“All these moments will be lost in time…like tears in rain.”
“Satan is in deep shit.”
“I cut off his legs…and his arms…and his head. And I’m gonna do the same to you.”
“You and me are goin’ on a car-ride to Hell.”
“Play hard, you’ll forget the fear.”
The quotes above are a tiny sample of this man’s body of work. According to IMDb he had 174 acting credits to his name, and starred in some of the most well known sci-fi and fantasy films of all times. Rutger Hauer, who has reportedly passed at the age of 75 (July 2019), was an icon to many of us who grew up with his films.
Born in the Netherlands in 1944, his first acting role was at the age of 11, and his first film role in 1969. He remained active in TV and film right up to the end of his life, appearing in recent films such as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and The Sisters Brothers. It’s impossible to encompass such a body of work in one article, but as a long time fan of said work I would like instead to talk briefly about those films of his that mean the most to me, ones I watch again and again and never get tired of. Blade Runner will be conspicuous in its absence because while it might be his most iconic role, it’s not one of my favourite films. The queue for the lynch mob starts over there. Grab your torches and pitchforks and please form an orderly line.
Split Second (1992)
Let’s start with my all time favourite of his movies. Set in 2008 where global warming has flooded London, he plays a coffee drinking, chocolate munching, gun-toting detective who finds himself tangled up in a strange web of murders, occultism and a giant monster roaming the streets that owes more than a little nod to both the Alien and the Predator in its design. This film is also responsible for one of the best ever movie quotes “We are going to need bigger guns. BIG FUCKING GUNS”. This one deserves a place in the collection of any self-respecting sci-fi fan.
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Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)
This film is a grindhouse, gore-filled rollercoaster ride. Hauer, playing the titular Hobo, is a delight, as grizzled, cynical and dubiously-sane as we’ve seen him in years. Those with weak stomachs should be warned, this film does not mess around when it comes to the practical gore effects. Heads are torn off, limbs mutilated, guts strewn liberally everywhere as blood rains from the heavens and every moment of it is an over the top delight.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
No, not the TV series, the gloriously camp, silly original movie which has one of the best death scenes in any film ever (Paul Reuben as Amilyn) and if you disagree with me then you’re just plain wrong. The story here is much the same as the show, slayer born to fight vampires, blahblahblah, but it’s with tongue firmly planted in cheek, taking itself nowhere near as seriously as the series. Hauer plays the lead vampire Lothos with glorious deadpan humour and frankly everyone looks like they had a lot of fun here and there are just so many daft moments and quotable lines. Forget the series, watch the original!
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Other films of note include Ladyhawke, Blind Fury, Flesh & Blood, Salute of the Jugger, The Hitcher, Sin City and even Batman Begins (didn’t you get the memo?). If you’re not familiar with his work, now would be an excellent time to start.
There will never be anyone quite like him, so all I can say is thanks for all the memories, and for leaving such a huge catalogue of work for us to pass on so new fans can continue to discover you.