Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Haven't I seen you somewhere?: The Horror Cameo

There is such a profusion of cameos in horror movies it would be next to impossible to list every one here. I've hit a lot the highlights here, but some of the ones I thought of I couldn't find photos of - like Roger Corman as an executive in Scream, Eli Roth as Justin (with "Dr. Mambo") in Cabin Fever, and Sam Raimi - who had a cameo in each of the Evil Dead movies.

On that Evil Dead note - did you realize that in Spiderman, Peter's Uncle Ben is driving the Evil Dead car?

And that in An American Werewolf in London, director John Landis is a pedestrian who is hurled through a window after he gets hit with a car? Yeah, I couldn't find a still of that one either. I think I need screen grabber extraordinaire Andre Dumas to help me!

I could have thrown in several Scorsese films that the esteemed director appeared in, but most of them are not considered horror.

And some of what could almost be considered a cameo were actually minor roles, in particular Samuel Jackson in Deep Blue Sea.

And I suppose I could have added Stephenie Meyer's cameo in Twilight...but ahh... how about no.

Without further adieu....a random inventory of horror cameos.

Wes Craven: Scream
A truly inspired and near-perfect cameo was Wes Craven in his own Scream.
Donning a Freddy sweater and hat, he has only one short line but wow was this one a scene-stealer. Particularly when Henry Winkler literally calls him Fred.

John Carpenter: The Fog
Practically a blink and you'll miss it cameo of the director in which he plays a church worker.
He's done a few more cameos in some of his other films as well.
Oh, and nice hair.

Gregory Peck: Cape Fear (1991)
Peck and Robert Mitchum, who also cameos, played the leads in the 1962 version of the film by the same name. Another star of the first one, Martin Balsam, was also seen in the remake as well. Consider it Scorsese's creative homage to the original.

Drew Barrymore: Scream
A bit longer than your average cameo, it was still quite the shock to quickly find Drew hanging by a rope with her insides on the outside.

David Lynch: Fire Walk With Me
As FBI chief Gordon Cole, Lynch entertains as a stone-deaf agent who talks extremely loud and has more than just a few strange ways of conducting an investigation. The role originated in the television series, created by Lynch - and if you didn't know that one you were born under a rock.

Traci Lords: Blade
Honestly, I have to admit to not being a very big Blade fan. And I've only seen the movie maybe twice - and let's face it, Lords' "leading role"was pretty much not that at all, but simply a very minor role.
I have, however, always thought Traci would be perfectly cast as Rebecca De Mornay's sister, in anything.

Gene Barry & Anne Robinson: War of the Worlds
To the left, the Steven Spielberg version from 2005, to the right the original 1953 film.
In the remake, Barry & Robinson provided cameos by portraying Tom Cruise's in-laws.

Vincent Price: Edward Scissorhands
Price's last acting role was a dandy. It was such a thrill to see him in this role as the inventor who died before finishing Edward's hands. The part was written specifically for him.

Christopher Walken: Sleepy Hollow
Always one to take on strange roles, Walken is uncredited as The Headless Horseman in Burton's 1999 film. I don't know about anyone else, but his teeth really scared the crap out of me!

Ken Foree: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
It was great to see Foree in this cameo, in particular his role as a televangelist. Two other actors from the original DotD also make appearances in the remake: Tom Savini as the Sheriff and Scott Reiniger as an army general.

Charlaine Harris: True Blood
I know, most of these are from films...but I couldn't resist. The writer of the Sookie Stackhouse books finally gets a little bit of screen time in this scene from the last episode of Season 2.

John Waters: Seed of Chucky
Leave it to John Waters to be in a trashy remake - he's such a bizarre individual that it seems just about appropriate... He fits right in this fun crap-fest.

Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek (2009)
Live long and prosper, dude. Enough said.

Dario Argento: Innocent Blood
In John Landis' strange mafia/vampire flick from 1992, Argento has a bizarre cameo as a creepy paramedic. This film was made in nearby-to-me Pittsburgh, and by God if I'd have known the master of Italian horror was there in the 'burgh you can bet your sweet ass I'd have been stalking that set.
But seriously, how completely random.

Jamie Lee Curtis: Halloween: Resurrection
With her long and storied history in the Halloween franchise, it's weird to think of this as just a cameo, but for all intents and purposes, it is. I was actually kind of pissed when the series finally killed her off. I was NOT. IN. FAVOR. of it.

Janet Leigh: Halloween H20: 20 years later
To me, one of the best cameos! Not only do we get Janet playing Jamie's mom, but we get the freakin' car from Psycho as well! Score!

Nancy Stephens: Halloween H20
Another H20 cameo was Stephens as Nurse Marion Chambers. If you really strain your memory, you'll recognize her as the nurse from the original (1978) Halloween who drove with Dr. Loomis to the asylum to pick up Michael, who escaped that night.

Ruggero Deodato: Hostel 2
Appropriately, Deodato plays a cannibal enjoying a meal when the Elite Hunting powers that be knock on his door and ask if he'd like a little something extra. Who better than the director of Cannibal Holocaust to pull this one off?

John Larroquette, narrator, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): reprising his voice-over in the re-imagining of '03
I think they were trying to add a bit of authenticity or perhaps just nostalgia to the remake of the horror classic. Nice touch.

