Darkman


1h 35m 1990

Brief Synopsis

Dr. Peyton Westlake is on the verge of realizing a major breakthrough in synthetic skin when a gang led by sadistic crime boss Robert G. Durant obliterates his laboratory and leaves Westlake beaten, mutilated and left for dead. An experimental medical procedure saves his life, but Westlake is both physically and psychologically scarred by the event, unable to continue a normal life with his girlfriend. Westlake's only salvation, and his all-consuming purpose in life, becomes the successful pursuit of the synthetic skin formula. To finance his experiments, he takes on a shadowy, enigmatic identity--Darkman, a phantom figure who terrorizes and steals from criminals in the night. But it is only a matter of time before he eventually crosses paths with Durant, the one responsible for his suffering.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Action
Fantasy
Thriller
Release Date
1990
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Synopsis

Dr. Peyton Westlake is on the verge of realizing a major breakthrough in synthetic skin when a gang led by sadistic crime boss Robert G. Durant obliterates his laboratory and leaves Westlake beaten, mutilated and left for dead. An experimental medical procedure saves his life, but Westlake is both physically and psychologically scarred by the event, unable to continue a normal life with his girlfriend. Westlake's only salvation, and his all-consuming purpose in life, becomes the successful pursuit of the synthetic skin formula. To finance his experiments, he takes on a shadowy, enigmatic identity--Darkman, a phantom figure who terrorizes and steals from criminals in the night. But it is only a matter of time before he eventually crosses paths with Durant, the one responsible for his suffering.

