Category Archives: Deadly Movies Icons

Deadly Movies Icons: Presenting Tom Atkins

Tom ‘thrill me’ Atkins is what Deadly Movies icons are all about. If he can fit it into his schedule, and if he thinks it sounds fun, he’ll sign onto just about any movie with little to no regard for such frivolities such as artistic merit. And taking a look at his resume it turns out he’s a damn fine judge. Atkins and his mighty moustache began acting life together in the 60s, predominantly in TV roles, often as a detective.., a typecast role than would stay with him throughout his career. Indeed his first movie role was in the aptly names The Detective (1968), where he played opposite none other than Frank Sinatra. More TV cop roles would follow over the next decade until 1980, when Atkins career would take turn down the horror/sci-fi path and never look back. It was, of course, John Carpenter who gave Atkins his breakout role in the genre he’s so regarded for today, starring as Nick Castle alongside Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog. From there on in Atkins’ life was one of zombies, aliens, serial killers, and creatures. Deadly Movies salutes you and lip-hair with these outstanding highlights:

The Fog (1980): Atkins vs ghost pirates

Escape From New York (1981): Atkins not really vs anyone, but let’s say vs Snake Plissken

Creepshow (1982): Atkins vs the trilogy segment structure

Halloween 3 (1982): Atkins vs face melting kids masks

Night of the Creeps (1986): Atkins vs alien-vampire-zombie type things

Maniac Cop (1988): Tom Atkins vs a, well you can guess.

My Bloody Valentine (2009): Atkins vs the third wave of 3D and a pissed off miner.

Drive Angry (2011): Atkins vs all kinds of mumbo-jumbo

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Presenting Regina Carol (1943 – 1992)

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Regina Carrol was a former nightclub singer who picked up the mantra of ‘The Freak Out Girl’ largely due to the movies she made with director husband Al Adamson. Together they mad a strew of horror and exploitation films throughout the 1970s. Keen eyed viewers will also be able to spot Carrol’s father Barney Gelfan in many of her films. For horror fans the freak-out-girl’s career pinnacle is probably 1971’s Dracula vs Frankenstein where she starred opposite horror legend Lon Chaney Jr. Regina mostly sings, lipsynchs, and dances her way through most of her movies in that sexy 70s grindhouse manner that Deadly Movies has a penchant for. Oh yeah she also dated Elvis. One of the true heroins of exploitation horror, and here are Deadly Movies’ personal highlights:

Satan’s Sadist (1969): Regina seduces violent biker men with sexy time table dance.
Dracula vs Frankenstein (1976): Regina singing and battling an axewielding Lon Chaney.
Brain of Blood (1972): Regina bizarreness involving the classic body switch and brain transplant.
Blood of the Ghastly Horror (1972): Regina terrorised by a whacked out Vietnam Vet with a homicidal microchip in his brain.
Girls for Rent (aka ‘I Spit on your Corpse’ 1974): Uncredited role for Regina in killer women flick
Dr Dracula (1978): Regina, John Carradine, the Occult, and sort of Dracula called Anatole.

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Presenting The Real Santa Claus

Deadly Movies Icons | Richard N Gladstein

If you don’t like Richard Gladstein then you don’t like Christmas. Having worked as Producer and/or Executive Producer on movies such as Finding Neverland (2004), The Bourne Identity (2002), The Cider House Rules (1999), Pulp Fiction (1994) is known to bring a smile of satisfaction to Richard Gladstein’s round face. But what really fills him with festive pride is his career circa 1989-1991.., he was a very good boy those years. 1989 would see Glado produce and act in Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! as ‘detective’. 1990 would see a promotion to writing, producing, and staring in Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation as ‘Woody’. Whilst 1991 would see Glado retiring from the writers desk and returning to what he knows best, the old producer/actor role in Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker as ‘Driver Dad’. Indulge me, if you would, in a little yuletide poetry: Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for Richard Gladstein who was busy penning a way to string out the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise for as long as possible without worrying too much about that old chestnut, continuity.

