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 (1996) 63%

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 (2007) 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 (La Cité des Enfants Perdus) (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 (Hellboy 2) (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 (1994) 91%

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

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