Category Archives: Deadly Movie Cameos

Deadly Movies Cameos: Ray Harryhausen in Spies Like Us (1985)

Ray Harryhausen Cameo Spies Like Us 1985

Cameo pens at the ready to check-off the who’s-who of industry folks on show in John Landis’s Spies Like Us. There’s Frank Oz, Terry Gilliam, Joel Cohen, Sam Raimi, and Larry Cohen, as well as Bob Hope and BB King (amongst others). During the ‘doctor, doctor’ sketch (also starring Gilliam) one of the Pakistan stationed UN doctors encountered Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase is non other than creature feature legend, the late, great Ray Harryausen. It’s a nice nod from Landis who’s career in creature horror was clearly influenced by the wondrous practical effects and stop-motion that Harryhausen gave life throughout his career. There’s also a cameo for another practical effects specialist Derek Meddings. It’s cameotacular, and while it’s certainly no high point for Harryhausen, any recognition of the great man’s work is more than welcome.

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Deadly Movies Cameos: Roger Corman in The Howling (1981)

Roger Corman Cameo The Howling

Director Joe Dante started off his filmmaking career under the guidance of B-movie supremo Roger Corman, getting his big directorial break with the Corman produced Piranha (1978). Dante gives Corman a brief, but lingering, appearance at the beginning of The Howling as an impatient man waiting for Dee Wallace to finish a call in a phone booth. Dante fills The Howling with nods and winks to horror’s past including TV footage from The Wolf Man (1941), a sketch of Lon Chaney Jr in full Wolf Man makeup, and there’s small roles for Corman regular Dick Miller and B-movie leading-man icon Kenneth Tobey. Dante would up the cameo ante in Gremlins (1984) with Steven Spielberg, Robby The Robot, HG Wells’ Time Machine, and animation legend Chuck Jones all getting a little screen service (see all Gremlins cameos here).

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Do You Remember When.., The Titanic Arrived & Cheech Marin Cameoed in Ghostbusters 2 (1989)?

A weird joke this one. With a tad more attention to detail this would have played much better. During the obligatory “Somebody get me the Ghostbusters” montage The RMS Titanic finally arrives in New York City (at that point in time) some 77 years late, along with the ghostly apparitions of those poor soles that didn’t make it off the ship alive. The odd thing is that the model makers (and presumably Ivan Reitman and his editing team) failed to notice the huge historic error in their portrayal of the world’s most infamous ship wreck (or just didn’t give a shit). Considering the wreckage was discovered in 1985, the point when the world learnt that she was in two halves, Ghostbusters 2 (some 4 years later) depicts the ship intact with the outdated huge hole theory. Ooops. And if you want to be really picky the Titanic would’ve docked at Pier 54 not 34. Still.., It’s a great scene that fits well within Ghostbusters humour and the ghostly passengers are a great touch (there’s even a ghost crew member pushing a passenger’s luggage trolly!). Oh that and the dock supervisor who calls in the sighting, and delivers the awesome line “Better late than never” is none other than Cheech Marin, who likely thinks this is another case of a bad batch of weed.

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Deadly Movies Cameos: Frozen survivor Parker O’Neil (Emma Bell) in Hatchet 2 (2010)

Cameos are great, same universe character cameos are even better. Marvel have cornered the market in same universe character cameos; a trawl through almost any Marvel movie of the past decade will uncover cameos from other Marvel cannons. Hatchet and Frozen director Adam Green is a fan’s filmmaker, he knows how to deliver genre pleasing movies. It’s no surprise that his film’s are full of cameos, walk-on’s, small rolls, and significant rolls from some of horror and cult cinema’s most revered faces (Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Danielle Harris et al). But this particular cameo in Hatchet 2 (2010) is one of my favourites as Green goes down the ‘same universe’ route placing the events of his other 2010 movie, Frozen, into the Hatchet timeline.  Appearing on Reverend Zombie’s (Tony Todd’) TV, Parker O’Neil, the sole survivor of Frozen’s wolf onslaught, tells reporters “I’ll never go skiing again“. The cameo is made all the funnier by the news caption which reads “Settles lawsuit with Mount Holliston“, giving us a little insight into post-Frozen events. Great stuff from Green who made these two movies almost back-to-back and uses this as a loving link between the two. Plus it was likely an easy pay cheque for Emma Bell and her agent too. Everyone’s a winner!

