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Gordon Currie has appeared on stage, on tv and on the big screen productions
during a long career, centered around his Toronto homebase. Though he has
played in comedies, romances and westerns, the horror realm has been one
which has served him best.
Early in his career, Currie starred in a Canadian film titled Blood &
Donuts, centering around a vampire who scouts for victims at an all-night
coffee house. At times it becomes hard to differentiate which is more
frightening in this flick, the bloodsucking monster or the assortment of
hopeless, aimless people walking about the streets and patronizing this
place. It is part horror, part noir and part dark comedy. Yet while it has
reached cult film status in Canada, it has become very hard to find on video
or DVD elsewhere.
Yet with this as a springboard, Currie was able to latch on to the final
parts of the famous Puppetmaster-series, though he has repeatedly stated in
interviews that the task, as an actor, was going to be troublesome,
for no matter how well he performed his role, he would constantly be
upstaged by the puppets. While it isn't as bad as the actor turned president,
Ronald Reagan, being upstaged by a chimpanzee in one of his forgettable
roles, Currie knew he had his work cut out for them. These films are still
readily available though, be it due to the durability ot the actor, the
puppet costars or both.
It was not until the late 1990s, however, that he really started attracting
international attention, due to his performance as Nicolai, the Antichrist
in the Left Behind-series produced by Cloud Ten pictures out of the Toronto
area. In this films, Currie plays a calculating, almost laid-back embodiment
of evil, emerging as a politician supposedly out for world peace, to a more
sinister monster, still going strong with the third of the series just
Surprisingly, Currie received this role on very short notice, developed a
hastily-prepared Romanian accent which was dead on as far as accuracy and
had never read any of the Left Behind books on which the popular series has
While these films have been marketed to the overtly Christian as
"faith-based" products, those who have no interest in religion or
Christianity in particular, indicated they had no enthusiasm for the movies
Then word got out to the secular world about the horror elements
involved, a la The Omen, The Chosen or A Distant Thunder,
and suddenly, a
whole new audience was drawn in. On one hand you had the Christians, on the
other, the horror enthusiasts, watching the movies for the chills and
thrills. With two sequels, Tribulation Force and World At War
- which is
a working title, which may be changed before final release - the zeal for
these products has reached phenomenal proportions.
Oddly, it was a Christian couple who turned me on to these films, though my
wife and I tend to deplore the bornagainers for numerous reasons I will not
go into. This couple we tolerate, but when we went to their place for our
monthly dinner and a movie, our friendship nearly ended as they announced
the DVD would be Left Behind.
"We're gonna watch WHAT?" I asked with utter sarcasm.
"No, you'll like it, as it has a lot of good stuff in it,"
they responded. "It has a lot about Jesus in it, but it's also like a
Two hours later my wife and I were sold on the film, the production company
and of course Gordon Currie.
"Actually, Dale , I don't think they intended you to cheer for the
Antichruist." the aforementioned couple noted, as the end credits
Prior to this, I had not seen Blood & Donuts or the final parts of
Puppetmaster, but was sold on Gordon Currie. I ended up researching him,
contacting him for a number of interviews (he would have done one for this
page but is making a move from Canada to the USA and is caught up in a lot
of things right now) and seeing his other films.
My wife and I were eager for the second part of the series, Tribulation
Force, to hit DVD. When it did, we were back with the Christians again,
watching, with Currie having a far more substantial part.
"You're still not supposed to cheer for The Antichrist," they
Well. to each his own.
Around the same time as Tribulation Force
was making the rounds, with a new-found following of horror fans such as myself on top of all the church people
praising it for its spiritual side, Currie was receiving several other roles,
ranging from small parts to star billing.
It seemed particularly odd to see him minus the now characteristic foreign
accent of his Nicolai character, as well as playing the good guy in A Crime
of Passion. Based on a Mary Higgens Clark book, this film dealt with murder and
doublecrossing within the estate of a massive winery. Currie is suspected of
being a murderer, then of course turns up in time to be the hero and save the
In a less elaborate plot for another suspense/murder film, he played a key
role in Highwayman. This story started out great, dealing with a killer who
murdered people by running them over in his car, until he was tracked down and
crashed into by the husband of one of the victims. The husband went to jail,
the killer was rebuilt like something from an old Bionic Man or
and all should have ended there, but of course did not. The husband ended up
released from jail and once again, the killer was at large, running people
over and coming for the husband. Again, it could have worked well, had this
killer not been reduced to the role of a human hermit crab, hiding out in a
specially made car and looking like something from a Frankenstein-lab.
Currie strived violently and bravely to do what he could in this film,
reminding me of another acquaintance of mine, the 1960s-1970s horror film star
Bradford Dillman. Like Dillman, Currie was gaining the reputation of being not
only an effective AntiChrist, but also an actor saving hopelessly bad scripts
such as this one, the best he could.
Now, however, he is back in the element where he will be most familiar to the
fans, doing what he does best as the expressionless, deceptively appealling
embodiment of evil for the continuing Cloud Ten
series. Ironically enough, the
DVD is set to hit the stands around Halloween time, while playing in selected
churches and limited big screen engagments as well.
With all things considered, it seems lucky this film was shot at all. A
lengthy legal battle over the films between authors LaHay & Jenkins with Cloud Ten
(Not really a matter of concern now, as it was evidently solved in
court. This writer does not know all the details, but suspects the real
situation behind what was said and done evolved around the authors never
anticipating the books would be as big as they were and thus wanting to get
film rights back to pawn off for more money elsewhere to a bigger studio.),
horrible weather during the shooting, which was filmed in Canada in the midst
of winter, a handful of mishaps when explosions went haywire (two of the
producers from Cloud Ten
are Christians, yet real big on having an explosion
in their films. One of their favorite quotes, though not really meek and
christlike, concerns their belief a movie is not a movie until something gets
blown up) and other delays abounded. All have finally been dealt with.
Currie did not go without at least minor trials and tribulations as well,
including multiple retakes during one key scene, when a massive fire nearby
brought a rush of firetrucks tearing by, with sirens blazing. Then, at another
sequence, something went wrong and he blurted out a choice profanity that some
of the Christians in the cast may or may not have heard beforehand. (It made
the Cloud Ten
newsletter, but Currie refuses to tell me what word was behind
their edited version.)
In any case, Gordon Currie is back in action and this writer suggests all
those interested in good horror, if not religion, watch the new Cloud Ten
release when it arrives on the market.
Whether or not you cheer for the Antichrist is up to you ...