Total Recall

Ron Perlman's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Season of the Witch star.

by | January 7, 2011 | Comments

When Nicolas Cage goes up against the forces of the supernatural in Season of the Witch this weekend, he’ll have another awesome wig and his very best intense/befuddled stare in his arsenal. But to really improve his odds of victory, he’ll need something more — like the imposing menace of Ron Perlman, occasional Hellboy and character actor supreme. Whether he’s appeared au naturel or under makeup, worked live action or voiced animated characters, Perlman’s distinctive talent has been entertaining audiences for 30 years, and he’s assembled an eclectic filmography along the way. It’s about time Ron Perlman received the Total Recall treatment, wouldn’t you say?


 

 10. The Last Supper (1995)

The-Last-Supper

Witty equal-opportunity political humor has become something of a lost art on the big screen over the last decade or so, but things weren’t always this way. For proof, simply look to 1995’s The Last Supper, an ensemble indie comedy about a group of young liberals (including Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard, and Annabeth Gish) who begin poisoning conservative dinner guests as part of a misguided campaign to save the world. While the murder victims aren’t terribly sympathetic, their murderers aren’t especially likable either — so by the time they cross paths with a Limbaugh-esque conservative pundit (played by Perlman), loyalties to either ideological extreme have been tested. “In today’s divisive political climate, where compromise is a dirty word,” observed Leslie Rigoulot of Film Scouts, “The Last Supper raises not only timely questions but moral dilemmas as well.”

Watch Trailer


 

9. I Sell the Dead (2008) 72%

I-Sell-the-Dead

Perlman and his Last Winter director, Larry Fessenden, re-teamed for this 2008 black comedy — only this time, they were both on the same side of the camera. Helmed by Glenn McQuaid (who also worked behind the scenes on The Last Winter), I Sell the Dead recounts the story of a pair of Irish grave robbers (played by Fessenden and Dominic Monaghan), as told to a jailhouse priest (Perlman). A bizarre mashup of 19th-century period thriller and zombie/alien comic gore,Dead had a blink-and-you-missed-it theatrical run, playing on only two screens, but even some of the critics who couldn’t recommend it found the film impossible to dislike — such as Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, who mused, “If it’s not actually a good movie, on some level you have to admire the chutzpah of a film set in 1850s Ireland but shot on Staten Island.”

Watch Trailer


 

8. The Last Winter (2006) 76%

The-Last-Winter

A sort of cross between An Inconvenient Truth and The Thing, this wintry thriller found writer/director Larry Fessenden returning to the themes of isolation he explored in Wendigo, while adding an ecologically conscious twist: at a remote ANWR drilling base, a team of workers (led by Perlman) starts dying off, casualties of “sour gas” released as a side effect of global warming — or are they under attack from vengeful spirits of the Earth? Though it screened in extremely limited release, The Last Winter received more than a few positive reviews from critics, including Aaron Hillis of Premiere Magazine, who called it “A richly drawn, ambitious character piece both socially relevant and genuinely suspenseful” before concluding, “This is filmmaking both gorgeous and deeply unsettling.”

Watch Trailer


 

7. Hellboy (2004) 81%

Hellboy

No stranger to prosthetics, Perlman went back under the makeup — and reunited with his Cronos and Blade II director, Guillermo del Toro — for 2004’s Hellboy, an adaptation of the popular Dark Horse Comics title. Grossing under $60 million in the U.S., it was something of a disappointment at the box office, but Perlman and Del Toro were a natural fit for the franchise, as Hellboy‘s steadily growing cult audience would come to realize — and as appreciative critics were quick to recognize, including Rob Gonsalves of eFilmCritic, who noted, “Perlman, at age 53, strides in like a hungry young actor itching to prove something, only with 22 years of experience lending him charisma and confidence.”

Watch Trailer


 

6. The City of Lost Children (1995) 79%

City-of-Lost-Children

Perlman’s work with Guillermo del Toro has placed him within some pretty remarkable cinematic worlds, but his sojourn into Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s City of Lost Children might be the most visually striking of them all: a dense, whirring dystopia where an evil scientist (Daniel Emilfork) steals the dreams of kidnapped children. Their only hope is One (Perlman), a circus strongman whose younger brother is among the lost — and for whom he’ll set out on an arduous journey to rescue. Rife with sights that will haunt the viewer long after the credits roll, City won praise from critics like Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle, who recommended it as “a dark phantasmagoria so visually amazing and provocative — yet dense and confusing — that viewers may need to see it more than once to take it all in.”

Watch Trailer


 

5. Happy, Texas (1999) 81%

Happy,-Texas

A goofy Steve Zahn comedy with a minuscule budget and a box office tally that wasn’t much bigger, Happy, Texas gave Perlman the opportunity to steal scenes in another supporting role: Marshal Nalhober, a straight-shooting cop in hot pursuit of three escaped prisoners (Zahn, Jeremy Northam, and M.C. Gainey) posing as the organizers of a local beauty pageant. Eminently quotable and buoyed by a smart, rootsy soundtrack, Happy provoked appreciative guffaws from critics like Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times, who called it “a hoot, a hilarious comedy that’s smart and caring, yet sexy and ingenious enough that it just might stir up some of that elusive Full Monty-style box-office appeal.”