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Deadly Movies Cameos: Kevin Smith in ‘Superman Doomsday’ (2007)

Lets have a quick and very paraphrased history lesson. Back in 1996 Kevin Smith landed the dream gig of pitching his vision of a rebooted Superman to Warner Bros and producer Jon Peters. Smith’s never-made ‘Superman Lives‘ makes for long and fascinating reading. The project never made it to fruition because of major creative differences between Smith and Peters. Peters had some very misguided and very shortsighted ideas of how to approach a new Superman movie. Typical of the 90s approach to superhero films, Peters wanted to change the source material as much as possible, rather than embrace and celebrate it which, is thankfully the trend we largely see today. Amongst Peters’ demands were that Smith’s Superman was to wear a black costume (apparently red and blue was too “faggy”), wasn’t to fly (a Superman that doesn’t fly? Go figure), and had to fight a giant mechanical spider during the movie’s finale. Incidentally Peters would get a giant mechanical spider in 1999 in his totally not dogshit production ‘Wild Wild West‘. Smith actually managed to turn a script in that met all of these whims of a lunatic and was still removed from the project.

These daysWB has much more sense when its comes to its DC prpoerties (‘Green Lantern‘ aside, woops) and this is no more evident than in the wondrous animated features produced under the banner of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. 2007’s ‘Superman Doomsday‘ (a PG-13 with some pretty awesome slug-fest violence) features an animated version of none other than Kevin Smith taking a great side-swipe at Jon Peters. As Toyman scales a building in a (you guessed it) giant mechanical spider and is suitably nailed by clone-Superman, Smith can be heard saying “like we really needed him to bust up the mechanical spider right? Lame!” (and yes that is Smith’s voice). It’s a great moment that shows just how far WB has come in the treatment of its most valuable asset.

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(Ass) Busting Makes Him Feel Good

Deadly Movies Cameos | Ron Jeremy in ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984)

Perhaps the greatest movie cameo pub trivia of all time? Probably. Porn legend of over 1,200 titles, Ron Jeremy, can indeed be spotted in the final cut of ‘Ghostbusters‘. If the comedy classic isn’t full of enough pop culture icons you can add the fat moustached man to the list. The cameo (ok not strictly a cameo as he was a background actor at the time) occurs around an hour into the movie after the EPA have shut down the containment facility. Along with his fellow onlookers, Jeremy and his lip-ferret can be seen standing left of screen behind a police barricade and in front of Ecto-1. ‘Man Behind Barricade‘ even has his own, albeit incomplete,  IMDB character bio page. So there you have it; It’s not like Ron needed even more man points, but he gets them for this.

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My Dad Says That You Guys Are Full of Crap

Deadly Movies Cameos | Jason Reitman in ‘Ghostbusters 2’ (1989)

Son of Ivan, director of ‘Juno‘ (2007) and ‘Up In The Air‘ (2009), Jason Reitman has a funzo little cameo in ‘Ghostbusters 2‘ as the He-Man obsessed, spoiled kid, party-jerk we’d all like to slap. You remember the scene: Out of work Ghostbusters’ Ray and Winston moonlight as kids birthday entertainers in full ‘busters regalior. When they rock up to a well-to-do New York brownstone they’re greeted by “ungrateful yuppy larvae” who would rather see He-Man than one half of the worlds finest purveyors of paranormal extermination and elimination. It’s a great scene as Jason retains his name and has the wonderful line “My dad says you’re full of crap“.., which is pretty funny when you consider that his dad was of course directing the movie. This scene is also made all the more weird by Ray Parker Jr’s infamous theme tune ‘Ghostbusters‘ being played, and even sung along to, by the Ghostbusters, breaking all kinds of fourth walls that my head hurts just contemplating the meaning.

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Night of the Lambing Dead?

Deadly Movies Cameos | George A Romero in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ (1991)

Here’s an awesome cameo that’s past me by for the past 20 years or so. George A Romero, smiley godfather of the zombie movie, is in 1991’s horror masterpiece ‘The Silence of the Lambs‘.

