Where Did You Go? Part 17: Return of the Living Dead

Holy cats! It’s been a bit since I have done one of these and to be honest, I kind of miss searching out obscure actors that only matter to me and seeing what they are up to today? I hope no one has died since I have been writing these though. I hate editing, as you can tell from hundreds of poorly written posts. So lets light some fires and kick some poodles, it’s time for another fun ride on the ever lasting blog of…

As you can see I am trying to be more creative with my look. Is it working for you? Oh…be quiet.

I am going to start this little gem off with Miguel A. Nunez Jr. because he has always been one of my favorites and whenever I am flipping through the five million channels and I see him, I stop. Even if it happens to be Juwanna Mann. 

Miguel has been in a lot of movies and television shows since the early eighties. And when I say a lot, I mean he rivals the IMDb list of guest appearances on Murder She Wrote. But of all these television shows and movies, Miguel had mostly minor roles or at best a secondary character that made only a few episodes as “tough guy #2” or “rough punk” so it seemed he had a bit of a type cast issue until, really, his three-year running with the Vietnam War series, Tour of Duty in the mid-eighties as SGT Marcus Taylor and his starring role as Juwanna Mann in the movie Juwanna Mann. But of all these minor roles he will always be Demon in Friday the 13th: Part 5 and Spider in the ever famous and personal favorite, Return of the Living Dead.

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So what is Miguel up to nowadays? To be honest, it looks like he is doing the same thing he has been doing for the past thirty years and that is cranking out roles and minor appearances in television shows with the latest one in 20012. What can you say? The guy’s a pro and clearly one of my all time favorites. Miguel has also produced a few films like Homeboys In Outer Space (not to be confused with his role in leprechaun 4: In Space which he was in too) and even directed a film. Like I said, he’s a pro!

I will say there is no actor out there with a better list of character names. Here are a few:

JoJo, Biscuit, Blackie, Demon, Spider, Sticks, Royal Jackson, Juwanna Man, Chico, C, Delicious, Tiger, Mo Bitches, Maxey Sparks, Goldie, and Jammin’.

While we are on a theme involving Return of the Living Dead, why not include an actor who has helped me annoy anyone around when I watch a ridiculous movie that is “based on a true story” because I tend to yell “YOU MEAN THE MOVIE LIED?!?!”. Thanks to this guy, Thom Mathews, I have had a plenty of guacamole tossed my way.

Thom is an American born actor who I believe was intended to be named Tom but is appears his parents had a lisp. Thom grew up in LA and it seemed natural that a good-looking kid would end up in the Hollywood trade and he had some pretty amazing roles. And by amazing that means I think they are amazing. I also thing hanging tomato gardens are amazing so take that with a grain of salt.

Thom will always be Freddy, the kid who is poisoned with noxious military gas that turns most anything into a brain-craving zombie in the film,  Return of the Living Dead and also as an adult Tommy Garvis who is tormented by Jason in Friday the 13th: Part 6. Both roles make him a legend to me. But after that he seemed to just have minor roles like Miguel Nunez Jr through the rest of the eighties, nineties and his latest role was in 2009.

Don’t you dare laugh

Thom is a lot like many horror actors of twenty to thirty years ago and that he appears in horror cons and sci-fi cons, keeping one foot in Hollywood and the other in his private life. In the real world he is the owner of a construction company in California. His looks are still there though a bit more debonair because we guys can age well. (That last sentence was a filler) I am curious to see if he is still best buddies with George Clooney that is boasted on most data sites about him. It seems George is the kind of guy that would forget the people who were there on the way up. Either that or it’s just me hating him.

You know what? Fuck it. Let’s run with this theme since there are soooo many awesome people in Return of the Living Dead. Linnea Quigley is absolutely wonderful for many reasons. The most notable one is her character Trash who fantasizes about being felt-up to death by old men and finally strips into a full nude scene in ROTLD. (Sorry, that became repetitive to type). Little did Trash know that is exactly what would happen to her. It’s an awesome character who annoys her boyfriend, Suicide, into stating another great line, “you think this is a fucking costume? This is a way of life!”. But Linnea had other great characters besides Trash and went on to become quite the “scream queen” of that 80’s horror genre.

