What hasn’t Keith David been in? The answer is not much. With a career spanning almost 40 years and nearly every genre of film imaginable, fans mostly recognize him for his voice work and roles in cult science fiction and horror. With a deep, rich bass voice that’s as smooth as it is thunderous, he commands the screen as soon as he speaks, regardless the size of the roll or character. The man has literally been everything from priests and politicians to a handyman in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and so much more. This article would be novella length if I went on about just his genre specific roles in science fiction and horror so I’ll just try to hit some of the high notes. To begin with, he brought to life Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn in the 1997 MTV cartoon about the mercenary turned hell spawn super hero. If you’ve never read the comics, seen the show, or the abysmal live action film I’m going to urge you to go to your local comic book store or online vendor and immediately download and read a volume or two. The artwork is stunning, the story completely engrossing, and the entire thing is just beautiful in that gritty, grungy 90’s comic book style. But the truly amazing thing about Spawn is that the very first time you hear Keith David speak as the character he becomes as real and tangible as the room you’re sitting in right now. That deep, emotive voice conveys the tragic pain and rage of the character with every syllable in a way that few voice actors could have ever achieved. It’s one thing to just talk for a character but to actually make one live and breathe elevates the performer to an artistic level. Meanwhile, Rick and Morty fans will instantly recognize that smooth bass celebrating the titular duo’s Schwiftyness as both the President of the United States and Reverse Giraffe from season two of the incredible animated sci-fi comedy. Frankly, next to Spawn, Reverse Giraffe is one of his finest performances as he brings an unusual sincerity and seriousness to an otherwise absolutely absurd creation. I mean, honestly, to be so memorable as a bit part character in what was genuinely an ensemble of strange and memorable creatures is an accomplishment all on its own. Gamers know him best as the voice of the Arbiter in the Halo series while Adventure Time fans become giddy with glee at hearing the Flame King. Seriously, Google this man! He’s been in everything from Cloud Atlas, The Outer Limits and Transformers to Platoon and a slew of other serious roles in television and film. Oh, and don’t forget about the twelve or so different titles from historical documentaries to action thrillers he’ll be featured in over the next twelve to eighteen months in roles ranging from Narrator to freed slave and author Fredrick Douglass. This man is a machine in his craft but that’s not to say that he skimps out on any of his work. He brings a power to every performance that can’t be beat. Look at his work in the 80’s in some of John Carpenter’s most phenomenal cult classics. As Giles in 1982’s The Thing (alongside Kurt Russel’s MacReady) he battled an ancient shapeshifting alien menace spreading virulently through the Antarctic camp with aims at world domination. Fighting not only the forces of nature in that frozen wasteland but the paranoia of battling a monster that could literally be anyone, anything, even yourself and the doubt and fear that comes from that sort of reality. It was a memorable performance. Still, in that pantheon of John Carpenter films, he will never be more recognizable or indelibly etched into the hearts and minds of monster movie fans than in 1987’s They Live. Alongside the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper he is reluctantly enlisted to battle the alien scourge holding humanity as slaves on their own world. While the film is, in my opinion, one of Carpenter’s finest works, it also provides us with some unexpectedly wonderful performances by Piper (a pro-wrestling superstar of the 80’s) and Keith David. That said, the film is also known for having one of the longest, and some might say most pointless, fight scenes ever as David’s Frank and Piper’s Nada duke it out in an alley for somewhere around seven minutes with all the believability of a WWF title match. So, as Halloween approaches and you’re looking for some great, albeit campy, sci-fi horror, check out Keith David’s continuing cinematic legacy. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.