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Dissecting Actor Brad Dourif

Sep. 4, 2012by: Ammon Gilbert

Brad Dourif

Buy ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST here!

One of the most recognizable faces in the horror genre is the great Brad Dourif, with his crazy eyes and over-the-top personalities, hes become the go-to guy for filmmakers needing an eccentric, if not a bit insane, actor to pull off one of their primary supporting roles. From ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST to CHAIN LETTER, its hard to find a more hardworking actor in Hollywood than Dourif, and one of the most underrated, as hes never got to the household name status that he so rightfully deserves. So sit back, relax, and join us as we dive into the mans career, one that has spanned more than 145 movie and TV roles over the last 36 years.

BEST WORK

Buy CHILDS PLAY here!

It can take actors a few roles to get the swing of things and really find their groove, but not Dourif. His first starring role (more or less) was 1975s masterful ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST as one of the loonies locked up alongside Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, and Christopher Lloyd. Youd think sharing the screen with the likes of such talented actors, Dourif would have been lost in the shuffle, yet his role as Billy is one of the most memorable, and most powerful, characters in the flick, much in part to Dourif learning early on that his crazy-intense eyes can work in his favor.

Over the years, Dourif starred in other great flicks like DUNE, BLUE VELVET, THE EXORCIST III, BODY PARTS, and the two LORD OF THE RINGS films. But his shining moment that catapulted him to legendary status in the horror community was not even his on-screen presence but rather his voice-over work as the voice of Charles Lee Ray (or Chucky) in CHILDS PLAY and later, CHILDS PLAY 2, CHILDS PLAY 3, BRIDE OF CHUCKY, and SEED OF CHUCKY. The little killer doll wouldnt be the wise-cracking psychopath that we all know and love if Dourif wasnt the voice to the role, as he really breathed life into the lifeless doll and made Chucky one of the most lovable and likable movie maniac.

WORST WORK

Buy ALIEN: RESURRECTION here!

It would be impossible for someone to appear in 145 movies and TV shows over 36 years and not star in some stinkers, even if youre as talented as Dourif. And lets face it, the guy has starred in some serious crapfests, including PRIEST, TURBULENT SKIES, CHAIN LETTER, PULSE, THE PROPHECY 3, CRITTERS 4, and maybe the worst of the worst ALIEN: RESURRECTION. Thats right, even when hes given the opportunity to feature his talents in one of the biggest, most popular franchises in the history of film, he has the misfortune to star in the worst of the worst as an eccentric doctor who clones Sigourney Weavers Ripley for the evil space corporation. Dourif himself did a solid job in the flick, providing some classic Dourif eccentricies to make an otherwise dull and boring flick slightly more entertaining but not much. And thats more or less true of all his crappy movies its not that Dourif doesnt deliver on his end, but rather the films dont live up to his awesomeness. Usually, as in the likes of the previously mentioned shit-flicks, Dourif is the only redeeming value.

TRADEMARKS

Buy HALLOWEEN here!

As mentioned before, Dourif has an intense and interesting / unique look about him, from his crazy-big eyes to his high forehead, every time the dude is on screen you dont know whether hes the bad guy, the good guy, or the guy who appears bad but is later good. Rob Zombies obviously a fan of the Dourif, casting him in both of his HALLOWEEN films as the towns Sheriff. Masked behind a scruffy beard, some may have not of recognized him at first, but once you nail down where youve seen those intense eyes before, it became very apparent. As the Sheriff, you want to side with him and believe hes one of the good guys, but as seen in HALLOWEEN 2, even good guys has some dark and dirty secrets. And when that guy is Dourif, youre not entirely surprised when the evil truth comes out.

Another great example of a good guy who appears bad is his brief, yet memorable role as the crazy gas station attendant in one of my favorite slasher flicks, URBAN LEGENDS. Upon meeting Dourif, we (and those in the film) write him off as a crazy psychopath, only later to find out that hes just a harmless, working class dude who was only trying to help. Classic Dourif!

HIDDEN GEM

Buy GRAVEYARD SHIFT here!

Fans of Blood, Bullets, and Broads: The Arrow in the Head Podcast know that one of my favorite scare flicks of all time is the highly underrated GRAVEYARD SHIFT, based on the Stephen King short story about a giant killer rat in a cotton mill. And one of the reasons why GRAVEYARD SHIFT will always hold a near and dear place in my heart is Dourif, who rocks as THE EXTERMINATOR (yes, thats his name!), the main motherf*cker who knows how to exterminate the cotton mills rat problem. From his greasy long hair to his over-the-top badass tendencies, its hard not to like the guy. And in classic badass mode from the 80s, hes rockin a leather jacket and gloves with the fingers cut out. Who wouldnt want to hire Dourif to take care of their rat problem?

NEXT PROJECT

Buy SEED OF CHUCKY here!

