The HorrorDads Meet the Bad Dads

RHS: In preparation for Father’s Day this year, let’s talk about one of horror’s key motifs: Bad Dads. Some bad dads are born that way, some achieve badness; still others have badness thrust upon them. I guess the poster child for the bad dads of horror is Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING (1980), who starts off as a troubled but basically decent father and winds up doing some very dodgy parenting indeed. Before we start naming names, let’s talk about this example, which evokes one of source novelist Stephen King’s biggest personal fears… bringing harm to one’s own child.

PAUL GAITA: I never really got the impression that Nicholson’s Torrance was a decent guy. In the book, he’s damaged but hoping to turn around a streak of terrible luck with this hotel gig, which makes things even worse – a scenario that does dig deep into the hearts of fathers who struggle to meet the criteria set by society for being a successful provider. Anyone who’s ever tried to “fix” something – from a leaky faucet to a child’s broken heart – understands the internal disgust and despair that come when efforts to this end go awry. But with Nicholson, it was gonna go badly from the get-go. Maybe that’s a position affected by both the film’s standing in pop culture — it’s Nicholson at his craziest! — and his own screen persona, but his Jack Torrance is a dry drunk who falls off the wagon in a spectacularly ugly way. The end response is not so much sympathy but rather the sort of distant pity/disgust, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I one feels when they see a dad fucking up in spite of himself.

GREG FERRARA: Stephen King complained about Nicholson giving the game away too early but, as Paul said, you can tell he’s going to fail and that makes it harder to watch. Watching someone fall off a cliff is a shock but watching them slowly back up towards the edge is devastating. Jack Torrance has those odd moments where he thinks he’s doing his duty. When he goes to check out room 237/217 he does so mainly to prove his innocence in the injuries to Danny. Every time he has to do something as a dad, it kind of bugs him. And that’s why Nicholson “giving it away” works! Because from the get-go you’re thinking, “This hot-wired raging alcoholic is going to hole up with his wife and son for the winter. Oh crap.” It’s like Hitchcock explaining that watching two men talk about a baseball and then a bomb goes off under the table is a momentary shock. Watching them talk about baseball and you know there’s a bomb under the table is suspense. You’re thinking, “Stop talking about baseball, there’s a bomb under the table!”

JEFF ALLARD: When I was younger, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance struck me as being an archetypal Bad Dad – the authority figure you fear because they’ve lost control. My own father was an alcoholic and, on at least one occasion that I remember, he drunkenly struck me for what was a very minor infraction on my part. His addiction, his refusal to acknowledge it or seek help for it, and the growing threat of violence led my mother to divorce him when I was five and eventually led her to prevent me from visiting him altogether because of his continued drinking. I was lucky that my mother got us out of a potentially awful situation before it became worse than it already was but that lingering anxiety over what might have been had things gone a different way definitely informed my earliest viewings of THE SHINING.

GREG FERRARA: How many times have we as writers screamed for everyone to go away so we could write and then we end up with nothing? A part of me feels for Jack. He probably thought, “Dammit, this one has to work! I’ll be away from booze with no distractions. It has to work!” And then, it doesn’t. And it’s soul crushing.

DENNIS COZZALIO: I bitch about this all the time, audibly, and in my own Torrance-like interior monologues. It’s maybe the ultimate writer’s fantasy. I know it’s mine—I’ll have all this free time, absolute quiet, no distractions, and just think of all the writing I’ll get done. But the mind creates its own distractions, and the disconnect between the fantasy and that nightmare of discovering that suddenly the words aren’t coming, or they’re coming with too much effort, or that maybe you just don’t have any ideas, is genuinely awful. It’s what makes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” really reverberate—that combined with the fact that the moment is just brilliant and utterly, gasp-inducingly scary.

JEFF ALLARD: In the novel, Jack has a moment towards the end where his love for Danny allows him to break the hold that the Overlook has on him just long enough for Jack to let Danny run away and it’s telling that no such moment exists in the film. Kubrick had a bleaker view of Jack Torrance than King did. King’s instincts as a father were that, as much as he might occasionally resent his kids and all the responsibilities that come with them, a father’s love would break through that in the end… while Kubrick and Nicholson saw their Jack as being so morally flawed and weak willed that he’d be on board with whatever the Overlook asked of him. In a way, for as much flak as Kubrick and Nicholson got for the direction they took with THE SHINING and Jack Torrance, I think theirs is a truer portrait of an addicted personality in the sense that their Jack is hard-wired to be the way he is. Love is not going to snap this guy out of anything. He’s always going to be a jerk who thinks of himself first, who can self-justify his every action (“a momentary loss of muscular coordination…”), and who is quick to feel pity for himself. He’s the one who’s been wronged. He’s not responsible for the things he’s done or the anger he feels, it’s his wife and his son that are to blame. And that, in the end, is really what makes him a Bad Dad.

DENNIS COZZALIO: I’ve always tended to fall into the camp that was a little less satisfied with Nicholson based on the calibration of that performance, which I don’t think was a critical miscalculation on the part of either Nicholson or certainly Kubrick. It does seem, as Paul says, that the whole Overlook experience was gonna go bad from the get-go, and that’s the way the actor and the director want it. But for me it always placed the character of Jack Torrance closer to caricature than a more fully lived–in portrayal of the sort you might have gotten had Kubrick left room for the sort of internal struggle. At the time the movie was released Nicholson was only five years removed from Randle P. McMurphy [in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, 1975], the role that, for better and worse, cemented his public persona of unstable, but generally likable Tasmanian devilry, eyebrows arched and ready to break through the accepted restraints of civilized society, or at the very least eloquently howl at the moon while being subdued by those restraints. For me, being primed right out of the gate for Torrance’s descent into madness by my familiarity with Nicholson’s persona, while not a deal-breaker, is less interesting to me than seeing a man whose self-applied façade drops a bit more slowly, teasingly.

