There are those actors that may not be your biggest heroes on screen, but know when you see their names in the credits, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you know the film just got a little better because you know they are going to help entertain you. Fred Ward was one of those actors.
The first film that I remember seeing him in, or at least that made an impact, was Uncommon Valor (1983), which I had only seen because it was playing at the theater I worked at. But with a great cast like Gene Hackman, Tim Thomerson, Reb Brown, and a young Patrick Swayze, it was a lot of fun. But two years later, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) came out and I just loved that one. I knew of the Destroyer book series but had never read them. But I just enjoyed the hell out of Remo and thought that Ward did a great job in the role. A few more years later, and Ward appeared in one of the best monster films of the ’90s, Tremors (1990). Once again, Ward was able to make audiences relate to an everyday person, even though they lived out in the middle of nowhere.
So, hearing of his passing a few days ago really bummed me out. Such a top-notch actor who always gave a believable performance, no matter what kind of character he played. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Terror in the Desert
Published by McFarland, 2018. 312 pages
By Brad Sykes
In an age of internet reviews, when anybody with a computer can be a critic (me being one of them), sometimes we might read a negative review of a movie and brush it off without any inclination to visit it, or in some cases, re-visit it. And I think that is a big mistake on the part of all of us fans.
In his introduction in this book, author Sykes writes, “I honestly believe that most of the films profiled in these pages – flaws and all – have something to offer the viewer.” After reading that, it reminded me once again that even if a movie might only be a 2 or 2 1/2 stars out of 5, that doesn’t mean that it is a total waste of time, but that it still might have some merit and might just be worth watching. Might be a great special effect or stunt in there. Or just a great performance by one particular actor. We just never know. So I just wanted to throw that out there, giving a little credit to Sykes for reminding us fans something that we shouldn’t forget.
Because I am forever waving the flag that print is NOT dead, when I see a book coming out or already released that is something that I would be interested in reading, I want to make sure others know about it as well. And of course, one of those subjects is on horror films.
McFarland has announced a new title called Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest, by Brad Sykes. Now offhand, one might not realize the films that take place in the desert. Sure, we immediately think of Hills Have Eyes, but what about titles like The Hitcher, Tremors, or even the more recent Bone Tomahawk?
Sykes looks back at this sub-genre of films to give them a critical and analysis that haven’t been done before. With rare stills, promotional materials, filmographies and more, not only does this sound like an interesting read, I have a feeling its going to make me add quite a few more titles to my “Need to Re-Watch” list!
You can find out more information by heading to McFarland’s website HERE.