Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Don’t Shake Henry’s Hand

July 24th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Yesterday we noted a mid-1980s toothpaste commercial that still freaks us out to this day. Now, in the space normally reserved for Bad Movie Friday, we’d like to recall the celluloid character who creeped us out more than Freddy and Jason combined: Henry Kane, the demonic cult leader who menaces the Freeling family in Poltergeist II.

Sadly, part of what makes Kane such a terrifying character is the ill health of the man who played him, the late, great Julian Beck. He was actually suffering from late-stage stomach cancer while shooting this movie, so his skeleton-like appearance required little in the way of makeup. Just before his death, Beck said that the Kane role was all that kept him going during his roughest days; he passed away shortly after the movie wrapped. That end-of-days intensity certainly comes across on the screen—watch the whole clip and you’ll see what we mean. And please forgive Craig T. Nelson, who seems like a high-school thespian in comparison to Beck.


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