JEFF ALLARD: I think Jack sees himself as an intellectual and Wendy as an embarrassing idiot. When they take the tour of the Overlook and Wendy is gushing about this and that, I get the sense that Jack wishes she’d just shut her fool mouth. In his mind, she’s just so common while he has so many great thoughts to share but I think the underlying joke of it is that Jack isn’t all that he believes himself to be and ultimately that is why he cracks. Jack wants to think it’s always been Wendy and Danny holding him back but really he just never had the talent to be the kind of writer he envisioned himself to be. I’m sure that was an anxiety that King could vividly relate to as a struggling writer, not knowing whether his work was ever going to break through and whether he’d eventually just have to chuck it all aside and get down to paying the bills and feeding the family without being distracted by the pipe dreams of being a professional writer – dreams he never would have to give up if he’d never had kids to take care of. That’s a situation that can definitely breed hatred and resentment and that side of THE SHINING – Jack’s need to get out from under the thumb of his family – has revealed itself more to me over time. As far as his relationship with Danny goes, I don’t think that Jack necessarily hates Danny but I do think that he feels that having a son has unjustly put his own life on hold. Jack, like most alcoholics, is a selfish person. He isn’t predisposed to self-sacrifice, he’s predisposed to attending to his own needs, but yet being a parent is all about putting someone else ahead of you.

DENNIS COZZALIO: Yeah, Torrance is pretentious—Jeff’s comments about his contempt for Wendy and his own rather high regard for his own intellectual capacity are right on the money. But they also seem like symptoms of a preordained breakdown, which makes Jack more like a chess piece than a man for whom there is at least the awareness of how far he had fallen. Regret and self-loathing, key elements in the book, as far as I can recall, don’t have much place in the movie.

RHS: Right, which is why the movie was always a fail for me. But I confess I haven’t revisited THE SHINING since becoming a father. I wonder if I would have an entirely different take on it.

JEFF ALLARD: Getting older, becoming a father and having to provide (at least in large part) for a household, gave me a different view of THE SHINING and of Nicholson’s Jack Torrance. I can’t say that he became a sympathetic character to me (nor do I think he’s meant to be) but I did feel that I got him and the frustrations that drove him in a way I didn’t before. A lot of the criticism towards Nicholson’s performance revolves around the perception that he’s just crazy from the get-go but in the early part of the film, I think he’s a guy who’s just trying to keep a lid on his anger as his disdain towards Wendy is so barely disguised. Watching how Nicholson’s Jack responds to whatever Wendy is saying, you can almost see the thought balloon above his head where’s he bashing her head in – and that’s even before they get to the Overlook!

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY: When I watched THE SHINING again a year ago it was the first time I felt truly frightened by the movie, and it was entirely because of the father/son subject matter. Nicholson’s character is introduced as an asshole and seeing him drag his vulnerable wife and little child into his madness had become unbearable to watch, being now a father myself. I have been intrigued to read the book again after reading King’s memoir On Writing, where he details his own alcoholism. It’s incredible that so early in his career as both a father and an addict he wrote a horror masterpiece — which is a kind of worst nightmare fantasy of a father who goes mad from not being able to write and tries to kill his child because of it!

DENNIS COZZALIO: I’m glad Nick mentioned On Writing, a volume I need to revisit and soon, because I remember being really moved by King’s account of his own struggles with alcohol and with the difficulty of day-to-day life before he finally hit it big, and then drawing the parallels particularly to THE SHINING. He was clearly reaching down into himself by writing Jack Torrance in a way that transcends his portrayals of some of the other writers in his stories, which tend to be much more self-serving and/or informed by his experience with fame, like The Dark Half.

RHS: Let’s spread out a little from here. If we were to short list the great bad dads of horrordom, who would Top Five. Michael Powell, playing Karl Boehm’s father, in PEEPING TOM (1960)?

GREG FERRARA: Obviously, Terry O’Quinn in STEPFATHER (1987).

RHS: What I like about Jerry Blake is that he has a vision. Sure, he’s a psychopath. Sure, he’s dangerous… but he cares. We all have seen so many parents who don’t care, they just don’t care… like the guys who wear headphones when they take their kids out to the park, or the guys who take their kids to gymnastics and spend the whole time on their laptops or iPhones because, hey, kids are boring. What’s extra disturbing about Jerry Blake’s mania is that it’s psychosis twisted around some very admirable principles.

GREG FERRARA He just wants a perfect family. It’s when he doesn’t get it that problems start to happen – but, hey, hey, how about that bird house?

RHS: Any other candidates?

GREG FERRARA: Sir John Talbot in THE WOLF MAN (1941) isn’t a Bad Dad on purpose (like in the remake) but he does beat his own son to death.

RHS: You get the feeling in the original WOLF MAN that the curse of lycanthropy is almost a biological imperative, meant to connect people in a modern, increasingly colder world in which we have distanced ourselves emotionally from our fellows. Sir John is a decent guy, loving in his own way, caring and kind… but would it kill him to make with the huggy-huggy?

JEFF ALLARD:  THE BROOD (1979) has dual examples of Bad Dads. You have Nola’s dad, Barton, who was too passive to intervene when his daughter was being abused by her mother and that reluctance on his part to protect his daughter that ultimately dooms him, his daughter, and his ex-wife (and curses his granddaughter as well). Then you have Hal Raglan who, while not a biological father definitely plays the role of a father figure to many of his patients.

PAUL GAITA: Since we’re included Bad Stepdads in our discussion, I think we ought to consider Reverend Harry Powell from NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) — probably the ultimate nightmare of a step-parent in that his flaws are evident to his stepchildren, John and Pearl, but their mother remains tragically unaware. Powell is a boogeyman/werewolf straight out of fairy tales – which is, I think, part of Charles Laughton’s point – and a high water mark in the recurring horror theme of The Parent Who Isn’t As He/She Seems. See also FRAILTY (2001), which owes a direct debt to NIGHT OF THE HUNTER HUNTER and INVADERS FROM MARS (1953), among others.

GREG FERRARA: INVADERS FROM MARS. Best ending ever (“Gee whiz.”). The original endless loop ending, I mean. Anyway, yes to NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. The mother sent to a watery grave and the children left running, terrified, from stepdaddy. And he represents goodness, at least according to the basic Christian traditions but obviously is nothing more than a murdering thief. So he becomes the living, breathing human version of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. What’s worse with Reverend Powell is everyone else in the town trusts him. The kids can’t get any help because all anyone would do is deliver them right back into the hands of Powell, especially that idiot Icey Spoon. So they’re on their own and their new “dad” is out to kill them. Chilling.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY: I agree there is something admirable about Jerry Blake’s STEPFATHER. He’s one of those parents who just kind of love too much. Doctor Genessier in EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1960) is another. His desire is familial perfection and the guy just can’t accept anything else. I think this is a kind of reflection on what one feels as a father every day — the world you’ve envisioned for your kid crumbling before you, because they refused to go to sleep on time — or because you read the news.  NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is an interesting comparison with THE STEPFATHER here because Harry Powell is also an impostor. But Powell is never interested in parenting. Jerry Blake, on the other hand, is the opposite — an intruder who is there to create something, not destroy it.