Growing up in Davenport, Iowa, she moved to LA in the late 1970’s and quickly started into her sexploitation role by becoming a Playboy Flasher Girl and blending into a horror scream queen character starting with Silent Night, Deadly Night and then ROTLD. After that it seemed her path was clear and some of her films after that were Sorority Babes in the Slimerball Bowl-O-Rama, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Night of the Demons, Blood Church, and Spring Break Massacre. One of my personal favorites is a horror workout video from 1990 and wouldn’t you know it, it’s available on YouTube but I have to warn you it is NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!!! BE WARNED. But it is awesome.

Well what is the Scream Queen of my dreams up to today?

Well, Quigley is still being awesome and acting as a scream queen. I love that ! In fact she has three films in post-production right now that should be released in DVD format this year (2013). It’s so refreshing to see someone love what they do and still do it well, even though it has been thirty years of screaming and being slashed by chainsaw wielding zombies. It’s truly what I consider a master of their craft. I think I’m in love.

So the green hand is pointing to the great actor, John Philbin, whose character is the nerdy hipster, Chuck, who couldn’t get laid in a female prison with a fist full of pardons. Growing up his role was easily over-looked with so many other prominent characters but as I learn about him as a grownup (take that lightly) I see he was also a pro surfer and I believe on the set he was anything but a nerd.

His list of movie roles are much like the others which are not really a main character but as a co-starring character. ROTLD was not his first horror movie but his second with Children of the Corn coming in just a year before. Fast forward a couple of years later and John got to imitate real life as a surfer in films like North Shore and Point Break. He also was a cowboy in a personal favorite of mine, Tombstone. I think he is killed in the OK Corral shootout but I could be wrong. Wait, or was he hit over the head with a pistol handle by Sam Elliott? Either way, that’s a pretty cool resume boost.

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John still acts from time to time and if you pay attention you might see him in a random Law and Order show or an episode of SVU…what ever that means. But the coolest thing is John lives in Pacific Palisades California today and runs a surfing school. He’s doing exactly what he loves and does it well. Oh, and when he was at UC Santa Barbra he was on their surf team. THEY HAVE SURF TEAMS IN COLLEGE??? WHY DID I GO TO MARYLAND?!?!

I think I will end this on a high but low note. Suicide is an iconic punk character in ROTLD and everyone loves him. With classic lines like “You think this is a fuckin’ costume? This is a way of life.” and “Hey, fuck you, ballbuster!”, how can one not? Played by actor Mark Venturini, he was like the missing member of the Misfits. He also, like Thom Mathews, was in Friday the 13th: Part 6 as some psycho who was chopping wood but ends up chopping up a retarded fat kid over a chocolate bar. I really liked that scene. Maybe a bit too much?

Kind of a bummer but there are no current pictures or information about Mark because at the age of 35 he passed away from Leukemia. Way too soon for such a great talent. I hate finding out the death of such a great actor that I have been quoting since I was in high school but that is part of writing “where did they go?”. Sometimes you find out sad news.

Thanks for reading part 17 that ended up having a Return of the Living Dead theme. It wasn’t planned but that’s the way the cookie crumbled. Now go watch it! I am.

Where Did You Go? Mothers

Man, it has been a while since I have written a “Where Did You Go” post. So, as I sit at the work station for Wake Forrest Medical School waiting for them to redo their entire database I think I will use this time to be productive. Let me pay homage to the ones who birthed some of the cinemas greatest characters. And by moms, I mean the ones I care about and probably no one else does.

Lane Meyer’s mom in the movie, Better Off Dead, is about as amazing of a character as you can get. Her complete absence from reality, alternative homemaking skills and her unrelenting sweetness makes her so enjoyable to watch I just wish she could have had more of a dominating role in the film. Let’s see…she wanted to cutback the grease of bacon so she boiled it, dressed as a reindeer on Christmas morning, bought Lane a stack of TV dinners for his Christmas present, improvised a recipe that was wet from the rain and cooked something to life, and invited the neighbors to dinner to welcome the new French foreign exchange student to America by making French food. You know…”fronch fries, fronch bread, fronch dressing..”? Simply amazing. She was perfectly balanced dumb, ignorant, crazy and sweet. She’s like the buddy’s mom in high school who you could get to buy you beer but never did because the thought of hurting her feelings was not worth the fun. I love her.

