"I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation."

- David Cronenberg

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November 24, 2008

Actors: Brad Dourif

Billy BabbitKnown for his edgy, affected performances Brad Dourif, born in West Virginia in 1950, has starred in B-movies for 30 plus years. Dourif has been critically recognized as one of the finest and most versatile working actors today. He is part Anthony Perkins and part Boris Karloff - able to play the carefully controlled type and erupt with menace.

His roles have ranged from frontier sawbones Doc Cochran in the remarkable cable series Deadwood to his widely known role as Wormtoungue in The Two Towers (2002).

Dourif toiled away in obscurity for nearly a decade after winning a Golden Globe in 1975 for his shattering performance as the vulnerable Billy Babbit in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. His next roles were in John Huston's Wise Blood (1979) and, in the tradition of Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff, was type-casted as a villain in B-movie horror flicks. Most notable of these b-movie roles was in the Child's Play movie series as the deranged killer Charles Lee Ray/Chuckie who's homicidal spirit was hidden within a "Good Guy" doll's body.

The intensity of his supporting role in David Lynch's Dune (1984) as the diabolical Piter Devries would resurrect his career. As DeVries, a "twisted Mentat" - an organic machine w/out morality, Dourif portrayed a being more evil than the despotic Baron Harkonen whom he served. Devries was both a brilliant researcher and a deadly assassin. In the end, he died unwittingly saving his Baron from what would have been a just vengeance.

Since that point, he's found steady roles in television and movie series such as Star Trek Voyager, The Equalizer, Babylon 5, The X-Files, Critters 4 (1991), Alien: Resurrection (1997), and has even appeared in the remake of H.G. Lewis's Wizard of Gore (2007).

Selected Filmography:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Billy Babbit, a emotionally disturbed young man who commits suicide.
Dune (1984)
Piter DeVries, a deadly, twisted assassin.
Child's Play (1988)
Voice of Chuckie/Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer who uses black magic.
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
As the unscrupulous Dr. Jonathan Gediman he hatched alien larvae in space travellers.
Two Towers (2002)
Grima Wormtoungue, an evil adviser in league with Sauron and Sarumon, who plotted to marry an unwilling Éowyn - the king's niece.
Deadwood (2004-06)
Doc Cochran, country doctor known for integrity and strength of character.
Halloween II (2009)
Took up the role Sheriff Lee Brackett who first appeared in the original Hallowen (1978).


References:
Wikipedia, Brad Dourif
Brad Dourif.org, Fan Site
Joblo, Dissecting Brad Dourif
Instantcast.com, Brad Dourif Bio
Essays, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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