Presenting Rory Calhoun (1922-1999)

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Rory Calhoun is one of those faces you just recognise from movies, a great character actor who thrived in westerns, b-movies, and exploitation flicks. Calhoun usually played the mans-mans; unsurprising when you consider his CV includes spells as a truck driver, a lumberjack, a boxer, a cowpuncher, as well as a little jail time. When people say to you “I graduated from The University of Life” ask them if they were taught by Professor Calhoun, head of the faculty of hard knocks. Also worthy of note is the amount of films Calhoun starred in that had the most ridiculous of names including ‘Won Ton Ton, the Dog That Saved Hollywood’ (1976), ‘Love and the Midnight Auto Supply’ (1977), and ‘Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers’ (1979). But as always it’s the back catalogue of horror, monster, sci-fi, and creature feature films that interest us most, and here’s a look at Calhoun’s best Deadly Movies efforts:
Night of the Lepus (1972): Rory vs Giant rabbits
Revenge of Bigfoot (1979): Rory vs Sasquatch
Motel Hell (1980): Rory vs Severed heads
Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988): Rory vs post apocalypse mutant frogs
Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force (1989): Rory vs rollerblades

Presenting Michael Moriarty

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One day I will compile a Deadly Movies Top 5 ‘madder than a box of jumping beans actors’ and up there with Crispin Glover will be this man mountain, Michael Moriarty. Jazz musician and Emmy Award winner, Moriarty is widely know for his long running role as Ben Stone in Law and Order. But our interest focuses on his 1980s purple patch. One glorious day in horror movie history Moriarty met writer, director, and producer extraordinaire Larry Cohen and therein would begin Moriarty’s run of films that are as brilliant as they are incomprehensibly barmy. And taken in that context there is no one better suited to such roles than Moriarty who is lovable, baffling, and enigmatic in equal measures. Here’s Deadly Movies’ Moriarty highlights:
Reborn (1981): Moriarty vs Stigmata
Q, The Winged Serpent* (1982): Moriarty vs some kind of inexplicable Aztec flying serpent (reviewed by Deadly Movies here)
The Stuff* (1985): Moriarty vs a delicious yet deadly dessert
Troll (1986): Moriarty (now on a horror roll) vs a troll (and hilariously he’s called Harry Potter! Moriarty that is, not the troll)
Dark Tower (1987): Moriarty vs a skyscraper dwelling poltergeist
A Return to Salem’s Lot* (1987): Moriarty vs the sharp toothed inhabitants of Salem
It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive* (1987): Moriarty vs mutant babies
*Larry Cohen films

Presenting James Arness

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Perhaps not a name that instantly springs to mind when you think of horror, creature, or sci-fi legends. James Arness is widely revered as a Western actor, playing opposite John Wayne on more than one occasion. But he did appear in two 50s genre classics, and if you look at his face closely you’ll recognise one icon in particular.., The Thing itself in Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World. So take a look below, and doff your hat
to a man that contributed greatly to monster horror in the 1950s:
The Lost Worlds (1950): James vs some pirates and slurpasaurs (a visual effect where regular sized lizards were used to appear as dinosaurs) on an Australian desert island.
The Thing From Another World (1951): James IS The Thing. That’s right, James Arness appears as one of cinema’s legendary creatures, taking his cue from Karloff’s Monster. James vs The US military and a bunch of arrogant scientists in the Antarctic.
Them! (1954): James vs giant ants in what is arguably the greatest of the 50s creature features. Pay close attention to
the film’s often copied finale, James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) certainly owes a lot to this.
Update: Deadly Movies commenter Derek O’Brien weighed in with the following golden nugget that only furthers James Arness’ legendary status: Arness won a chest-load of medals in WW2 including the Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart, The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the WW2 Victory Medal, and The Combat Infantryman Badge. Making Arness one tough son-of-a-bitch.

Presenting P.J. Soles

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Back in the 80s a very foxy and feisty P. J. Soles was the pinup for a lot of teenage guys, and teenage guys since. Many people probably don’t know that Soles was born in Germany and was once married to Dennis Quaid…, good pub trivia that. Her role as Laurie’s best friend; the pot smoking, beer drinking, sexually active Lynda in Halloween (1978) has cemented her place as an icon amongst horror fans. Many a man will remeber the line ‘see anything you like?’, you know what i’m talking about. Today she appears in character roles in the genre she is loved for, such as The Devils Rejects (2005), The Tooth Fairy (2006), and Alone in the Dark 2 (2008), but it’s PJ’s rememberable roles from her 70s and 80s heyday that cement her as a Deadly Movies icon:

Carrie (1976):PJ vs. old dirty pillows in pig blood Carrie White.
The Possessed (1977): PJ (at an all girls school.., nice) vs. satanic forces.
Halloween (1978): PJ is like totally versus Michael Myers.
Innocent Prey (1984):PJ vs. prostitute murdering ex husband
B.O.R.N (1988): PJ vs. deranged DIY organ surgeon