Watch Trailer


 

4. Quest for Fire (1981) 86%

Quest-for-Fire

A latex-covered Perlman got his big break in this award-winning adaptation of the 1911 novel, about a Neanderthal war for fire — and the dangerous quest undertaken by a small band of tribesmen who are forced to find another source after their clan’s fire is stolen by a rival tribe. An hour and 40 minutes of grunted dialogue and dirty caveman sex obviously isn’t what most filmgoers have in mind when they head out for a night at the cineplex, but Quest for Fire managed to perform relatively well at the box office, and became something of an early ’80s cult favorite — as well as a hit with critics like Janet Maslin of the New York Times, who said it was “more than just a hugely enterprising science lesson, although it certainly is that. It’s also a touching, funny and suspenseful drama about prehumans.”

Watch Trailer


 

3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) 86%

Hellboy-2

Four years after the first Hellboy, Perlman teamed up again with Guillermo del Toro for another round of supernatural fun — and while the original Hellboy earned mostly positive reviews, the sequel was an even bigger critical winner. A gleeful blend of popcorn thrills and uniquely del Toro visual splendor, Hellboy II: The Golden Army reunited the original cast for an epic battle between the forces of good and an irate elven king (Luke Goss) who wants to reignite the long-dormant war between elves and humans. While it was overshadowed at the box office by The Dark Knight and Iron Man, it still earned over $160 million — and earned the admiration of critics like Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who called it “the biggest, richest, most imaginative superhero movie of the summer.”

Watch Trailer

 


 

2. Cronos (1993) 89%

Cronos

Perlman started his continuing association with Guillermo del Toro in this 1993 horror movie, about the gruesome series of events that unfolds after an old man (Federico Luppi) discovers an ancient scarab that injects him with a mysterious substance — one which restores his youthful vitality, but leaves him with a thirst for blood. Perlman stars in a supporting role as the ironically named Angel de la Guardia, a hoodlum sent on a quest by his elderly uncle, who craves the scarab’s restorative powers; the path of violence he carves in pursuit of his goal sets in motion some of Cronos‘ most memorably horrific sequences. It barely registered a blip on the U.S. box office, but Cronos was an instant hit with critics; as an appreciative Ken Hanke wrote for the Asheville Mountain Xpress, it is “one of the most intelligent — and strangely moving — horror films ever made.”

Watch Trailer


 

1. Tangled (2010) 89%

Tangled

We always see a little bit of an outcry when animated efforts make the cut in Total Recall — and there’s even more consternation when a ‘toon tops the list. But for a guy like Ron Perlman, who’s spent so much of his career under heavy makeup, it makes a certain kind of sense that Disney’s Tangled would be a top-rated effort; while it’s true that he could only use his voice to bring the malicious twin Stabbington Brothers to life in this film, those constraints really weren’t so very different from some of his previous live-action roles — or, for that matter, Perlman’s long list of voice credits. In the end, it’s hard to argue with Tangled‘s overwhelmingly positive reviews, summed up concisely by Tom Long of the Detroit News, who wrote, “Tangled is the best animated film from Disney in the past 15 years.”

Watch Trailer


Finally, here’s Perlman (in character) pitching DirecTV:

Tag Cloud

Tokyo Olympics Dark Horse Comics TV satire See It Skip It ViacomCBS Pirates 93rd Oscars ABC Signature biography AMC Plus universal monsters comic book movie 2015 Countdown unscripted video on demand latino obituary genre disaster Creative Arts Emmys Pop nbcuniversal slasher harry potter name the review Amazon Prime Tubi Year in Review boxoffice cars hispanic heritage month foreign GIFs Holiday HBO Max natural history LGBT YouTube Premium dc films Alien jamie lee curtis ID YouTube zombie classics anime hidden camera Turner asian-american Hear Us Out The Academy Interview CMT rt labs critics edition Apple TV+ rt labs Rocky christmas movies historical drama Best and Worst HBO crime drama dragons OneApp venice cancelled TV shows spanish Anna Paquin halloween Character Guide reboot spanish language Infographic period drama space binge TCA 2017 fast and furious IFC Mary Poppins Returns Reality transformers movies MSNBC Vudu SDCC CW Seed werewolf Spike Netflix Christmas movies mission: impossible feel good Emmys SundanceTV 2017 Captain marvel TCA olympics a nightmare on elm street comic book movies political drama Netflix adventure Musical cartoon miniseries Rock Thanksgiving Comics on TV IFC Films toy story theme song police drama know your critic Walt Disney Pictures composers blockbuster Trophy Talk Valentine's Day FX on Hulu Endgame Tumblr TCA Awards Esquire robots USA richard e. Grant quibi Funimation live action BBC America hist versus Women's History Month golden globes laika crime 24 frames YouTube Red Winners Television Academy spinoff breaking bad Paramount Network El Rey lord of the rings romance NYCC witnail worst GLAAD NBC kids remakes hollywood Stephen King mob Amazon Acorn TV critic resources video X-Men adaptation Exclusive Video Fox News HBO Go ABC Family suspense 2020 psychological thriller Peacock Shondaland wonder woman Chernobyl cancelled television Instagram Live Nat Geo spy thriller 1990s BET Comedy Central king kong casting leaderboard Rom-Com aapi scary movies Awards dogs hispanic Syfy CBS blaxploitation Mudbound PBS comiccon trailers politics Oscars cults Country trophy screen actors guild Ghostbusters SXSW Winter TV south america Music The Walt Disney Company Pet Sematary PlayStation Spectrum Originals supernatural Amazon Prime Video anthology 73rd Emmy Awards child's play WGN rotten emmy awards heist movie new york Apple australia RT21 screenings Showtime black 45 DirecTV Western Elton John kong The Walking Dead Freeform Crunchyroll Disney Plus cancelled TV series children's TV toronto discovery indiana jones chucky popular black comedy Box Office game show Fox Searchlight james bond vampires game of thrones Photos PaleyFest E! RT History festival book adaptation President Mary poppins women Teen Biopics ABC Extras AMC Martial Arts psycho marvel cinematic universe boxing documentary new star wars movies Sundance TLC tv talk Pixar cooking movie kaiju parents Kids & Family Paramount franchise BBC streaming movies science fiction DC Universe Legendary TNT comic books news Watching Series 2016 Disney streaming service Lifetime thriller Disney+ Disney Plus serial killer strong female leads OWN Fall TV Food Network DC Comics TV Land teaser Cannes mockumentary Action USA Network true crime Super Bowl Superheroe Turner Classic Movies LGBTQ Mindy Kaling Film Classic Film 71st Emmy Awards Shudder book The Arrangement The CW elevated horror festivals sopranos Adult Swim godzilla 2019 renewed TV shows E3 Star Trek medical drama Trivia gangster Disney Channel Sundance Now Tarantino ITV A24 Wes Anderson The Purge award winner high school fresh facebook dark criterion Sneak Peek travel Star Wars comedies Nickelodeon Arrowverse 72 Emmy Awards Discovery Channel Marvel Television Sci-Fi marvel comics BET Awards TV One Superheroes Drama Image Comics king arthur MCU Set visit Bravo 2018 Television Critics Association Neflix San Diego Comic-Con adenture Polls and Games Heroines deadpool canceled TV shows Family twilight Columbia Pictures First Look worst movies animated Marathons mcc 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Epix comics Prime Video Marvel Studios Sundance TV scene in color Mystery National Geographic dceu New York Comic Con 90s indie 21st Century Fox Tags: Comedy Writers Guild of America streaming Warner Bros. die hard Comedy singing competition Horror Video Games stop motion ESPN cancelled docudrama TIFF Disney 20th Century Fox biopic ghosts Lionsgate Pride Month First Reviews vs. french target archives History MTV talk show 007 what to watch sequels Academy Awards VICE Nominations Reality Competition Universal Pictures based on movie dramedy Christmas stoner The Witch justice league cats prank Travel Channel Hollywood Foreign Press Association scorecard art house VOD dexter 99% Election 79th Golden Globes Awards mutant Hulu superman Brie Larson war sports finale golden globe awards Avengers IMDb TV TruTV A&E Marvel independent basketball Britbox Cosplay posters japan debate Awards Tour italian sequel razzies Paramount Plus Podcast television Calendar Musicals rt archives batman docuseries Fargo telelvision cops comic green book Toys Binge Guide 2021 American Society of Cinematographers YA WarnerMedia Lucasfilm Red Carpet Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crime thriller monster movies FOX Hallmark crossover dreamworks royal family TBS GoT nature nfl Pacific Islander sag awards TV renewals Ovation TCM HFPA Opinion legend zero dark thirty aliens sitcom stand-up comedy Trailer pirates of the caribbean saw NBA DGA action-comedy Summer all-time Broadway Schedule young adult live event Hallmark Christmas movies japanese scary directors BBC One Masterpiece Grammys Pop TV Fantasy Baby Yoda Animation Cartoon Network Spring TV FXX Crackle Lifetime Christmas movies DC streaming service slashers critics blockbusters Ellie Kemper Starz TV movies halloween tv CNN CBS All Access spider-verse APB football romantic comedy technology Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt doctor who revenge TCA Winter 2020 rotten movies we love new zealand Logo Film Festival concert Universal Song of Ice and Fire superhero Emmy Nominations FX Comic-Con@Home 2021 Holidays series rom-coms diversity international canceled spider-man Certified Fresh Black History Month best Mary Tyler Moore reviews VH1 cinemax free movies ratings social media 4/20 Amazon Studios Premiere Dates Tomatazos Black Mirror Comic Book Rocketman spain Quiz BAFTA Sony Pictures Apple TV Plus joker zombies jurassic park documentaries