Crew

Doug Aarniokoski

Production Assistant

Michael Craig Adams

Carpenter

Richard Alderete

Assistant Editor

Brett Alexander

Assistant Art Director

Chris M Alvarez

Carpenter

Dave Amann

Gaffer

David Arbogast

Carpenter

David A Arnold

Sound Editor

Bob Badami

Music Editor

David Baldwin

Sound Editor

Ginni Barr

Set Designer

Craig Barron

Visual Effects Supervisor

Joneva Barry

Assistant Art Director

Gabe Bartalos

Art Department

Steve Bartek

Original Music

Robert Batha

Sound Editor

James Belkin

Camera Operator

Bruce Bellamy

On-Set Dresser

Mike Bender

Production Assistant

Levon Besnelian

Dolly Grip

Doug Beswick

Mechanical Special Effects

Chuck Borden

Stunts

Evan Brainard

Mechanical Special Effects

Tim Brown

Carpenter

Shannon Burgan

Production Assistant

Neal Burger

Sound Editor

Teresa Burkett

Song Performer

John Cade

Stunts

Jeff Cannon

Construction

Pat Carol

Foley Artist

John Casino

Stunts

Robert Cawley

Transportation Captain

Caleb Chung

Mechanical Special Effects

Ray Cirerol

Visual Effects

Michael Clausen

Assistant Art Director

John Coats

Technical Director

William Conner

Photography

Todd Connolly

Driver

Brian Cooke

Camera Assistant

Kirk Corwin

Property Master

Jeff Courtie

Adr Mixer

Ted Crittendon

Construction

Phil Dagort

Art Director

B J Davis

Stunts

Carole Lee Davis

Scenic Artist

Mark Shane Davis

Key Grip

Sandy De Crescent

Music Contractor

Peter Deming

Director Of Photography

Krystyna Demkowicz

Production Manager

Joanne Depauk

Effects Assistant

Debbie Derango

Casting

Des Desai

Consultant

Leslie Dicker

Other

Dino Dimuro

Sound Editor

Gene Dobrzyn

Production Coordinator

Tim Donahue

Producer

Tim Donahue

Art Director

Anthony Doublin

Visual Effects

Chris Doyle

Stunt Coordinator

David Dragan

Carpenter

William T Dreher

Driver

Gary Drew

Grip

Steve Dunham

Mechanical Special Effects

Timothy R Durr

Grip

Elaine Edford

Visual Effects

Dave Efron

Stunts

Danny Elfman

Music

Mike Elizalde

Art Department

David Elliott

Construction Coordinator

Nelson Elwell

Electrician

Kevin Erb

Grip

Ron Ervin

Carpenter

John A Escobar

Stunts

Jim Eustermann

Visual Effects

Ed Eyth

Other

Julie Kaye Fanton

Set Decorator

Joseph Armand Fedele

Assistant Editor

Allen Ferro

Editor

Pablo Ferro

Main Title Design

Thomas Fichter

Assistant Art Director

James Fitzgerald

Other

Elizabeth Flaherty

Art Department Coordinator

Andrew M. Flinn

Assistant Director

Brian Flora

Scenic Artist

Sher Flowers

Hair

Gerrit Folsom

Location Manager

Lydia Foote

Wardrobe Assistant

Steve Frakes

Mechanical Special Effects

Jammie Friday

Visual Effects

Prudence Frinzi

Costumes

Linda Frobos

Art Department

Gary Frutkoff

Assistant Art Director

Lisa Gamel

Other

Teresa Garcia

Effects Assistant

Tony Gardner

Makeup

Paul Gentry

Photography

Scott Gershin

Sound Editor

Julia Gibson

Line Producer

Tom Gibson

Dolly Grip

Spencer Gill

Other

Loren Gitthens

Art Department

Donna Gochenaur

Consultant

Robert Goff

Production Assistant

Daniel Goldin

Screenplay

Joshua Goldin

Screenplay

David Goodman

Mechanical Special Effects

Melinda Sue Gordon

Photography

Ray Greer

Miniatures

Brian Griffin

Other

John Grillo

Other

Kurt Grossi

Grip

Eric Gruendemann

Production Auditor

Rhonda Gunner

Animator

Todd Hall

Other

Cynthia Halliburton

Effects Assistant

Larry Hamlin

Makeup

Tom Hammerschmidt

Carpenter

Tim Hannon

Carpenter

John Harrington

Props

William Harrison

Pyrotechnics

Harry Hauss

Helicopter Pilot

Dave Hegner

Carpenter

Todd Heindel

Art Department

Gerry Henry

Driver

Ron Herbst

Visual Effects

Frank Holgate

Photography

Richard Hollander

Animator

Alan Holly

Foley Mixer

Andrea Horta

Adr Editor

Jen Howard

Visual Effects

Cary Howe

Visual Effects

Kevin Hudson

Other

Vern Hyde

Mechanical Special Effects

Matthew Iadarola

Sound

Dreamlight Images Inc

Stock Footage

Leza Ingalls

Scenic Artist

Terrance James

Stunts

April Janow

Accounting Assistant

Scott Javine

Assistant Director

Tony Jefferson

Grip

Ruth Jessup

Assistant

Jack Johnson

Grip

Michael Jonascu

Assistant Editor

Brent L Jones

Electrician

Bonnie Jordan

Craft Service

Emmet Kane

Special Effects

Daryl Kass

Line Producer

Daryl Kass

Producer

Richard Kilroy

Scenic Artist

Richard Kilroy

Matte Painter

Roy Knyrim

Visual Effects

Mary Koneff

Graphic Artist

Peter Kuran

Other

Kevin Kutchaver

Visual Effects

Karen E Laine

Stunts

Rick Lalonde

Other

Linda Landry-nelson

Production Manager

Stephen Lang

Grip

Deborah Larsen

Makeup

Michael Lawler

Camera Operator

Lane Leavitt

Stunts

Stephen Lebed

Visual Effects

Gene Lebell

Stunts

Heather Ling

Production Assistant

George Lockwood

Other

David Long

Foreman

Desiree Long

Other

Patrick Loungway

Camera Assistant

Jerry Macaluso

Art Department

Dennis Madalone

Stunts

Francis R Mahony Iii

Assistant Director

Matthew Maiellaro

