Today is the birthday of Sir Anthony Hopkins (b. 1937). I can’t believe I didn’t get it together to do a post on him today for my Hall of Hams — but it’s on the calendar to do so for next year. Meantime, I thought of an excellent thing to celebrate. While he’d been in a ton of tv movies and historical costume dramas by this stage, it wasn’t until 1978′s Magic that Hopkins began to come into his own as a Hollywood movie star. Always creepy, and a bit Asperger-y, Hopkins was perfectly cast as the demented ventriloquist in this horror thriller, directed by Richard Attenborough. Now the “Psychotic Ventriloquist” plot was already a well established genre even by 1978 — viz, those Twilight Zone episodes? Magic turned things up a notch by merging it with slasher type horror, which was just beginning to come into its own. Hopkin’s character “Corky” is driven to do very bad things by his ventriloquist dummy “Fats”. And look — he even comes between Corky and his love interest Ann-Margaret (literally!)
Magic had one of the best trailers of all time. Indeed, it was one of the very first poems I ever learned by heart. That says something about me, or our culture, or both.