CSM126 wrote: ↑
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:12 pm
Captain Rhodes is an all-time great horror villain, and Pilato’s over-the-top, stark raving madman performance is just… amazing feels like an understatement. It’s a masterclass in scenery-chewing insanity. Unforgettable, and one of my favorite parts of any Romero dead movie.
Very much seconded, Pilato overwhelms Day of the Dead with his performance in an amazing manner, especially in that big dining hall scene (NSFW)
(although that scene is fantastic not only for that performance but for the way that it has enough room to provide fantastic acting moments for every other actor in it even whilst Pilato is letting loose! I really like the comments that Roger Avary makes in his commentary track on the Anchor Bay edition of the film that really that scene is almost a satire about having to constantly calm the nerves of the people in charge of the financing by providing just enough results for them to keep funding you, or things proceeding 'as normal' in the short term until the next 'funding review', just pushed to an extreme! With Sarah not quite understanding that you have to continually butter people up with positive (rather than negative) slanted progress reports! And the irony that Dr Logan is just as insane and delusional in his own way as Captain Rhodes, just not as aggressive to others! I also love that the scene brings up the futility of there being no escape from the situation but then it diverts into an 'easier' discussion about the people on the front line not having the proper equipment to 'do their job properly', which was all I could think about back when the same thing came up during the Iraq War
. If only
everything was properly funded, we could have dealt with that existential threat easier and faster and been home in time for supper!), and of course Captain Rhodes gets the most spectacular send off and best final line (NSFW)
of any character in the original trilogy!
However I think that as much as being an insane character Captain Rhodes is the epitome of the authoritarian trying to bluntly and brutally maintain discipline and structure of an old world order after the command structure has disappeared, but is going much too far too quickly perhaps because of his own fear of having no superiors to answer to any more and needing to overcompensate for that. Rhodes ends up embodying the entire structure of society going manic in the face of disaster, as well as the fears we might all have in seeing authority figures being unable to cope whilst still trying to act as if they are in charge and resorting ever more quickly to more extreme methods to keep people in line. Captain Rhodes is both a fantastic villain (the threat from within threatening to tear everything apart that has to be enormous in scale to match up in equivalency to the threat from the outside) and strangely tragic too, though I think that the character gets the end that he would have wanted!
It is a little upsetting that (like another Romero actor, John Amplas) Pilato never again got a role of that kind of scale, but on the other hand he shows that you only need one such role to make an indelible impact!
His other major acting role was a few years earlier in 1980's 'snuff film...or is it?' horror Effects
It was also interesting to find out from watching the recent Best of the Worst episode on it again in the wake of Jan-Michael Vincent's passing, that Pilato (and PJ Soles from Halloween!) briefly turn up at the beginning of Fred Olen Ray's Alienator
! Though I was also reminded of that section of the video where the Red Letter Media team repeatedly avoiding talking about the Star Wars Holiday Special by going off into digression after digression, including a rather strange anecdote about running into a drunk Joe Pilato at a poorly attended horror convention!
("Your Joe Pilato story ended with no interaction
with Joe Pilato?")