JEFF ALLARD: This may fit into the category of Bad Husband more than Bad Dad but Walter Eberhart, husband to Katherine Ross’ character Joanna Eberhart, in THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975) is truly loathsome. While his greatest crime is against his wife, the fact that he thinks nothing of robbing his children of their true mother in favor of a robotic replacement makes him a Bad Dad to the bone. STEPFORD WIVES seems to have a reputation of being camp – the makers of the remake definitely felt that way about it, at least – but I find it so sad that it’s hard to watch.

GREG FERRARA: The remake of THE STEPFORD WIVES is one of the most appalling, rancid pieces of garbage I’ve ever seen. The first one isn’t camp at all, it’s a very effective suburban nightmare beautifully realized. I personally think the ending is chilling. I hate, hate, hate that remake.

DENNIS COZZALIO: Paul stole my thunder on FRAILTY, which is a great portrait of the mysteries of parental authority and how we can think we’ve identified a Bad Dad and might not be as on track as we think. And I love Greg’s connecting up of Reverend Powell’s good Christian countenance (L-O-V-E) with the blackness of his true heart (H-A-T-E)—talk about a very pointedly mixed message. It may say more about me than about the general idea of the Bad Dad in horror films, but it’s striking that as I began thinking of examples, the ones I kept coming up with were inextricably tied up with religious authority. FRAILTY, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER—and even a piece of crap like Kevin Smith’s RED STATE (2011), which is all over the map in terms of its social commentary and narrative structure, but which also has at its center a riveting portrayal of religious psychosis in Michael Parks’ Abin Cooper. Cooper is a pathological, megalomaniacal preacher who heads up a church—basically his really extended family, who squirm with righteous honor under his greasy thumb—that ensnares sinners and tortures them until they find themselves in a Waco-esque standoff with the FBI. Smith has no idea of what to say in the movie, except for a general rant against fundamentalist fanaticism pitched, ironically, directly at the choir. But Parks gets at this guy’s magnetism, his fearsome regard for his own grandiosity, and his ugly contempt for anyone who isn’t in his Christian family, and thankfully gives us something to watch besides the director’s own grandstanding. Parks’ character is a none-too-subtle referencing of the indescribably misguided Fred Phelps, pastor of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (“God Hates Fags!” et al.), whose presiding over his own flock, made up mostly of immediate and extended family members, makes him the ultimate Bad Dad—and the movie documenting his bullshit, FALL FROM GRACE (2007) definitely qualifies as a horror movie.

RHS: Dennis’ mention of Dad-as-God brings me back to Dr. Lewis, the true villain of Powell’s PEEPING TOM. He controls his son in a God-like way, he actually sculpts the child’s personality, as if molding it out of clay, though the result isn’t what he intended for his legacy. In trying to understand fear, he creates a monster. PEEPING TOM is an horrific story, and sadly all too prophetic of a then-looming era in which every twentieth parent, it seemed, sired a serial killer or a thrill killer or a profit killer or a no-particular-reason killer. And yet the final lines of that movie devastate me:

DR. LEWIS:

All right, don’t be a silly boy. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

MARK:

Good night, Daddy. Hold my hand.

RHS (cont.): Despite what his father was putting him through – nightmares from which he could not awake – he was still reaching for that hand in the dark. And that vulnerability, that trust, and that willingness to forgive on the part of the child is what makes a Bad Dad such a waking nightmare, in fiction and in the real world.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY: Although we should likely stick with literal fathers as opposed to father figures for our discussion, your thought on PEEPING TOM reminded me of another character who wanted to control his “son” — Victor Frankenstein. Karloff famously brought a childlike pathos to his role as the monster, and Mark in PEEPING TOM is an awful, heartbreaking extension of this idea — the monster as a misbegotten child, doomed in this world because of the selfish actions of his dad.

DENNIS COZZALIO: Yeah, I thought of Frankenstein too, a character who certainly extends the idea of Dad as God, or vice versa. I’m really glad you brought PEEPING TOM up too, Richard, because it strikes me that more often than not dads are frequently not the locus of familial or other sorts of horror in genre movies– think how much more often we see deranged mothers as a more familiar archetype. Karl Boehm’s dad was, after all, a contemporary of Mrs. Bates. Speaking of controlling, manipulative fathers who do great behavioral disservice to their sons in the name of science, I also thought of Brian De Palma’s RAISING CAIN (1992), which is all about a father’s literally brain-splitting legacy.

JEFF ALLARD: Thanks for mentioning RAISING CAIN, Dennis – that’s a movie I keep meaning to revisit! With all the talk about fathers who struggle to mold their children, it seems like the difference between how the many Bad Mothers found in horror films treat their sons and how the Bad Dads treat them is that the damage done by mothers usually is towards the goal of stunting the child, keeping them dependant and basically keeping them in the womb so to speak while with fathers, it’s all about preparing their sons to go out into the world, to carry on their father’s warped legacy.

RHS: There’s a whole substrata of horror and science fiction films in which the father, or father surrogate, is a scientist preparing his child or the future generation of children for The Inevitable – whether it will or will not come. Think Losey’s THE DAMNED (US: THESE ARE THE DAMNED, 1961), with the Alexander Knox character squeezing in somewhere between Dr. Lewis from PEEPING TOM and Big Brother. And I suppose somewhere in this conversation we wind up back with Hal Raglan, from THE BROOD. From Oliver Reed to Oliver Reed. From children who are cold to the touch to little psychopaths in snowsuits.

PAUL GAITA: I was gonna mention FRANKENSTEIN as well – was thinking this week about I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (1957), with Whit Bissell as one of the most bastardly Dr. Fs on film. He’s the Murry Wilson of movie Frankensteins, tearing down his “son” (“I know you have a civil tongue in your head because I sewed it back myself”) while proclaiming his creation as the mark of his own genius.

GREG FERRARA: FRANKENSTEIN (1931) is a great example. Plus, with the sequel, you get Victor basically trying to set his son up for some action. It fails miserably but, hey, he tried. And the good monster son even lets him off the hook in the end: “You live. Go.” How about that father of the Midwich cuckoo, Gordon Zellaby? [VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, 1960.] He definitely has his “son’s” interests in mind at first. He’s fascinated by David and wants to teach him as well as learn from him but when he realizes that David is too dangerous he has to make the decision to kill him.

