Thoughts from the ledge: Peter Weller – The Renaissance man of horror

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Naked Lunch – Peter Weller – Courtesy of Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Téléfilm Canada, Ontario Film Development Corporation

Naked Lunch

David Cronenberg’s adaptation of cult superstar scribe William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch is not for the faint of heart. Largely biographical, Weller is the stand in for the author going by the name of Bill Lee. Bill is an exterminator by day, writer by night.

He gets hooked on the bug powder that he uses to spray people’s houses with. Not only does he start going down the rabbit hole but his wife Joan (Judy Davis) goes along for the ride. He ends up accidentally killing her.

After this little escapade, the fun and games begin. Lee becomes convinced that he is a secret agent working with a weird colony of bugs masquerading as people in a North African port. This port is known as the Interzone.

In between drug induced hazes, Bill writes about the “missions” that he is undertaking. Naked Lunch is Cronenberg at his most bizarre. This film has crazy scenes with sex loving “Mugwumps” and talking sphincters.

The bug world is terrifying and there are many disgusting scenes but the performances that Weller and Davis give are compelling. You might be cringing but you will also be realizing what a genius Cronenberg is for taking the hard to decipher ramblings of Burroughs and turning them into a visual feast.


Screamers – Peter Weller – Courtesy of Triumph Films, Fuji Eight Company Ltd., Fries Film Group

I will admit this last movie is a personal choice since it was produced by the Fries Film Group and I used to work there in the mid-90s. Peter Weller is Colonel Joe Hendriksson. He is the commander of a group of soldiers on the mining planet of Sirius 6B.

For decades, he has been fighting a never-ending war against the mining corporation of NEB. His fighters are in actuality a mix of the miners’ union members and scientists. The conflict has resulted in the atmosphere being poisoned by the radioactive element that they are mining berynium.

There are very few survivors left. Now, they have an even bigger problem to deal with. Underneath the sand of the planet are Screamers. Devised by scientists and designed to destroy enemy life forms, they are multiplying in record numbers.

What used to be a helpful tool in warfare and for protection has now gone rogue and is bent on destroying all human life. Think of the Screamers as being a cousin to the Phantasm spheres. Both are equally deadly.

They also figure out how to masquerade as humans which makes discerning between them and real people difficult. It gets messy and bloody but after most of the residents die on the planet, Hendriksson manages to leave via an escape pod.

Meet and Greet

If you are a fan of Peter Weller’s work, you are in luck because a rare opportunity is coming up to meet the actor. He will be participating in HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis.

You can catch him on August 24 and August 25. Tickets for Regular Admission and Day Passes are still available.  The Con is being held at The JW Marriott located at 10 S. West St in the city.

What is your favorite Peter Weller movie? Have you seen any of the films on our list? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.

Next: Thoughts from the Ledge: Lance Henriksen – horror legend

Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge as well as Instagram @convirgin. She is also featured on Friday Night Tights, the ultimate pop culture wrap up show at Nerdrotic Podcast every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can catch her weekly coverage on IFC’s Brockmire at TV Series Hub.