back up with his body slathered in blood.
Wes Craven felt the scene was scarier and more effective without knowing what Glen’s corpse looked like, and it certainly makes one of the following scenes, which occurs between Lt. Thompson (John Saxon) and his officer, much more eerie as they discuss the crime scene’s gruesome atmosphere.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (Greta)
“Bon appetit, bitch” – Greta (Erika Anderson) is an aspiring model who watches her weight. When Greta’s mom throws a dinner party the teenager has absolutely no appetite, because her friend Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel) has been killed in an accident. Greta falls asleep during the dinner and Freddy takes full advantage. Krueger shows up in a chef’s hat and proceeds to force feed Greta, in a monstrous-looking high chair.
Greta tries to spit out the pulsating food, but Freddy continues to shove it down her throat. With each passing bite, Greta’s jowls grow more grotesque. Engorged, Greta falls into Freddy’s arms and she eventually chokes to death. This could easily have been No. 1 on our list, if the scene had not been butchered by censors.
The horrifying truth revealed in Stephen Hopkins’ director’s cut: Freddy is feeding Greta to herself! Greta’s stomach has been cut open and Freddy is scooping up her insides and forcing them down the teen’s throat. It’s a chilling and nauseating death sequence, in what is sadly one of the weaker installments of the franchise.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (Debbie)
“You can check in, but you can’t check out” – What happens when you team the winsome actress Brooke Theiss with special effects artist “Screaming Mad” George – aka Joji Tani? You get one of the most bizarre death sequences in Nightmare history. Poor Debbie (Theiss), a fitness guru, is really only afraid of one little thing – cockroaches. Naturally, Freddy turns Debbie’s worst fear against her.
While working out, Deb dozes off. She seems to still be in her home gym when Freddy suddenly appears. In a test of strength, Freddy grabs the bar, loaded with weight Deb is trying to bench press, and slowly forces it down toward her. Deb loses the fight and her elbows bend and crack open, under the immense pressure. Her arms are quickly replaced by the legs of a cockroach.
Deb slowly continues her bizarre metamorphosis, until she becomes an oversized bug. Trapped in a roach motel, Deb watches in horror, as Freddy smashes the trap in his hand. Deb’s bug-like guts, and the innards of the roach motel, spew out as Krueger cackles in triumph.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (Dan)
“Better not dream and drive” – In the tradition of surviving Elm Street children making it to the sequel, Dread Central presents for your approval Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel). After the events of The Dream Master, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her boyfriend Dan are expecting a little bundle of joy. But before they can celebrate the baby’s birth, the couple must endure the wrath of Freddy Krueger once more. Surprisingly, Alice begins dreaming while she is awake. While working a shift at the Crave Inn, Alice comes face to face with both Freddy and his mother, Amanda Kruger (Beatrice Boepple).
Frightened, Alice calls Dan and begs him to join her immediately. Dan ditches his friends at a high school swim party, jumps in his truck and races to his love. Dan falls asleep on route and is confronted by Freddy. The two engage in a high speed race down a busy highway, while Krueger drives like a bat out of hell. Freddy violently shifts gears and Dan is thrown through the windshield.
Frantic to get to Alice, Dan absconds with a motorcycle parked out front of the school gym. But the teen is still asleep and now at the mercy of Freddy’s demonic cycle. The bike begins to merge with Dan and the two become a weird cyborg/motorcycle concoction. Sadly, the nightmare and reality ends when Dan crashes just yards shy of reaching Alice. Like so many other horror film sequences, this one was mercilessly chopped by the ratings board.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Tina)
“Tina, watch this” – Filmmaker Wes Craven’s original Nightmare remains the seminal work that spewed into a cavalcade of money-making sequels, merchandise and a brief series on television. And while the first Elm Street venture is much darker than many of the other films in the series, its first death scene did not lack creativity. Tina (Amanda Wyss) is having bad dreams. After a particularly scary nightmare, Tina, not wanting to be alone while her mother is out of town, invites her best friend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) and her beau Glen (Johnny Depp) to spend the night.
Tina’s boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri, aka Jsu Garcia) shows up unannounced and takes her mind off those pesky dreams with a sexual romp. However, the hours following take a dark and ominous turn when the lovers fall asleep. Freddy returns to Tina’s nightmare but this time he does away with her. The sequence is one of pure fantasy and horrific brutality. Tina’s stomach is sliced opened. Blood spews and the teen screams for Rod’s help, as she is helplessly dragged up the walls and across the ceiling of her mother’s bedroom.
