He starred in the Sy-Fy movie “Bigfoot.” You know him as Greg Brady from the much-loved TV sitcom The Brady Bunch. He’ll be one of the special guests at the Davy Jones Memorial National Monkees Convention March 1-3 (see www.MonkeeConvention.com), and now he’s starring in a 70s Music Celebration in Branson, MO featuring songs and comedy from the seventies. We’re talking about actor/singer/pop culture personality and all around good guy Barry Williams. Not only was he prompt when we asked him for a list of his favorite genre films, he came through with a great, well-thought-out selection, in descending order…
Barry Williams’ Terrorble Top 10 List for Horror Happenings
10. DOUBLE JEOPARDY (1999): The enjoyment of this film does not come from wondering how it’s going to turn out, because Paramount Studios tells the audience before the movie even starts that Ashley Judd’s character has been framed for killing her husband. (“Libby Parsons is in jail for a crime she didn’t commit!” the trailer exclaims right off the bat.) Libby correctly suspects that her no-good husband has betrayed and framed her and is still very much alive. A fellow inmate informs her that since she has already been
tried and convicted for her husband’s murder, she can’t be tried for the same crime twice.
Therefore — in theory, at least — she could walk up to him in broad daylight and shoot him in front of a million people without fear of punitive consequences. Not exactly what I’d call sound legal advice. Nevertheless, the relationship between Libby and her gruff, hard-nosed, man-of-few-words parole officer (played by Tommy Lee Jones) makes the movie interesting… that, and the immortalization of Ashley Judd’s beauty at the age of 31, wearing a bikini, a braless tank top, and even a prison jumpsuit.
9. A TIME TO KILL (1996): Based on John Grisham’s first novel. Best film adaptation that I’ve seen of Grisham’s body-of-work to date. An all-star cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughy, and my girlfriend Ashley Judd (when she was only 28) among its luminaries. The film opens with the stomach-churning rape of a 10-year old black girl by two rednecks in a pickup truck; unwilling to wait for justice (or the likely lack thereof), the girl’s father, Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson), kills the rapists in broad daylight on their way to a court hearing, crippling a deputy in the process. What father of a little girl in this world could pretend not to understand the motivation for Hailey’s crime? McConaughy
plays the attorney willing to take the case amidst a climate of racism, hate and mistrustfulness, and the still-prevalent presence of the KKK in the “new” South. A morality-play storyline not without its flaws, but well-written and featuring terrific performances that make the film ultimately very compelling.
8. FRIGHT NIGHT (1985): This is a cult classic, full of nods to traditional vampire lore and the black-and-white Hammer, Hitchcock, and Bella Lugosi films of bygone days. (What’s especially interesting about that is the fact that Fright Night was released at a time when slasher films were all the rage, amidst the seemingly endless Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street installments of the 1980s.) Roddy McDowell is spot-on as Peter
Vincent (his moniker is of course a combination of the names Peter Cushing and Vincent Price); a man who was once an industry icon and star of old-school horror films, but is now reduced to hosting a TV show called “Fright Night,” a campy, low-budget weekly horror film review that is unapologetically shot at a fake graveyard. Charlie Brewster, the teenaged hero, must enlist Vincent’s help after his attempts to convince his mother,
his girlfriend, and the police that new neighbor Jerry Dandridge is a vampire fall hopelessly flat… and what’s more, the audience knows that Jerry is on to Charlie’s meddling from very early on, which builds a palpable tension. The scene where Jerry wanders through Charlie’s house whistling “Strangers In The Night” before attempting to kill him for the first time has a creepily special charm. Stylishly written and with equal
parts humor and terror, Fright Night is still a unique horror movie genre hit more than 25 years later.
7. REAR WINDOW (1954): The ultimate scary movie, if for no other reason than
the girl you’re watching it with will have no choice but to move in close
for comfort. Possibly Hitchcock’s most masterful thriller. The viewer is so
completely drawn into the deceptively simplistic story line that from the
beginning, watching the film feels less like a movie and more like you’re
actually spying on the neighbors. Jimmy Stewart is superb, and it is his
“everyman” quality that helps us to identify with him and become such
immediately willing accomplices to his naughty voyeurism, despite the fact
we know it’s probably not such a good idea. Grace Kelly is at her smoking
hot finest and so affable that at times, we want to throttle Stewart’s
character for not having the good sense to put down the damn binoculars and
take her to bed, already. Riviting from the first scene to the last.
