Friday, 28 September 2012
Sad to hear yesterday of the death of one of another one of those great “dude was in EVERYTHING” type actors, whose face fans of ‘60s and ‘70s movies have probably spent longer looking at than they have their own parents, the one and only Herbert Lom.
Funnily enough, I think Lom was perhaps the first non-household name character actor I ever learned to recognise and pay attention to, via his memorably unhinged performances in the Pink Panther films, which, like just about everything else in said movies, amused and interested me a great deal as an 11 year old. Since then his distinctive visage has popped up somewhere or other in just about every stage of my filmic education, and last Christmas, whilst idly watching the second half of “El Cid” on TV, my brother and I were amazed to realise that we could immediately recognise him solely via his eyebrows, in a role that requires him to spend most of the movie wearing a turban and facemask.
Closer to the stamping ground of this blog, it seems Lom never quite gets his due as a horror/genre star (perhaps because he pursued a successful mainstream career in parallel?), but just cast your mind back over some of the weird & wonderful stuff the guy was in over the years: Hammer’s underrated “Phantom of the Opera”, Jess Franco’s “Count Dracula” (bringing a surprising dose of gravitas to the role of Van Helsing, I seem to recall), “Mark of the Devil”, not mention being turned into a miniature killer toy robot Lom in one of the premier ‘WTF am I watching here!?’ moments in all British horror, in Amicus’s “Asylum”. Before that, he was in a bunch of great British noir/b-movies like “Hell Drivers” and “The Frightened City”, and hey, we haven’t even mentioned “The Lady Killers” yet. Then there’s Ray Harryhausen adventure movie “Mysterious Island” (1961), Massimo Dallamano’s unbelievable “Dorian Gray” (1970), Michele Soavi’s “The Sect”, Cronenberg’s “The Dead Zone”, spy movies like “Assignment to Kill” and “Our Man in Marrakesh”, Franco’s first WIP movie “99 Women”, and…. well, you get the idea. Dude was everywhere, and the sight of his eyebrows looming into shot is always a welcome one. R.I.P.
(Photo borrowed from If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger..)