In Memoriam: Robert Loggia (1930 – 2015)News Ken W. Hanley
At face value, Robert Loggia was never considered a horror veteran in the way that fright fans regard Robert Englund, Vincent Price and Anthony Perks. In fact, Loggia is far better remembered for his roles as police officers, mafiosos, military bigwigs or corporate figures (including his now-iconic turn in BIG). However, as a performer, Loggia was not only a fantastic actor in his own right but treated his genre material with respect and gravitas in a way that always made his exercises in horror memorable.
Funny enough, Loggia’s horror work begins 55 years ago when the actor made his first of two appearances on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, which he shortly would follow with roles in THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR and KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER. Yet it wouldn’t be for another 20 years that Loggia would make his debut in a horror film, working with Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Tom Atkins, Jason Miller, Joe Spinell, and Neville Brand in William Peter Blatty’s THE NINTH CONFIGURATION. Following that, Loggia would take the memorable role of Dr. Raymond in PSYCHO II, one of the few characters unabashedly supported and defended the “rehabilitated” Norman Bates, and one of the even fewer that didn’t die by his hand. Loggia would then dabble in horror with TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED and the 1986 remakes of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS before his next big genre role, playing Lt. Sean McTaggart in John Schlesinger’s underrated occult film THE BELIEVERS.
It would be five more years until Loggia would get arguably his finest horror role, playing Sal “The Shark” Macelli in John Landis’ INNOCENT BLOOD. The film would give Loggia his first antagonistic horror role, embracing his more macabre side as the bloodthirsty mobster-turned-vampire. It’s a lively, villainous performance that feels so unique to Loggia’s sensibilities, and one where he relishes the bloodier, more gruesome moments so casually that it’s hard not to love the character as a whole.
Another five years would pass before Loggia would work in his next horror film (although INDEPENDENCE DAY does skirt the genre line often), and that would be the dual role of Mr. Eddy / Dick Laurent in David Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY. As circumstances would have it, Loggia was originally supposed to work with Lynch a decade earlier in BLUE VELVET in the unforgettable role of Frank Booth. However, when Lynch informed him he wasn’t getting the role, his furious response was what later would inspire his casting in LOST HIGHWAY, and to this day, Loggia’s “tailgating” monologue remains one of the most memorable scenes in a Lynch film to date.
In the near two decades since LOST HIGHWAY, Loggia would not enter a high profile horror role, even though he’d keep his feet occasionally in the genre. Outside of a guest appearance on the reboot of THE OUTER LIMITS, Loggia appeared in low budget horror offerings such as SCAVENGER KILLERS, THE BONEYARD COLLECTION and SICILIAN VAMPIRE while keeping a sense of self-awareness in surrealist projects from Tim & Eric. Yet even in these microbudget projects, Loggia’s professionalism and passion bleeds through his work effortlessly, and fright fans will not soon forget his twisted turns throughout his career.
He will be missed. Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia.