It’s Brad Dourif’s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five performances from the acclaimed genre actor. Check some of these out!
Child’s Play (1988)
This one is a complete no-brainer. No one else could ever be serial killer turned killer Good Guy doll, but Brad Dourif. Yet, he almost didn’t, due to filming Mississippi Burning at the time of casting and production. Someone else got the role, did the whole movie, and then tanked during test screenings; he’d taken Chucky too far into comedic territory right off the bat. Dourif, being Tom Holland’s first choice anyway, understood the right balance of seriousness and camp, making Chucky the iconic killer that he is today. Even if Dourif has stated he’s mostly retired, at least we still get more Chucky.
Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)
If there’s any character that Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake and sequel really improves upon over the original, it’s Sheriff Lee Brackett. That’s because he’s played by the amazing Brad Dourif. Even better is that Dourif gets to play against type here as the dutiful sheriff and doting father of Annie. There’s no trace of the sociopath that Dourif typically gets typecast in, just an honest, loving single father doing the best he can. It’s Sheriff Lee Brackett’s character that you truly invest in, and Dourif’s performance during an emotional scene in Halloween II is downright devastating. Even if you hate Zombie’s take on Michael Myer’s story, it’s impossible to hate what Dourif brought to the film.
The Exorcist III (1990)
This sequel holds its own with the first film for many reasons, but most of it can be attributed to Dourif’s turn as the unnerving Gemini Killer. Dourif switches from cool intelligence to fevered murderer in seconds with effortless ease, and his monologues in the film are some of the absolute best scenes. That he’s going toe to toe with the likes of George C. Scott and Scott Wilson makes his performance even more impressive.
There are several great performances consistently throughout the short run of the HBO series, but Dourif’s grizzled former Civil War doctor, Doc Cochran, was always a favorite of mine. He didn’t take any shit off anyone even the big bad Al Swearengen. Doc was an honest and moral professional who shows extreme dedication to and compassion for the sick and injured, without bias for their attitudes or loyalties. Dourif played all of this with incredible strength and emotion when needed. One of his most memorable scenes was the time the doctor broke down while praying for God to end a dying reverend’s suffering
Graveyard Shift (1990)
Reception on this ‘80s Stephen King adaptation is typically ice cold or nostalgic warmth, but no matter which team you’re on there’s no arguing that the best part is Brad Dourif as Tucker Cleveland. He’s not even a lead character, but he steals every single scene he’s in as the exterminator that takes his job way too seriously. With bug-eyed intensity, Tucker Cleveland is operating on an entirely different level than just about everyone else in the film, and Brad Dourif’s scene-chewing is so off the rails great it elevates an otherwise not as memorable as it should be horror movie.
What are some of your favorite roles to feature birthday boy Brad Dourif?