Thursday, 5 January 2012

Icon Of The Month: Michael Berryman

That's right, this month Michael Berryman is my Icon of the month. He is such an under-rated actor and, in my opinion, has never got the recognition he deserves from the film business, but his fans truly love him and he does have a-lot of fans in the Horror genre. 

Michael John Berryman  was born September 4, 1948. Berryman is famous for having a distinctive physical appearance as a result of hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic condition which prevents him from developing hair, sweat glands or fingernails. According to his own statements, he was born with "twenty-six birth defects."

Believe it or not before he started doing movies, Berryman was actually a florist, it wasn't until 1975 when Berryman was 27 that he got his 2 first film roles, fiirst was "Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze" where he played a coroner, the second was Academy Award-winning "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" where he played a character called Ellis, a man who was put in a vegetative state by electroshock therapy.

It wasn't until 2 years later that Berryman got the role that he is most well known for, the character of Pluto in Wes Craven's cult classic "The Hills Have Eyes". This was truly the role that ignited his career and thrust him into the hearts and fears of Horror fans.

It was after "The Hills Have Eyes" that Berryman became a star in his own right, appearing in films such as   "The Fifth Floor", "Deadly Blessing",  "Voyage of the Rock Aliens", "Invitation to Hell" and "Weird Science". Then in 1985 he returned to his role of Pluto for "The Hills Have Eyes II". 

After that he seemed to take a break from the Horror genre for the rest of the 80's. Trying to spread his wings as an actor he appeared in TV shows and different genre films such as Star Trek, The Fall Guy, Invitation to Hell, Highway to Heaven and more.

Once the 90's were upon Berryman had returned to our beloved genre, starring in films such as "Evil Spirits", "Aftershock", "Haunting Fear", "Teenage Exorcist" and "Auntie Lee's Meat Pies". He even made an appearance in the popular TV show Tales from the Crypt, in the episode The Reluctant Vampire (1991) as Rupert Van Helsing.

In 1994 it seemed Berryman's career was on the up again when he got cast for the role The Skull Cowboy, Eric Draven's guide to the land of the living in the classic "The Crow". Alas, Berryman's scenes were cut from the original theatrical release, but you can find the scene on some DVD releases in the deleted scenes section. I personally wish they hadn't cut that scene.

Berryman has stayed in the Horror genre since, although he does like to dabble in working outside of it. Since 1994 he still appears in TV shows and movies, mainly on the independent circuit but a couple of high profile films, appeaing in The "X-Files", "Gator King", "The Devil's Rejects", "The Absence of Light", "Penny Dreadful", "Fallen Angels", "Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield", "Dead Man's Hand", "Brutal", "Smash Cut", "Necrosis", "The Tenant", "Beg", "Maskerade", "Satan Hates You" and more. 

He also has alot of upcoming projects, notably a role in the upcoming Rob Zombie flick "The Lords Of Salem" which I am very excited to see, I can see Zombie using his talents properly and it looks like a film that's perfect for Berryman.

Berryman has made a career out of portraying mutant bikers, evil undertakers, monsters and other frightening characters. He will always remain in the hearts of Horror fans worldwide and be sure to try and meet him on one of his many Horror convention appearances.


  1. Great write-up! First two things I remember seeing Berryman in was Weird Science and Motley Crue's Smokin' in the Boys Room video. My girlfriend and I met him at a Screamfest horror convention back in 2007, and he was definitely one of the nicest people we met that weekend. I remember when we went back on the second day, he pulled out of a mass crowd of people in the room because he remembered us. Such a nice guy.