Monday, September 13, 2010

So long, Kevin McCarthy

It was arguably the most genuinely disturbing scene yet to appear in an American film: Kevin McCarthy zig-zagging between speeding cars in a paranoid frenzy, screaming through windows with crazed futility, "You're next! You're next!" At the last moment, his mad eyes glare directly into the camera to warn the viewer that she or he is not safe either.



Kevin McCarthy may have performed in some 200 films and TV shows during his 96 years, but it is his starring role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers for which he'll always be best remembered. And the above scene particularly solidified his role as a cinematic icon. Philip Kaufman even had him recreate that scene for comedic effect in the 1979 remake of Body Snatchers.

But McCarthy's creepy credentials don't end with the original 1956 sci-fi-horror classic. Certain young genre fans who were terrified and enthralled by his work in Invasion of the Body Snatchers grew up to be folks like Joe Dante, who cast McCarthy in Piranha, The Howling, and one of the better segments in Twilight Zone: The Movie. That final title was particularly appropriate considering that McCarthy starred in the classic original "Twilight Zone" episode "Long Live Walter Jameson". McCarthy's square jaw, animated expressions, and nervous energy were fixtures of film and TV right up through the current year (according to his imdb page, he played in a 2010 short film called "Drawback").

McCarthy on The Twilight Zone


McCarthy died on Saturday, September 11th, of natural causes.
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