6. CAPE FEAR (1991): A fine example of Martin Scorcese’s brilliance as a
director, this remake shines with a complexity that the 1962 original
couldn’t have imagined. In the updated version, there are no real heroes,
everyone is flawed, and there is an imminent danger lurking beneath the
surface of every scene. Robert DeNiro as Max Cady is a man just released
from a 14-year prison sentence for the rape and assault of a young woman,
and he wants revenge against Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), the public defender
who represented him at trial and who knowingly concealed a piece of evidence
that might have lessened his sentence. Cady is a villain “wronged” (in his
mind); Bowden is a pseudo-hero who has transgressed (although the audience
would be hard-pressed to disagree with Bowden’s tactics in light of Cody’s
obvious sadism and the brutality of his crimes). Juliette Lewis gives one of
her best performances as the displaced 16-year-old daughter strangely
intrigued by Cady’s evil darkness and implied sexuality; naturally, she is
drawn to whatever would unnerve and bother her parents (whom she deeply
resents) the most. Jessica Lange is subtle but powerful as the alcoholic,
long-suffering wife who has tolerated too many of her husband’s
infidelities, and her willingness to sacrifice herself becomes a pivotal
moment in the story’s climax.
Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam have cameos in the film; all
three actors appeared in the 1962 original. Clever and delightfully
5. PRESUMED INNOCENT (1990): Excellent cast, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful storyline, and an unexpected, mind-blowing twist (which, of course, I can’t tell you about because it would be a total spoiler and ruin the surprise). Harrison Ford rocks the role of Rusty Sabich, an assistant state’s attorney assigned to the murder case of an attractive and highly-sexually charged female lawyer who worked in his office. It is quickly revealed that not only was Rusty shagging her, but so was Rusty’s boss (whoops!)… who also happens to be the guy who assigned him specifically to the case. From there the accusations fly and legal gymnastics ensue; and with so many wobbly defenses and questionable (at best) alibis, the viewer’s answer to the “did he do it?” question vacillates until the very end. An intricate, complex and tangled web for the audience to unravel. Based on a best-selling novel. A highly engaging, intelligent psychological thriller.
4. THE FUGITIVE (1993): Slick, great acting and directing, action-packed and taut with tension from beginning to end. Inspired by the TV series of the same name, the film elevates the theme of innocent man unjustly accused to a whole new complex (and much more exciting) level. Harrison Ford is Dr. Richard Kimble, a well-respected Chicago surgeon who returns home late one night to discover that his wife has just been beaten to death by an unknown one-armed man; a brief struggle takes place with the assailant, who then flees, vanishing as if without a trace. Dr. Kimble’s story of the intruder is dismissed in the courtroom and he is sentenced to death, but he manages to escape during a collision
between his prison bus and a train… one of the best action scenes in cinematic history. The electrifying crash sequence is reason enough to watch this film, although the movie as a whole is very satisfying. Leading the manhunt for Kimble is a deputy U.S. marshal (Tommy Lee Jones) whom the audience simply knows as “Deputy.” The cat-and-mouse game is both an impressive tactical display as well as full-fledged adrenaline rush up until
the moment the credits start rolling.
3. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991): There’s no shortage of creepy elements in this film, based on a novel by Thomas Harris; it has everything from kidnapping to cannibalism, dismembered body parts in jars, beheadings, a figure spying unseen with night vision goggles, unnaturally large bugs and a psychopath who likes to skin his female victims. Add to that one who likes to eat his victims, plus persistently low-lighting and a sense of terror that pervades even the most seemingly innocuous scenes, and you have the
recipe for why this story sticks with you long after you finish watching. But unless you have lived under a rock your whole life, you’ve already seen this movie and I don’t need to go any further with plot analysis. One thing stands out above the others on a long list of what makes this a truly unforgettable cinematic experience, and it is Anthony Hopkins’
chilling embodiment of brilliant, unhinged psychiatrist and mass murderer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Don’t watch this one alone, unless you’re big on having nightmares.
2. SEVEN (1995): Another ultra-creepy, excellent film with a twist you’ll never forget. Two detectives — one newly-appointed to the precinct (Brad Pitt) and the other on his last case before retirement (Morgan Freeman) — investigate a series of murders which at first appear to be unrelated. But as the body count rises, it becomes clear that the victims have been chosen because the killer believes them to be guilty of committing one of the Seven
Deadly Sins. Each successive crime scene discovered by the police becomes more gruesome and disturbing, and the message more darkly foreboding; the viewer feels a strong sense of unease long before the killer’s awful “masterpiece” is actually revealed. Kevin Spacey delivers an eerie, solid performance as a total nut job. Chilling.
1. BIGFOOT (2012): Featuring me, Danny Bonaduce, Alice Cooper, Sherilyn Fenn, Bruce Davison, and a spectacular fight against a legendary, behemoth monster… what more could you possibly want? Okay, maybe for the setting to be somewhere tropical instead of the
beautiful but cold state of Washington, so that all of the girls were living in their bikinis. I could agree with that. Even though our location definitely wasn’t bikini weather, this is still a get down, good time movie. If you want to be severely disturbed or have the s@%!
scared out of you, then go watch “Psycho” or “The Exorcist.” Or check out any news channel for yet another dismal take on the fiscal cliff. Otherwise, if you’re looking to have fun… then get comfortable with a big bag of popcorn and a hot date, turn this one on and get ready for a happy ending.
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Thanks to Ann Reinke and Jodi Blau Ritzen and Phyllis Paganucci.