The Best Old Skool Cameos

Remakes, reimaginings, reboots, revamps, call them what you will. Hollywood may perennially suffer from ‘sequelitous’ but it also has something of a soft spot for the remake and big screen reboot. Dean Newman checks out the best blink and you’ll miss em moments where the new remake kids on the block feature a nod to their originals.

10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
It’s a masterful remake but it’s the small things that make this chilling paranoid classic really shine. A case in point is the moment when the star of the original, Kevin McCarthy runs into a car screaming that they are here already and the pure genius here is that this is exactly how the original film ended, with McCarthy running down a busy road screaming those very words.
This might have meant that he had been running for some 22 years but it also meant that in another sense it could be considered as something of a continuation of events  rather than just a straight remake. Genius.

9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Perhaps my second favourite old skool cameo is from Bill Bixby in The Incredible Hulk who didn’t let a little thing called death stop him turning up for a knowing nod and wink. Bixby is seen on TV in an episode of “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1969).
Mr Marvel himself, Stan Lee, who has pretty much done an ‘Alfred Hitchcock’ in every Marvel movie, turned up this reboot as a man who slurps a soft drink contaminated with Bruce Banner’s blood.

8. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
A space-set riff on The Magnificent Seven from the pen of John Sayles and produced by one Roger Corman. It’s a film full to the brim of wonderful memories from when I was young and the crisp writing and early score by James Horner gives it some much needed weight. But the glue that holds this ragtag group of mismatched aliens together is surely Robert Vaughn, who of course appeared in the original Magnificent Seven. A complete guilty pleasure with able support from George Peppard, as a cowboy just in case you didn’t get it, John Saxon and John Boy from The Waltons.

7. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)
The pilot may have had DeForest Kelly passing on the Trek baton to the brand new crew in the very first episode but the best nod and wink to the original series was from the original ships transporter system. Its ceiling was now transformed into the floor of the brand new transporter. Recycling, the possibilities are endless.

6. Smallville (2001)
It has an irritatingly catchy theme tune and many may have labelled it Dawson’s Cape, but this series, which is set to take the crown as having the most episodes of any sci-fi show, treats those previous Superman incarnations with supreme reverence. And it’s an impressive roll call.

Christopher Reeve (Dr. Virgil Swann) played Superman in Superman (1978) and its three sequels; Terence Stamp (Jor-El) will forever be General Zod in Superman II (1980); Annette O’Toole (Martha Kent) played Lana Lang in Superman III (1983); Dean Cain (Dr. Curtis Knox) played Clark Kent in “The New Adventures of Superman” (1993); Helen Slater (Lara, Clark’s mother) played Kara/Supergirl in Supergirl (1984). Marc McClure (Dax-Ur) played Jimmy Olsen in Superman (1978), its three sequels, and Supergirl (1984), Margot Kidder (Bridgette Crosby) played Lois Lane in Superman (1978) and its three sequels. Teri Hatcher (Lois’s mother) played Lois Lane in “The New Adventures of Superman” (1993).

 

5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Until Russell Crowe went round hiding in bushes last year, Sean Connery was the oldest person to have portrayed the Hooded Man on screen, which he did in1976’s Robin and Marian. With nod, wink and a favour to old The Untouchable co-star Kevin Costner, Connery turned up as an uncredited King Richard at the end of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves giving permission for Costner’s Hood to marry Maid Marian.

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
One of the better received remakes of recent years is Dawn of the Dead. For me it lacks the social and satirical bite of the original but a great effort with some memorable imagery. Getting in on the ‘brains’ action again were some of its original stars, including make-up supremo Tom Savini and Ken Forlee, who even gets another chance to give his classic line from the original – “When hell is full the dead will walk the earth”.

3. The Omen (2006)
Harvey Stephens, who portrayed the cute but evil moppet Damien in the original The Omen (1976), appears in this remake as the tabloid reporter (a devilish job if ever there was one) who asks Robert Thorn if the deceased nanny “was on drugs”. Apparently he is a property developer now after being a futures trader in London, almost jobs the devil would be proud of then.

2. Cape Fear (1991)
The classic Bernard Herrmann score made a welcome return, thanks to Elmer Bernstein, in this Martin Scorsese helmed remake and original stars, Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck came along for the ride, as did Martin Balsam. Quality. Their roles this time round are played by Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte and Joe Don Baker respectively.

1.Planet of the Apes (2001)
Clearly written by a group of monkeys with typewriters this good-looking but completely vacuous retread is a major misfire from the mind of Tim Burton. At least original star, Charlton Heston, got to hide his embarrassment behind some admittedly good Ape make-up where he delivered a twist on his classic “get your filthy paws off me you damned dirty ape” to Marky Mark (no doubt in desperate need of a funky bunch of bananas).

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