by Heath Holland
Just like chocolate goes with peanut butter and premarital sex goes with death, some people seem like they were made to be in B-movies. John Saxon is such a person. He’s probably most recognizable as Nancy’s dad and the police lieutenant in several entries of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but he’s got a face that has popped up just about everywhere. Even your average TV or movie fan would know his face from numerous appearances on shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, The A-Team, Fantasy Island, and the pinnacle of mustachioed-cool, Magnum P.I.. He’s THAT GUY, the dude you see in just about everything. He’s been in a dozens of good projects and at least a hundred that totally sucked, but that’s all part of the fun because I can guarantee you this: if John Saxon is in a movie, it’s at least worth watching just to see him. It may be bad, but John Saxon makes it good.
The Sax-man cut his teeth on television westerns during the 1960s, so you know I already love him, but he also got to be in some so-bad-they’re-good exploitation flicks like 1965’s Blood Beast from Outer Space (the title makes sure you never have to wonder what it’s about) and American International’s space horror Queen of Blood. But starting with the 1970s, he ended up appearing in some bona fide classics of the exploitation persuasion. Even though it’s a TV show, Kung Fu brought us another great Junesploitation star in David Carradine, and John Saxon did a guest spot on that series, giving us two awesome stars for the price of one. The biggest, baddest movie he was in during this era (ERA) for me is the legendary Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. He followed that one up a couple of years later in Bob Clark’s Black Christmas before going on to star in a string of Italian exploitation films and even the beesploitation movie The Bees, which JB just recently reviewed. Remember, it may be bad, but John Saxon makes it good.
Patrick’s review elsewhere on this site, but remember…it may be bad, but John Saxon makes it good. There’s the Vietnam-vets-turned-cannibal movie Cannibal Apocalypse. There’s Blood Beach, which is kind of like a proto-Tremors and features something attacking people from under the sand (Sax on the beach). There’s Prisoners of the Lost Universe, which co-stars Richard Hatch from both versions of Battlestar Galactica. There’s The Big Score, which is a Chicago drug crime movie (Sax and the city) and co-stars Fred Williamson (who also directed!) and Richard “Shaft” Roundtree. A couple of Junesplotations ago I even watched My Mom’s a Werewolf which wasn’t horror at all but was more like family comedy. It was pretty bad, but it had John Saxon in it, so it was still good.