Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Horror of Seinfeld: Seinfeld Actor Horror Film Appearances - Part 1


As you can guess from this site, I'm a big Horror fan. I like Horror from all eras and subgenres, '30s Pre-Code Boris Karloff thrillers, '40s Werewolves, '50s vampires, '70s Satanic cults, '80s slashers, whatever you've got, really. In addition to horror, I also watch a great deal of Seinfeld. I've seen every episode at least four times, and I've probably seen most of the episodes even more than that. I actually subscribe to Hulu specifically for Seinfeld so that I don't have to mess with the DVDs. If I can't find something to watch, or if I want to watch a show while I eat, Seinfeld always works. I've probably cycled through the series 7 times in the past few years. I start with the first episode and end with the Puerto Rican Day episode, which is the last episode before the clip show and the divisive finale (some people thought it sucked, others thought it really sucked).

What's fun about watching the show as a horror fan is there are a ton of people who appear on this show who have also had great parts in classic horror films like The Burning or not so classic horror films like Ghoulies III or Creepshow 2. I guess that goes for a lot of older shows really, but I still really get a kick out of spotting them when I see them. So I thought it would be fun to go through and do a little list of some of my favorite Seinfeld actor horror sightings. There are so many I am probably going to have to split this into two parts, even then I'll still be missing like 50 people. They used a lot of character actors on this show. 

First up, the more prominent characters, characters who have been in more than a few episodes.

Jerry Seinfeld - Played by Jerry Seinfeld. Of the main 4 cast members, Jerry was the only one to not appear in a horror film in his career. I'm including him because I saw the Stand-Up confidential tape he made with Joel Hodgson in 1987, and I've gotta say, I actually found the skit portions to be a bit on the creepy side. Kind of "You Can't Do That on Television meets that weird ass Grandma scene from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey"...no, that's close, but that doesn't quite work. I can't describe it, see for yourself by skimming through this video:



Now, if you're still alive after witnessing that insanity, read on for the cast members with actual horror film related credits.


George Lewis Constanza - Played by Jason Alexander. George was a short, stalky, slow-witted bald man who founded The Human Fund. Jason made his cinematic acting debut (with hair) as Dave in slasher favorite The Burning (review) in 1981. Bonus points: If, for some reason, you want to see Costanza's ass, look no further than The Burning. Jason would also later go on to appear as Geary in Jacob's Ladder in 1990.


Elaine Benes - Played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine was Jerry's former girlfriend turned regular friend and one-time recipient of a $182 dollar cash birthday gift. Julia appeared with Sonny Bono in the 1986 horror fantasy Troll. Fun fact: The father and son played by Michael Moriarty and Noah Hathaway are both named Harry Potter. I'm sure this has been mentioned in every movie review of Troll since Harry Potter came out, but I think Troll director John Carl Beuchler should try and sue to get a little bit of that Harry Potter money. I've never read a single page of one the books, but I hear that JK lady is pretty loaded. She probably has money enough to literally fund a few hundred thousand JC Buechler films.


Cosmo Kramer - Played by Michael Richards. Jerry's wacky high-haired hipster doofus neighbor appeared as a wacky high-haired and possibly mentally challenged butler named Fejos in the 1985 Jeff Goldblum horror/comedy Transylvania 6-5000. Note: I have heard from a very reputable source that this guy is bonkos!


Frank Costanza - Played by Jerry Stiller. Frank is George's perpetually angry father and disgraced former Army cook. Jerry has very little horror film acting experience, but he did appear in two horror tv episodes. He was a maniacal radio DJ in a 1985 Tales from the Darkside episode titled The Devil's Advocate, and a werewolf in a Monsters episode from 1990 titled One Wolf's Family. He also appeared briefly, with son Ben, in the oddball horror-road-action-comedy Highway to Hell starring Chad Lowe.


Uncle Leo - Played by Len Lesser. Uncle Leo was Jerry's weird uncle who was once slightly immolated in an oven cleaner explosion. Len was quite a prolific character actor, appearing in 175 films and TV series before his death in 2011. He played the kinda creepy/possibly rapey Tom Kredge in 1971's proto-slasher Blood and Lace, which I highly recommend. He also appeared in the 1977 film Ruby, 1989's Grandmother's House, and the unsurprisingly terrible Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell.


Mr. Justin Pitt - Played by Ian Abercrombie. Mr. Pitt was Elaine's ink pen hating boss and one-time Woody Woodpecker float handler. I'm sure that everyone knows him as the Wiseman in Army of Darkness, but he has several other horror appearances on his resume. I think he's actually been in more horror films than Seinfeld episodes. In addition to Evil Dead 3, you can also see Ian in Blood Beach, Warlock, Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge, and the  Schwarzenegger Tales From The Crypt episode "The Switch". Bonus Seinfeld Nerd Points: Since he's a Nazi in Puppet Master III, while taking this screenshot I was able to catch him in the middle of a Heil Five.

That's all for now, but be on the lookout for The Horror of Seinfeld Part II: The End of the Trilogy, where I'll focus on some of the lesser characters like Mr. Morgan and Conrad, the contractor.

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