For any millennials reading this, the above headline is another one of my awesome 80’s references.
Pal of mine got me these bat Halloween decorations; they’re all over my house. Here’s the thing, though — they look so much like Batman’s bat symbol that I might leave them affixed at key locations in my home after the holiday, the better to confer superhero lair status. The second picture below is my bedroom door, for example.
I could go nuts. I could have a bat-lamp. A bat-coffeemaker. A bat-dishwasher. A bat-garbage can. Can’t afford the butler, though.
My Dad took me to see “The Dark Crystal” when it came out in 1982. I remember looking it up in the newspaper’s movie listings — and deciding on it even without knowing much about it. (That was just how we did it in those days — we used “the phone book” and TV Guide as well.)
Hot damn, did I love this movie. If you’re familiar with the 1980’s at all, then you know that “The Dark Crystal” was a surprisingly dark tour de force for Jim Henson, showcasing his ability to create a detailed and truly immersive alternate world. (Modern CGI just wasn’t a thing yet — it arguably made its first appearance in 1989’s “The Abyss.”) And you can’t really grasp the sheer spectacle of Henson’s world designs without seeing this movie on the big screen.
DC Comics. McKean’s art illustrated the seminal 1989 graphic novel written by Grant Morrison (republished here five years ago in a deluxe edition). The modern video game, “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” is only loosely based on the book. It is easy to confuse the two because the original graphic novel is also alternately called “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”
If you’re acquainted with this blog at all, then you’re already aware of the sheer reverence I have for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982). So I won’t belabor that subject yet again in order to note Rutger Hauer’s passing this past Friday.
Hauer was a prolific actor, and his fans can remember him fondly from any number of roles. Below are the trailers for my three favorites.
The first is 1986’s “The Hitcher,” which might have been the first modern, adult horror film that I truly loved. (This is leaving aside Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 “The Birds” and various monster movies aimed at kids.) I’m a little concerned that the trailer below misrepresents the movie, though. “The Hitcher” aspired to be a serious film, and was truly a great horror-thriller, in my opinion. It was moody, atmospheric, thoughtful and methodically paced (although it didn’t lack blood and violence either). It was far better than the 80’s action-horror boilerplate movie that the trailer seems to depict.
Hauer was terrifying. (If you are wondering, that is indeed C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh costarring. And if you watch the trailer very closely, you can see Jeffrey DeMunn — who contemporary audiences will recognize as Dale from “The Walking Dead.”)
The second is movie is 1985’s “Ladyhawke,” which saw Hauer co-star with none other than Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer. It had far more mainstream appeal, and it reliably kicks up nostalgia every time it’s mentioned on social media. (Seriously, go try it.)
The third is one that far fewer people will remember –1989’s “Blind Fury,” which rode the tail end of the decade’s martial arts craze. It was zany stuff, and it didn’t hold back on the 80’s-era cheese, but it had a lot of heart and was surprisingly earnest. Some of the action sequences were damned impressive too. (And if you were a nut for 80’s ninja movies, you’ll of course recognize Sho Kosugi as the acrobatic villain here.)
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
— Rutger Hauer’s closing soliloquy in “Blade Runner” (1982), Ridley Scott’s seminal adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 science fiction novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” The actor co-wrote the speech that appears in the movie.
Hauer died Friday at age 75. The news of his passing was reported today.
His role in “Blade Runner” will always define him in my mind. But I also grew up seeing him in “Ladyhawke” (1985), “The Hitcher” (1986) and “Blind Fury” (1989); and later was pleased to discover him in “Batman Begins” and “Sin City” (2005). Believe it or not, it was “The Hitcher” and not “Blade Runner” that first made me love Hauer’s performances. I was still in early high school when I saw both films. The former was among the first horror movies I truly loved, and I wasn’t yet mature enough to fully appreciate the latter.
Hauer was Knight in the Dutch Order of the Netherlands Lion.
What an amazing artist, whose creativity in his craft brought so much enjoyment to others.