On the 27th of January, we lost another Hollywood legend, the beloved and versatile John Hurt.
Hurt passed away some days ago at the age of 77 due to pancreatic cancer but not before leaving an incredible legacy of film behind. Today, I’ll recount my three favourite moments in the career of John Hurt.
The horrors of Taco Bell (Alien)
John Hurt was a human-prop in one of the greatest horror scenes of all time, the “chestburster” scene in the original Alien.
In the scene, the crew of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo have just woken up from stasis and are eating their first proper meal since. But then, quite abruptly, one of the crew members (played by John Hurt) begins to show signs of sickness.
He flops onto the table and twitches in agonizing pain just before the titular extra-terrestrial emerges from his stomach. Beautiful.
It’s one of the most frightening and memorable scenes in cinema history and Mr. John Hurt was the corpse it burst from.
Many teenagers today will be wondering who John Hurt was and to those teenagers; he was the guy who gave Harry his wand in the first one. And yes he was also in the last.
This scene may not be as cinematically impacting as the “chestburster” but it does give me nostalgia when I think about it and for that, it deserves to be remembered.
John Hurt’s raspy voice lent itself to many narration roles and probably the most memorable for me would be of his narration in Dogville, a highly experimental film from Lars von Trier.
The film presents us with the tale of a woman (Nicole Kidman) on the run from her past as she hides in the small town of Dogville, a town so small that in almost every shot, you can see all of the other residents. This is greatly aided by the fact that there AREN’T ANY WALLS.
Dogville‘s experimental premise sounds slightly far-fetched on paper but it works surprisingly well on the screen with John Hurt’s golden vocal cords guiding us through.
What was your favourite John Hurt role? Did I forget any great ones?
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