Sunday, March 24, 2013


First professional feature film I acted in (I'd been in many short films and the first feature length film funded by the then new American Film Institute, but all non-paying and when I was younger) and before I got my SAG card and had to add my middle name (David) because there was already a "Michael Lally" in the union.

I thought of it tonight because I hate horror films and the horror genre in general, whether TV, books, plays whatever. And yet I found myself "starring" in my first two jobs as a professional (i.e. paid) actor in two low budget horror flicks. In the second I got to act with John Carradine and Gloria Graham, which wasn't bad. In this one (originally titled LAST RITES, as you can see, but later changed to DRACULA'S LAST RITES) I got to act with some lesser known actors.

As a kid and as an adult I never got the thrill some family and friends get out of being deliberately frightened, choosing to make themselves scream or at least freak out. And yet, there I was back in 1979 "starring" in two horror movies, and tonight found myself watching THE WALKING DEAD without my teenage son who got me into the show.

I hated the obviousness of the plot and the gore in the early episodes I watched with him just to monitor what he was into and to try and soften any evil intent or consequences I usually discover in these things. But instead, I got hooked on the game of seeing who survives the zombie Apocalypse and who doesn't. Which is the smart trick the creators of THE WALKING DEAD play on the audience. Get them invested in the death lottery and eventually they will become truly invested in the characters themselves, which I have to a slight extent for, well, mainly the impressive (both as character and actor) African-American woman warrior on it. I guess my version of the teenage boy syndrome the creators are counting on.

Next week is the finale, and while fans of MAD MEN prepare for the new season and I have yet to watch an episode of that series so highly recommended by so many friends, here I am spending my Sunday evenings watching zombie gore fest central. Yikes.

[PS: I was thinking after I wrote this that maybe all this horror style gore and violence that seems to be an epidemic on cable TV—and network TV to the extent they can get away with it—is a reflection of people feeling the sense of impending doom or at least the anxiety of uncertainty in the face of the overwhelming destroy-all-that-gets-in-the-way-of-their-greed corporate takeover of our world (especially our country) as in the genetically altered food giant Monsanto or the oil companies continuing to sabotage clean energy and buy our Congress, and the endless list could go on...]


William McPherson said...

Regarding our bought-and-paid-for Congress, I saw recently that someone suggested (sorry I don't remember where or who) that our Congressmen be required to wear, like NASCAR drivers do, uniforms emblazoned with the logos of their corporate sponsors/purchasers.

Robert Berner said...

Hmm...this gives a whole new meaning to the term "branding," eh?
Bob B.

Lally said...

Bill, I've seen that too on Facebook, if only. Exactly Bob.

-K- said...

I agree with your aversion to horror movies. I don't like to be scared. I've never understood the appeal.

But this also makes for some awkward conversations in that there's always the presumption that I've seen movies like "Psycho." But except for clips of the more distrubing bits, I haven't seen it and I doubt that I ever will.

AlamedaTom said...

I too am not into horror, but I am intrigued because so many people I know who I would never suspect would like The Walking Dead are hooked on it.

My similar guilty pleasure is "The Sons of Anarchy." My son Jesse got me into it and I have loved the five seasons that have aired. The true test was that my Wife, Eileen recently watched the first couple of episodes of season one and got hopelessly addicted. She's about six episodes into season four. (Lal, much of season three takes place in Ireland.) The writing is absolutely top-notch, the story lines are gripping, and the acting is absolutely the best. And, your old pal, Katey Sagal should have gotten piles of Emmy's. Approach with caution because you will get hooked.

~ Willy

JIm said...
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