13 Horror Movies with Game of Thrones Stars
Article By: Tony Timpone
Those Game of Thrones cast members sure know how to moonlight, and they are making a killing in horror movies between breaks on the ratings-conquering HBO series (season six begins April 24!). Just this winter, we’ve seen both Lena Headey (“Cersei Lannister”) and Charles Dance (“Tywin Lannister”) roughing it up in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, while the super-scary sleeper The Witch spooked Thrones guest stars Ralph Ineson (“Dagmer Cleftjaw”) and Kate Dickie (“Lysa Arryn”) with period chills. No slacker, the busy Natalie Dormer (“Margaery Tyrell”) already journeyed into The Forest in January and encounters the plague-carrying Patient Zero come September. This week Chiller gets its Game on to spotlight 13 horror films (many under-appreciated) with Game of Thrones stars for today’s edition of The Friday 13. (List arranged according to year of movie’s release.)
1. Diana Rigg, Theater of Blood (1973)
Horror great Vincent Price considered this horror classic his cinematic triumph and one can see why: it’s a bloody hoot from start to finish. Price plays failed Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart who, believed dead, elaborately murders the stuffy reviewers responsible for his worst notices. British acting royalty Diana Rigg co-stars as Lionheart’s deadly daughter/accomplice. Today the 78-year-old Dame does plotting of a different sort as Game of Thrones’ Olenna Tyrell.
2. Jonathan Pryce, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
This fine Welsh actor has been building steam as the religious fanatic High Sparrow, a thorn in the side of the Lannister Throne. Buffs recognize Pryce as a master of screen villainy, having messed with the likes of James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. We feel he deserves more attention for his starring role as the nefarious Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes, a little-seen Disney production based on the Ray Bradbury book. A satanic carnival ringleader, Dark rolls into a sleepy Middle American town and makes everyone’s nightmares come true. Also check out Pryce as a 19th-century body snatcher in The Doctor and the Devils, directed by Hammer helmer Freddie Francis.
3. Charles Dance, Alien 3 (1992)
Tywin Lannister, as portrayed by Brit vet Dance, suffered the most ignoble death scene in Thrones’ history, shot through the heart while sitting on the toilet. His own son, the dwarf Tyrion, fired the lethal arrow. Dance is a natural at essaying aristocratic bad guys, having menaced 007 (For Your Eyes Only), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Last Action Hero) and even Eddie Murphy (The Golden Child). The actor has also danced around Gothic chestnuts in Phantom of the Opera, Dracula Untold and Victor Frankenstein. However, Dance garnered one of his rare sympathetic genre stints as a prison planet doctor in Alien 3, where he takes a brief shine to Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) before ending up as a xenomorph casualty.
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nightwatch (1994)
Few characters on Game of Thrones are as complicated as the king-slaying, child-murdering, incestuous Jaime Lannister. Strangely, ever since he lost his sword hand, he’s grown more likable. Actor Coster-Waldau first found acclaim in his native Denmark, where he toplined the creepy suspense thriller Nightwatch. As a late-hours security guard at the local morgue, a boyish Coster-Waldau becomes embroiled with a serial killer who preys on prostitutes. The actor (in dual roles) later scored a box-office hit with 2013’s Mama.
5. Iain Glen, Darkness (2002)
As dedicated knight Jorah Mormont, Scottish performer Glen carries a torch for Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró cast Glen as an equally-devoted father coming apart at the seams in Darkness, an unjustly ignored but worthy ghost story lensed in Spain. True Blood’s Anna Paquin plays Glen’s teenage daughter who initially suspects something truly unnatural has taken hold in the family’s new home. Glen continues to collect paychecks in the Resident Evil franchise as Dr. Isaacs.
6. Liam Cunningham, Dog Soldiers (2002)
On Thrones, Cunningham’s Davos Seaworth served as the Hand to the tragic King Stannis (Stephen Dillane; see #7). The Irish actor sparred with hairier front-line adversaries in this exciting horror flick directed by Neil Marshall, who graduated to commanding two of Thrones’ most action-packed installments (“Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall”). Dog Soldiers follows a small British military squad on a training mission in the Scottish Highlands that goes horribly awry when they bump into a pack of werewolves. We never know if we can trust Cunningham’s Captain Ryan (for good reason), a previous monster-attack survivor. Bonus pick: See the steely-eyed thespian indulge brimstone badness in 2014’s worthwhile Let Us Prey.