Production Assistant

James Makiej

Assistant Editor

Steve Mann

Sound Editor

Gary Martin

Other

Jo Martin

Editor

Joe Mayer

Adr Editor

Tony Mazzucchi

Dolly Grip

John H Mccabe

Carpenter

Patrick Mcclung

Visual Effects

Roger Mccoin

Mechanical Special Effects

Mike Mcduffee

Transportation Coordinator

David Mcklveen

Foreman

Gregory L Mcmurry

Animator

Scott Meehan

Construction

Tom Merchant

Visual Effects Supervisor

John P. Mesa

Camera Assistant

William Mesa

Visual Effects Supervisor

Randall Mills

Photography

Robin Mishkin-abrams

Production Secretary

James Moriana

Foley Artist

Fred Frank Mosier

Driver

Charlie Mullen

Camera Operator

Bob Murawski

Stock Footage

John Murray

Foley

Andrew Nauh

Associate Producer

Darrin Navarro

Assistant Editor

Kendall Nishimine

Chief Modelmaker

Mark Nishita

Other

Brent Novotny

Visual Effects

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Action
Fantasy
Thriller
Release Date
1990
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Articles

Darkman on Blu-ray


Sam Raimi always wanted to make his own superhero movie. It was a natural fit for the director, as the Spider-Man films so clearly prove, but in 1990 no one was ready to trust him with a comic book hero on the strength of a couple of Evil Dead movies. So he created his own character: Darkman, a disfigured, damaged scientist who emerges from a fiery original story with one foot in the world of Gothic horror and the other in Hollywood action cinema.

Liam Neeson is Peyton Westlake, a scientist working on the experimental "liquid skin" in a laboratory built out of a waterfront warehouse. He lives with Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand), an attorney representing a shady developer (Colin Friels) whose trail of bribes starts to surface. When he sends his thug Durant (Larry Drake), a beady-eyed heavy with a jowly face, a posh sense of fashion, and a pocket cigar cutter that doubles as a portable guillotine for the fingers of his victims, to grab the incriminating documents, Peyton and his lab assistant become collateral damage.

Darkman was Raimi's first studio film and, while hardly a big-budget project, he had more resources at his disposal than he had ever had before and he celebrates with a big, busy opening scene of gang warfare. Raimi lets us know exactly what kind of film we're in for in the first scene, where a gang stand-off becomes a massacre after Durant's men pull out a machine gun hidden in prosthetic limb. Guns appear out of nowhere, dozens of characters scatter and fall in the melee, and a car bursts out of a shipping crate, just because. It looks like a grindhouse gang thriller with a budget boost, not particularly slick or polished but revved up with over-the-top action and creative character touches and a big, dramatic Batman-esque orchestral score from Danny Elfman. The mayhem is pushed to extremes with the attack on Peyton, who is no more than a bystander in the power struggle. The quirky members of this eccentric crew aren't urban criminals, they're the sadistic spawn of a comic book supervillain, gleefully torturing their victims before sending them off with a dramatic flourish. A fiery explosion turns the genial scientist into a disfigured creature of the shadows, kept alive by experimental surgery that leaves him superhumanly strong, impervious to pain, and an emotional powder keg.

For the medical exposition, Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London) makes an uncredited appearance as a burn ward nurse giving a tour to medical interns. She's a fabulous piece of work, with a cheery attitude toward the students but utterly unconcerned with the welfare of the actual patient, who is wrapped like a mummy and strapped to a rotating brace that seems to serve no purpose beyond disorienting the patient. That's part of the fun of Raimi's approach: it revels in monster movie lab clichés, like a fan slipping a tribute to Universal horror movies into his brightly-colored comic book of a movie.

Under ratty bandages, a heavy cloak out of the Victorian-era stage drama and theatrically oversized black hat, our Darkman looks like the Phantom of the Opera in urban America. His mad-scientist lab is built out of the embers of his old warehouse laboratory, a contemporary version of Dr. Frankenstein's castle of rebuilt equipment and a stuttering computer cobbled together with duct tape and bailing wire. He needs to perfect the liquid skin to rebuild the face that has been charred to exposed muscle and bone, but while the concoction can be molded into hands and articulated faces (love those 1990 computer graphics!) and pulled on like rubber gloves and masks, they last a mere 99 minutes before dissolving into a smoking, bubbling mess. It barely gives him enough time to take his revenge on the thugs who tortured and disfigured him for the bad luck of having inconvenient evidence in his lab. Masks and costume changes, of course, are involved.

