Saturday, June 8, 2013
Horror Icon: Tyler Mane
I’ve written about some big men when it comes to the horror genre. But they are all dwarfed by this man. Standing at a whooping 6’9 (that’s 206cm for anyone on the metric system) comes a new addition to my Horror Icon collection. (I’m only 5’6 myself and would need to stand on at least two large boxes to be able to look him in the eye) Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Tyler Mane.
Tyler was actually born under the name of Daryl Karolat on December 8, 1966 in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Twenty years later he began a career in wrestling. Trained by Red Bastien, Tyler used the name Skywalker Nitron in his native Canada. In 1987 Tyler went to the United Kingdom where he wrestled for Joint Promotions. In 1988 he toured New Japan Wrestling as Gully Gasper.
In 1989 Tyler joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Nitron or Nitro. He left in early 1990.
His wrestling career continued for another six years before he eventually retired in 1996 after the death of Herb Abrams and eventual dissolving of the UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation).
In 2000 the acting skies opened and Tyler was offered the role of Sabretooth in X-Men. Working alongside Australia’s Mr. Nice Guy, Hugh Jackman, Tyler’s performance was outstanding. The storyline for X-Men is this: In a world where both Mutants and Humans fear each other, Marie, better known as Rogue, runs away from home and hitches a ride with another mutant, known as Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine. Charles Xavier, who owns a school for young mutants, sends Storm and Cyclops to bring them back before it is too late. Magneto, who believes a war is approaching, has an evil plan in mind, and needs young Rogue to help him.
One thing I really loved about the film was Tyler’s commitment to the role of Sabertooth. (Fun Fact: It’s been reported that Tyler watched the 1990’s X-Men cartoon as well as purchased dozens of Sabertooth Comics to prepare for the role) His showdown with Hugh Jackman was a highlight of the film for me. Not being a fan of X-Men myself, I was surprised at how drawn into the movie I became.
Tyler’s next movie role came a year later with an appearance in Joe Dirt along with the TV movie How To Make A Monster. I will admit, for a cheesy TV horror movie, How To Make A Monster wasn’t bad. It had an interesting concept, fun characters, a clever script and the effects were pretty intriguing. If you’re able to find a copy of this film, I highly recommend watching it.
From there Tyler had small roles in The Scorpion King (uncreditted) as well as appearing in the Brad Pitt blockbuster Troy.
Horror knocked on Tyler’s door with an uncreditted appearance as Rufus in Rob Zombie’s creation The Devil’s Rejects in 2005. Working alongside horror favourites like Bill Moseley, Sid Haig and William Forsythe, Tyler was in good company. The Devil’s Reject has been labeled a genre masterpiece, crediting Rob Zombie alongside classic horror directors like John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Sean S. Cunningham.
In 2007 Rob Zombie teamed up again with Tyler for the remake of the classic Halloween. By this point in time everyone knows what I thought of the film. Being an avert lover of the original, I found the remake to be lacking in everything from the characters right through to the script. However, in saying that, there are some highlights. For starters having Danielle Harris return to Haddonfield was a big plus. Little Jamie Lloyd from Halloween 4 and 5 is all grown up and now playing Annie Brackett. Brad Dourif (Chucky from Child’s Play) played her father and did a fantastic job as the Sheriff. Tyler Mane took on the title role of Michael Myers, the movie’s antagonist. He was far more brutal in this film then Michael Myers had ever been, but I chalk that up to Rob Zombie’s bloodlust. Tyler’s stature aided to the brutality but also provided a large contrast between Michael and every other character, literally. The scene where Michael confronts Annie and her boyfriend has stuck in my mind as did the scene earlier in the movie where Michael brutally slays Laurie’s parents.
Gory, gruesome, terrifying and brutal is the only way I can describe Halloween 2007. Tyler was outstanding as Michael and though I’m not a fan of the film, I wouldn’t mind seeing him pick up the kitchen knife and donning the mask again.
In 2009 a sequel to Halloween came out aptly named Halloween II. I’ll be honest when I say I have no bloody idea what this film is about. It’s terrible. There’s no genuine scares or suspense that we’ve come to know and love within the Halloween franchise. It was just brutal killings with a goal of how much blood and body parts could fly at the screen in the space of two hours. No real story, and the characters were beyond terrible. As a member of the audience, I had no connection to Laurie this time around and quite frankly she should have been the first one to die. Malcolm McDowell’s role was beneath him and the role designed for Brad Dourif was also beneath his talent. Danielle Harris was the only bright spark and they killed her in a fashion that was so brutal I actually found myself screaming at the screen “Take me instead!”
Tyler returned as Michael. He was good, living up to the terrifying nature that he helped create in the first film, but pushed the boundaries of the brutality to the point that I couldn’t watch the screen anymore.
I will give Tyler credit as for the first time in a long time, Michael Myers was once again gut-wrenchingly terrifying, however between him, Danielle and Brad, this film couldn’t be saved. Halloween II is just terrible. If you want to watch the decent sequel, go back to the 1981 version and avoid the 2009 disaster.
The 2011 film 247°F saw Tyler team up with his Halloween and Halloween II co-star Scout Taylor-Compton as well as Friday The 13th alumni Travis Van Winkle. While I enjoyed the concept of three friends trapped in a sauna fighting for their life in 247°F heat, the film itself was tedious. Tyler was great in his limited role, but it just didn’t work. It certainly is hard to warm to 247°F (get it?).
Also in 2011 through to 2012, Tyler had a short run horror TV series entitled Chopper. But all that would give way to the 2013 film that saw him team up with fellow Horror Icons Derek Mears and Muse Watson. The film is Compound Fracture.
Compound Fracture has an outstanding cast that contains three iconic killers, Tyler Mane (Michael Myers), Derek Mears (Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th (2009)) and Muse Watson (Ben Willis in I Know What You Did Last Summer). And while Compound Fracture reaches more into the thriller range than horror, it still manages to create a creepy, isolated environment with a few good scares while weaving a twisted tale around the Wolffsen family. The story was interesting and not the typical rehash of stories already told one thousand times. It does well to not lead you directly to the ending and keeps you guessing. Most of the characters have depth and their personal struggles are shown juxtapose to the real threat lurking around them.
It’s a fantastic film that is currently getting rave reviews from all over the world. The best part is not only did Tyler star in it, but he wrote it along with his wife, Renae Geerlings, who also stars in it. When you get a chance, go and see Compound Fracture. It truly is a remarkable film that is even better the second time you view it.
As we’re currently in the year of 2013, Tyler has a few films in the works. When The Storm God Rides is a western film and looks to be set for release in 2014 while Devil May Call is set for release sometime soon. Also in the works is Casket County Massacre, and while there’s not much information available on that, it certainly screams horror to me.
Tyler Mane. Tall, talented and the ideal horror icon. He isn’t afraid to tackle some of the biggest horror roles and make them his own. His fans will follow him to the ends of Earth and the horror genre will salute him for many more years to come. He can play my leading man any time.
Rhiannon’s Top 5 Tyler Mane Movies
1) Compound Fracture (2013) – Tyler, Derek, Muse. Need I say more?
2) X-Men (2000) – Tyler’s battle with Hugh Jackman has got me coming back for more.
3) How To Make A Monster (2001) – Not a bad TV movie at all. Highly recommended.
4) The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – It’s a great film even if Tyler’s role was minimal.
5) Halloween (2007) – He is the new Michael Myers.