As horror fans, we lost some huge icons this last year. Some were older and some went way too soon. But because of their work in cinema, they will never entirely be gone from us. We can always pop in a DVD or Blu-ray and they will be just as alive as we remembered, giving us even more entertainment than before.
Being a fan of cinema for any length of time, you would think one could get used to losing some of their movie heroes and idols, but it still hurts when you ponder “what if they were to make just one more film?” Being a fan of cinema also helps keep their memory of what they did make alive and well. And by continuing to sing their praises, we can introduce them to the next generation of cinema lovers, so they can experience the same joy that we did, and still do, each and every time we bust out one of their movies.
Really don’t like it when these are so close together. Really makes one feel their mortality. As I write this up, I’m listening to the soundtrack from Creepshow, still trying to get over the loss of George Romero. But Martin Landau might not have made the impact in the horror genre like Romero, he definitely made his mark in a few titles. As an actor though, he was simply just amazing to watch. Landau passed away yesterday at the age of 89, due to “unexpected complications”, and the acting world loses one of the best.
I first recall Landau from both Mission Impossible and Space 1999, but never knew him as the actor, Martin Landau. He was just “that guy from that TV show”. But in 1984, a film started at the theater I was working at that was a collection of clips from different horror movies. The film was Terror in the Aisles, and it featured a few scenes from a movie called Alone in the Dark (1982), that starred Landau, as the demented character “Preacher”. In those brief clips, he gave us one of the most frightening performances that gave me chills. So much so that it immediately made me want to find that movie to see the whole thing. Around that time, he had also appeared in terror titles like Without Warning (1980) and The Being (1983). But it was his performance as the aging Bela Lugosi that won him an Oscar in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994).
Just looking through his filmography, you can see all the different and wonderful characters that he created over the years. A real consummate actor, always making the audience believe in his character. So no matter what role he was playing, you know it was going to be worth the watch.
Our thoughts go out to the friends and family during this difficult time. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
The Being (1983)
Directed by Jackie Kong
Starring Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Rexx Coltrane (aka Bill Osco), José Ferrer, Dorothy Malone, Ruth Buzzi