Dourif continues to be one of the busiest actors working today, with no less than seven movies currently in production, post-production, or yet-to-be filming. These include GINGERCLOWN (as a Worm Creature!), END OF TH EWORLD, BLACK BUTTERFLIES, and... one of the most anticipated movies scheduled for a 2013 release, CURSE OF CHUCKY! Thats right Jack, Chuckys back in yet another adventure of slicing and dicing, and Dourif is back behind the voice. Given, the film is set to be a straight-to-DVD release, it doesnt matter because Dourif is back! Youd figure at this point hed rock the Doug Bradley way of thinking and eventually not sign-up for another round, yet hes coming back for more. Good for him! And good for us, too. Can you imagine a world where Chucky isnt voiced by Dourif? I sure as shit cant.

OVERALL

Buy DEATH MACHINE here!

Brad Dourif has given us a string of memorable roles in every genre, but hes excelled in the horror genre thanks to his crazy eyes and his over-the-top way of playing the criminally insane to perfection. And whether hes starring in entertaining trash like DEATH MACHINE, which is almost unwatchable save for Dourifs badass dreadlocked freakazoid character, you can always count on Dourif for delivering the goods and providing an entertaining slice of grade-A characters. And lucky for us, the guy has had one of those careers that seems to be going stronger than ever, meaning we wont have any shortage of loony-tune tendencies to quench our Dourif-fueled thirst.

Extra Tidbit: What's your favorite Brad Dourif character?
Tags: dissecting

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10:34PM on 12/17/2012
I really don't get all the hate for Alein: Resurrection, it's far from the worst film he's done, I also enjoyed Critters 4 and Priest, the others you mentioned were pretty bad though, especially Pulse, i'd say that's easily his worst film.
I really don't get all the hate for Alein: Resurrection, it's far from the worst film he's done, I also enjoyed Critters 4 and Priest, the others you mentioned were pretty bad though, especially Pulse, i'd say that's easily his worst film.
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10:34PM on 10/03/2012
His turn in x-files was pretty good too
His turn in x-files was pretty good too
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3:19PM on 09/04/2012

Triple post

What in the world?
What in the world?
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3:16PM on 09/04/2012

Nice

Thanks good work
Thanks good work
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3:05PM on 09/04/2012
man is a legend in my eyes, thanks for the piece :)
man is a legend in my eyes, thanks for the piece :)
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2:56PM on 09/04/2012

Double Post

What the crap?
What the crap?
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+1
2:53PM on 09/04/2012
Truly excellent actor. Though I highly doubt out of all those credits Alien : Resurrection is his worst work. It mightn't be the clasic the first 2 were but really not the worst movie made.

I do wish the next Chucky was theatrical though, DTV doesn't bode well, heck I'd even take a remake if they went back tot the original's tone rather than Seed's tone.
Truly excellent actor. Though I highly doubt out of all those credits Alien : Resurrection is his worst work. It mightn't be the clasic the first 2 were but really not the worst movie made.

I do wish the next Chucky was theatrical though, DTV doesn't bode well, heck I'd even take a remake if they went back tot the original's tone rather than Seed's tone.
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2:46PM on 09/04/2012

Love Brad

I remember the day that my friend, Justin Steele, told me that Brad was interested in playing the lead in a film we wrote together. That film was Death & Cremation. Brad elevated the character of Stan to a higher level than what was on the page, but we knew that would happen. I'd say this is one of the rare roles that Brad underplayed, and to great effect. It was an honor and privilege to work with him. Shameless plug: Death & Cremation is on Chiller TV tonight at 9pm EST. Also available on
I remember the day that my friend, Justin Steele, told me that Brad was interested in playing the lead in a film we wrote together. That film was Death & Cremation. Brad elevated the character of Stan to a higher level than what was on the page, but we knew that would happen. I'd say this is one of the rare roles that Brad underplayed, and to great effect. It was an honor and privilege to work with him. Shameless plug: Death & Cremation is on Chiller TV tonight at 9pm EST. Also available on Redbox and at Blockbuster. - Alecc B.
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2:05PM on 09/04/2012
Loved him in Deadwood!
Loved him in Deadwood!
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10:30AM on 09/04/2012

Grima

Grima Wormtongue is his best work. Hands down.
Grima Wormtongue is his best work. Hands down.
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9:47AM on 09/04/2012

Grima

He's the guy that played Grima in LOTR right ?
He's the guy that played Grima in LOTR right ?
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8:55AM on 09/04/2012
Toss up between Billy Bibbit from Cuckoo's Nest and Doc Cochran from Deadwood.
Toss up between Billy Bibbit from Cuckoo's Nest and Doc Cochran from Deadwood.
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8:49AM on 09/04/2012
Doc Cochran in Deadwood
Doc Cochran in Deadwood
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