Nick Castle

The Last Starfighter

Jeremy’s still hobnobbing around Austin at the South by Southwest Film Festival, so he doesn’t have time to listen to a commentary track. He’s watching too many movies for the first time. So I’m stepping in to travel in time back to 1984 to have another go at The Last Starfighter. If you’re a child of the 80s like me, a lot of your movie-going interests were defined by the Star Wars movies. But once those movies wrapped up in the first third of that decade with the prequels (and alleged sequels) more than a dozen years away, a great void was left. I was about thirteen years old when The Last Starfighter came to theaters in the summer of 1984, and it tapped into the same wonder and excitement that the first three Star Wars were about. I was looking for another story about a very average teenager who comes from nowhere special to fight in an interstellar war against some really bad dudes. The thing that made The Last Starfighter different from every other movie of that decade was its then-groundbreaking and now-rudimentary use of digital effects. Only Tron had been so bold with digital environments before, and The Last Starfighter literally gave us something we hadn’t seen before. The 1999 “Widescreen Collector’s Edition” of The Last Starfighter DVD included a commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb. Sure, the commentary includes dated 90s references to pagers and the like, and both Castle and Cobb […]

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Editor’s Note: We’ve spent a while searching for a fitting replacement for Ashe (who we still miss), but we’re elated to welcome David Christopher Bell to our team. He’ll be writing insightful lists for us every Thursday from now until we stop blackmailing him for that thing he did in Florida in 1986. Please give him a warm welcome! It’s funny. After Anthony Perkins first appeared as Norman Bates there was absolutely no going back from it. No matter what role he was put in after Norman, when audiences looked at him all they could see was the shower-interrupting taxidermologist that they feared so deeply. This proved to be a major hindrance in his career, causing him never to land any major role in the industry afterward. Now if only he had worn a mask. After all, if horror films have taught us anything it’s that no matter how effective a performance is, if you have a bunch of rubber on your face, mainstream audiences aren’t going to end up learning your name or recognizing your face. So in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, the following are some of those very names and faces that are responsible for some of the greatest movie nightmares of modern horror. People who you could walk right by on the streets and never know that they are to thank for all those times your childhood-spawned neuroses forced you to double-check under your bed.

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