7. Stephen Dillane, The Gathering (2003)
Last season Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon met his maker in a costly battlefield blunder. Not that we minded; in his quest for the Iron Throne, King Stannis murdered his own brother and adolescent daughter! In The Gathering, an original supernatural saga with religious overtones, Christina Ricci plays a car accident victim who winds up in Dillane’s home to recover. He’s a local archaeologist digging up an ancient church that hides an arcane mystery. Said mystery not only ties in with amnesiac Ricci, but to the sightings of strange visitors who love observing human tragedies.
8. Sean Bean, The Dark (2005)
If you’re British, that means you must be the villain, a bit of typecasting that frequently ensnares former Yorkshire welder Bean. We loved seeing him take the lead as fair-minded Ned Stark in Thrones’ first season, then gasped when he ultimately lost his head! In this British chiller directed by Ginger Snaps’ John Fawcett, he’s a father mourning the drowning of his teenage daughter. But then an odd girl shows up at Bean and wife Maria Bello’s house claiming to know what really happened to their child and other sinister secrets bubbling up from beneath the surface of their seaside Welsh town…
9. Aidan Gillen, Wake Wood (2009)
Few characters are as calculating and untrustworthy as GoT’s Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, the part-time brothel owner. He always seems to have something up his well-pressed sleeve. The Dublin-born Gillen made the chiller Wake Wood in his native country. He plays a father who loses his 9-year-old daughter in a terrifying dog attack. So the grieving parents make one of those deals to bring the child back, Pet Sematary-style, for three days only. Sometimes dead is better…
10. Carice van Houten, Black Death (2010)
As Thrones’ mystical manipulator Melisandre, van Houten exudes sexiness and wickedness. The Dutch beauty previously tried her hand at sorcery in this excellent period horror drama set in a bubonic plague-ravaged 14th-century Europe. A novice monk (future Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne) embarks on a quest with a group of knights (led by Thrones’ Sean Bean, keeping his noggin this time) to ascertain why an isolated town has not succumbed to the catastrophic outbreak. Could the place be a haven for devil dealmakers, orchestrated by van Houten’s pagan Langiva? We soon learn this witch doesn’t play nice.
11. Lena Headey, The Purge (2013)
It took a public shaming before Iron-Throne-climbing Cersei Lannister finally broke down and lost it in one of GoT’s most shocking scenes. The fallen queen walked naked through a public gauntlet, as the angry masses of King’s Landing hurled insults, feces and rotten vegetable at her. Actress Headey faced a more vicious assault in The Purge when thugs invade her home and terrorize her family for a night of government-mandated violence. The successful movie spawned two Headey-less sequels.
12. Conleth Hill, A Patch of Fog (2015)
We enjoy watching an actor stretch in disparate parts. On Thrones, Hill portrays Varys, a eunuch and a member of the Small Council who knows where all the bodies in Westeros are buried—and who put them there. In the twisty UK thriller A Patch of Fog, he plays a best-selling author with a shady past who gets blackmailed by a security guard (Boardwalk Empire’s Stephen Graham) after he’s caught shoplifting. But this writer’s no pushover!
13. John Bradley, Traders (2015)
Lovable schnook Samwell Tarly of the Night’s Watch has a heart of gold, from defending buddy Jon Snow to saving a single mom and her newborn from ritual sacrifice. In festival fave Traders, Manchester’s own Bradley limns an unemployed financial wiz who hatches a lethal scheme to overcome financial hardships. Desperate people hook up with strangers (via the Internet, of course!) to secretly fight to the death, with the victor taking the loser’s spoils.
Sounds like the pilot to a new reality show.
As you can see, you don’t have to search very far to catch your favorite Game of Thrones players benefiting from a few extracurricular gigs. A fan? Let us know on our Facebook page or Twitter using #Friday13.
Tony Timpone will be a guest of honor at next month’s StokerCon in Las Vegas, May 12-15. Details here.