JEFF ALLARD: I was thinking about Zellaby too – as to whether he would be described as a good or a bad dad. I’d go with good. True, he blows up not just his own kid but a whole group of ‘em but you can’t say he didn’t do the world a favor – or that he didn’t try to see the good in David for as long as he could.

RICHARD HARLAND SMITH: George Sanders really brings something to that role – he plays the scripted “We’re pregnant?!” silliness but there’s a coolness behind his eyes, as if he’s thinking “Well, this should be interesting” rather than “This is the happiest day of my life!”

DENNIS COZZALIO: Are there any of these Bad Dads that we HoDads might especially identify with? I think probably all of us would understand Jack Torrance’s desire to get away from the noise and find that idealized isolation in which to write, but I’m talking more about the motivations, twisted though they may be, that we might find worthy on a base level even as they’re conveyed to us from deranged eyes. The Bad Dad I think I can “relate to” is Dr. Genessier in EYES WITHOUT A FACE. I have no difficulty imagining myself hitting a well of empathy for my daughters in which my moral compass might start spinning in all directions, much as his does when he begins collecting victims to use in a series of experiments meant to restore normalcy to his daughter’s disfigured face. Genessier is portrayed with a strange calm by Pierre Brasseur, and it’s this calm in the midst of such apparent futility that allows the movie, however momentarily, to seduce me into accepting the terms of his misguided love. Obviously I could never go to the kind of extremes he does in order to demonstrate the love he has for his daughter, but I relate to the intensity with which he feels it, and I know I would go pretty far– maybe even farther than I realize outside of the emotion of moment– in order to protect them from harm.

PAUL GAITA: There’s one left field Bad Dad that came to mind when Dennis mentioned if there’s anyone we could relate to. The Australian film THE HORSEMAN (2008) hews close to horror in its intensity. And though I am loathe to admit it, I can understand (or, at least, see how one could be pushed to that point) how the film’s father – a divorcee in a dead end job who loses his daughter to a gang of snuff/pornographers – could reach a point where hideous violence is the only logical response. Without speaking for anyone, I know that there are times, usually in the middle of the night, with the covers up around one’s neck, when the mind flits past these terminal scenarios. And the feelings that are produced are entirely primal and unpleasant, if fleeting. I don’t plan to take a bandsaw to the next person who accidentally bumps into my daughter at the supermarket, but when it comes to life and death and one’s children, a light under the door of those dark places in the skull does become visible… and as Charles Mingus’ therapist said to him, “That’s a very interesting reaction, Charles.”

DENNIS COZZALIO: Paul, I’d forgotten all about seeing THE HORSEMAN, and I think that’s partially because I really wanted to forget it. It didn’t work for me because it was just so extreme– the point of being able to relate to this father’s anger was negated for me by the overwhelming nastiness of the whole movie. It became less real for me. Though I too have those moments where I let my mind wander into the realm of what is possible– Why did this horrible thing happen? Well, there may be no other reason other than it is within the realm of the possible. And that’s a scary thought to face down in the dark.

RHS: I’ve run through what I hope are all the unhappy worst case scenarios at o’dark-thirty of the soul. I guess it’s human nature and I don’t think an education in horror films is at all mandatory for letting your mind take you there. I suspect CPAs and notaries public have the same flights of dark fancy.

JEFF ALLARD: I think pretty much any parent can envision an infinite number of horrifying situations involving their child. The news alone is enough to put the worst scenarios in anyone’s head. I think back to how much time I – and all the kids in my childhood neighborhood – spent walking around by ourselves, often times through the woods, along train tracks, and exploring the occasional abandoned house and I think it’s a miracle that something terrible didn’t happen to one of us. I certainly can’t even image letting Owen have anywhere near that kind of freedom to wander around unattended.

GREG FERRARA: I’d probably go so far as to kill Richard or Dennis for the safety of my kids. I might even do it if my kids weren’t endangered.

RHS: I spent so much time alone out of doors as a kid that the world could have swallowed me whole, easily. I remember at the beach, on vacation in Maine when I was 14 or so, I was off by myself and an older man asked if I wanted some company. I have no idea if he was legit or a creep (though I remember not being scared at the time, just disinterested). Nearly 40 years later, the ending of HARRY AND TONTO (1974) strikes a very odd note in this age of kid disappearances, with Art Carney approaching that little boy on the beach and the image just freezing under the end credits.

GREG FERRARA: I thought that too with HARRY AND TONTO! It’s a strange kind of creepy feel to it.

RHS: Here’s a dark horse candidate for the Bad Dads Club: the villain of THE VANISHING (1988), who is a good and caring father, perfectly fine at home (and, presumably, at work) but an extracurricular fiend.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY: Raymond Lemorne in THE VANISHING is an incredible character. As opposed to Jack Torrance, Lemorne has found a kind of harmony with his psychosis by virtue of the fact that his family is a beard for his serial killing. His murders are a pet project kept just far enough away from his family to not get caught. In this way he gets to be both the respectable, bourgeois patriarch and an evil monster of his insane id. Really this guy is to be envied — he’s like the horror equivalent of a weekend warrior.

RHS: The characterization is truly chilling because Lemorne never, you know, jumps the shark. Jerry Blake was all jumping the shark because the outrageousness of THE STEPFATHER was its point – the rage boiling below the “Nope, no problems here” facade of America in the 80s. And that was cathartic but George Sluzier really touched on something profound when he recast the generic suburban dad as a completely calm and lucid psychopath, whose abominations will likely never be revealed.

GREG FERRARA: How about Vincent Price’s Dr. Rappaccini in TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963)? He steadily poisons his own daughter so she can never leave the garden and enter the world. She can also never be with the man she loves. What a jerk!

DENNIS COZZALIO: I might also mention Louis Creed in PET SEMATARY (1991), the ill-fated dad whose actions to maintain some sort of stability after the tragic death of his son might seem reasonable, through the cloudy tears of grief, but of course result in nothing but prolonged agony and further tragedy.

PAUL GAITA: I am trying to make a case for old Fred and Jupiter in THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977), but it’s in dribs and drabs. I guess I’m focusing on Fred’s tearful speech about how his decision to cut loose his mutant son came back to haunt him (and does in spades just moments after that monologue) – the decision to give up a child or, more significantly, disown them due to their behavior, must be among the hardest choices a parent can make. It’s a surprisingly emotional bit in a pretty dark movie. The movie is also full of Dads and Reverse Dads – Big Bob and his son-in-law, Doug, are the flipside to Fred and Jupiter. I guess you can see Bob and Fred as men whose belief in traditional roles – the dad leads the family decisions, makes the dough and the tough decisions, – leads to their deaths (with Jupiter trumping Big Bob’s as alpha dog), while Doug and Jupiter think “outside the box” in terms of the mechanics of a family. And it’s sorta worth interesting to note that both Doug and Jupiter’s strongest affections hinge on a girl – Doug’s infant daughter and Ruby, respectively – rather than the traditional father-son relationships.

