When I originally wrote the following blog piece, and conceived the idea of bumping this week’s planned Gentleman Cthulhu for a dedication comic to Angus Scrimm there had been only one other death reported: David Bowie. Scrimm’s role as the Tall Man in the Phantasm series seemed to fit the theme of this comic better, so I went with him. But then, as I was finishing the work on today’s comic, I saw the news about Alan Rickman. More, a friend of mine (who’s Facebook post was originally how I found out about Scrimm’s death) posted that David Margulies died as well (known for his role as Mayor Lenny Clotch in Ghostbusters).
I have seriously considered creating dedication comics for all three, not to be crass, but rather because I don’t want to be remiss in honouring only one death and not the others, especially because of the iconic roles they played and films they were a part of (even Bowie, who’s better known for his music). My only regret is that I can’t put the comics out faster. But today’s is about the Tall Man. We’ll see if the others follow. Now, as I had originally written…
It’s always been a great disappointment of mine that I may have only seen one full Phantasm movie from beginning to end (I can’t quite recall–I was young when and if I did). I say this both because I am a horror fan (especially of classic and older works) and because the Phantasm films seem to have such a huge cult following. Of course, in this day and age of video streaming, I should finally make it a point to see them, as the “catching a bit of it on cable” explanation doesn’t hold water anymore. Regardless, I’ve seen bits of the films and am certainly familiar with Scrimm’s iconic turn as the Tall Man.
Scrimm’s Tall Man was creepy and frightening–all of the things a good horror villain should be–and his passing marks the loss of one of horror’s great icons. But more than that, the world has lost a good man. I’ve always heard good things about Angus Scrimm, though I never met him myself. Such seemed to be the consensus of those who knew him personally (ew.com/article/2016/01/10/angus-scrimm-bruce-campbell). I always find that delightful, learning that someone you’ve only known (or known of) through their work turns out to be a genuinely good person.
It’s been something of an odd year in deaths of icons of popular culture. Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame almost a year ago, then the colossal Christopher Lee in the summer (and I wish Gentleman Cthulhu was running then so I could have given him his own dedication comic–perhaps I still will). Now Mr. Angus Scrimm and David Bowie, no less (edit: also Alan Rickman and David Margulies). It’s hard to believe that these performers, who have been around since before I was born, and were already legendary when I was a child, are now gone. Indeed, it’s a little surreal.
I was saving comics wherein Gentleman Cthulhu was not the one to say “Cheers!” at the end for later in its running, but for Angus Scrimm, I don’t mind at all. I’ll have to make it a point to see those films from beginning to end. I’m sure I’ll love them–I like what I’ve seen of them so far, and the Tall Man is quite unsettling. The timing would certainly be good as there’s talk of a fifth installment being released this year (Phantasm V: Ravager).
Cheers to Angus Scrimm and to the Tall Man!