Rod is forced to watch, as his girlfriend is gutted like a fish and tossed around the room. Sadly, what is transpiring in Tina’s nightmare is happening in reality, too. Tina is slain and Rod is arrested, leaving it to Nancy to figure out how to stop Freddy before there’s no one left to sleep.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (Joey)
“How’s this for a wet dream?” – After defeating Freddy in Dream Warriors, the three remaining Elm Street children quickly succumb to Krueger’s revenge. After Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) puts up a valiant, but ultimately useless effort, Freddy moves onto Joey (Rodney Eastman). Joey’s weakness has always been women and while he watches MTV from his waterbed, Joey doses off.
He seems to wake up, as his bed begins to violently thrash about. Joey pulls back his comforter to see the sexy and quite naked Hope Marie Carlton. Enamored, Joey watches as Hope swims away into the unseen depths of the waterbed. Suddenly, Freddy comes exploding through the clear mattress.
He grabs Joey and cackles. The pair wrestle, but the best Joey can do is scream for fellow dream warrior Kristen (Tuesday Knight). Freddy slices and dices, as Joey vanishes and the water in his bed turns blood red. It’s one of the most creative deaths in the series and it comes with a great zinger.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Jennifer)
“Welcome to prime time, bitch!” – Mental patient Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) cons the orderly Max (Laurence Fishburne) into letting her watch a little T.V. after hours. Jennifer dreams of going to Hollywood and becoming an actress, but this time her nightmare man awaits.
The television screen is static, so Jennifer changes the channels. Without any success, she hits the T.V. A pair of mechanized Freddy arms bursts free from the side of the hanging television set and snatches up the frightened girl.
Krueger’s head then emerges from the top of T.V. He smiles and barks at her, “This is it, Jennifer – your big break in T.V.” After Jennifer screams some more, Mr. K utters that now most famous line, “Welcome to prime time, bitch,” as he slams her head into the television screen. Max returns to find Jennifer’s corpse hanging head-first from the T.V.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Phillip)
“He was wide awake, all the way down” – Phillip (Bradley Gregg) is just another of the tortured teens incarcerated in Nightmare 3. Sadly, audiences do not have the chance to discover Phillip’s dream power, because he is immediately snuffed out by the guy in the dirty red and green sweater.
Phillip does exhibit an artistic talent for carving puppets, not to mention a proclivity for sleepwalking. Freddy exploits both. In Phillip’s nightmare, Freddy comes to life in the vessel of one of his unfinished puppets. Phillip watches in horror, as Kruger grows to his natural life-size form. Freddy then slashes open Phillip’s arms and legs, pulls out his bloody veins and transforms the boy into one grotesquely deformed puppet.
Krueger directs Phillip, as a puppet master would guide his marionette, and sends the teen hurling off the top of the mental hospital. The other kids watch as their friend plummets to his death, and the method suggests not murder but suicide.
Which deaths were your favorites? Were there any that didn’t make our list you’d like to have seen included? Sound off on social media!
Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths from the Friday the 13th Franchise
Filmmaker Sean S. Cunningham took John Carpenter’s Halloween, ripped it off and helped further a bloody new sub-genre of horror movies: the slasher film. There are so many memorable flicks in the Friday the 13th film series, which are loaded with splatter and suspense. Pound for pound, there are more beautiful women and devilishly creative fatalities than most other Silver Screen series – a bloody legacy. With 12 installments, boasting a body count of nearly 200 victims, there are so many unforgettable moments.
And with that in mind here is Dread Central’s Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths From the Friday the 13th Franchise.
10. Friday the 13th Part III (Vera)
There are sexy casts and then there are the alluring women of Friday the 13th: Part III (1982). They have to be one of the best-looking groups of actresses ever assembled during what was the height of the slasher films. Poor Vera (Catherine Parks) has the dubious honor of being Jason’s (Richard Brooker) first victim when he first dons the now trademark hockey mask.
After stealing the new facial guise from camp pariah Shelly (Larry Zerner), Jason uses a harpoon gun to fire a spear into lovely Vera’s eye. This is one the most memorable deaths, of the franchise, and the cherry on top is the fact that it’s in 3-D. Yes, it’s bad 3-D, by today’s standards, but die-hard audiences love it.
9. Friday the 13th Part 2 (Mark)
Will Jason attack a man in a wheelchair? Unfortunately, Friday fanatics know the answer to be yes. All these years later, fans continue to feel horrible for the handicapped Mark, portrayed by the late actor Tom McBride. Mark is waiting patiently for Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) to return to him, because after all their flirting they are finally ready to have sex together.