RHS: I was thinking about Papa Jupiter in HILLS and asking myself “Sure, he’s a Bad Guy, but is he a Bad Dad?”

PAUL GAITA:  You know, I suppose not. In his family’s Bizarro World existence, he’s pretty much the king. Brings home the bacon, as it were, and takes no guff. Though I suppose that encouraging your kids to eat other humans might qualify you for BD candidacy.

JEFF ALLARD: That reminds me of a dad I was thinking about – Harry Cooper [NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, 1968] — Bad Dad or just Bad Guy? He undeniably loves his daughter and, really, no matter what choices he made she was going to turn into one of the living dead anyway so nothing he does makes her situation worse but that guy sure has a lot of jerk in him.

PAUL GAITA: Nope, can’t argue with you about Harry. He’s an ass, to be sure, but doesn’t do anything to screw up his family beyond verbally berating them and/or sticking them down in the cellar, which, as he said all along, was the safest place.

JEFF ALLARD:  I’d like to give an honorable Bad Dad mention to Stan, Tom Atkins’ character from CREEPSHOW‘s (1982) wraparound segments. His actions may pale in comparison to the other Bad Dads we’ve talked about but hey, there’s not much good to be said about a guy who slaps his kid around and throws their comics in the trash.

RHS: Now that is a Bad Dad!

Thanks to all the HorrorDads for contributing to this lively discussion. We wish you and yours a Happy Father’s Day, if you do that sort of thing.

Read Jeff Allard at Dinner with Max Jenke.

Bookmark Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule.

Visit Greg Ferrara at Cinema Styles.

Check in with Paul Gaita at Armchair Commentary.

See Nicholas McCarthy’s THE PACT (2012) at a theater near you!

0 Response The HorrorDads Meet the Bad Dads
Posted By changeling : June 15, 2012 7:43 am

The Shining had one of the “baddest” daddies around :):)!!!

Posted By changeling : June 15, 2012 7:43 am

The Shining had one of the “baddest” daddies around :):)!!!

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : June 15, 2012 8:11 am

The Vanishing was one of the rare Films that truely frightent
me.
I saw it once,i never want to see it again.
Only few Films left me that depressed.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : June 15, 2012 8:11 am

The Vanishing was one of the rare Films that truely frightent
me.
I saw it once,i never want to see it again.
Only few Films left me that depressed.

Posted By tdraicer : June 15, 2012 9:35 am

To take an unpopular stance, I think (the character of the father aside, where I tend to lean toward King’s view that the movie makes the Overlook almost irrelevant; the film’s dad would have taken an axe to his family in the suburbs) The Shining shows the limits of Kubrick’s talent: horror and Kubrick were simply not a good fit.

To be specific, the editing of the final chase is fatally flawed, even if-especially if-it was intentional.

I saw the film when it came out more than once and the reaction of the audience was always the same; because of the editing they realized several beats too late that mother and boy had escaped, so there was no explosive release of tension, just a “that’s it?” moment of puzzlement followed by the disappointing realization that that was indeed it.

Hitchcock, or any good thriller director, would have made certain the audience experienced their escape as it happened, but Kubrick (and again this may well have been intentional, but was an error regardless) rachets up the tension through the maze chase only to allow it to dribble away in anti-climax.

But then I think Kubriok’s last important film was Barry Lyndon.

Posted By tdraicer : June 15, 2012 9:35 am

To take an unpopular stance, I think (the character of the father aside, where I tend to lean toward King’s view that the movie makes the Overlook almost irrelevant; the film’s dad would have taken an axe to his family in the suburbs) The Shining shows the limits of Kubrick’s talent: horror and Kubrick were simply not a good fit.

To be specific, the editing of the final chase is fatally flawed, even if-especially if-it was intentional.

I saw the film when it came out more than once and the reaction of the audience was always the same; because of the editing they realized several beats too late that mother and boy had escaped, so there was no explosive release of tension, just a “that’s it?” moment of puzzlement followed by the disappointing realization that that was indeed it.

Hitchcock, or any good thriller director, would have made certain the audience experienced their escape as it happened, but Kubrick (and again this may well have been intentional, but was an error regardless) rachets up the tension through the maze chase only to allow it to dribble away in anti-climax.

But then I think Kubriok’s last important film was Barry Lyndon.

Posted By changeling : June 15, 2012 9:43 am

TO tdraicer:
Yeah, I get where ya at, but the fright comes from Nicholson’s acting rather than from the director’s prowess :):)

Posted By changeling : June 15, 2012 9:43 am

TO tdraicer:
Yeah, I get where ya at, but the fright comes from Nicholson’s acting rather than from the director’s prowess :):)

Posted By Pamela Porter : June 15, 2012 12:01 pm

My problem (and I think Stephen King’s problem) with Nicholson is we already *know* he’s crazier than a shithouse rat – therefore, no surprise. I think 99% of this is the casting…Nicholson in a film of that era practically screams “I’M THE CONDUCTOR OF THE CRAZY TRAIN…ALL ABOARD!” I don’t know who would have been a better casting choice at that time, but certainly someone who had a modicum of subtlety and would have made the ultimate descent into madness a tad less predictable.

I’ve always thought that William Hopper’s Col. Kenneth Penmark (Rhoda’s father in “The Bad Seed”) was a lousy dad; but it was ultimately just a stereotypical depiction of the times…1956 dad with high-pressure job leaves wife & kid alone too much.

And finally, although not a horror movie in the standard vein, Sir Ralph Richardson’s Dr Austin Sloper in “The Heiress” was as big a bastard of a father as any I’ve ever seen in a film. While he could possibly be forgiven trying to save his daughter from Montgomery Clift’s fortune hunter, his utter disdain and loathing of her had already set her up; his denying her at least a half-assed chance at happiness completed her destruction.

Great topic – thanks!

