I love B-Movies; and I think that some of the actors that have made a career form them are highly under-appreciated. Recently you may have noticed a growing appreciation for B-Movies, in some cases they are now being revered as cinema classics. The SciFi (I refuse to acknowledge SyFy) network is pumping them out once a month it seems. And still many of the actors that have been gracing the small screen since the 80's still have a hard time getting work in the big budget films. We see them lined up at horror movie conventions chatting with fans and snapping pictures; but I for one think it is high time these B-movie thespians get the attention they so deserve. Below is a list of my favorite B-Movie horror and SciFi actors that deserve much more credit than they receive.
The most talented chin in Hollywood. I think the reason Campbell appeals to so many is because he gets it. You can see in his performances a sense that he understands what he is doing is ridiculous and he has fun doing it. But I don't think that gets the kind of credit it should, it's not easy being that cheesy. His run as Sam Axe (come on...that name is pure B-Movie in its self) on Burn Notice has made him quite popular with the USA Network faithful, but for many of us he will always be Ash.
In all honesty I think that Tim Thomerson may be one of the most prolific, versatile and talented actors on this list; maybe even in Hollywood. He has been showing up as bit characters in many movies as well as stints on successful television shows since the late 60's. He can play it serious or he can be funny, just give him a script. Name one of your favorite movies from the 80’s and I’ll bet you’ll see his name in the cast. Trancers, Uncommon Valor, Iron Eagle, Near Dark, Who’s Harry Crumb; and let’s not forget the multiple television appearances to his credit including Hunter, Major Dad, Hill Street Blues and Tour of Duty. I can guarantee you that Tim Thomerson is one of the best actors out there that you've never heard of. I am super excited to see his next project, Bring me the Head of Lance Hendrickson...should be classic.
I've had a crush on P.J. since I first saw Rock-n-Roll High School many, many years ago. None of the girls I knew at that time were into the music I was (mainly the Ramones) so when I saw Riff Randell in her skinny jeans and Chucks it was love at first sight. She has not had a lot of main stream success outside of a few small roles; but she has made quite the career in the low budget straight to video market as well television. And I think that if she was given the chance she could stand next to some of the higher paid talent out there. She is probably best known as the “totally” girl in Halloween. But for me she will forever be my first Hollywood crush, Riff Randell.
Tom Atkins is a very versatile character actor that I’m sure you've seen but can’t quite place what movie it was in. But form a B-movie/horror perspective he is most known for his roles in The Fog, Halloween III and Night of the Creeps. When he was in between films he appeared in countless T.V. shows such as The Rockford Files, Walker Texas Ranger and Spencer for Hire. He is also an accomplished stage actor on Broadway. He stills shows up every so often in films and TV. But one place you will always find him is at the horror conventions, he loves his fans.
Of all the actors listed here I think Traci gets the least amount of credit and she has had the hardest climb. She started out in porn and I think people still let that cloud their judgement even today. In 1988 she made her first non-porn film appearance in the SciFi classic Not of This Earth. Traci Lords, in my opinion, is one of the most under used actress in the horror/B-movie genre; she brings a lot of talent to the table and only recently are we starting to see it.
In all honesty there are many more under-appreciated actors I could list; Ken Foree, Christopher Lambert, and Jeff Fahey come to mind. But these are my favorite. So who are your favorite B-movie actors?