Happy birthday goes out to one of my favorite actors, Malcolm McDowell. What to mention first? The obvious and iconic “A Clockwork Orange“? “If“? His participation in the remakes or reboots of the classic horror films “Cat People” and “Halloween“?
Having mentioned “A Clockwork Orange” first, the question immediately became moot. But a good technique to mention other films of his that I enjoyed. And I don’t often enjoy these remakes.
But I’d really like to bring focus to two films. The first being Nicholas Meyer’s 1979 film “Time After Time” which is a perfect mix of historic fiction, before it became standard practice. In it McDowell plays H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper into the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the sci fi writer’s time machine to escape. Jack the Ripper is played by the masterful David Warner (“Straw Dogs“, “The Omen“, “Time Bandits“)
Understandable. But seeing McDowell cast against type up to this point in his career made the film fascinating. His timid, moral and ultimately brave Wells is worth a viewing alone. The movie is a perfect blend of sci-fi, horror and comedy.
Speaking of casting against type, the other film worth mentioning is Richard Bates Jr’s 2012 film “Excision“. In it everyone plays against type. The very beautiful AnnaLynn McCord plays an awkward and homely high school student who wants to get approval from her overbearing, controlling and very Christian mom played by Traci Lords.
Add McDowell as a high school teacher and John Waters as a minister just adds to the fun. You know something is wrong with McCord’s Pauline, because of some amazing dream/fantasy sequences that are unsettling and beautiful. All of which is the perfect set up for an ending so horrifying that it takes your breath away. It’s a must see for any horror fan.