Jason (Warrington Gillette) surprises the crippled boy, while he waits outside, and smacks Mark with a machete to the face. Mark rolls backwards in his wheelchair down a steep staircase. It’s a brutal kill, and it is too bad Mark didn’t get the chance to get laid in the first Friday sequel.
8. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Deborah)
Now, despite being the worst of the series, there is one spectacular kill. Luke (Michael B. Silver) is having sex with Deborah (Michelle Clunie) in the woods. Jason sneaks up to their tent, even stepping on the condom the pair should have been using, as he approaches.
After Deborah climbs on stop of Luke, Jason impales Deborah with an old sign post through the tent in which the couple occupies. In one violent motion, Jason rips the post upward and splits her beautiful body in half. This is a waste of an attractive woman, but still one of the most satisfying kills ever.
7. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (Hawes)
This is such an important entry in the series, because Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) is the film that made Jason (C.J. Graham) supernatural, and the first kill really sets the beautifully violent tone. After inadvertently bringing Jason back to life, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) watches in horror as his friend Hawes (Ron Palillo) is brutally murdered. In an awesome display of brute strength, Jason punches a hole in Hawes’ chest.
His arm extends through Hawes’ back and the youngster’s heart is clutched in Jason’s demonic grasp. Side note, it may also be satisfying to those who recognized Palillo from his annoying character Horshack on the television show Welcome Back, Kotter. It seems that Jason felt the same way about that show as many others did when he ripped Horshack’s, I mean Hawes’ heart out of his chest.
6. Jason X (Adrienne)
After the disaster that was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)—and the fact that there were eight years between these films—it was a stunner that somewhere a room full of executives actually green lit the idea of sending Jason (Kane Hodder) into space. Unfortunately, the film had a rather short theatrical run.
As bad as it turned out to be, there is a very memorable kill. While Adrienne (Kristi Angus) examines Jason, our masked menace slowly comes back to life. As she inspects the killer’s tissue under her microscope, Jason sneaks up behind her.
Jason drags Adrienne across the room, forces her head into a sink of icy coolant (freezing her face) and then slams her head into the counter, causing Adrienne’s head to explode on impact. It’s the high point of the film, unfortunately.
5. Friday the 13th Part III (Rick)
This might be the best/worst example of what happens to a lovelorn character in a horror film. Rick (Paul Kratka) desperately tries to reconnect with his old flame, Chris (Dana Kimmell), during their time at Camp Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, Jason (Richard Brooker) gets his hands on Rick before Chris has a chance to see what a great guy she has.
While checking the exterior of their cabin, Jason grabs Rick and gags him with his hand, blocking Chris from hearing Rick’s screams for help. When she returns to the interior of the cabin, Jason hoists Rick into the air, squeezes his head, and pops it like a zit.
The result is Rick’s eye squirting out of his skull, in all its 3-D glory. It was the cheesy 3-D effects of the early 1980s, and you can see the eyeball traveling down the wire toward the camera, but it’s still one of the best “Oh my God!” moments in the series.
4. Freddy vs. Jason (Trey)
Jason (Ken Kirzinger) doesn’t waste any time, as he quickly dispatches Gibb’s (Katharine Isabelle) obnoxious boyfriend, Trey (Jesse Hutch), during the opening moments of the film. After an off-screen sex romp with Gibb, Trey lies in bed with a beer when Jason strikes.
Voorhees repeatedly plunges his machete into Trey’s back and then folds the youth up in the bed like a taco shell. It’s an awesome display of Jason’s power and director Ronny Yu’s obsession with loads of blood and gore. Audiences that had any qualms about whether or not Freddy vs. Jason (2003) would live up to their own respective franchises should have been alleviated right then.
This is one of the most memorable deaths in either series, and the film is one of the best Freddy and Friday films made – a great monster movie melee.
3. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Judy)
The only actor to play the character of Jason Voorhees more than once is fan favorite, Kane Hodder. This was his first appearance as the man behind the hockey mask, and his favorite kill as the character is in this film. While waiting for her boyfriend to return to their tent, Judy (Deborah Kessler) gets comfortable in her sleeping bag. Jason cuts his way into the tent and scoops up Judy in the sleeping bag.
Jason drags her, kicking and screaming, to a tree. Jason then hoists the sleeping bag into the air and slams Judy’s head into the tall timber in one hellacious motion, which cracks her skull. It’s so simplistic and yet diabolically creative.
2. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (Sheriff Garris)
Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) is hiding at the campgrounds after an unsuccessful first encounter with Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham). But, when the sheriff hears his daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) screaming for help, he rushes to confront Jason in order to protect his girl.
