Horror History: Dean Cundey

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Dean Cundey
Born: March 12th, 1946

If you are a fan of horror movies from the ’70s and ’80s, then you just might have seen Cundey’s work. If you’re a fan of the early works of John Carpenter’s, such as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), and The Thing (1982), then you definitely know his work, as well as his talent! Cundey is now one of the top rated cinematographers in the business. But before all of that, he was working quite often in the horror genre, shooting some classic titles and making them look better than they ever should have.

Just look at his early resume and you’ll see a lot of favorites listed there, such as The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976), Creature from Black Lake (1976), Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977), Without Warning (1980), Jaws of Satan (1981), and the list goes on. But it probably his work with Carpenter that he is most known for, making five pictures with him, which now are all considered essential titles in the genre.

So even while he may have gone on to work more in the bigger budgeted Hollywood films, we owe this man a lot of thanks for the way that some of these great films looked.

Martin Landau – Rest in Peace

Martin Landau - RIPReally 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.