Location: Courthouse Cell scene. Clarice visits Dr Lector in his special Tennessee cell (you know, the big bird cage cell). When she rushes back to the enclosure to grab a case file from Lector (where he does that creepy finger stroke thing) a gaggle of cops and security guards rush over to escort Clarice away. Well fellow horror fans, one said guard is none other than George Romero who, if you keep an eye on him in the background, is doing some sterling fake talking into a walkie-talkie acting. So there you have it, the moment Romero met Lector. Oh and it’s also hilarious to see the disapproving-grandpa face that Romero shoots Lector as he’s pulling Clarice away. Cinema genius.

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Roger Corman will do anything for a gold doubloon

Deadly Movies Cameos | Roger Corman in ‘Sharktopus’ (2011)

There’s only one thing Roger Corman enjoys more than a cameo in one of his own productions, and that’s saving a buck. In the wonderfully (woefully?) titled ‘Sharktopus’ Corman gets to do both. Walking along a beach, exposing his old-man chest, Corman watches on as a blonde filly gets dragged into the brine by some awful CGI. Less bothered about the young lady’s fate, Corman turns his attention to a shiny coin that the ill-fated blonde had previously dug out of the sand. Why save a life when you can save a dollar? That’s how you get to be a movie producer. Watch the clip below taken for the Corman produced ‘Sharktopus‘, complete with director and producer commentary.

Clip comes courtasy of Anchor Bay’s ‘Sharktopus‘ DVD and Blu-ray release. Find it on March 15.

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Time travelling with Spielbergo and Robby the Robot

Deadly Movies Cameos | Steven Spielberg and others in ‘Gremlins’ (1984)

The cameos, nods, winks, references, and self indulgent love-in’s that litter Gremlins (and other Spielberg produced and/re directed movies from the 80s) can become a real headache to piece together, and are worth further exploration in a Deadly Movies Connections article one day. This particular cameo is wonderful for its sheer self indulgence, yet it’s handled with huge pinches of salt by the filmmakers, as well as a displaying a great sense of timing. While Gremlins awaken in his attic, inventor, and Mogwai purchaser extraordinaire, Randall Peltzer calls home from a convention centre, allowing us to see his fellow entrepreneur’s going about their conference business. This gives filmmakers Dante and Spielberg the ideal narrative vehicle, and plot segway, to throw in as many in-jokes and cameos as possible in the space of 30 seconds.

Spielberg's Cameo in 'Gremlins': Spielberg in the foreground, Goldsmith in the stupid hat, and the Time Machine in the background (right)

So you get Senior Spielbergo ridding some kind of recumbent bike (sitting down bike to me and you) around in circles, movie score legend Jerry Goldsmith in a phone booth wearing a ridiculous hat, Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956) being escorted across screen, and best of all, the Time Machine from The Time Machine (1960) can be seen revving its Victorian engine in background. Fabulous deft comic timing is at hand here, because when we cut back to the Peltzer house, and then again back to the convention centre, take a look as to where the Time Machine was – it’s now gone leaving nothing but bewildered delegates and a puff of smoke. Genius stuff. A sort sharp scene, filled with gags, taking place away from the action so as not to distract the viewer too much.

Enter Robby the Robot, and in the background the Time Machine has vanished

And if that’s not enough for you the in-jokes and cameos in Gremlins go on and on.., and on. Here’s a couple more: In school the students are watching ‘Hemo the Magnificent’ (1957), starring Marvin Miller, who also voiced the aforementioned Robby the Robot. Then there’s this little gem; sitting next to Billy at the bar, watching him sketch, is none other than Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones. As Billy gets up to leave the bar he says, “excuse me Mr Jones”. Throw that all in with further references to The Howling, E.T, Indiana Jones, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and It’s a Wonderful Life (and I’m sure I’ve left more out) and your Spielberg, Dante, Columbus, and Zemeckis nerd’o’meter starts blowing steam.