Played by actress Kim Darby, she has had a long career dating back to the 60’s and has been in many TV shows like Murder She Wrote (shocker) the 1970’s classic Fantasy Island and films to include a major role in True Grit with John Wayne and was Debra Strode in the hilarious Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers. She has been nominated for an Emmy and a few Golden Globes in her time and has had a long career teaching acting at UCLA. Currently she resides in LA and was married to James Stacy who was the bartender in the evil Disney movie Something Wicked This Way Comes. All in all, I know her best as that wack-a-do Mrs. Meyer who played an amazing role as mother to Lane and Badger Meyer, in Better Off Dead and that is why she is top of this list.

Oh boy Nancy’s mom, Marge Thompson, from the 1984 Nightmare On Elm Street was an inflatable dartboard when it came to being a parent but when it came to handling a child molester, she was got shit done. This chick lit the dude on fire and took his glove as a souvenir. It almost worked too had he not, you know, come back in the dreams of kids and killed them in their sleep. Doh!

The reason she is on this list is because of her complete naiveté and her love of all things vodka. Even when her daughter woke up from a nightmare in a hospital and produced the hat of Freddy Krueger, she was still in denial! Also she taught us the hazards of smoking in bed:

And doors can be used creatively.

The woman who played this drunken, twice killed, and living in denial mother is the great Ronee Blakely who almost won an Academy Award for her role in the movie Nashville, loosely based on the story of Loretta Lynne. She had been in a few films and TV shows through the 1970’s to 90’s but besides Nightmare to Elm Street, I only really care that she was in the Tales From The Darkside episode, “The False Prophet”, appeared in the forgettable 1987 Return to Salem’s Lot and sang back up vocals to Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane”. Other than that, she will always be the lady who funneled vodka and sort of killed Freddy Krueger.

Diane Freeling from the movie Poltergeist is probably my favorite movie mom for a couple of reasons. One, she is just cool and hip. She seems like the mom who brings cupcakes to Carolann’s classroom, buy’s Robbie the cool sneakers that all the kids are wearing, makes sure Dana has condoms before she goes on a date because we all know she was pretty loose in the movie and remember to keep cold Coor’s beers in the fridge with tightly rolled joints for when Steve gets home from a hard day of work. Two, I love the way she didn’t lose her shit like I would have when this happened:

I would have “Hiesman-ed” over Carolann on my way out the door.

Diane Freeling was played by the beautiful JoBeth Williams and she is no stranger to brilliant acting. She made her debut just a couple of months before Poltergeist with Dustin Haufman in Kramer v Kramer and went on to do a number of big films like The Big Chill, Poltergeist II, and the Tim Allen abortion known as Jungle 2 Jungle. (Never trust a film, music group or insurance company with a number representing a preposition) Also she was most famous in the late 1970’s and early 80’s as her soap career as Brandy in the show Guiding Light. And know you know. Oh! And when I was looking up info on JoBeth the first site that came up was from Wikifeet; a whole site dedicated to celebrity feet photos.

We are going to end this one on a high note, folks! Good ol’ Doris from the movie we all love, Night of the Comet. She is the cliché mom we all hate. It’s obvious that she isn’t the birth mother to the two girls in the movie because she plays the role of a wicked stepmother to the T! Married to their dad who is a Green Beret on deployment to Honduras, she is throwing a comet party and letting every guy in the neighborhood get a free ride (if you know what I mean). Well, the youngest smart-ass girl gets a little pissed off when she sees her stepmom flirting with the neighbor, Chuck, and lets loose with one of the greatest lines in cinema history: “Jesus, Doris. You were born with an asshole you don’t need Chuck.” That line resulted in this series of events.

The lesson? Don’t slap in a punching contest. But don’t worry, Doris gets turned into Tang right after this scene.

Doris was brilliantly played by Sharon Farell and what a ride this lady had! She has been in Hollywood acting since 1959 and has been on such shows as My Three Sons, Matlock, THE VERY FIRST EPISODE OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, Freddy’s Nightmares and Emergency. Her movie roles were pretty extensive too but besides Night of the Comet the only other one I really care about is It’s Alive where she played the mother to Satan. Which, if this was another blog that would have taken the cake for her movie-mother roles. But not this one so go suck one!

I’m sorry. Don’t do that. You know I love you.

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