Director(s): John Carpenter
Writer(s): Ray Nelson (short story), John Carpenter (screenplay)
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
This may come as a shocker, but yeah, I love horror movies. I’ve had a number of articles on our journey together in my FearTASTIC vault that chronicle my love of horror flicks starting at a tender young age. They were my refuge from the outside world, the friend that never quit, and the entertainment that kept every day at the very least, interesting. Horror flicks were the gateway drug to other genres of movies, which transformed me from horror enthusiast to flat-out movie GEEK. There were however, other sources of entertainment that kept my busy mind at bay when movies weren’t on the menu, one of which is very dear to my heart even to this day. I was, am and probably forever will be a fan of professional wrestling. Sure, my level of intensity varied over the years but I can confidently say that I had at the very least, a finger in the wrestling community, enough information just to make me dangerous in conversation.
My brand of wrestling drug has always been the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”…or from when I first started, WWF for “World Wrestling Federation”). My intensity for WWE recently skyrocketed due to the emergence of wrestlers who are masters of their craft such as Daniel Bryan and Cesaro and before that, the attitude era in which Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Dudley Boys and my SECOND favorite heel (bad guy wrestling figure) Vince McMahon! It all started however in my living room watching old wrestling videotapes rented from my local video store (the very same that provided me with horror gems). That’s where I discovered Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake and of course, my favorite heel of all time; Rowdy Roddy Piper. This was the first role model that made me want to be BAD because he made BAD looks so damn COOL. I would later realize that there was wrestling hate and real hate, where the latter is animosity because the wrestler is not convincing or doesn’t evoke any sort of reaction from the audience while wrestling hate is reserved for that special breed of wrestler that you just LOVE to hate and Roddy Piper was my master of lovable heels. He was arrogant, under-handed, and, of course, LOUD which equated to me renting more and more tapes just to see him again find a way to win matches through shady means which cracked me up thoroughly.
Imagine to my surprise and absolute delight when I found out that a horror/sci-fi flicked existed where my favorite heel turned anti – hero while battling brain washing aliens! To be honest, I did not know that Mr. Piper was in this flick. As some of you know, I tended to choose my flicks based on VHS covers alone so when I saw the cover to this particular flick, I knew it needed to be rented, STAT. I remember seeing a mutated skull of some sort front and center when I realized it was a reflection from sunglasses and right above, an eye that sported an angry looking eyebrow. To me, that was more than enough, knowing for sure there would be some ass – kicking involved at some point. Another selling point was this flick was directed by the great John Carpenter (Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China) and that immediately meant that the flick would have that dark tone of adventure that I’ve appreciated in his other movies.
The flick follows a drifter who comes upon a pair of sunglasses that allowed him to see the hidden world that is run by alien mutants. The concept alone was so fascinating to me because the aliens used subliminal messages to make sure the humans stay at bay and made me question all the things that I currently owned and wondered if there were any subtle (or not so subtle) advertising that was in some way controlling me…alien or not. This flick also cemented one of the GREATEST fight scenes of all time between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David. It’s the one of the finest and longest fight scenes in movie history and it shines due to its simplicity and foot in reality. This really did look like two rugged blokes looking for a good brawl. The crowning achievement for this movie for me was the performance of our anti – hero, Rowdy Roddy Piper. This man took every element that I appreciated from what made him such a good wrestling heel and turned it into the kind of hero that I would follow any day. A man who takes action and does it with a disdain for the rules, a renegade who knows the problem and acts instead of waiting around for the fat cats of society to find a solution. This was my man, this was Rowdy Roddy Piper.
This says a lot about my favorite characters; it seems that I’m drawn to characters that could easily be villains but are made into heroes through circumstance.
This article is dedicated to my main man, Rowdy Roddy Piper Rest in Peace my friend.
You made BAD look so damn GOOD.
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.