There are many fine actors out there who build a solid career mainly acting in horror flicks and B-movies, but unfortunately, news about their deaths usually doesn’t make the front page at the Internet Movie Database. But The Back Row will always be there to pay tribute to these folks. On April 5, 2015, actor Tom Towles passed away at the age of 65. After spending the early part of his career working on the Chicago stage, Towles made his mark with a frightening performance in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which is still regarded as one of the most disturbing horror films ever made. Michael Rooker’s career was put on the map with his chilling portrayal of the title character, Henry, but Towles was equally as memorable as his sidekick, Otis. Otis is an utterly vile, despicable character who lusts after his own sister and is lured into the serial killing lifestyle by Henry, but winds up enjoying it way too much. In fact, Towles is so effective in the role that you almost find yourself rooting for Henry during the second half of the film. Yes, you actually wind up taking the side of a psychotic serial killer just because Otis is THAT much worse!
Even though Towles did not enjoy the same mainstream Hollywood success that Michael Rooker did, he still went on to work pretty steadily, appearing in such notable films as Mad Dog and Glory, The Rock and Miami Vice, and making guest appearances on TV shows like NYPD Blue, Seinfeld, ER, Firefly, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. However, it is the horror genre where Towles made his biggest impression, delivering a memorable turn as Harry Cooper in the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, and becoming a personal favourite of Rob Zombie, who cast him in House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects and Halloween. And, yes, Mr. Towles even got to make an appearance as a Nazi in Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the S.S. trailer from Grindhouse! R.I.P.