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02.03.2017by: Mike Sprague

Top Five Coolest John Hurt Performances

As we are all still left, minds reeling, from the tragic news of Sir John Hurt's passing, I thought this would be the ideal time to look back and celebrate the coolest roles of Sir Hurt. Sir Hurt. That's a top shelf badass name... That sounds like a Garth Ennis super-villain that eats Alan Moore super-villains. Anyhow, being there are FAR too many "cool" roles in Sir Hurt's filmography, I have decided to whittle them down to a tight Top Five. So, without further ado, let's jump right in and countdown the Top Five Coolest John Hurt Roles!

Runner-up Roles:

The Storyteller - The Storyteller, Dr. Who - The War Doctor, Snowpiercer - Gilliam, Only Lovers Left Alive - Christopher Marlowe, V for Vendetta - Adam Sutler, The Osterman Weekend - Lawrence Fassett

5. MR. OLLIVANDER - HARRY POTTER

I know, I know. Many of you may have picked The War Doctor to go into this list above "the wand dude" from the Harry Potter films. But, alas, this is my list, and I am an admitted Harry Potter nut (don't judge), so I choose the role of Mr. Ollivander to be John Hurt's 5th coolest role. While Hurt only appeared in 3 of the 8 Harry Potter films, his role was enormously pivotal in the story overall. After all, what would Harry Potter be without his wand? Merely a gawky kid with a head-wound, living under some stairs. Yes, John Hurt gifted little Harry Radcliffe his ultimate weapon. Thus making the role of Mr. Ollivander pretty damn cool. In my book. Feel free to disagree. I won't be listening. I'm kidding.

4. HELLBOY - PROFESSOR BROOM

The creators of the HELLBOY comic have said Hurt's portrayal of Broom was uncanny. They said it seems as though he had been the model for the character without them knowing it. Natch. Sir Hurt functioned as the heart of the fantastical HELLBOY flicks. In the films Broom adopts and raises Hellboy as a human, despite his "demonic origins", with Hellboy always referring to him as "Father." And SPOILERS: In the movie, when Rasputin is about to deal Broom the final killing-blow, Rasputin tells Broom he nurtured a demon to bring about the Apocalypse. Broom says he will always see Hellboy as his son and accepts his fate, allowing that crazy Clockwork Orange guy to kill him. Cue fanboy tears. And Hurt sold the sh*t out of that scene.

3. JOHN MERRICK - THE ELEPHANT MAN

Probably the role Hurt is most widely know for, the role of John Merrick (aka The Elephant Man) was a tough one for Hurt. The famous make-up is said to have taken up to eight hours to apply, and two additional hours to remove every day. Hurt would show up on the set, starting at 5 AM, go through the eight hours of make-up, shoot from noon to 10pm that night, and then sit for an additional two hours as the make-up was removed. These daily struggles are said to have caused Hurt to call his wife, saying "I think they finally managed to make me hate acting." But these major inconveniences did nothing to prevent Hurt from turning in one of cinema's greatest performances. The Elephant Man tied with RAGING BULL at the 1982 Oscars with eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for John Hurt. Unfortunately, the film did not win any awards that year. Boo, Academy, boo.

2. KANE - ALIEN

The role of Kane in ALIEN is a hard one to beat (no peeking at number one). Kane is the first to awaken aboard the ill-fated USCSS Nostromo, and not un-ironically, the first to fall. While the years have only made the first kill of ALIEN more powerful ("That's John Hurt, he HAS to be the hero of this movie-- ohmygodno!"), it is really the intensity and all-in dedication that Hurt throws into the scene - and the role in general - that makes the scene such a horrific, surprising experience to behold. Hurt plays Kane as smooth as space-silk throughout the opening acts of the film. He HAS to be the hero, right? Look at how calm and collected he is. He has to be the one to go mano-a-mano with the starbeast. Sadly, no. In one quick moment, Kane goes from chowing down on space-trucker grub to writhing in such real pain, surprise, and agony that - still to this day - we can all clearly hear his last screeching scream as the penis-with-teeth breaks through. That tiny puppet wasn't scary. That gag, while surprising, wasn't scary. It was Hurt's performance that sold it. His utter commitment to the horror. That is what made it scary. As fu*k.

1. JOHN HURT - SPACEBALLS

Surprise, surprise. Or, more than likely you're thinking, "Duh." Duh because nothing beats the brief cameo Hurt turned in towards the end of the Mel Brooks classic SPACEBALLS. From the moment we see Hurt sitting at the end of the counter in the intergalactic truck-stop diner, dressed to the T like Kane, we know we are in for an awesome surprise. The joy of witnessing Hurt poke fun at his classic role ("Not again") marks one of the very best jokes in one of the funniest flicks of all time. Also, this scene famously contains the one - and only - time the old "check, please" punch-line was cause for riotous laughter. Hurt had a killer sense of humor, and we all thank you, Mr. Hurt, for accepting this cameo. It was one of the best laughs a lot of us experienced in our childhood.

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