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A Tribute to the Nicest Bad Guy: David Hess (1942-2011)

It is with great sadness that I write this tribute to one of my favorite actors of all time: David Hess. I was devastated when I heard about it yesterday. It's a huge loss not just to the horror world, but the world in general.

Hess was born in New York City on September 19, 1942. He actually wrote some music for the King, himself, Elvis Presley. By 1969, he would become the head of A&R for Mercury Records.

But, his biggest legacy came from his movie roles. He got bthe lead villain role of Krug in Wes Craven's classic and controversially brutal The Last House on the Left. He played the leader of a group of scumbags that rape, beat, humilate, and kill two pretty girls, only to have bloody revenge from the parents of one of the girls, happen to them. Hess was great in the role. An evil and despicable character that would go to be one of cinema's best villains. He also wrote and performed the songs for the movie. This is Waiting for the Rain from that great movie.

He had a similar role playing yet another vile rapist in Ruggero (Cannibal Holocaust) Deodato's mean-spirited and excellently acted House on the Edge of the Park. He had a great cast to play off of, and the movie is very intense and savage. The scene where he slices a pretty, fully nude virgin with a straight razor is pretty hard stuff to watch. As is always the case, Hess was just amazing as the sleazy and utterly menacing scumbag.

While, he had many more roles, the next one I saw of his was his was his return to working with horror master Wes Craven, Swamp Thing. A medicore adaption of the DC comics horror/ super-hero comic of the same name is kind of forgettable, but not that bad. It is helped by his acting, as a baddie of course, and the rest of the cast, including, the beautiful Adrienne Barbaeu.

The last movie I saw with him, was the last movie he shot fully, Smash Cut. It's quite a different role from his other horror roles, in that while he plays the villain, it's a light-heart fun romp. He had a great and fun cast to work with including the lovely Sasha Grey. I personally had such a good time watching this one.

I had the pleasure of meeting him back in 2001, I believe, when he did Chiller Theatre. He was so nice to me, as he was with all his fans. He signed my 8x10 with "Piss your pants", a quote from Last House.

On Saturday, he died of a heartache. He leaves behind three kids. Hess will always be remember by his fans as one of the greatest villains of the splatter age of horror. He will also always be remembered for how fan friendly he was. God bless you, David Hess and may you RIP.

This following video was made as a reel role for him originally, but now plays as a remembrance and loving tribute to him. One of my friends, a fellow fan of his, sent to me today. It features clips from the movies above and others, as well, and music of his.

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