Chuck Jones (right) cameo in Gremlins

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Bee-Boop-Bee-Boop (or how r2d2 is a cameo whore)

Deadly Movies Connections | R2D2 in Close Encounters and more

It’s rare that Deadly Movies writes about the Star Wars movies (I do cover sci-fi by the way) because, these days, in the world of online film writing you need a PHD in Lucas bumming to be able to write about them without the fear of backlash over minor inaccuracies. But Hay-Ho. Connections, in-jokes, and cameos a rife in the Star Wars movies, you could choose from a host of famous Easter Egg moments such as the clan of E.T’s in ‘The Phantom Menace‘ or the two Millennium Falcons in ‘Attack of the Clones‘. But it’s the cross-movie exploits of R2D2 that I want to indulge in. Since old-man Lucas became a regular client to Mistress CGI’s whore house, little Kenny Baker has had less and less waddling to do inside the world’s most famous soup can. Today the boffins at Industrial Light and Magic can show us R2D2 zooming about the place with the utmost ease, without having to strap a 70 year-old littler-person into harness to fling him around a soundstage. With that in mind, it’s somewhat of a surprise that R2D2’s best universe trotting exploit takes place way back in 1977s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘. Towards the end of the movie, when Jillian (Melinda Dillon) peers out of her hidey-hole in the mountain, one of the many space ships flies over head. Attached to the hull is non other than R2D2, hanging upside-down.., chilln’n’illn. Be Boop!

Look at the engraving over Indy’s left sholder

Close Up: R2 gets a head rub

Not content with one Spielbergo crossover, R2 also popped up in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark‘, etched into a pillar behind Indy. R2 appears to be getting a head massage from a naked man who I’ll assume is Anthony Daniels. Oh and if that’s not enough for you, ILM had a wet moment when they placed R2 flying through space in JJ Abram’s ‘Star Trek‘ reboot, presumably cashing in excess air miles.

With Abrams officially in charge of more of outer space than god himself he naturally felt obliged to shove R2 into his 2013 Star Trek sequel. Like a dildo R2 was plunged Into Darkness.

R2D2 Star Trek 2

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When Shaun met George

Deadly Movies Cameos | Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright in ‘Land of the Dead’ (2005)

Pegg (left) and Wright (right) in 'Land of the Dead'

Darlings of British film Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright were invited by zombie maestro George A Romero to cameo in his first big  money z-film ‘Land of the Dead’. Of course this was a result of Pegg and Wright’s 2004 breakout success ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Now even if you can’t stomach Empire’s lording of Pegg and Wright you simply can’t detract from A) how good ‘Shaun of the Dead’ is and B) how talented these two are. So it’s with great joy (for Pegg & Wright and horror fans equally) to see the pair pop up in a film directed by the man who influenced their careers so. The joygasm is increased tenfold by Romero’s legendary social wit, in this case society’s photo-opp culture. Zombie-Peg and zombie-Wright are prisoner members of the undead who’s sole purpose is to provide Kodak moments for the post-apocalypse middle class. A true moment of genius and one that proves Romero still has an eye for social commentary (even if ‘Diary’ is poo.., yeah I went there).

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Bart, Burns, Frink, and Godzilla

Deadly Movies Cameos | Nancy Cartwright in ‘Godzilla’ (1998)

Nancy Cartwright and Harry Shearer in 'Godzilla' (1998)

In 1996 Tri-Star and movie fans alike were getting very high on Roland Emmerich’s ‘Independence Day‘, so what better man to handle another SFX laden sci-fi disaster project that had been doing the rounds under the glorious title of  ‘All New American Godzilla!‘. By the end of July 1998 the high was over, the munchies abandoned on the theatre floor, and the downer had kicked in. Emmerich had delivered one of internet fandom’s first hate targets (in the illustrious company of ‘Batman and Robin‘). Almost everything in Emmerich’s ‘Godzilla‘ was hideously misjudged. Only a handful of people could walk away from ‘Godzilla‘ without some ounce of blame. Two such brave souls were ‘The Simpsons‘ veterans Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria who at least gave it a good go didn’t embarrass themselves (too much). Joining Shearer and Azaria for one of the films lighter and subtler in-jokes was the voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright. Cartwright appears in a nice little cameo as a Network TV receptionist who witnesses the mighty Godzilla take a stroll by the lofty office window, while in the background  Shearer’s yappy news anchor bleats on about the lack of a decent lead story. Of course in typical Emmerich fashion one in-joke is never enough. Take a look over Nancy’s shoulder and you can see TV dinosaur ‘Barney’ on the screen in the background. You see he’s a dinosaur type thing and so is Godzilla (sort of), get it? GET IT!? In a movie where subtlety isn’t the order of the day, Nancy’s cameo at least gives your eyes a rest from all the rolling they’ve been doing.

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