It's a little shaggy when compared to his Spider-Man movies, more in line with the anything-goes approach of Army of Darkness, endearingly sloppy with details and filled with invention flourishes and a film-lover's fun when it comes to playing with genre conventions. But for all the humor strewn through the film, Raimi keeps the film on the serious side, especially when it comes to his tortured hero. Along with Phantom of the Opera and Frankenstein you can pick out the inspiration of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and Beast, and even The Incredible Hulk. Not merely disfigured, he's emotionally unstable thanks to the burns and the surgery, driven to obsession and flying into fits of rage. Neeson, who spends most of the film behind bandages and elaborate make-up, conveys that torture with his eyes and his body language. Raimi sometimes lets the performances get out of control, verging on hysteria or burlesque, but Neeson's tormented intensity keeps the film centered. Darkman is as much tragic monster as shadowy superhero and vengeance is all he has left when he realizes that he can never be with the woman he loves. It only compounds his anger and instability. It's comic-book melodrama but Raimi makes the tragedy the dark heart at the center of Darkman.

This isn't the Blu-ray debut of Darkman--Universal put out a bare-bones Blu-ray a few years ago--but Shout Factory's release is mastered from a new and improved HD transfer and is filled with supplements. There's nothing new from Sam Raimi (although there are vintage interviews with the director) but key members of the cast and crew are well represented in newly-recorded supplements, including new interviews with stars Liam Neeson (who doesn't offer much detail but does reveal that Gary Oldman and Bill Paxton were both up for the role) and Frances McDormand (who tells better stories, like how she got to know Raimi and the Coen Bros. when they were all starving artists sharing a house in Los Angeles).

There are also new interviews with bad guy Larry Drake, henchmen Danny Hicks and Dan Bell, make-up artist Tony Gardner, and production designer Randy Ser and art director Philip Dagort, and new commentary by cinematographer Bill Pope. Darkman was his first feature as a DP--he went on to shoot Army of Darkness and Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 for Raimi as well as the Matrix trilogy for the Wachowskis--and he spends his time on the production details. The new interviews are all in HD. Archival extras include a vintage featurette and profiles of and interviews with Raimi, Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, and Larry Drake, all produced and presented in standard definition.

