Charlton Heston, Horror Star   

April 8, 2008 With most of the obituaries of Charlton Heston focusing on his biblical epics, it's time to look at his work as a horror actor.

Of course, "genre" fanboys will always love Heston for his iconic role in "Planet of the Apes." But he also starred in a few decent horror movies, the best of which was probably "The Omega Man," the second film based upon Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend." He was also in the cannibal sci-fi film "Solyent Green," which is what Ted Turner might have been thinking about when he warned that human beings would become cannibals if global warming is allowed to continue.

Definitely a dated, goofy '70s movie, "The Omega Man" is infinitely more entertaining than Will Smith's take on the same ghouls-take-over-the-world story.

Heston also turned up as a book publisher in John Carpenter's "In the Mouth of Madness", and was one of the best things about that 1995 movie. Prior to that, he had the lead role in the "Omen"-like mummy film "The Awakening".

Well, so three horror movies out of more than a 120 films isn't much. But Heston is surely being missed by this writer. Heston will always be appreciated for bringing sci-fi into blockbuster mainstream acceptance and for that immortal line: "Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

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