Posted By Pamela Porter : June 15, 2012 12:01 pm

My problem (and I think Stephen King’s problem) with Nicholson is we already *know* he’s crazier than a shithouse rat – therefore, no surprise. I think 99% of this is the casting…Nicholson in a film of that era practically screams “I’M THE CONDUCTOR OF THE CRAZY TRAIN…ALL ABOARD!” I don’t know who would have been a better casting choice at that time, but certainly someone who had a modicum of subtlety and would have made the ultimate descent into madness a tad less predictable.

I’ve always thought that William Hopper’s Col. Kenneth Penmark (Rhoda’s father in “The Bad Seed”) was a lousy dad; but it was ultimately just a stereotypical depiction of the times…1956 dad with high-pressure job leaves wife & kid alone too much.

And finally, although not a horror movie in the standard vein, Sir Ralph Richardson’s Dr Austin Sloper in “The Heiress” was as big a bastard of a father as any I’ve ever seen in a film. While he could possibly be forgiven trying to save his daughter from Montgomery Clift’s fortune hunter, his utter disdain and loathing of her had already set her up; his denying her at least a half-assed chance at happiness completed her destruction.

Great topic – thanks!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : June 15, 2012 1:28 pm

tdraicer, my old friend, this – ” the movie makes the Overlook almost irrelevant” – is crazy. The movie does the exact opposite, it makes the Overlook the central character while the book chucks the Overlook in the MacGuffin pile. I could’ve sworn you were a part of this discussion (my post on the book and film versions) but looking through the comments I didn’t see you (you have to click on the “Archived Haloscan Comments” link for the original comments). Perhaps before we knew each other. Anyway, I explain in the piece why the film improves the novel tenfold, in my opinion. Lots of good discussion in the comments too.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : June 15, 2012 1:28 pm

tdraicer, my old friend, this – ” the movie makes the Overlook almost irrelevant” – is crazy. The movie does the exact opposite, it makes the Overlook the central character while the book chucks the Overlook in the MacGuffin pile. I could’ve sworn you were a part of this discussion (my post on the book and film versions) but looking through the comments I didn’t see you (you have to click on the “Archived Haloscan Comments” link for the original comments). Perhaps before we knew each other. Anyway, I explain in the piece why the film improves the novel tenfold, in my opinion. Lots of good discussion in the comments too.

Posted By tdraicer : June 15, 2012 2:33 pm

Greg, thanks for the link.

I found the book much more frightening thn the film, but fright is a very subjective thing, and I’m not surprised others have the opposite reaction. But I stand by my objection to Kubrick’s editing of the end of the maze chase; if it was intentional Kubrick was subverting the climax to no real purpose, and if it wasn’t, it was just a really bad job.

Posted By tdraicer : June 15, 2012 2:33 pm

Greg, thanks for the link.

I found the book much more frightening thn the film, but fright is a very subjective thing, and I’m not surprised others have the opposite reaction. But I stand by my objection to Kubrick’s editing of the end of the maze chase; if it was intentional Kubrick was subverting the climax to no real purpose, and if it wasn’t, it was just a really bad job.

Posted By DevlinCarnate : June 15, 2012 2:48 pm

i’d like to make the case for Sean Penn’s Jimmy Markum in Mystic River..an unrepentant criminal that mistakenly murders his childhood friend in cold blood because he THINKS he murderd his daughter…cold blooded,and being from the area,not far from the truth…possibly the most depressing movie i’ve ever seen

Posted By DevlinCarnate : June 15, 2012 2:48 pm

i’d like to make the case for Sean Penn’s Jimmy Markum in Mystic River..an unrepentant criminal that mistakenly murders his childhood friend in cold blood because he THINKS he murderd his daughter…cold blooded,and being from the area,not far from the truth…possibly the most depressing movie i’ve ever seen

Posted By Greg Ferrara : June 15, 2012 3:08 pm

But I stand by my objection to Kubrick’s editing of the end of the maze chase;

I never really thought about that before. I’ll cede to you there, it does just sort of peter out.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : June 15, 2012 3:08 pm

But I stand by my objection to Kubrick’s editing of the end of the maze chase;

I never really thought about that before. I’ll cede to you there, it does just sort of peter out.

Posted By Qalice : June 15, 2012 6:08 pm

I can’t resist talking about The Shining — especially since I saw the original ending before Kubrick cut it out — and the strange ambiguity of the end of the chase carries on. It ends with a creepy sense that all will never be well. I’ve always loved that Kubrick took a popular bestseller and turned it on its head — his is a movie about a man who wants to kill his family and gets an excuse to try. No wonder Stephen King hated it so much!

As for adding to the string, the father in White Ribbon is pretty frightening, what with the Nazi future and all. And I must stand up for the tiny number of us who love Ang Lee’s The Hulk — with a daddy so bad he’s 100 feet tall and electric!

Posted By Qalice : June 15, 2012 6:08 pm

I can’t resist talking about The Shining — especially since I saw the original ending before Kubrick cut it out — and the strange ambiguity of the end of the chase carries on. It ends with a creepy sense that all will never be well. I’ve always loved that Kubrick took a popular bestseller and turned it on its head — his is a movie about a man who wants to kill his family and gets an excuse to try. No wonder Stephen King hated it so much!

As for adding to the string, the father in White Ribbon is pretty frightening, what with the Nazi future and all. And I must stand up for the tiny number of us who love Ang Lee’s The Hulk — with a daddy so bad he’s 100 feet tall and electric!

Posted By Juana Maria : June 15, 2012 6:47 pm

I’ll admit due to the creepiness of this article I didn’t read the whole thing! Anyway the movies I noticed are the very ones my twin sister and our cousin watch. They have this thing about wanting a red room from watching “The Shining”,a film I rather not watch! No thanks,but Nicholson is brilliant in so many films. My favorites are “The Terror”,”Goin’ South” and “Cuckoo’s Nest”. Though the fact that he could keep a straight face while Marlon Brando was acting like an idiot in “The Missouri Breaks” is beyond amazing!! He should have won some award for that! The picture of Mitchum is scary,yet it is probably my favorite movie of his besides “Cape Fear”. I also like Mitchum in “the Wonderful Country”,it’s kinda obscure. TCM plays it from time to time.
To Ghijath Naddaf: I feel the same way about certain movies! I have a whole list of movies I will NOT watch again! I too get depressed from watching really scary movies! I don’t know if depressed is quite the right word,hmm,I think they make me paranoid! Not good! Need to go and calm down,find something happy to watch instead. Yeah,I’ll go and watch “Gunsmoke” or “Rifleman” and leave the heavy duty horror films to the Horror film fans!Though there are some scary Westerns and some pretty awful Western dads! The father of Elsa in “Ride the High Country” comes to mind. Sure, he spouts Scriptures and then slaps his daughter! What a jerk! Then,there is the crazy “preacher” played by Donald Pleasance,who is the father of Bruce Dern’s character in “Will Penny”. The Law of Moses never sounded so scary as when Pleasance says:”Eye for eye,and tooth for tooth!” Watch it and see what I mean!

