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Where in the Horror are they Now? Jeff Fahey!

08.29.2016by: JimmyO

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JEFF FAHEY

THEN: It’s always exciting to see a mainstream actor take a ton of chances and play by his own rules. The very first time I paid attention to Jeff Fahey, it was clear that he was far from the typical Hollywood pretty boy. Frankly it didn’t take long for the guy to command the screen in a sequel to one of the great genre masterpieces. Yet before that, Fahey was featured on the soap opera One Live to Live in 1984 and  a year later he was the title character in the TV-movie The Execution of Raymond Graham - the crime drama also featured Morgan Freeman. Quickly moving into big screen adventures, he was cast alongside some truly impressive names in Hollywood in the Lawrence Kasden classic western SILVERADO. Is it time for a little horror finally? Sure as hell is.

While Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960) is widely considered one of the greatest films in motion picture history, it wasn’t until 1983 that we saw the first sequel. Due to the success of Norman Bates return, three years later audiences were given PSYCHO III (1986). This follow-up may not be perfect, but it certainly has a few creepy moments that make it worth checking in once again. It was always great to see Anthony Perkins take on this iconic character, but the rest of the cast here was pretty solid as well. Diana Scarwid was good as a potential crush/victim to Norman, but Fahey added a nice sleazy touch to the role of a drifter named Duane. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited this return to the Bates Motel, perhaps I may have to go back and see if mother is still watching from the window.

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Following up Fahey’s quality time with a mammas boy, you could find him doing a ton of low budget action thrillers. There was SPLIT DECISIONS and BACKFIRE in 1988, OUTBACK and TRUE BLOOD in 1999, and THE SERPENT OF DEATH in 1990 - which is also billed as an action horror film. After a couple of TV movies, you could find Jeff in Africa alongside Clint Eastwood in WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART (1990). That same year he was involved with Theresa Russell in IMPULSE. And after a string of small flicks that were more dramatic thrillers, happily 1991 brought him back to gruesome frights with BODY PARTS. Directed by friend to AITH, Eric Red, this story of a possessed arm once again proved that Fahey kicked ass when it came to indulging in frights.

Then in 1992, a little movie came out that has since become a bit of a cult classic. THE LAWNMOWER MAN was a bizarre bit of sci-fi horror directed by Brett Leonard. Based on a title of one of Stephen King’s stories - yes, just the title - this ambitious little exercise in the strange worked for many an audience. In theatres, the film was a modest hit making about 32 million with a 10 million production budget. Yet it is one that fans still respond to thanks to it’s wacky computer generated nightmare, and yes, I credit much of the film’s charm to Fahey’s wild performance. If you haven’t seen this, you should check it out for Jeff as well as Pierce Brosnan and Jenny Wright.

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Jeff continued to take on projects that were mostly action thrillers. He starred in the TV-movie Blindsided with Mia Sara and THE HIT LIST with Yancy Butler, both in 1993. In yet another made for television project, he starred alongside Helen Hunt and Steven Weber in the chilling In the Company of Darkness about a series of gruesome child murders. And then there was TEMPTATION (1994), something his character is led into while working as a seaman on a rich dude’s yacht. And then, not unlike the beginning of his career, you find this talented dude tearing it up in low budget flicks and suddenly he is in a big time western. This time he joined Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman and David Andrews in WYATT EARP in 1994.

When you have somebody like Fahey, it is very difficult to narrow down what projects we should focus on here. With a packed resume, the actor has been working consistently from the very beginning. After WYATT EARP he found himself in a similar patter; indies, action and thrillers. So let’s take a look at some of the more scary efforts that he has been attached to. There was DARKMAN III: DIE DARKMAN DIE in 1996 - okay,  not really scary but what the hell. He even dabbled in religious chills with the sequel to THE APOCALYPSE called REVELATION in 1999. If you are looking for a little straight to cable madness, you could check out Manticore (2005) or Locusts: The 8th Plague (2005). And let us not forget SCORPIUS GIGANTUS (2006), and I’m guessing you can kind of figure out what is going down with that one.

Thankfully, Jeff Fahey really had the chance to shine in the groovy double feature from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez from 2007 called GRINDHOUSE - specifically in Rodriguez contribution to the cinematic experiment in B-movie entertainment. This time, Fahey really rocked it, proving what a great character actor he is thanks to the gory fun of PLANET TERROR. Between Rose McGowan and her machine gun leg, to Fahey’s memorable J.T., this is a must watch for old school creature fans. He followed that up with steady work courtesy of guest appearances on television including an impressive run on the hit series Lost. And making it clear that he had a pretty solid time making GRINDHOUSE, he was also featured in a little Danny Trejo led flick inspired by the faux trailers in the double feature. Of course I’m talking about MACHETE in 2010.

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NOW: The past couple of years have been quite busy for this weeks genre hero. The one time could of been heartthrob is now one of the coolest B-movie character actors to ever grace the silver screen - and the small screen as well. With a seven episode arc on Justified, to appearances on Grimm and Falling Skies, as well as the TV mini-series Texas Rising, he’s kept really busy. And what is the most jaw-dropping, all of this is from 2015. He was also featured that same year in four episodes of the series From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series and an episode of The Librarians. When it comes to 2016, he has URGE, THE HOLLOW and the SyFy Channel man vs. nature flick Atomic Shark.

According to IMDb, he only has one upcoming project called AMERICAN DRESSER, but I’d be surprised if he could keep up his schedule from 2015 - 16 - the guy probably needs a vacation. As a fan of Mr. Jeff Fahey, it’s hard to narrow down all the features he has made into one article. And while many of them are cheesy bits of violence and adventure, it’s always fun to watch this dude in action. If you’d like to keep up with the career of Jeff Fahey, you can check out his official Facebook page, although he seems to be absent on Twitter. What I appreciate about Mr. Fahey is his unusual approach to celebrity. He seems to be a guy’s guy that will happily take any kind of genre. The man is rad! Now I want to see him back in a major motion picture once again, he gives a bit of cool to everything he gets involved in.

Extra Tidbit: Which of the double bill in GRINDHOUSE did you prefer? PLANET TERROR or DEATH PROOF?
Source: AITH

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