Michael Parks & Geoffrey Bayldon: Rest in Peace

The movie world has lost two incredible character actors this last week. While neither of them were household names, the characters they played over the years gave us many unforgettable performances.

Michael Parks - RIPMichael Parks had been acting for close to 60 years, first appearing on a TV series in 1960, and would appear in a ton of different programs over the years. In the horror genre, there were only a few titles in his long career, but like any role he took on, he was hard to forget. You can see him in films like The Evictors (1979), Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach (1989), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Planet Terror (2007), Kevin Smith’s Red State (2011) and Tusk (2014).

Parks had a way of delivering his lines that made it just so damn interesting to watch him perform. Whether it was his acting style, his delivery, or a little of both, but anytime you see him on screen, with that little sparkle in his eye, you were going to be in for a treat.

Parks passed away May on May 9th.

Geoffrey Bayldon - RIPIf you were are a fan of British horror films of studios like Hammer and Amicus, then you will probably recognize Geoffrey Bayldon. He usually was a character actor in smaller roles, but like Parks, he always shined in them. You can see his work in films like Hammer’s Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) or Amicus’ The House that Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Monster Club (1981). My personal favorite of these titles was in Asylum. So much fun there.

Bayldon actually turned down the role as the very first time traveling Doctor Who, which he regretted over the years. But he made decent career in his life, working in the theater for years, appearing on stage with the likes of actors like Sir John Gielgud, before moving on to television and movies, where he appeared in more than 200 series and movies. Bayldon excelled in character roles and was always fun to watch. And still is. He passed away on May 10th, at the age of 93.

Both of these incredible talents will be missed, but definitely not forgotten, kept alive by the countless movie fans that continue to watch their films. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family in this difficult time.

Horror History: Roy Ward Baker

Roy Ward BakerRoy Ward Baker
Born Dec. 19th, 1916 – Died Oct. 5th, 2010

Fans of British horror films of the ’70s will probably know this man, since between working with Hammer and Amicus, he was cranking out some entertaining films in a very short time. Starting his career at the bottom and working his way up, even as an assistant director on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938), he eventually became a director. He hit some critical fame with A Night to Remember (1958), a film about the Titanic, which is still regarded as one of the best films on that subject. His first film for Hammer was the 3rd of their Quatermass series, Quatermass and the Pit (1967). Then in 1970, he made a huge hit with horror fans with The Vampire Lovers (1970), starring the lovely Ingrid Pitt. After that, he continued working with both Hammer and Amicus turning out great films, like Scars of Dracula (1970), Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), And Now the Screaming Starts (1973), and even The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).

Baker’s films were simple. They had all the elements to make a great movie, which is what he continually turned out. He has quite a few films in his filmography that some critics might consider cheesy or even bad, but I think horror fans might just call classics, or at the very least, pretty damn entertaining. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?