Presenting Nestor Paiva (1905 -1966)

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Nestor Paiva, character actor extraordinaire. His Portuguese lineage and knack for ‘accents’ meant that Hollywood saw good reason to cast him as anything from Native American to Greek, and from Russian to Mexican. If the casting call read ‘must me non white and good with funny accents‘ Nestor was there. He had a vast film and TV career (281 titles in all) and worked closely with other Deadly Movie icons John Agar and director Jack Arnold. As always here’s Deadly Movies favourite Nestor Paiva appearances:

Mighty Joe Young (1949):
Part 3 of the so-called Shoedsack and Cooper King Kong trilogy. Nestor vs. an overgrown Gorilla.

Killer Ape (1953): Nestor vs. a sort of drug fuelled man-ape who’s running amuck in the jungle.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954): Nestor is the fairly barmy cigar chugging Captain Lucas in this Jack Arnold classic. Nestor vs. The Gill-Man.

Revenge of the Creature (1955): Nestor’s back as Captain Lucas taking more man meat down the river for you-know-who, who isn’t dead after all. Nestor vs. The Gill-Man round 2.

Tarantual (1955): Nestor’s third creature feature by Jack Arnold and second alongside leading man John Agar. Nestor vs. giant spider.

The Mole People (1956): Nestor has John Agar’s back once again, this time in subterranean action. Nestor vs. Hans Moleman.

The Mandmen of Mandoras (1963): On the island of Mandoras Nazi’s are planning to take over the world as commanded by…, The living head of Adolf Hitler! Brilliant. Nestor vs. Hitler severed head.

Presenting Christopher George (1929 – 1983)

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Christopher George is a bit of a chiselled B-movie and TV legend, often deployed in the gruff detective, sheriff, doctor type role. Under the banner of B-movies and cult TV you could list almost his entire CV; but here at Deadly Movies we like to pay homage to his epic contribution to creature features, horror, and sci-fi:

Project X (1968): William Castle (legend) movie about a cryogenically defrosted Christopher George.

Grizzly (1976): George vs. a bear (nice)

Day of the Animals (1977): George vs. ALL the animals (sweet)

Cruise into Terror (1978): George and other cruise passengers find some Egyptian relics that somehow for some reason summon Satan. (Get-in)

City of the Living Dead (1980): George vs Fulci Zombies and the gate of Hell

The Exterminator (1980): George investigates flame throwing vigilante (Pow!)

Mortuary (1983): George and his son (Bill Paxton?!! Awesome) work in a mortuary and attempt to bring back spirits of the dead (shit the bed yes!)

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Presenting John Agar (1921-2002)

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Deadly Movies salutes another icon of 50s monster movies. John Agar began his movie career in Westerns alongside real life bride Shirley Temple. The 50’s would see Agar hit a rich vein of form in b-movie horror and sci-fi. Agar also has a strange link to King Kong, appearing in a small cameo role in Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 Kong remake and strangely an Arkansas dinosaur theme park was named ‘John Agar’s Land of Kong’. During the 50’s Agar battled the Gill Man, the Mole People, the Pupet People, a giant brain, and a giant spider. This is a man for whom no horror was too great, presenting John Agar:

Revenge of The Creature (1955)
Tarantula (1955)
The Mole People (1956)
The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)
Attack of The Pupet People (1958)

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Outstanding Contribution to Leading Men in 50s Creature Features…, Presenting

Deadly Movies Icons | Richard Denning, Kenneth Tobey, and Richard Carlson

Before Arnie, Chuck, Sly, and Bruce, hell even before Clint, there were the men of the 50s Creature Feature. True men. Real men. Men for whom no octopus had too many tentacles. No alien was in too bad an outfit. And no dinosaur was made of too much play dough. These men said it like it was, kicked ass, destroyed every marvel of science and nature, and always managed to get some tang along the way. I give you the leading bad-asses of 50s Sci-Fi:

Richard Denning: Battered 5 different beasties / aliens.

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954),

Target Earth (1954),

Creature With the Atom Brain (1955),

The Day the World Ended (1955),

Black Scorpion (1957).

Kenneth Tobey: Kung Foo’d 4 different beasties / aliens.

The Thing From Another World (1951),

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953),

It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955),

Vampire (1957).

Richard Carlson: Beat up 2 different beasties / aliens.

It came From Outer Space (1953),

Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954).

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