Monday, October 21, 2013

Tor Johnson

ceramic 10cm high
signed, numbered, dated by Roman Scott, 2013

Tor Johnson (1903-1971) was a Swedish actor chiefly known for his roles as lumbering types in auteur-directed films. Alas, not Ingmar Bergman, but Ed Wood B-movies.

A former wrestler, he was a big man who looked fierce when he wanted to. However, most accounts have it that he was of a sweet disposition, easy to work with. Rudolph Grey's excellent biography of Ed Wood, Nightmare of Ecstasy, has some good anecdotes about Tor. But it's hard to find any compelling biographical info from the Internet at this time (such a common problem we encounter when researching pre-digital folk.)
One meme that has gathered steam over the last decades is that Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space is the worst film ever made. I disagree; such an entertaining film could never be judged as very bad. I will put forth a more reasonable candidate for worst film ever, in which Tor Johnson also starred: The Beast of Yucca Flats, by Coleman Francis. This film is execrable. The plot, acting, photography and editing are dreadful. And yet, even in this atrocity of boredom, Tor Johnson has a presence, something that sticks with you. He is perhaps an example of biological sculpture, a bodily form interesting outside of drama's requirements.

1 comment:

  1. Did you send it to Drew? I enjoy the hyperabundance of flesh on this pate.