I don't think it's any secret by now that I am a horror fanatic. Some of my earliest experiences with film in general, and certainly the most memorable, have involved being scared out of my wits. The standout title of my cinephile history has to be 'Halloween'; its viewing on that titular holiday a family tradition. Of course, I am not alone in my adoration. How could you not love 'Halloween'? It has earned every iota of its classic status and continues to scare audiences over 30 years later. No small amount of the film's greatness is Dr. Sam Loomis; played to perfection by the late, great Donald Pleasence.
Donald Pleasence creates the ultimate foible for Michael Myers in John Carpenter's seminal horror opus. Where Michael is a stoic, silent wraith of concentrated evil, Loomis is a wild, desperate fanatic who no less mirrors Michael's focus. In many ways, Loomis is Michael's voice; his unheeded omens crafting the legend of Michael Meyers in the audience's mind before we even see his second kill. Loomis' hollow, almost wounded voice allows for every line that falls from his lips to sound as theatrical and spooky as a campfire story. Michael may be the boogeyman, but Loomis is the man who ensures his admittance into your nightmares. But as much as I love Donald Pleasence in Halloween, it saddens me to think there are those who remember him solely for that role.
Donald Pleasence's career is brimming with phenomenal performances both universally regarded and criminally unappreciated. In honor of this fallen icon, I've compiled a list of my favorite Pleasence roles. The one thread that appears to unite all of them is also a trademark of his career as a whole: madness.