horror movie roundup: angel heart, saw, and a tribute to character actors

Here’s a question: have you ever found yourself watching a movie in which an A-list star plays a role you really wish had been inhabited by a solid but nameless character actor?

This happened to the Evil twice yesterday. In an effort to make his Sabbath black, Evil watched Saw and Angel Heart back-to-back. Each movie featured a Big Star in a supporting role, and in each one Evil found himself wanting a less accomplished, “I thiiiink I’ve seen that guy before” type of actor in that role.

Let’s talk about this like adults:

Saw: That’s right—before yesterday, Evil never saw Saw. (And really only did so because he wanted to say “saw Saw.”) The entire torture-porn genre fails to interest the Evil, though he acknowledges the admirably twisted creative process that goes into finding more and more inventive ways to mutilate victims. Let’s all hope that keeping those writers employed in this process keeps them from becoming serial killers.

. . . And no, the “name” actor of whom Evil speaks isn’t Cary Elwes. Evil will never be able to accept Elwes in any film that doesn’t involve the Dread Pirate Roberts. It’s Danny Glover, playing an obsessed police detective and, frankly, throwing the Evil off every time he appears onscreen. Evil understands that landing a “name” is a coup for a low-budget debut horror film . . . but really, you can’t, you just can’t, cast Danny Glover as a police detective. Any other role, fine, but it’s hard to watch him in Saw because you can’t help yourself from waiting for him to mutter, “I’m too old for this shit.”

Angel Heart: Chances are you’ve never heard of this movie. Evil hadn’t either before a friend recommended it. Evil seconds that recommendation. Imagine a cross between The Silence of the Lambs, Oh God! You Devil, Chinatown, Live and Let Die, and Fight Club, and you’ve got Angel Heart. It stars Mickey Rourke (1987 “He’s going to be huge!” vintage), a smoking-hot-when-naked Lisa Bonet . . . and Robert De Niro.

Now obviously, if you can get De Niro in your movie, you get De Niro. Especially in 1987. And he’s fine in it. But his raw De Nirocity completely overwhelms his small but crucial role. He’s supposed to be creepy, but De Niro doesn’t do creepy—he does quiet smoldering threat. In fact, come to think of it, if there was a way to switch Glover and De Niro in these two movies (via a time machine, chloroform, and some of kind of memory-erasing ray), they both would have been better.

Or—even betterer—a coupel of those actors that makes you say, “I swear I’ve seen him in like 50 movies, but I can’t remember which one.”

This ever happened to anyone else?

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2 thoughts on “horror movie roundup: angel heart, saw, and a tribute to character actors”

  1. Eternally. Frankly, if it isn’t DeNiro, MacDowell (Malcolm or Andie), or Pacino, I usually can’t place them, at all, whoever they are. Hell, I had a hard time recognizing John Malkovich in “Being John Malkovich”!

    Angel Heart seriously rocks, though. I’m shocked Evil hasn’t seen it before. And even I find Lisa Bonet hot, but then, she kinda looks like Raul. Except, you know, she’s black, and a woman, and her face is all different. But the quality and degree of hotness is identical, and even a blind sonofabitch like myself can see that.

  2. evil’s horror history is sketchy . . . not enough willing co-watchers on this journey through the dark abyss we call life.

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