Posted By Juana Maria : June 15, 2012 6:47 pm

I’ll admit due to the creepiness of this article I didn’t read the whole thing! Anyway the movies I noticed are the very ones my twin sister and our cousin watch. They have this thing about wanting a red room from watching “The Shining”,a film I rather not watch! No thanks,but Nicholson is brilliant in so many films. My favorites are “The Terror”,”Goin’ South” and “Cuckoo’s Nest”. Though the fact that he could keep a straight face while Marlon Brando was acting like an idiot in “The Missouri Breaks” is beyond amazing!! He should have won some award for that! The picture of Mitchum is scary,yet it is probably my favorite movie of his besides “Cape Fear”. I also like Mitchum in “the Wonderful Country”,it’s kinda obscure. TCM plays it from time to time.
To Ghijath Naddaf: I feel the same way about certain movies! I have a whole list of movies I will NOT watch again! I too get depressed from watching really scary movies! I don’t know if depressed is quite the right word,hmm,I think they make me paranoid! Not good! Need to go and calm down,find something happy to watch instead. Yeah,I’ll go and watch “Gunsmoke” or “Rifleman” and leave the heavy duty horror films to the Horror film fans!Though there are some scary Westerns and some pretty awful Western dads! The father of Elsa in “Ride the High Country” comes to mind. Sure, he spouts Scriptures and then slaps his daughter! What a jerk! Then,there is the crazy “preacher” played by Donald Pleasance,who is the father of Bruce Dern’s character in “Will Penny”. The Law of Moses never sounded so scary as when Pleasance says:”Eye for eye,and tooth for tooth!” Watch it and see what I mean!

Posted By muriel : June 15, 2012 7:02 pm

So glad you mentioned Michael Powell as Dr. Lewis in PEEPING TOM. I did not see the movie until about 1980 and then again recently on a nice DVD release. I like the movie a lot. But that final moment with “Daddy, hold my hand” made my hair stand on end. That made an impact like nothing else in that film.

Of course, bad stepfathers are a movie cliché but don’t forget Basil Rathbone in “David Copperfield”!

Posted By muriel : June 15, 2012 7:02 pm

So glad you mentioned Michael Powell as Dr. Lewis in PEEPING TOM. I did not see the movie until about 1980 and then again recently on a nice DVD release. I like the movie a lot. But that final moment with “Daddy, hold my hand” made my hair stand on end. That made an impact like nothing else in that film.

Of course, bad stepfathers are a movie cliché but don’t forget Basil Rathbone in “David Copperfield”!

Posted By Jenni : June 15, 2012 9:22 pm

I saw The Shining years ago, and didn’t like Nicholson’s character at all, no sympathy for him, and I do think it is that role that has put him on my “don’t care for” list of actors. In the movie, he is crazy and creepy, especially breaking down that bathroom door with the axe in order to kill his wife;his utterance of “Here’s Johnny!” – was that in the book or was that an ad/lib on Nicholson’s part or Kubrick’s? I wouldn’t put Claude Rain’s dad from The Wolfman in the same category as Nicholson’s bad dad Jack Torrance. Sir John knew the truth of his son turning into a wolfman, and had to kill his son to stop the killings from continuing, a very heart-breaking choice to be sure, but it’s also the same choice as someone mentioned above in Village of The Damned, when George Sander’s character had to make that same choice. A real life bad dad, and in a movie made twice, though not a horror tale, was poet Emily Barrett Browning’s dad. In the earlier movie, The Barretts of Wimpole Street,1934,Norma Shearer plays British poetess Emily Barrett, who was the oldest of 7 or 8 kids, is sort of an invalid, her mother has died, and her father, played by Charles Laughton, rules the house with an iron fist. The kids, ranging in ages from 14-23 or so, are all frightened of him, and only seem to breathe more easily when he is out of the house. Fellow poet, Robert Browning, played by Frederic March, wants to meet Miss Barrett and finally does, they fall in love, but evil dad has said there is no way he’ll let his oldest child marry Mr. Browning. I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but Laughton does a chilling job of playing such a superstrict and unloving dad. He should be near the top of this bad dad list!! In the 1957 remake, starring Jennifer Jones and Bill Travers as the star-crossed poets, John Gielgud plays the evil Mr. Barrett.

Posted By Jenni : June 15, 2012 9:22 pm

I saw The Shining years ago, and didn’t like Nicholson’s character at all, no sympathy for him, and I do think it is that role that has put him on my “don’t care for” list of actors. In the movie, he is crazy and creepy, especially breaking down that bathroom door with the axe in order to kill his wife;his utterance of “Here’s Johnny!” – was that in the book or was that an ad/lib on Nicholson’s part or Kubrick’s? I wouldn’t put Claude Rain’s dad from The Wolfman in the same category as Nicholson’s bad dad Jack Torrance. Sir John knew the truth of his son turning into a wolfman, and had to kill his son to stop the killings from continuing, a very heart-breaking choice to be sure, but it’s also the same choice as someone mentioned above in Village of The Damned, when George Sander’s character had to make that same choice. A real life bad dad, and in a movie made twice, though not a horror tale, was poet Emily Barrett Browning’s dad. In the earlier movie, The Barretts of Wimpole Street,1934,Norma Shearer plays British poetess Emily Barrett, who was the oldest of 7 or 8 kids, is sort of an invalid, her mother has died, and her father, played by Charles Laughton, rules the house with an iron fist. The kids, ranging in ages from 14-23 or so, are all frightened of him, and only seem to breathe more easily when he is out of the house. Fellow poet, Robert Browning, played by Frederic March, wants to meet Miss Barrett and finally does, they fall in love, but evil dad has said there is no way he’ll let his oldest child marry Mr. Browning. I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but Laughton does a chilling job of playing such a superstrict and unloving dad. He should be near the top of this bad dad list!! In the 1957 remake, starring Jennifer Jones and Bill Travers as the star-crossed poets, John Gielgud plays the evil Mr. Barrett.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : June 16, 2012 3:20 am

Juana Maria:Not that i shy away of Savage Cinema.
Pretty much the Opposite.
But some Movies manage somehow to terrorize one subconsciously.
The Vanishing was one of them.
Others where Irriversible,Nekromantik 2 and Seven.
Cant really imagine,someone want to rewatch them.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : June 16, 2012 3:20 am

Juana Maria:Not that i shy away of Savage Cinema.
Pretty much the Opposite.
But some Movies manage somehow to terrorize one subconsciously.
The Vanishing was one of them.
Others where Irriversible,Nekromantik 2 and Seven.
Cant really imagine,someone want to rewatch them.

