Horror movie fans will be saddened to learn that legendary grindhouse star, David Hess has passed away. The actor's official facebook page was updated today with a note from his children reading: "It is with great sadness that we have said our last goodbyes to our beloved dad and friend to all. David passed away peacefully last night. The Mad Hessian lives on in his family, friends, and all of his devoted fans. Sing a song in celebration of his life."
Hess achieved cinematic notoriety to a generation of scare-seekers with his debut performance in Wes Craven's controversial 1972 slasher 'The Last House on the Left.' The actor's performance as Krug, an unrepentant serial killer leading a band of crazies through an idyllic small town, shocked audiences with his intense depiction of on-screen violence. (Craven re-used the "Krug" name for his other controversial bad-guy "Freddy Krueger.")

In addition to starring in 'Last House on the Left,' Hess also composed and sang the movie's soundtrack; prior to acting, he had developed a successful music career in the 50s and 60s as a songwriter for artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Pat Boone and was at one point, the head of A&R at Mercury Records. After his infamous acting debut, Hess continued to work between film and music, but it's his horror movie resume that fans best remember.

After 'Last House,' he played the slasher star again in 'The House on the Edge of the Park'; that film also horrified audiences so much, it was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification (a censored version was eventually released in the UK in 2002). He then re-teamed with Craven to play the villain in the comic book thriller 'Swamp Thing.'

His most recent acting appearance was as a murderous movie director in the dark comedy slasher 'Smash Cut,' alongside adult film star Sasha Grey. David Hess was 69.

For more information on his acting debut, check out the Most Banned Horror Movies in History.


[Top photo: DavidHess.com]

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categories Movies, Horror