Let’s face it: We all love Ted Raimi! This charming and talented actor has cameoed his way into all our hearts over the past few decades while assembling quite the resume of roles. From smaller walk-on background characters to dying onscreen in some of the best horror and genre films, few actors have found their niche quite like Ted has. A phenomenal character actor who can swap between more serious, dramatic performances and his unique brand of dark, twisted humor, Ted can literally do it all. From the moment he appears on-screen you know you’re going to get something special.
With a lengthy IMDB filmography, across a wide range of genres, it’s not an easy task to narrow down his best roles. From his start in Evil Dead (1981), directed by his brother Sam Raimi, all the way down to his current run on the Shudder series Deadwax, it is nearly impossible to choose? Digging through his storied career, here are ten of his finest roles in celebration of the actor’s 53rd birthday.
10. Ed Finney – Wishmaster (1997)
Another small cameo for Ted Raimi is his character Ed Finney in the first Wishmaster film. An executive assistant for an avid art collector, Ed is present when the delivery of a Zoroastrian relic goes horribly wrong, slipping off a crane and crushing him to death. This event leads to the release of the evil Djinn played by Andrew Divoff (The Strain) and mayhem ensues. After granting two wishes to the heroine of the film the final wish is for the crane operator to show up to work sober the day of the accident, thus the statue never falls, and Finney is alive and well.
Finally Ted catches a break!
9. Joxer the Mighty – Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)
Perhaps Ted’s largest role, and the one he is most recognizable for, is Joxer the Mighty. First appearing in the 90’s series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys the character would go on to appear in over 40 episodes of its spin-off; Xena: Warrior Princess. More bumbler than legendary warrior, Joxer was loyal to a fault and became one of the more beloved characters on the show. Again all thanks to Ted’s acting chops Joxer played the role of lovable sidekick like a pro.
8. Randle – Midnight Meat Train (2008)
By 2008 Ted had already met a grisly end in plenty of horror films but his role in Midnight Meat Train (2008) gave him arguably his most gruesome death scene ever. Together with his wife and friend on a quiet subway ride beneath the city the group encounters Mahogany, a towering butcher of a man who gives Raimi an amazing send-off. Arguing on the train, he never see’s it coming.
Both eyes come flying out after taking a huge meat tenderizer to the back of the head. Blood everywhere….close up on his eyeless face…..it’s beautiful. Thank you Ted!
7. Heavy Metal Youth – Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
Appearing in two episodes of David Lynch’s dreamy masterpiece – Twin Peaks – Ted Raimi played the role of “Heavy Metal Youth” in a memorable sequence towards the end of the second season. An unfortunate victim to Dale Cooper’s nemesis Windom Earle, Ted’s character is kidnapped and placed inside an elaborate prop to send a message to Cooper and is, of course, murdered. With a crossbow no less. The human-sized paper mache chess piece is then put in the town square under a gazebo for all to see.
Rusty Tomasky, as he’d later be referred to, was just an innocent metal head looking for a good time out with a stranger in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, it could happen to anyone. It’s not too much screen time with only two episodes, and one of those just as a corpse, but it’s a classic cameo!
6. Condom Salesperson – Blood Rage (1987)
“Get your prophylactics here, get your prophylactics”
This one is just plain funny. No lines of dialogue, and his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance lasts only seconds at best, but it’s worth it for the “Hey, that’s Ted Raimi!” moment. Just creepin’ out in the men’s bathroom of the local Drive-In, Ted’s Condom Salesperson is seen in the opening credits of Blood Rage (1987), the cult classic gore-fest, selling his wares and basically performing a public service. I’d like to think that he’s just a concerned citizen, not only making a buck, but doing his part to fight the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancies. Either way it’s a pretty cool cameo made even more special in retrospect after a lengthy and successful film career.
5. Billy – Candyman (1992)
The adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden, Candyman (1992) is an exploration of urban legends on the north-side of Chicago. The namesake of the film is a supernatural villain who appears and kills any who speak his name five times in the mirror.
Ted Raimi’s character in the film is Billy, a motorcycle riding bad boy, who’s just looking to get a little action that evening. Things are getting a little steamy in the bathroom when the girl he’s with tells him the legend of Candyman. Only reciting his name four times she asks him to wait downstairs for her. While he’s sitting on the couch waiting she utters his name the fifth and final time. Cut back to Billy downstairs on the couch, a scream breaks the silence and blood begins to pour from the ceiling above. Billy manages to survive the film but not without some trauma of his own: his hair has turned white from the experience.
4. Hoffman – Spider-Man Trilogy (2002-2007)
Not one of his traditional horror roles but still one that is hilariously memorable was Hoffman in his brother Sam’s Spider-Man trilogy. All three of ’em.
Hoffman is the assistant to the Daily Bugle’s cranky CEO; J. Jonah Jameson and is never far away from his boss. In fact most of the time Jameson doesn’t even finish shouting his name before he appears, always just off-frame, eager and willing to answer the call. Throughout all three films Hoffman endures quite a bit of verbal and emotional abuse from his employer but it doesn’t ever seem to sway him. He’s steadfast, loyal and probably the source of all Jameson’s good decisions, and for that we thank you Hoffman.
3. Henrietta – Evil Dead II (1987)
Raimi would go on to play a part in every chapter of the Evil Dead saga, after appearing in the first one as well, but Henrietta from Evil Dead 2 is by far the coolest. Henrietta Knowby was the wife of Professor Knowby, who after being possessed, was killed and buried in the cellar of the cabin. Coming back as they are wont to do she would give Ash a decent fight, screaming the quotable “I’ll swallow your soul! I’ll swallow your soul!” before succumbing to the mighty chainsaw.
Ted is horrifying in the part and barely recognizable beneath the full body cast costume. Almost 30 years later Ted would again don the suit for the series Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is also on this list but for a different role, and if you can believe it is even more disgusting.
2. Dennis Skinner – Skinner (1993)
This film put Raimi directly in the starring role as Dennis Skinner; troubled individual and bloodthirsty hooker-slayer.
Admittedly, this film is a typical 90’s B-Horror movie and it has its merits, mainly a pretty interesting premise, but it certainly didn’t win any Academy Awards. Ted’s performance in it is pretty great however. A psychopath who skins his victims alive and then parades around in their skin, it’s delightfully sadistic and the perfect part for Raimi. Traci Lords (Excision) plays opposite Ted as an almost victim to Dennis who is turning the tables and hunting him down. Also starring Ricki Lake (Cry Baby) the film is well worth hunting down to check it off your Ted Raimi scorecard.
1. Chet – Ash Vs. Evil Dead (2015-2018)
One of Ash Williams good friend from High School the two lost touch over the years, I guess dealin with legions of Deadites and traveling back to the Middle-Ages will do that, but thankfully they reunited in the second season of Ash vs. Evil Dead. Ted Raimi was a perfect fit for the character and this series; a role that only he could play with his signature straight-faced humor. A dark comedy without Ted is just lacking.
Chet’s a partier, a wild man with a signature cocktail of his own creation; the Pink Fuck. An insane concoction of booze and Ketamine that is most definitley not legal or advisable. Chet was also in love with Ash’s sister, Cheryl who died in the original Evil Dead, and still carries a flame for her. Which is what gets him killed. Poor Chet…