Posted By Cool Bev : June 16, 2012 8:25 am

I’ve noticed lately that Bad or Absent Dads are the go-to device for psychological “depth” in a lot of action films these days. Like Ang Lee’s Hulk as someone mentioned above, adding in General Ross. Or Green Lantern, with a triangle of dead dad, absent dad and just plain bad dads. Spiderman II with dead Uncle Ben vs Harry Osborne’s dad.

I may be reading too much into this, but do all Hollywood writers have daddy issues? Don’t any of them have mothers?

Posted By Cool Bev : June 16, 2012 8:25 am

I’ve noticed lately that Bad or Absent Dads are the go-to device for psychological “depth” in a lot of action films these days. Like Ang Lee’s Hulk as someone mentioned above, adding in General Ross. Or Green Lantern, with a triangle of dead dad, absent dad and just plain bad dads. Spiderman II with dead Uncle Ben vs Harry Osborne’s dad.

I may be reading too much into this, but do all Hollywood writers have daddy issues? Don’t any of them have mothers?

Posted By Juana Maria : June 17, 2012 6:20 pm

Ghijath Naddaf:How nice of you to write me,I hope this means we are friends. What do you mean by “Savage Cinema”? The only answer I have for you on why anyone would rewatch those films is that they are sadists!
Cool Bev:Yes,Hollywood clearly has daddy issues but it has mommy issues too! “Mommy Dearest” comes to mind. Angela Lansbury in”the Manchurian Canadate” was so evil she actually made the crazy Joan Crawford portrayl seem like a tyoical Mom with PMS!!I’m a woman too,so believe me there are times I feel like lashing out but only with words. May it be noted I have no children and have nver been married. Pets are better because they can’t repeat the dumb things I say!

Posted By Juana Maria : June 17, 2012 6:20 pm

Ghijath Naddaf:How nice of you to write me,I hope this means we are friends. What do you mean by “Savage Cinema”? The only answer I have for you on why anyone would rewatch those films is that they are sadists!
Cool Bev:Yes,Hollywood clearly has daddy issues but it has mommy issues too! “Mommy Dearest” comes to mind. Angela Lansbury in”the Manchurian Canadate” was so evil she actually made the crazy Joan Crawford portrayl seem like a tyoical Mom with PMS!!I’m a woman too,so believe me there are times I feel like lashing out but only with words. May it be noted I have no children and have nver been married. Pets are better because they can’t repeat the dumb things I say!

Posted By Dennis Cozzalio : June 21, 2012 4:46 pm

I left out one very bad dad who I believe deserves mention– Peter Sarsgaard as Esther’s adoptive daddy in ORPHAN. Not evil, per se, but completely clueless and selfish and, at the end, the receiver of one of the creepiest come-ons in the history of horror movies. He and Dylan McDermott’s Ben from AMERICAN HORROR STORY would make up quite the repellent boys’ night out.

Posted By Dennis Cozzalio : June 21, 2012 4:46 pm

I left out one very bad dad who I believe deserves mention– Peter Sarsgaard as Esther’s adoptive daddy in ORPHAN. Not evil, per se, but completely clueless and selfish and, at the end, the receiver of one of the creepiest come-ons in the history of horror movies. He and Dylan McDermott’s Ben from AMERICAN HORROR STORY would make up quite the repellent boys’ night out.

Posted By Juana Maria : June 22, 2012 3:42 pm

I started to watch the FX series “American Horror Story” but couldn’t stand it after only a couple of episodes! I thought Dylan McDemott was so handsome on “the Practice” and do not want to picture him as some awful husband and father! That and I have a crush on him! Those blue eyes! An Irish sounding name!(sigh)

Posted By Juana Maria : June 22, 2012 3:42 pm

I started to watch the FX series “American Horror Story” but couldn’t stand it after only a couple of episodes! I thought Dylan McDemott was so handsome on “the Practice” and do not want to picture him as some awful husband and father! That and I have a crush on him! Those blue eyes! An Irish sounding name!(sigh)

Posted By MovieMorlocks.com – BOO-ya! : June 29, 2012 3:09 pm

[...] I must admit that Nick McCarthy is a friend of mine. You will recognize his name as one of the HorrorDads, a group of fear-loving fathers who get together from time to time to talk about our kids and the [...]

Posted By MovieMorlocks.com – BOO-ya! : June 29, 2012 3:09 pm

[...] I must admit that Nick McCarthy is a friend of mine. You will recognize his name as one of the HorrorDads, a group of fear-loving fathers who get together from time to time to talk about our kids and the [...]

Posted By muriel : July 25, 2012 11:27 am

Walter Brennan plays a really bad father in “The Green Promise”. Not in an evil or crazy way. Just a mean, stubborn, controlling jerk of a father. He has cowed his son until the kid is a weak tattling toady. (The nut fell close to the tree there) He won’t let him attend school because he needs help on the farm. His eldest daughter struggles daily to protect her brother and sister. The father refuses to listen to any ideas about modern farm methods, leading to environmental disaster. He refuses to let his youngest daughter join the 4-H and raise lambs.
It’s a family where the offspring would only remember a mean spirited controlling father who defeated their every attempt to improve.
Brennan’s performance is rather over the top. The film did not do well at the box office.

Posted By muriel : July 25, 2012 11:27 am

Walter Brennan plays a really bad father in “The Green Promise”. Not in an evil or crazy way. Just a mean, stubborn, controlling jerk of a father. He has cowed his son until the kid is a weak tattling toady. (The nut fell close to the tree there) He won’t let him attend school because he needs help on the farm. His eldest daughter struggles daily to protect her brother and sister. The father refuses to listen to any ideas about modern farm methods, leading to environmental disaster. He refuses to let his youngest daughter join the 4-H and raise lambs.
It’s a family where the offspring would only remember a mean spirited controlling father who defeated their every attempt to improve.
Brennan’s performance is rather over the top. The film did not do well at the box office.

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