How do you sum up the career of Lance Henriksen with an homage that gives his extensive work justice? The man has been in over 222 movies and television shows, acting with some of the best Hollywood has to offer, from Dog Day Afternoon (1975) with Al Pacino to Aliens (1986) starring Sigourney Weaver.
I will begin with where I remember seeing him first as Ed Harley in Pumpkinhead (1988) , a mournful father who sells his soul to raise a demon sent to enact revenge. If you claim to be a horror fan but haven’t seen Pumpkinhead then you are just a casual horror viewer and need to immediately go see this classic film.
One of my personal favorites is his role as The Father in No Escape(1994) starring Ray Liotta. Sent to serve a life sentence on a secret island prison, Ray Liotta barely escapes a village of savage cannibal prisoners and finds on the opposite side of the island a peaceful civilized society of cons trying to bring normality into their abnormal life. Henriksen plays the the leader of the commune with a powerful performance as a sensitive doctor trying to help Ray Liotta in his aggressive nature and direct him on the path of righteousness.
He is most notable for his role as Bishop in Aliens, and reprises the role in Alien3 (1992) as well as the designer of Bishop in Alien V. Predator (2004). Aliens was not his first time working with director James Cameron, they both worked on Piranha II (1981). Cameron actually wrote the part of Bishop for him and also intended for Henriksen to play the T-800 prior to Schwarzenegger being cast for the role but Heriksen did play Detective Yukovich.
In 1996 X-Files creator Chris Carter starred him as Frank Black in the television series Millennium , about a former FBI agent with clairvoyant ability to see into the minds of killers, Henriksen was nominated three consecutive years in a row for a Golden Globe in Best Actor category.
Besides his nominations and various parts and genres,he is enjoyable to watch with his gruff voice and demanding presence. Whatever he is in magnetizes the other characters as well as gaining audience’s attentive respect for actor and character alike.
At 75 he shows no signs of slowing down, with 9 projects stated for 2016 and a comedy to be released in 2017, Bring Me The Head of Lance Henriksen where 80’s B-movie star Tim Thomerson seeks Lance out to discover the secret to Hollywood longevity.
His list of classics, cult status or blockbusters alike are endless but as a horror and fantasy fan his name is among those that will live on in the Hall of Fame. With 5 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Nominations as well as 4X Saturn Award nominee it is blatantly clear that he is a favorite in that genre and we should cherish this gem of an actor and be thankful he is still working to bring intense and engaging characters to life, I for one look forward to what he creates in the future.