Thursday, October 27, 2016

Riske Business: The Horror Movie Character I Identify Most With Is...

by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
Rob and my picks stretch the distance of the age spectrum.

Adam: My pick is Lt. William F. Kinderman, played by the amazing Lee J. Cobb in The Exorcist. There are a few reasons I identify with this character the most of any horror movie character. The most obvious reason is because he LOVES movies. He loves them so much that it seeps into his everyday life, including his profession. There is not a single scene in The Exorcist that doesn’t show Kinderman “on the job” and in each one of these scenes he initially (or eventually) breaks, stops talking shop and goes into a conversation about movies (at one point even asking for an autograph like a bashful fan). It’s not just generic movie talk, either, but rather specific moviegoer dilemmas like who will go with him to a particular movie, having passes to “the best shows in town” or which movie star his conversation partner most looks like. Kinderman is the kind of guy who would be an AMC Stubs member, write for a film site, go to conventions or write a top ten list. He’s one of us.
I also identify with him personally because he’s somewhat avuncular and that niceness helps him be better at his job. If he were a blustery, abrasive detective (or an intimidating character type like Lee J. Cobb played for most of his career) he wouldn’t get the information and "tells" he gets from the people he interviews while on the case. Kinderman is the best. He’s funny, he dresses in that great old-man retro ‘70s way and he loves to talk, discuss and critique film – kind of like me.

Who’s your pick, Rob?

Rob: Nice one! I want to see the pilot starring you as the movie-loving cop. You’ve got the perfect name for it, too: Maximum Riske. Law and Order: Riske Business. We'll work on it. Anyway. My pick is Samuel, Noah Wiseman's character in The Babadook. He's a weird kid who drives his mom insane with his bizarre ticks and hobbies, which I can totally relate to. He doesn’t fit in with the other kids and ends up kind of victimized by his own imagination. I remember feeling left out at that age, even feeling like a burden on my single mom (she’d hate me saying that, but it’s true). Samuel doesn’t even realize how much stress he’s putting on Amelia; all he wants to do is keep her safe from monsters. I love how that feeds into his fixation with traps and weapons, too. He’s the man of the house, whether Amelia likes it or not. I can get behind that. There was always that sense that I had to be responsible and pull my weight for the family. Not in a pouty, “poor me” way, really; it actually came with a bit of pride. I think it does for Samuel, too.
I also love how his relationship with magic colors his worldview and helps him see the monster far earlier than his mother does. Mr. Babadook is such a different thing to him than he is to Amelia, which I think is the perfect way to examine how children and adults handle grief differently. Samuel’s soul is sort of open, in a way. Unlike Amelia, he’s not repressed or in denial, so he’s much more open to his father’s spiritual influence and much more ready to face the creature when it comes. The Babadook is also a film about dealing with baggage and regret, and I think every child of divorce sort of understands that feeling of being left over, like the space you were supposed to fit into doesn’t exist anymore. For as much as Amelia loves Samuel, she’s still conflicted about which of her two men she’d prefer to have around. It’s no one’s fault, really, but it’s there. It’s even there at the end of the film, which I think is handled in such a mature and thoughtful way: (SPOILERS) The Babadook won’t ever leave them, but they find ways to deal with it together. Totally relatable and kind of heartwarming.

Adam: This is one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt things I’ve ever read in my life.



  1. Definitely. Very cool. Now I have to think of my own character.

  2. "Adam: This is one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt things I’ve ever read in my life."

    Makes me feel kind of bad that my answer is Daniel Challis of Halloween III: Season of the Witch because I always carry a dick rag just in case I need to wipe off my dick.

    No, I loved reading about you guys's guys - very cool and I can definitely see it.

    Mine's Chief Brody from Jaws - moving to and growing up in a small fishing/hunting kinda town I always felt just a little out of my element - not an outcast or anything like that - people liked me but I wasn't born there, so like Brody I would never quite be an "Islander". And I was more of an artistic/intellectual kinda guy like my father and had none of those traditional rural interests. I mean, I have totally been the Brody on a fishing boat - I know what it's like to feel totally stupid and useless (almost emasculated - which I think they're going for with Brody's character) in the context of a situation. Plus I'm always yelling at people to get out of the water.