We’re usually taught to respect our elders, but there have been plenty of characters in film who never quite got that memo. There’s a long and proud tradition in movies of elderly abuse and bad doings being transgressed on the 4:30 dinner crowd. This is the generation that did things like survive the Great Depression, fight the Nazis (and the Reds!), raise our parents and all too often us. One would think they’d earned a bit of consideration like guaranteed Social Security, adult diapers that don’t leak or generally not getting the shit beat out of them and snuffed like some third-rate red shirt. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at a batch of old timers who, unfortunately, turned into having-a-really-bad-timers.
The Film: Highlander (1986)
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The Director: Russell Mulcahy
The Elder: Old Lady In Car, aka “Mom” (Helena Stevens)
Just some nameless old woman. We’ll call her “Mom,” because that’s what Kurgan called her. She was driving in Manhattan with her husband, known as “Daddy” (that’s what she called him). They happened upon a sword fight of all things in an alley, followed by a nice lights and pyro show immediately after. Well…it might have been nice if the guy with the sword hadn’t noticed them. Classic case of wrong place at the wrong time.
The Abuse: Joyride from hell
Why wrong place at the wrong time? Because Kurgan, still flush from his Kastagir stiffy, and probably more than a little pissed off that some ex-jarhead asshole – who was so shellshocked that it didn’t look like he could tell a New York shithole neighborhood from a Vietnam shithole neighborhood – ruined Kurgan’s best ripped shirt with an uzi. Actually, come to think of it, Kurgan probably liked the blood-stained, bullet-riddled shirt better afterwards…. Regardless, he needed to make a quick getaway, and Mom and Daddy picked the exact inopportune moment to be driving in Manhattan at night. Kurgan took the top down on their car…with his sword…and it wasn’t a convertible…relieved said vehicle of its driver and Mom of her husband, scared the bejeezus out of Mom, then took off for parts unknown with Mom as a hood ornament.
Lack Of Respect By: Kurgan
Seven foot maniac with a broadsword, New York City, circa 1985. And actually, this is a rare occurrence of someone older than the elder showing disrespect. Kurgan’s mantra? “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” That may have been the credo by which he lived, but Kurgan was definitely on a slow burn. ‘Cause dude was hunting down other immortals and relieving them of their domes for the better part of a millennium. And his extracurricular activities? Hell, if you take what he did just in a couple of days in the Big Apple, and extrapolate that over a thousand years…like Blade said to Reinhardt: “Whooh!” Kurgan threatened a scumbag hotel clerk, banged some hooker named Candy (of course she was), quickening-ed Kastagir, broke into Rachel’s apartment and kidnapped her, had a couple of joyrides from hell, including this one, mowed down some dude on a motorcycle and these poor bastards…
…played semi chicken, disrupted a church and pretty much single-handedly destroyed the Silvercup studios sign…all to the bumping music of Queen. You want to imagine the shenanigans he pulled when he was but an immortal lad? We don’t know Mom’s ultimate fate, but if Kurgan was the type that liked a little action after a quickening (just ask Heather)…best not to think about it. If she was lucky, she merely fell off and got a bit of road rash.
Did She Have It Coming? No. But you have to remember the time and location: New York, mid-’80s. Shit was happening on every corner. Mom was lucky she didn’t get blown away in a drive-by, stabbed by a crackhead or get hit with Reagonomics or something…
Could the AARP Have Helped? Nope. New York State Troopers couldn’t have helped her.
If Nature Had Taken Its Course? Probably gone home with Daddy and died a boring death years later watching Hee Haw, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, The Lawrence Welk Show or Wheel of Fortune.
What Andy Rooney Might Say: Call me old-fashioned, but the real issue with this film isn’t the loneliness that comes with being immortal or even how those who move through the ages to see the progression of mankind change so much in some ways and absolutely not at all in others. No, the real issue with Highlander is Zeistian identity theft, and it’s an issue that’s gone unaddressed for millennia. MacLeod stole the name of some unfortunate waif in upstate New York, and even when it’s discovered, it goes unpunished. I doubt that the Nash family is happy about that. I certainly don’t find it very funny. Who was Victor Kruger before some Zeistian immortal from Russia decided to masquerade as him? Have you ever heard of a Pole named Iman Fasil? I wouldn’t be surprised if some Arab gentleman back in the 1940s living in Warsaw was walking home one night and got skewered by a Toledo Salamanca and had his wallet ripped off. That’s certainly not very funny. Does Kastagir sound like an African name to you? Sounds Russian to me…. I’m surprised Kurgan wasn’t Kastagir…and Kastagir wasn’t Fasil…and Fasil wasn’t Kruger…. It’s all so schizophrenic and not at all funny. Then you have Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez, an Eqyptian masquerading as a Spaniard…with a Scottish accent. Don’t even get me started on that one….