It has been a while since I have done one of these. But since we are less than a week away from Halloween I figured this would be a good time to add a new one. This time it will be all about October 31st. You see, Halloween is all about the scary movies for me. I can take or leave the candy, costumes and parties but when it comes to normal cable TV dedicating 24 hours to ghosts, ghouls and vampires, I come very close to taking off my pants and doing the Twist. Don’t worry, I watch them alone most of the time. So let us start off with one of my favorites.
“Oh! You’re so cool, Brewster!” Yeah, Charley was quite the hero in Fright Night 1 and 2. Even though he was a little high strung and his choice in a girlfriend was a little questionable. But still, his vigilance as a nosy neighbor payed off and call girls are free of death by vampire. Fear of STD’s, rape, murder, kidnapping and incarceration maybe, but vampires…no. Thanks to the heroics of Charley!
Charley Brewster was played by the great William Ragsdale and unfortunately, after Fright Night his career as the main character in film never took off. Sure he was in The Reaping and Big Momma’s House but William’s main bread and butter is TV. He has been in a number of episodes from different television dramas like “Judging Amy”, “Without A Trace” and “Medium”. I’m still holding out for a Charley comeback in a Fright Night 3 but I maybe alone. Here he is today. Actually, he hasn’t aged too badly. Oh Brewster!
The next star spotlight is a great one. There are plenty of films that have obscure actors who get the opportunity to be involved in the most memorable scenes of the movie. In Steven Spielberg’s film, Poltergeist, about a young family that is tormented by ghosts after they inadvertently moved into a house above a cemetery, one of the paranormal investigators is targeted, bitten by something and he had a delusion about ripping off his own face. You know the scene. And that is why we all love Marty.
“You got bit?!?!? Wow!” I have always had a soft spot in my heart for poor Marty. But think about it. In the famous “face tearing” scene, Marty leaves the safety of the den to go, alone, into the kitchen. And what is he about to do? He is going to cook a steak. Really? In the middle of the night he was going to fry up a steak? Make a sandwich, man, I like to imagine the ghosts that were messing with him because they didn’t feel like smelling fried steak all night. Well, poor Marty got the message.
Marty Casella was played by, coincidentally enough, by Martin Casella. That is him to the right and it is kind of funny that I always assume actors with small parts are beginning artists. Not true about Martin. When Poltergeist was being cast, Spielberg himself recruited Martin Casella. At that particular time Martin was teaching drama at a Santa Monic high school so I would say he knew a thing or two about acting.
Since Poltergeist, Martin has only been in a few films like Robocop 2 and Turner And Hooch. He had small roles in each but that isn’t where he excelled. Martin is a celebrated screen and play write and has been in a number of Broadway shows. The one thing that I loved about Martin is that of all the films he has been in, his character has always been his own name. It’s good to have a quirk.
Little Known Fact: In the famous “face tearing” scene, Martin isn’t doing the tearing. Those are Spielberg’s hands. Funny, eh?
I would like to take a moment to thank Ronnie Scribner who played little vampire Glick boy in the made for TV series of 1979, Salem’s Lot. Because of the three minute scene where he floats to the window and bites his brother, I have missed many nights of sleep. Even today at age 30, when I hear a weird noise outside I immediatley think of his evil little smile. God.
Ronnie had quite a career as a child star from 1978 to ’82 but nothing after. It’s funny to read about his ABC morning specials. Do you remember those? They were the hour long shows that aired about 11pm after all the cartoons were over. I think the last time I saw one was when “The Land Of The Lost” was still on the air. Anyway, Ronnie stopped acting and I can only venture to guess that it was because he either grew out of his cuteness or his parents didn’t want him to have a Hollywood life. Regardless, he now lives in Pasadena with a wife and kids. He is a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker that is still in my nightmares.
“Braaaaiiiiinssss” And this is Tarman. When I first saw Return Of The Living Dead I was about 12 years old. Too young to appreciate the campy humor of the film but old enough to appreciate the choreographed walk of the Tarman. I was both disturbed but mesmerized by his skeletal stride. Was it really a human behind all that gore? I will let you be the judge. Watch and see…
It’s hard to imagine that a person was behind all that in our age of CGI but I will remind you that this was back in 1985. Back when movies were fun.
Well, the guy behind Tarman is the great puppeteer, Allan Trautman. He has been in many films but more notably he has been behind the scenes in such great Henson productions like “Muppets Tonight” and the famous early 90’s sitcom, “Dinosaurs”. He received his BA in both Drama and physics and I say that makes for the right character to portray the Tarman.
“Hey creep, speed kills.” You didn’t think I was going to write a “where did you go” Halloween article without including Halloween, did you? of course not! I think I am going to give a little nod and hat tip to Nancy Kyes (aka. Nancy Loomis) who played the cute and sarcastic character, Annie Brackett. And she did an amazing job proving the smart girls were susceptible to death in horror movies and that girls in the 70’s never wore a bra.
I think Nancy had a close friendship to John Carpenter because she was in Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween 1-3, The Fog, and The Twilight Zone. All Carpenter’s work. I guess her real life sarcasm got her far with him but after 1992 she stopped working on the silver screen. I always wonder why people make the decision to leave from such a full career but I guess everyone has their reasons. She has a family and resides in LA as a sculpture. I think she is still smoking.
“Dude, you getting a Dell!” Remember this guy? It’s Steve, the boy next door that is always trying to talk his parents into buying him a Dell computer. Actually it is Ben Curtis and his small spot as the main face of Dell lasted right up until he was arrested for possession of marijuana. And that sucks too because if you are going to trash your career, go out with crack.
Ben ended up on top anyway ( so to speak). He came out of the closet and is in a very successful Broadway play. It’s gay play call Joy and it had rave reviews. He graduated from NY University and is now the front man to the band WHALE. I’d say getting canned for smoking weed was the best thing to happen to the dude from Dell.
*I don’t know why I included Ben in the Halloween post.*
Well, that is all I want to write. I think this Halloween edition was a little light but I still learned a little. And I hope you did too. Happy Halloween, deary.