In 1990, Universal Pictures released the superhero horror movie, Darkman. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film starred Liam Neeson in the role of Peyton Westlake/Darkman, alongside a cast which included Frances McDormand, Larry Drake, Colin Friels, and Ted Raimi.
Darkman told the story of Peyton Westlake, a brilliant scientist who develops a liquid skin which can alter the appearance of burn victims. However, when Westlake runs afoul of the mob, his work is destroyed, his body is disfigured and he is left for dead.
In an attempt to regain his life, Westlake recreates his technology to return his lost features. However, with bitterness consuming his soul, he soon changes tactics and instead seeks revenge against his would-be assassins, while assuming the guise of Darkman.
If you are familiar with Darkman, you will know how much of a fun, and creepy movie it is. But what else do you know about the film?
In this post, I am taking a look back at Darkman to serve up some key details about the movie. Below are nine facts about the film which you really should know.
Darkman was created by Evil Dead (1981) creator/director, Sam Raimi and developed at Universal Pictures as an original property. Unlike most super hero movies, Darkman was not based on a comic, but was instead inspired by Raimi’s love for comics, as well the classic Universal monsters such as the Invisible Man and The Phantom of the Opera.
The man behind the makeup
The makeup effects in Darkman were the work of movie effects specialist, Tony Gardner. Gardner has been the makeup designer on many movies, including The Blob (1988), Army of Darkness (1992), Shallow Hal (2001), Zombieland (2009) and Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), amongst others.
During a scene in which Peyton Westlake is in hospital, being treated for burns, actress Jenny Agutter has a small cameo role as the main physician.
An American Werewolf in London (1981) director, John Landis also appears in the scene, in a non-speaking role as a fellow doctor. Sam Raimi’s brother (and Darkman co-screenplay writer) Ivan Raimi also cameos as a doctor.
The music of Darkman
If you think the music of Darkman sounds familiar it is because it was composed by Danny Elfman. Elfman has composed the score for various superhero/comic book movies over the years, including Batman (1989), Dick Tracy (1990), Batman Returns (1992), Men in Black (1997), Spider-Man (2002), and Hulk (2003), amongst others.
Going through changes
Throughout the movie, Peyton alters his features eight times. This includes reconstructing his own face on three separate occasions.
He adopts the disguise of the villainous Robert G. Durant twice in the movie, including a memorable scene where the real Durant and the fake Durant come face-to-face.
At the very end of the movie, Peyton makes one final transformation, taking on the appearance of a man who gets lost amongst a crowd of people.
The actor in this role was credited as Final Shemp – a phrase used to describe the movie’s final stand-in. In reality, the final shemp was Evil Dead star, Bruce Campbell.
It’s a hit!
Darkman was a box office success, making $48.8 million from a relatively small budget. The film was also considered a critical hit, after receiving mostly favourable reviews from the critics.
Due to the success of the movie, Darkman was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995) and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996).
Bradford May replaced Sam Raimi as the director on both movies, while Arnold Vosloo took over from Liam Neeson in the role of Peyton Westlake.
And finally, in addition to the two movie sequels, Darkman inspired comics, books, and toys. Universal Television also developed a pilot for a potential television show.
For the pilot, Christopher Bowen took on the role of Peyton Westlake, but the one-off episode never made it to air.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about Darkman. I hope you feel informed about this awesome movie.
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