Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Studs of '70s Horror Part I

When people ask me what I love most about horror films, my answer is usually: "The character development."  I think that I see most horror films as character studies, no matter how thinly drawn the characters are.  I choose these studs of '70s horror not just for what they look like, but for who they are.

 Tom Atkins as Nick Castle in The Fog (1980, John Carpenter)

The Fog was released in 1980, but made in 1979, so it counts.  It's one of my favorite romantic movies.  Nick Castle comes up with the perfect response to the greatest pickup line in history ("Are you weird?") without missing a beat ("Yes, yes I am weird.")  After he and Jamie Lee make sweet love for the first time, he asks to see her drawings and offers to buy one!  Yes, Nick is also a dreamy dad type who just screams "I will protect you from the murderous ghost pirates with my great arms."  But I most love that he respects Jamie Lee as an artist and an individual. 

David Emge as Stephen "Fly Boy" in Dawn of the Dead (1978, George Romero)

Stephen is so forceful when he proclaims to feminist news producer girlfriend Gaylen Ross that "We're going to survive.  Somebody has to survive!"  He's so dashing when he flies his helicopter wearing aviator sunglasses and this dream bomber jacket which I envy with all of my soul.  And yet all of his arrogance fails him when he turns out to be a completely incompetent mess when it comes to fighting zombies.  I find this paradox attractive.  I am moved by his journey to emasculation.  SPOILER ALERT:  He has to be the sexiest zombie ever.  Speaking of jackets...   

  Art Hindle as Chris in Black Christmas  (1975, Bob Clark)

I love a hockey player who isn't afraid to wear a big fur coat.  Especially when he's able to make it looks effortlessly masculine.  I realize that fashions in Canada in 1975 were different (and perfect), so Chris' fondness for fur isn't as daring as it might seem today.  But still.   Art Hindle is also utterly dreamy as the long-suffering father in The Brood who is stalked by the demon children birthed by Samantha Eggar's excessive affect.  As my friend Morgan pointed out last time we watched The Brood, that's another Canadian horror movie with great men's outerwear. 

 Duane Jones as Hess in Ganja and Hess (1973, Bill Gunn)

If you thought Duane Jones was attractive in Night of the Living Dead...  Ganja and Hess have to be the sexiest, sleekest, best dressed, most glamorous vampires of all time.  Emotional, rageful, philosophical, Hess views his need for blood as a drug addiction and can really pull off a suit. 

John Michael Graham as Bob in Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)

I love Lynda van der Klok, the character played by P.J. Soles in Halloween, because she has such depth, such complexity, so many layers and contradictions.  For example, even though she is a beautiful, popular cheerleader, her boyfriend is a hot nerd.  To me, Bob is one of the (if not *the*) hottest nerds in film history.  I love a nerd who drinks, smokes, and swears.  Slightly off topic: Once my partner walked into our bedroom when I was waking up from a nap wearing his glasses over a sheet.  Naturally, I immediately took on my intended role: "Oh, nice Bob.  What, can't I get your ghost Bob?  WHERE'S MY BEER?!"  Then, for a split second, I had a surge of fear that J. was dead downstairs and this killer was making a fool of me by leading me to re-enact one of the most classic fake-outs of a slasher movie victim in all of film history.  My embarrassment would be even more profound since I spent my teen years during the postmodern 1990s, when Scream made this sort of self-referential murder sequence a tired cliche in and of itself.  

It's important to keep a sense of mystery alive in a relationship.

 John Carpenter as The Voice of Paul in Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)

The runner up for hottest stud of Halloween is Paul, boyfriend of Annie (Nancy Loomis).  Her Paul, she gives him all.  No keys, but please...  The fact that Paul remains a disembodied voice on the phone throughout the film gives him definite allure.  He is whatever you want him to be.  Add to this Annie's tantalizing assertion that she's "seen [him] stuck in plenty of other positions."  ::blush::

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