Bubo: Clash of the Titans ('10)
Not exactly horror, but worth a mention. According to many sources, Sam Worthington (who plays Perseus in the remake) thought the owl was a completely ridiculous addition to the film, and adamantly implored Bubo not be in the new edition. He almost got his wish, but Bubo makes a quick appearance anyway, and those of us who have fond memories of the original CotT were pacified.
But seriously, there were already giant scorpions, an insanely huge sea monster, flying horses, and a slithering Medusa with a head full of snakes. Yeah, that owl would have been outrageous!

Peter Jackson (as knife-wielding Santa): Hot Fuzz
While this film is not horror, we still get a maniacal Father Christmas played by none other than the director of Dead Alive. Oh, and a few random flicks about a ring or something- ??

Bill Murray: Zombieland
Thankfully, I didn't hear of this cameo before I saw the movie, so it worked all the better for me. As usual, Bill was hilarious.

M. Night Shyamalan: Signs
Like Hitchcock, Shyamalan seems to enjoy random cameos in almost all his films. But this one, as a guilt-ridden veterinarian, was my favorite.

Peter Benchley: JAWS
Another source-author cameo, Benchley played a reporter giving his audience the down-low on Amity's killer shark. Since writing Jaws, he became a major advocate for the preservation and conservation of sharks - in particular the Great White - until his death from pulmonary fibrosis in 2006.

Gene Hackman: Young Frankenstein
As the blind hermit (which was actually from Bride of Frankenstein), Hackman gives a comical humdinger of a performance in a movie with nothing but superb, near-riotous humor. Great stuff!

Stephen King: Pet Sematary
And yet another author who enjoys cameos. King has appeared in several of his films, but his minister role in this one is such a hoot.

Takashi Miike: Hostel
Eli Roth does seem to enjoy 'insider' horror cameos. With Deodato and Miike, he grabs two of the most notorious horror directors for a couple classic one-liners. Miike is creepy, just standing there in his shades and trench coat, warning that "you could spend all your money in there..."

Robert Duvall: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
According to IMDB, the DVD extras state that the director paid Duvall for the cameo by giving him an Eddie Bauer jacket. If only it still worked that way these days.
And I love Eddie Bauer's durable clothing line, and would be willing to bet he still owns that jacket;)

Alfred Hitchcock: The Birds
And finally, the most prolific cameo-king of them all, Alfred Hitchcock. This man has done an insane amount of popping up in so many of his films. Rather than wax poetic about it I'll just leave you with a couple links.
First is one to The Vault of Horror, where Brian has several of the highlighted (with the help of Andre from The Horror Digest.) Go here.
And lastly, from Wikipedia - a list of all Hitch's cameos. Go here and be amazed.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


Will Errickson said...

David Cronenberg at the end of TO DIE FOR, when he politely leads Nicole Kidman off to... well, you know. OK, not a horror movie, but he *is* David Cronenberg after all. Oh, yeah, he's the gynecologist in Geena Davis's nightmare in THE FLY.

And William Castle in the phone booth Mia Farrow is trying to get into in ROSEMARY'S BABY.

Andre said...

These are great! There were so many I had no clue about- mostly because I had no idea what certain director's looked like.

This is not a horror cameo but whenever I see the new Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan I get excited that the original Vicky is the bitchy woman's mother. Ooh the little things.

And thank you for your mentions of my screen grabbing skills which I've newly aquired. I'll do screen grabs for you any time you want them!

The Film Connoisseur said...

Congrats on the great post !

On Innocent Blood, even more horror directors appear, for example, Tom Savini plays a news photographer, Frank Oz plays a Pathologist...hell even Forest J Ackerman appears on this one!

Sam Raimi plays a man who works in a meat packing plant.

Linnea Quigley plays a nurse.

That movie is plagued with cameos!

The Film Connoisseur said...

Heres some that I remembered off the top of my head:

Alfred Hitchcock appears as a man walking on the street in Psycho.

David Cronenberg cameos in Jason X.

Eli Roth himself cameos in Hostel as a pot smoking tourist.

Peter Jackson cameos in one of his first features Bad Taste. On this one he even battles himself!

Jason said...

Excellent list! As I made my way down the list I was afraid you were going to leave out Hitchcock.

I love "Behind the Mask" and it has some great cameos. Robert Englund is the Dr. Loomis wanna-be, Kane Hodder is in a long shot and Zelda Rubenstein is great as the liberian.

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Blood_and_Beer said...

I can't believe that is Vincent Price in Edward Scissorhands. I never realized it before. I love Mr. Price. These are just awesome.

James said...

Cool post Christine - a few surprises here for me, I must admit. For example I did NOT know that was Ruggero Deodato in Hostel II (though I MAY have been asleep by that stage), nor did I know that the creepy priest on the swing in Invasion of the Body Snatchers was Robert Duvall!!

Thanks for the horror tunes on here too... Been wafting through my ears all morning. ;o)

Aaron said...

Wow, what a great post. I haven't seen ZOMBIELAND, nor do I plan to, but I've always wondered who the "big cameo" was from. I didn't know it was Bill Murray, so that's good to know. The most surprising cameos on here were Dario Argento in INNOCENT BLOOD and Peter Jackson in HOT FUZZ. I had no freakin' idea. I haven't seen INNOCENT BLOOD in years, but I've seen HOT FUZZ recently and didn't even realize that Jackson was in it. Another great movie for cameos is BODY BAGS, which is worth checking out for that reason alone. Sam Raimi plays a corpse and Wes Craven has a pretty creepy little role in it. John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper also star in it.