By Sean Axmaker
Darkman On Blu-Ray

Darkman on Blu-ray

Sam Raimi always wanted to make his own superhero movie. It was a natural fit for the director, as the Spider-Man films so clearly prove, but in 1990 no one was ready to trust him with a comic book hero on the strength of a couple of Evil Dead movies. So he created his own character: Darkman, a disfigured, damaged scientist who emerges from a fiery original story with one foot in the world of Gothic horror and the other in Hollywood action cinema. Liam Neeson is Peyton Westlake, a scientist working on the experimental "liquid skin" in a laboratory built out of a waterfront warehouse. He lives with Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand), an attorney representing a shady developer (Colin Friels) whose trail of bribes starts to surface. When he sends his thug Durant (Larry Drake), a beady-eyed heavy with a jowly face, a posh sense of fashion, and a pocket cigar cutter that doubles as a portable guillotine for the fingers of his victims, to grab the incriminating documents, Peyton and his lab assistant become collateral damage. Darkman was Raimi's first studio film and, while hardly a big-budget project, he had more resources at his disposal than he had ever had before and he celebrates with a big, busy opening scene of gang warfare. Raimi lets us know exactly what kind of film we're in for in the first scene, where a gang stand-off becomes a massacre after Durant's men pull out a machine gun hidden in prosthetic limb. Guns appear out of nowhere, dozens of characters scatter and fall in the melee, and a car bursts out of a shipping crate, just because. It looks like a grindhouse gang thriller with a budget boost, not particularly slick or polished but revved up with over-the-top action and creative character touches and a big, dramatic Batman-esque orchestral score from Danny Elfman. The mayhem is pushed to extremes with the attack on Peyton, who is no more than a bystander in the power struggle. The quirky members of this eccentric crew aren't urban criminals, they're the sadistic spawn of a comic book supervillain, gleefully torturing their victims before sending them off with a dramatic flourish. A fiery explosion turns the genial scientist into a disfigured creature of the shadows, kept alive by experimental surgery that leaves him superhumanly strong, impervious to pain, and an emotional powder keg. For the medical exposition, Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London) makes an uncredited appearance as a burn ward nurse giving a tour to medical interns. She's a fabulous piece of work, with a cheery attitude toward the students but utterly unconcerned with the welfare of the actual patient, who is wrapped like a mummy and strapped to a rotating brace that seems to serve no purpose beyond disorienting the patient. That's part of the fun of Raimi's approach: it revels in monster movie lab clichés, like a fan slipping a tribute to Universal horror movies into his brightly-colored comic book of a movie. Under ratty bandages, a heavy cloak out of the Victorian-era stage drama and theatrically oversized black hat, our Darkman looks like the Phantom of the Opera in urban America. His mad-scientist lab is built out of the embers of his old warehouse laboratory, a contemporary version of Dr. Frankenstein's castle of rebuilt equipment and a stuttering computer cobbled together with duct tape and bailing wire. He needs to perfect the liquid skin to rebuild the face that has been charred to exposed muscle and bone, but while the concoction can be molded into hands and articulated faces (love those 1990 computer graphics!) and pulled on like rubber gloves and masks, they last a mere 99 minutes before dissolving into a smoking, bubbling mess. It barely gives him enough time to take his revenge on the thugs who tortured and disfigured him for the bad luck of having inconvenient evidence in his lab. Masks and costume changes, of course, are involved. It's a little shaggy when compared to his Spider-Man movies, more in line with the anything-goes approach of Army of Darkness, endearingly sloppy with details and filled with invention flourishes and a film-lover's fun when it comes to playing with genre conventions. But for all the humor strewn through the film, Raimi keeps the film on the serious side, especially when it comes to his tortured hero. Along with Phantom of the Opera and Frankenstein you can pick out the inspiration of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and Beast, and even The Incredible Hulk. Not merely disfigured, he's emotionally unstable thanks to the burns and the surgery, driven to obsession and flying into fits of rage. Neeson, who spends most of the film behind bandages and elaborate make-up, conveys that torture with his eyes and his body language. Raimi sometimes lets the performances get out of control, verging on hysteria or burlesque, but Neeson's tormented intensity keeps the film centered. Darkman is as much tragic monster as shadowy superhero and vengeance is all he has left when he realizes that he can never be with the woman he loves. It only compounds his anger and instability. It's comic-book melodrama but Raimi makes the tragedy the dark heart at the center of Darkman. This isn't the Blu-ray debut of Darkman--Universal put out a bare-bones Blu-ray a few years ago--but Shout Factory's release is mastered from a new and improved HD transfer and is filled with supplements. There's nothing new from Sam Raimi (although there are vintage interviews with the director) but key members of the cast and crew are well represented in newly-recorded supplements, including new interviews with stars Liam Neeson (who doesn't offer much detail but does reveal that Gary Oldman and Bill Paxton were both up for the role) and Frances McDormand (who tells better stories, like how she got to know Raimi and the Coen Bros. when they were all starving artists sharing a house in Los Angeles). There are also new interviews with bad guy Larry Drake, henchmen Danny Hicks and Dan Bell, make-up artist Tony Gardner, and production designer Randy Ser and art director Philip Dagort, and new commentary by cinematographer Bill Pope. Darkman was his first feature as a DP--he went on to shoot Army of Darkness and Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 for Raimi as well as the Matrix trilogy for the Wachowskis--and he spends his time on the production details. The new interviews are all in HD. Archival extras include a vintage featurette and profiles of and interviews with Raimi, Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, and Larry Drake, all produced and presented in standard definition. By Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 24, 1990

Released in United States on Video February 14, 1991

Released in United States on Video February 21, 1991

Began shooting April 19, 1989.

Completed shooting mid August 1989.

Film is dedicated to the memory of Dale Johnson.

Released in United States Summer August 24, 1990

Released in United States on Video February 14, 1991

Released in United States on Video February 21, 1991