For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

David Bowie

Bowie dabbled in acting from the earliest stages of his career, appearing as a hard-to-kill wraith in the goofy 1967 short The Image, vamping with Lindsay Kemp’s mime troupe, and in 1972-73, touring the world as Ziggy Stardust, the extra-terrestrial rock idol. His travels on the mid-’70s publicity circuit were a kind of Method performance art unto themselves: increasingly unhinged, blatantly coked-up, yet somehow crisp and polite.  His life turned out to be an audition tape of sorts for Bowie’s first and richest feature film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), a free adaptation of Walter Tevis’ science fiction novel about a visitor from a dying planet. Bowie’s Thomas Newton is an alluring space invader in earthling drag who secures a bevy of profitable electronic patents and swiftly achieves corporate world domination, only to be betrayed by those closest to him.

Despite Bowie’s relative lack of acting experience, his typecast presence in The Man Who Fell to Earth is a gimmick that works: His elegant awkwardness and vaguely put-on accent befit a creature who’s learned to be human by watching satellite TV. And per usual, he’s game for anything. Full-frontal nudity? Check. A sex scene employing a phallic gun and Candy Clark slathered in old-age makeup? Double Check. Drunken screaming at a grid of television sets from a gynaecological chair? While wearing a girdle and knee pads? Job done. The movie is a mind-bending, abstract strobe light barrage of surreal images and seemingly unconnected scenes that have helped make it an enduring cult classic and Bowie’s finest, freakiest cinematic moment.

Next Bowie stretched himself well beyond his previous roles to play British soldier Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983). Set in 1942, the film finds Celliers trapped in a Japanese prison camp overseen by the harsh Yonio who loathes Celliers and his fellow British POWs for what he perceives as their cowardice in surrendering. But even amid the taunting, threats of execution and torture, the inscrutable Bowie breaks through his frosty British reserve to help his captors discover their hardened souls, not to mention the beauty in breaking down walls between warring cultures.

By this point, Bowie seemed on the cusp of a fully-fledged acting career. In 1983, Bowie appeared in The Hunger as the 400-year-old lover of vampire goddess Catherine Deneuve. The movie is a schlockfest of early-MTV flourishes and is most noteworthy for a demure love scene between Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. But the opening credit sequence is irresistible: While Bauhaus perform the sinuous goth standard “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Deneuve and Bowie prowl a cavernous nightclub in search of fresh blood, smirking hotly at each other and blowing pheromones with their cigarette smoke.

The Hunger is mostly downhill from there, and for some reason, so was Bowie’s acting career. He declined the villain role in the Bond film A View to a Kill (1985) that went to Christopher Walken and The musical Absolute Beginners (1986) was largely a bust. Fortunately Bowie turned it around in Jim Henson’s fantasy-adventure Labyrinth (1986). The movie takes you to a wonderful world where nothing is what it seems. The setting is fantastic and just scary enough. Bowie as Jareth “the Goblin King” is the perfect villain, prowling around the set like a spandex clad mantis. After the mainstream success Bowie returned to his more esoteric roots. First was the mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) followed by the biopic Basquiat (1996).  Bowie only appears in a handful of scenes but he absolutely nails the emotionally distant pop art icon Andy Warhol in every single one with his wispy white wig, fickle nature, and slippery, celebrity-worshipping persona.

In recent years, save for a priceless cameo from time to time, (Zoolander, Extras). Bowie’s memorable on-screen contributions have been either strictly musical (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Lost Highway) or strictly genetic (his son, Duncan Jones, who directed the splendid Moon, and Source Code). But a small, pivotal role from a few years back serves as a deft reminder that Bowie should drop by our movies more often. In Christopher Nolan’s duelling-illusionists drama The Prestige, where Bowie once again makes the most of his limited screen time as real-life inventor Nikola Tesla. Charged with conjuring a teleportation device, a moustachioed, hoarse-voiced Bowie informs our hero that, “nothing is impossible, what you want is simply expensive,” urging the magician to consider the human cost of his obsessive folly. It’s no wonder that Nolan said Bowie was the only actor he ever considered for the small, but very important role. Bowie was ideally cast as the great inventor Nikola Tesla, replete with spectacularly electromagnetic rock-star entrance.

