Richard E. Grant had a ball as Classic Loki, but here’s a look back at his playful turns in horror, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Corpse Bride.
Richard E. Grant is an esteemed character actor who’s always been at home in a horror movie, but how do his films from the genre rank from worst to best? Most recently, he’s claimed the spotlight as the variant Classic Loki on the Disney + series Loki. However, Grant has been an irrepressible presence in cinema since his phenomenal debut in 1987’s Withnail and I.
A classic “That Guy” actor with an iconic face and distinctly English presence, Richard E. Grant soon followed up Withnail with his first horror film, Warlock. His performance there, as 17th-century witch hunter Giles Redferne, is a classic example of the actor’s “happy to be here” spirit. His discipline, mixed with a schoolboy’s enthusiasm, has made him a beloved fixture in films such as The Player and 2001 drama Gosford Park.
In 2019, Grant reached a career high-point with an Oscar nomination for his supporting turn in Can You Ever Forgive Me? His giddiness at being part of the awards circuit (and at seeing Barbra Streisand take the stage) was very endearing, a quality that carried into his Loki performance. As the journeyman actor reaches an apex of cultural visibility, it’s fun to look back on those films that have most capitalized on his sense of committed play: his horror output. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.
4. Corpse Bride (2005)
Richard E. Grant voices the villainous Lord Barkis Bittern in this twelve-years-later follow-up to The Nightmare Before Christmas. As always, the actor is gleefully plugged in to his role, but the surrounding film lacks pretty much everything that made its predecessor so charming. While it was well-received during its initial release, Corpse Bride, with its tossed-off Danny Elfman songs and expressionless facial animation, doesn’t hold up in repeat viewings.
3. The Little Vampire (2000)
This decidedly odd kids’ movie from 2000 may seem on the surface to be a direct-to-video flop, but The Little Vampire is actually a surprising delight. The story concerns new kid in a Scottish town Tony (played by Jerry Maguire’s Jonathan Lipnicki), who befriends a sweet vampire boy named Rudolph and becomes embroiled in a battle for the survival of the undead race. Director Uli Edel crafts an engaging fairytale that’s equal parts sweet and scary, with some particularly solid gags involving vampire cows. Richard E. Grant has a ball playing Rudolph’s father, with his Shakespearean aristocrat performance clashing marvelously with Tony’s human parents.
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
While there were plenty of adaptations of Bram Stoker’s horror novel Dracula prior to this 1992 version, it soon became one of the most acclaimed. Francis Ford Coppola’s visually resplendent, practical effects-heavy ode to old-school monster movies is a feast for the eyes and Dracula is a perverse, unique joy to behold. Backed by Oscar-winning craftsmanship in every department, including Eiko Ishioka’s Oscar-winning costumes, Bram Stoker’s Dracula sees a rogue’s gallery of British character actors giving some spirited, old-fashioned horror performances. Much ink has been spilled on Keanu Reeves’ “English by way of surfer bro” turn here, but Grant’s Dr. Seward ranks as one of the film’s best-supporting players, holding his own against the colossal slices of ham being served by Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins.
1. Warlock (1989)
If there’s one horror movie that captures this English character actor’s dedication to his craft, no matter how ridiculous the film, it’s Warlock. Immediately after his breakout success in 1987’s Withnail and I, Grant found himself playing a witch-hunter from 1691, battling an evil warlock in 1980’s Los Angeles. The film is an absolute B-movie blast, a medieval Terminator that Grant tears into with pure action movie gusto. Sean Connery was initially approached to play Redferne, but it’s impossible to imagine anyone else capturing the sincere silliness of this film than Richard E. Grant.
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