Garris attacks Jason and begins beating him with a tree branch, forces him to the ground, and climbs on top of him, as he repeatedly smashes a rock into Jason’s skull. But, Voorhees gets the upper hand and forces Garris backwards in the wrong direction – folding the sheriff up like a lawn chair. The sound of Garris’ back breaking is what makes this death so effective, and it is one of the most chilling and creative deaths in the Friday films.
1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Jason)
This is truly a case of saving the best for last, and it’s the only kill on our list that wasn’t carried out by the man behind the hockey mask. In what was supposed to be the final Friday the 13th movie, Jason (Ted White) squares off against siblings Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) at the film’s climax. Jason is fixing to murder Trish when Tommy takes him by surprise by revealing himself on the staircase with a bald head.
Jason is confused, as he stares at the young boy who has shaved his own head to look like a young Jason Voorhees. Trish grabs the machete and swipes at Jason’s head, which only knocks off his hockey mask. Trish drops the machete and screams, as Jason closes in for the kill, but Tommy picks up the weapon and slams it into Jason’s head. With the machete caught in his left eye socket, Jason drops to his knees and then headfirst toward the floor.
The flooring shoves the machete upward, as Jason’s head slides down the weapon. And, here’s your cliché of the day: Jason got an eyeful. This is by far and away the very best kill in the franchise. Plus, this film is one of the best of the series. You can’t go wrong with the Final Chapter; it is classic horror cinema.
Which deaths were your favorites? Were there some that didn’t make the list you can’t believe the author omitted? Kevin Bacon and Mrs. Voorhees? Sound off on social media!
Horror History: More Doctor Who Sightings in Horror Movies
Sighting “Doctor Who” actors appearing in horror movie roles has opened floodgates of discussion on social media! Yes, the films I mentioned in my last Dread Central article are not the only horror movie appearances of Doctor Who.
In my last article we saw Patrick Troughton as the priest in 1976’s The Omen, as Inspector Kanof in The Gorgon (1964), and in 1970’s Scars of Dracula. We reviewed Jon Pertwee in The House that Dripped Blood (1971). We recognized Tom Baker in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973).
As working actors, these three pop up in movies and TV shows throughout the decades, and there are many more Doctor Who sightings, like the uncredited Patrick Troughton police inspector role in Season One of “The Saint.” While we once again time travel in this article, I’m going to continue to concentrate on the first four actors who played the good Doctor.
Since I left the first Doctor out of my previous article, we’ll start with William Hartnell. His comedic performance in the thriller Midnight at the Wax Museum (1936), 30 years before setting the standard for Doctor Who, proves this actor was well known and well seasoned when picked for the then-new BBC kid’s program.
Midnight at the Wax Museum, also called Midnight at Madame Tussaud’s, is about an explorer spending the night in Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors. The film was actually shot in Madame Tussauds; I remember it to be spooky, but when I saw it, I was very young.
Good luck finding this film to watch now. Even harder to find is Hartnell’s I’m an Explosive (1933), in which he starred (I assume) as the son of an inventor who accidentally drinks an explosive liquid. Sounds like horror to me.
Vault of Horror (1973) is much easier to get hold of and features the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. An anthology film based on EC comic book tales written by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines, Vault of Horror delivers like any of the Amicus horror movies: similar to Hammer in that you know you will be entertained.
Vault of Horror is a follow-up to Amicus’ Tales From the Crypt (1972), also based on EC comic stories. Both are directed by Roy Ward Baker and contrive ways to string together separate tales.
In the fifth segment of Vault of Horror, Tom Baker portrays a poor artist who finds a way to exact revenge on those who wronged him. Baker plays this character with a low-key subtlety, giving depth and sympathy to a character that could have come across whiny, cruel, or witless.
We’d be here all day if we counted Peter Cushing as a Doctor, due to his horror work with Hammer Film Productions and more.
Cushing portrayed the Doctor in two mid-’60s movies, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., films generally regarded as outside the mythos, although explaining their existence is a fun fanboy exercise. Feel free to post your explanation below!
Cushing’s Who was less crotchety than Hartnell’s portrayal of the character, and Hartnell’s was the only Doctor at the time. You could say Peter Cushing was the first actor to take Doctor Who in a different direction.
It has been fun time traveling with you! Your comments below are encouraged and appreciated.
Gary Scott Beatty’s graphic novel Wounds is available on Amazon and Comixology. Is madness a way to survive the zombie apocalypse? The strangest zombie story ever written, Wounds throws us into a world where nothing is beyond doubt, except a father’s concern for his wife and daughter. If you enjoy that “What th-?” factor in graphic novels, you’ll enjoy Wounds. For more from Gary Scott Beatty, visit him on Twitter and Facebook.
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