Thursday, June 21, 2012

Richard Lynch R.I.P.

Last week, Jeff told me he had rented THE SWORD & THE SORCERER, which was a 1982 cash-in on the success of CONAN and a video store staple of the Eighties.  I had seen it a few years ago when, after seeing CONAN THE BARBARIAN for the first time, I attempted to track down its many copycats.  I didn't remember enjoying it very much, but I told Jeff I wanted to watch it with him anyway.

It starred Lee Horsley (who I knew from TV's "Matt Houston"), with Richard Lynch as the bad guy.  Lynch always played baddies in the Seventies and Eighties, because he had a cold, menacing way about him, and a scarred face that seemed cruel and vengeful.  He had apparently set himself on fire as a young man while using LSD, and I saw him in so much stuff in those days that when he showed up in a Nineties "Star Trek: TNG" two-parter, I couldn't help but exclaim, "Hey, it's that guy!"*

Well, Jeff and I watched THE SWORD & THE SORCERER together, and really enjoyed it.  It wasn't a great movie, but there were moments that really worked, and it got more and more fun as it went along.  Also, Richard Moll was cool as a demon, and it made me wonder what became of him.  Also, the female lead (played by Kathleen Beller) was interesting in that literally every character she ran into wanted to have sex with her; probably not an element feminists would appreciate today).  But a movie like that is best watched with a friend and with a smile on your face, and I had both.

Oddly, a week later, I read that Richard Lynch had died.  He was seventy-six, and checking out his IMDB page, it would seem he kept working, all these years later.  His last film was directed by Rob Zombie, about the witches of Salem coming back after three hundred years, and is sure to be neither pleasant, nor fun.

I've been to a couple of Horror conventions, and they are populated by some creepy, frightening denizens . . . the sort of people who really, really love Horror, so much that I feel like I've never actually seen any.  But I hope Lynch went to a few of those, and felt the adulation of the crowds, and got to shake a lot of hands of people who said, "You scared the hell out of me in _____." 

A lot of these actors light up when somebody remembers their work fondly, are happy to meet a fan, and really appreciate being appreciated.  I remember Richard Lynch's work fondly, so there's that.

Rish "The Gobbler" Outfield

*This is the fate of a lot of character actors.  A small percentage of them end up being, "Did you know that ______ was in _____?"-type celebrities, but the vast majority end up being nothing and unrecognizable.  I would hope that those in the middle category would be happy to be recognized, even if it's as, "the dude that got killed in that episode of 'Renegade.'"

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