Sunday, May 18, 2008

Actor John Phillip Law Dies

As has been reported in several places including the LA Times and Tim Lucas's Video Watchblog, actor John Phillip Law died Tuesday May 13, 2008 at the age of 70 of pancreatic cancer. He was an American born actor with -- according to IMDB -- 81 acting credits. I believe I first became aware of Law when he starred opposite several of Ray Harryhausen's magnificent stop motion creations in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), but I will remember him best as the master criminal Diabolik (pictured above) in Mario Bava's fantastic and trippy Danger: Diabolik (1968). Tim Lucas worked with Law on the audio commentary for Danger: Diabolik, and Lucas has recently posted several informative and heartfelt remembrances.

One of the strangest films in Law's resume is Night Train to Terror (1985), an omnibus horror film that condenses footage from an uncompleted John Phillip Law movie and uses it as one of the film's three segments. The resulting story makes little sense, but it's so fast paced and chock full of gore and nudity it's hard not to love it. Footage from this same unfinished movie was also combined with newer footage to make Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars (1992).

While Law has credits as recent as 2008, the last film I saw him in was Roman Coppola's wonderful CQ in 2001, which made Law's participation even more memorable by including several nods to Danger: Diabolik. Notably, it has been just under a year since we lost another Harryhausen Sinbad actor, Kerwin Matthews, star of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, who passed away on July 5, 2007.

Here is the original theatrical trailer for Danger: Diabolik:

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