Thoughts from the Ledge: Ted Raimi – the genius clown prince of horror


Welcome to my weekly series where I pay homage to those unsung heroes of the horror genre. This installment, I am going to discuss the genius that is Ted Raimi. The brother of A-list director, Sam Raimi, Ted is a multi-talented performer in his own right.

“You can count on my steel.” – Ted Raimi

Renaissance Man

I have always enjoyed Ted Raimi’s work as an actor. He is adept at comedy, horror and drama. Even if he only has a supporting role, he has this uncanny ability to make every moment of screen time count.

A native of Detroit, Michigan young Theodore was a musician who played the cello. Fun fact; Bruce Campbell used to be his babysitter and would chauffeur him to and from his lessons. Like his brothers before him, he went to Wylie E. Groves High School in Birmingham, Michigan.

According to Wikipedia, Ted started his career as an actor at the tender age of seventeen. He appeared in industrial films for such automobile powerhouses as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. From there, like any other kid, he went to college and ended up graduating from the University of Michigan.

He began his career in earnest in 1987 with his role as Henrietta in Evil Dead II for his brother, Sam. From there, he found himself steadily working as a thespian. Branching out, he began working with other directors. Let’s take a look at a few of those non-family related endeavors.

Shocker (1989)

Ted Raimi – Shocker – Pac Man – Courtesy of Alive Films

This Wes Craven film starring Mitch Pileggi and Peter Berg was Ted’s first effort with the renowned horror director. Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) was a television repairman who ends up murdering Jonathan Parker’s (Peter Berg) family except for his detective father.

Sentenced to death, Pinker’s body dies but his soul lives on. Apparently, Pinker made a deal with the devil so he could come back and take over people’s bodies to do his bidding. Jonathan who has an inexplicable link to Horace finds that he is able to channel the murderer.

This newfound talent enables him and his father to devise a plan to trap Pinker and bring his spirit into the real world so that they can cut off his power source. Once that is accomplished, he will no longer be able to inhabit other people’s bodies.

Ted plays a nerd named Pac Man who ends up meeting his untimely, gory demise at the hands of Pinker.

Candyman (1992)

Ted Raimi – Candyman – Billy- Courtesy of Candyman Films

Director Bernard Rose was the driving force behind this Clive Barker penned terrifying urban legend tale. This time, Ted was surrounded by veterans Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley and Virginia Madsen. Madsen plays Helen Lyle.

Helen is a student who decides to investigate the myth of Candyman. Apparently, if you say his name five times in front of a mirror he will appear. Curious, she goes exploring the places where Candyman sightings have occurred.

Meanwhile, a rash of murders starts to take place. What has Helen started?

Ted appears as Billy who is one of the characters in the Candyman legend. He is getting frisky with his girlfriend in front of a mirror when he says Candyman’s name five times. As a result, Candyman does appear and ends up murdering Clara.

Billy escapes but his hair ends up turning white and he goes crazy.

Skinner (1993)

Ted Raimi – Skinner – Courtesy of 5 Kidd Productions

This is a chilling tale of Dennis Skinner, a seemingly normal guy with one horrible secret. He likes to go trolling for victims to mutilate them with his collection of knives.

Traci Lords plays Heidi, one of the unfortunate souls that he has carved up. Seeking revenge, she stalks Dennis. The film also stars Ricki Lake and Richard Schiff. Ivan Nagy directed this creepy effort.

Man with the Screaming Brain (2005)

Ted Raimi -Man with the Screaming Brain – Pavel – Courtesy of Sci Fi Pictures

This film was written and directed by a long-time buddy of Ted’s, Bruce Campbell.  In this sci-fi horror hybrid, Ted plays Pavel who is the Igor to Stacy Keach’s mad scientist. He retrieves bodies for Keach’s Dr. Ivanov so that he can perform his brain transplant experiments.

Campbell is William Cole a wealthy industrialist who is murdered by a crazy woman who has stolen his wallet. His brain is then replaced with his wife’s lover, Yegor. This flick is a definite throwback to the 1950s.

Deathly Spirits (2015)

Ted Raimi – Deathly Spirits – Courtesy of Spooky Voodoo Pictures

This is a terrific web series that is reminiscent of old radio horror series like the Inner Sanctum. Ted spins haunting yarns while also teaching us how to make cocktails. Can you say what a perfect way to spend an evening? Drinking with Ted Raimi? Just say yes!

Ted is such a versatile character actor with a vast filmography that his fans should become familiar with. He is so talented, hopefully he will make his directorial debut sometime in the near future!

Next: It came from Seattle: The curious case of the haunted soda machine

What is your favorite Ted Raimi film? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you!