Peter Cushing was one of the greatest Horror Icons of his time. He was mostly known for his roles in Hammer Films such as The Curse of Frankenstein and The Horror of Dracula, but he played a wide range of characters. He could somehow make any character, no matter how silly, seem believable and serious.
He was just as good at playing the villain, Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, as he was playing a hero like Dr. Van Helsing in The Horror of Dracula or Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. He was a very charismatic actor that put a lot of feeling into all his roles. I love Hammer Films, which means I also love Peter Cushing because the two were so intertwined. Here is a list of my favorite films starring Peter Cushing…
10. Star Wars (1977)-
As the evil Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, Peter Cushing played the Commander of the Death Star. He sends Darth Vader to interrogate Princess Leia about where the Rebels are located. She names the planet Dantooine as the location of the base to save her own planet, but he destroys Alderaan, her home planet anyway.
9. The Creeping Flesh (1972)-
Peter Cushing is at his best when he is playing an evil scientist or Dr. In Creeping Flesh he plays a scientist that has just returned from New Guinea with an incredible discovery of a prehistoric skeleton. But when he investigates the skeleton he accidentally spills water on a finger and it starts to grow flesh.
8. The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)-
In The Flesh and the Fiends, Cushing plays the real life Dr. Robert Knox who was famous for the scandal involving him and two killers named Burke and Hare in 1828 Scotland. The Dr. required fresh cadavers for his lectures at the Medical School where he teaches. He pays Burke and Hare for fresh specimens but never asks how they find them.
7. The Skull (1965)-
In The Skull, Cushing plays a collector that is only interested in the most rare and valued items of the Occult. One day his connection brings him the skull of the marquis De Sade. The skull is haunted and starts to affect him with hallucinations and urges to murder people.
6. Horror Express (1972)-
A Trans-Siberian train is carrying what appears to be the frozen remains of the so called Missing Link. Dr. Wells, played by Peter Cushing, is trying to find out the truth about about the mysterious crate in the cargo car. However the creature escapes and causes all sorts of problems.
5. The Twins of Evil (1971)-
Uncle Gustav is a very religious and stern man that runs a group of Witch Hunters in his small village. He is quite upset when his pretty nieces show up and want to stay with him. Of course they quickly find the local Vampire and are turned into Vampires themselves.
4. Tales From the Crypt (1972)-
One of my favourite Movies by Amicus Films, it stars Peter Cushing as a man that decides to take revenge from the Grave. Cushing slowly rises out a grave and goes to find the man who wronged him.
3. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)-
Holmes and Watson go to see Sir Henry, played by Christopher Lee, who is the new owner of Baskerville Hall. He suspects that someone is trying to kill Sir Henry so, Holmes and Watson stay to solve the case.
2. The Horror of Dracula (1958)-
Dr. Van Helsing arrives just in time to save Mina from being buried alive by Dracula. The two start to fight in the castle, but Van Helsing runs across the table and grabs the curtains from the window exposing Dracula to the sun light.
1. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)-
This is definitely my favourite character played by Cushing. The original Universal Movie, Frankenstein, was all about the Monster. In the Hammer version the story focused on Dr. Frankenstein instead. Cushing easily shows how a man can evolve into someone truly evil because he is obsessed by the thought of bringing life back to a corpse.
This is what Christopher Lee had to say about his friend… ”I don`t want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again”.
A compilation tribute video of Peter Cushing moments which was shown on BBC1 a few days after his death in 1994…