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Game Over, Man! 10 Genre Roles of Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton

The world received some crushing news yesterday when it was announced that veteran actor Bill Paxton had passed away due to complications from surgery. It’s an especially sad piece of news for horror fans, as Paxton holds a special place in many of our hearts for the multiple roles he has portrayed in genre films. While he was mostly well-known for films like Apollo 13TwisterTitanic, True Lies and the exceptional HBO series Big Love, Paxton had a loyalty to the horror genre that many veteran actors lose once they become more established. We thought we would take a moment to look back on some of Paxton’s most memorable roles in genre films in order to celebrate his life and career.

Night Warning

Back in 1982, Paxton was still being billed as William Paxton, so if you stumble upon Night Warning one day be on the lookout for his name. Night Warning is a bizarre horror film that acts as a modern retelling of Oedipus. It’s got incest and murder galore. Paxton’s role as the local bully isn’t a large one, but since this is one of his earliest film roles, that’s not surprising.

Bill Paxton


Mortuary

Paxton re-entered slasher territory with his role as Paul Andrews the mentally disturbed son of a mortician. This isn’t high art here, but it’s worth seeing simply for the fact that the killer is a face-painted man whose weapon of choice is an embalming trocar. It’s super cheesy and hasn’t aged well, but it is a lot of fun.

Bill Paxton


Aliens

Paxton re-teamed with James Cameron (their first collaboration being The Terminator in which Paxton played a thug) for what is arguably his most famous genre role: Private Hudson, a cocky, foulmouthed pretty boy who, as annoying as he was, managed to capture the hearts of genre fans everywhere. He should have been a character that got on your nerves, but Paxton made him endearing enough to the point where you actually feel bad for him when he gets dragged through the floor grates by an Alien.


Near Dark

Paxton teamed up with James Cameron’s future wife Kathryn Bigelow for Near Dark, a vampire film that was a flop upon its initial release but has since garnered a massive cult following. He portrays Severen, the craziest of all the vampires in the film, and boy is he great in the role. He certainly gives Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys) a run for his money when it comes to psychotic ’80s vampires.

Bill Paxton


Brain Dead

The two Bills (Pullman and Paxton) joined forces in Adam Simon’s (CarnosaurBrain Dead, a film that sees Pullman’s character slowly going insane. In all truthfulness, Brain Dead is not a very good movie, but where else are you going to see Pullman and Paxton bantering? Nowhere, that’s where. So give this one a watch.

Bill Paxton

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COMMENTS

31 Comments
  • Christopher Perkins

    I always liked his turn in Last Supper, as the racist truck driver.

  • Vincent Kane

    He was amazing in Frailty.

    • OmarComin’

      Amazing movie.

  • Matt

    The Vagrant was a whole lot of fun in my opinion. Michael Ironside and Bill Paxton together in the same movie was great. I wish they would’ve worked together again.

    My “tribute” viewings are many of my faves; the aforementioned the Vagrant, Predator 2, Aliens, Near Dark, but above all is Tombstone. Such an amazing cast, that was a true Western masterpiece.

  • Nikita Skorobogatov

    Frailty FTW.

  • LastCubScout

    I dug Bill Paxton in the odd indie film “The Dark Backward,” with Judd Nelson playing a three-armed stand-up comedian. No one ever knows what movie I’m talking about.

    • Randy Moses

      I’ve seen that one. 🙂

    • Harland Sylling

      That is such a strange movie

  • Prince Of Darkness

    The whole point of Hudson in Aliens is all he did was whine and complain, but in the end he went down like a badass marine. He fought fearlessly and was just as tough, if not the toughest of them all. BTW – I saw really nice twitter tributes to Bill from Ilan Michael Smith and Judy Aronson from Weird Science, also from Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn and Jeannette Goldstein from Aliens.

    • dan houle

      Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies wrote a nice tribute too, he was tight with Bill. They been friends since way back in the day.

  • Otterlee

    Nobody chewed scenery like ol’ Bill.

  • dan houle

    His sleazy car salesman character in True Lies was awesome.

    • Luke Knutson

      “please dont kill me.. I got a small dick its pretty pathetic” LOL!!! when arnold has that vision of punching his face in.. bill ruled in true lies.

  • dan houle

    Hard to top Privtate Hudson or Severin though.

  • silverfishimperitrix

    Marshall Bell drives him crazy in “The Vagrant,” not Michael Ironside.

  • Pete Ruland

    All these lists about Bill Paxton’s movies and not one mentions Weird Science

    • Well, that isn’t a genre film, so it doesn’t really qualify for this list.

      • SpacemanSpliffz

        comedy is a genre

        • Genre film usually means it has some semblance of horror in it.

  • Noah B.

    R.I.P Bill Paxton.He was a good actor.My favorite movie from him was Twister.

  • Joe Smith

    When I first read he died I skimmed the comments section til I saw the only line I needed to read “game over man, game over.” it was the 4th comment.

  • 1EyeJack

    Boxing Helena

  • Evan3

    Boy, paxton was a lot of fun. I must have been one of ten people to see Frailty in theaters. One of my all-time favorite roles was his whiny villain in Vertical Limit. He really had a talent for making total dicks into dicks you care about. RIP Paxton, and thanks for all the memories.

    • I LOVE Vertical Limit. Such an underrated film.

      • Evan3

        On this, we are in total agreement. Vertical Limit is the definition of “thrill ride.”

  • SpacemanSpliffz
    • It’s doesn’t have anything to do with horror.

  • Frailty is amazing, one of the best thrillers I’ve seen.

  • Spanktaculus

    Played a pretty big role in ‘The Colony’ which is definitely a genre film.

  • Josh Nitsche

    Hey Trace, I actually think “Mean Dreams” is Bill’s last genre outing. I think he’s the villain of the picture too. Just fyi.

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