“Who’s going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow.” — Herbert West, Re-Animator Nearly every article you find about Jeffrey Combs leads off with “Most famous for portraying Herbert West in the Re-Animator films.” If you read this site regularly (or even semi-regularly) you probably already know that. But Combs wasn’t just West (in Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator, and Beyond Re-Animator), he was also Crawford Tillinghast in From Beyond (19886), H.P. Lovecraft in Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Dr. Haggis in Lurking Fear (1994), John Reilly in Castle Freak (1995), and Wilbur in a TV adaptation of The Dunwich Horror (2009), making him the performer most identifiable with the filmed adaptations of Lovecraft’s work (especially if we include the segment “The Evil Clergyman” from the unreleased-but-available-through-Full-Moon-Streaming Pulse Pounders anthology). That, in itself, would make him one of my favorite actors, because whether he enjoyed the performances or not (he has some horror stories of his own about some of the productions), he was always the highlight. He can play crazed and obsessive, loving and doting, serious, comedic, tragic, anything you throw at him. I sang Combs’ praises the last time we did our ABCs of Horror when talking about the films of Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna (which covered everything mentioned above except Necronomicon, Lurking Fear, Dunwich Horror, and “The Evil Clergyman”), so I’m not going to dig back into them this time around. Luckily, Combs has had a long career of fantastic genre work that fits right in on Psycho Drive-In! Perhaps the second most impressive element of his resume (for geeks and nerds) is his connection to Star Trek. He is one of only four actors to portray seven different Star Trek characters and is one of only six actors to appear in ten different seasons of the show (Deep Space Nine season 3-7, Voyager season 6, and Enterprise seasons 1-4). Hell, he’s even the only non-regular to appear in two different Star Trek series finales (DS9 and Enterprise) and played two different characters doing it. And if the stars had been right, he could have been Commander Riker! In 1997 he began doing voice-acting as Scarecrow in The New Batman Adventures and in 2004 voiced Vic Sage, The Question in Justice League. In more recent years, he’s played The Leader in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Chief in the 2013 Doom Patrol cartoon (short segments that aired as part of DC Nation), Rat King in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and has portrayed Ratchet in Transformers cartoons since 2010. My personal favorite voice performance, though, has to be his two appearances in Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated in 2010 and 2011 as H.P. Hatecraft! He really just can’t get away from Lovecraft, can he? In 2009, Combs created the one-man theatrical show Nevermore… An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe, which played to sold-out crowds, was nominated for a Saturn Award, and is currently touring across the country. There may literally be nothing Jeffery Combs can’t do, whether it’s playing disturbingly violent bounty hunter Dinosaur Bob in the seriously underrated Love and a .45 (1994), the ill-fated FBI agent Milton Dammers in Peter Jackson’s seriously underrated The Frighteners (1996), or the lead role in the seriously underrated Full Moon Entertainment Doctor Strange knock-off, Doctor Mordrid (1992). Speaking of which… If you haven’t seen Doctor Mordrid and, like me, have a perverse love of the 1978 Doctor Strange TV movie, then run out and buy the remastered Blu-ray of this. Here’s a link. Do it now. It was one of the more expensive of Full Moon Entertainment’s features in the early 90s and a passion project of director and Full Moon founder Charles Band (who co-directed with his father Albert Band). Unfortunately, it didn’t connect with viewers at the time and the script for an unproduced sequel is probably lost to the sands of time, but at least we still have this film – a love letter to Marvel Comics and Ray Harryhausen! Combs plays the titular Doctor, a centuries-old sorcerer (and landlord) who is forever keeping watch over the planet, awaiting the inevitable return of his childhood “friend” and lord of evil, Kabal (played by The X-Files‘ resident alien assassin Brian Thompson). And while the final confrontation is a little underwhelming, it at least features a stop-motion dinosaur skeleton fight! That’s the shit, right there! So there you have it. Jeffrey Combs: Lovecraftian-Trekkie actor extraordinaire, Poe-enthusiast, wizard, hitman, FBI agent, and everything in-between. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.