Sunday, February 22, 2009
RIP Robert Quarry
Quarry had a long and varied career, bouncing back from assorted misfortunes. He was best known for Count Yorga Vampire (1970, pictured) and its 1971 sequel, The Return of Count Yorga, which brought the bloodsucker mythos up to date in California and haunted syndicated TV packages for years. Besides palpable menace, he brought Old World-ish charm and an urbane wit to these parts, and might have had a major career as a horror star if the opportunity had existed longer into the decade. He was always fun to watch in what came his way, though, including a vampire guru in The Deathmaster (1972), which he produced (check out his commentary on the DVD), combating Vincent Price in Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972), and teamed with Price and Peter Cushing in the disappointing Madhouse (1974). My favorite role of his, though, was as the good ol' boy bad guy in 1974's Sugar Hill, oozing racism through a delightful, lip-smacking accent and providing a formidable opponent for the title character and her zombie hit men. The movies are poorer without distinctive talents like Robert Quarry raising hell.