It is often said that there are no small parts, only small actors. David Bowie’s skill as an actor is that he makes everything feel huge.

Oh and apparently he wrote a few decent tunes as well…

Related Posts
Ōgon Bat

Ogun Bat is a Japanese superhero created by Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931 and is considered to be the first Japanese superhero. The anime ran 52 episodes between April 1st 1967 and March 23rd Read more

Zork: The Great Underground Empire – Part I (1980)

Released in December 1980, Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I aka Zork I was an interactive fiction video game written by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels and Tim Read more

Zoolander 2 trailer released

Zoolander is back but a lot has happened since 2001! Rest assured the Ben Stiller comedy features familiar faces and a few new ones with plenty to get you excited. Read more

Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966)

At a dinner party with their wives, NASA scientist Dr. Keith Ritchie (Tony Huston) reveals to his colleague Dr. Curt Taylor (John Agar) that he has secretly been in communication Read more

Zone Troopers (1985)

In Italy during World War II, an American military patrol discovers a spaceship that has crash-landed in the woods, along with its alien crew. A nearby Nazi unit also Read more

Zone Fighter

Zone Fighter was a tokusatsu science fiction/superhero television series produced by Toho Company Ltd. It aired from April 2nd 1973 to September 24th 1973, with a total of 26 episodes. The series follows Read more

Zombo – You Smell of Crime And I’m the Deodorant

When the government's latest crime deterrent, obmoz, goes completely off the rails and starts to destroy everything from the underfunded super team Planetronix to the president himself, who ya gonna Read more

Zombies-Outlive The Undead trailer released

Tony Todd is back in an all new zombie movie: When the world is in shambles, plagued by a zombie outbreak, only the strong will survive, but just how Read more

Zombiegeddon (2003)

Directed by Chris Watson and distributed by Troma Entertainment, Zombiegeddon begins as Satan creates a human-like race called zombies. When the zombies begin taking over the world, dirty cops Jeff Read more

Zombie Hotel

Zombie Hotel ran for twenty-six episodes in 2006 and focuses on Fungus and Maggot - two child zombies who pretend to be human to get into their local school. Read more

Zomben #1

After surviving the 'Multipocalypse', Ben tries to live a normal life, hiding the fact that he is infected with a zombie plague. His new friends have just found out ... Read more


A dutiful Samurai, a madcap Ninja and a bizarro Zen Monk team up to battle the undead in Feudal Japan. Can these unlikely allies stay friends long enough to stop Read more

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Based on Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen's book of the same name, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was directed by Kenneth Johnson and set in the year 2049. It Read more

Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010)

Arriving in 2010, Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City was the sequel for 2004's Zebraman, and starred Show Aikawa once again as Shinichi Ichikawa/Zebraman. As the film opens it Read more

Zebraman (2004)

Directed by Takashi Miike, Zebraman follows Shinichi Ichikawa (Shô Aikawa), a man whose life is unravelling before his eyes. At work he is a failing school teacher and at home he Read more

Zazie Beetz to Play Domino in Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds announced via Twitter that Zazie Beets (Atlanta) will play Domino in the upcoming Deadpool sequel: Deadpool 2 will be directed by David Leitch (John Wick), with original Deadpool scripters Rhett Reese Read more

Zardoz (1974)

Zardoz, often referred to as "the one where James Bond is in his pants," is set in a future post-apocalypse Earth in the year 2293. By this point in history Read more


Zapped is a British sci-fi/fantasy sitcom that takes place in both in the real world and in a town called Munty which exists in a medieval fantasy world. The series Read more

Z-Nation #1

A prequel set in the world of Syfy's #1 scripted hit zombie series Z Nation, Black Summer is as bad as the apocalypse gets. A worldwide drought and famine when Read more

Z-Mart 1

The employees at George's Market survive the night of the living dead, but not without some power-ups. Written by Bill Jemas and Matt Summo, with art by Wood Ashley and Read more

Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

%d bloggers like this: