Director Alan Parker has died according to Variety. He was 76.
Parker is probably best known for his musicals such as Pink Floyd The Wall, Fame, The Commitments and Evita. But he also made some of the most disturbing thrillers of our time.
In 1978 he directed Midnight Express, the terrifying true story of American student Billy Hayes; a man sentenced to serve time in a Turkish prison for drug smuggling.
But it was in 1987 that horror fans became aware of Parker’s work. He directed the highly-controversial film Angel Heart. Most of the discussion centered around a then 19-year-old Lisa Bonet who was riding high on family-friendly Cosby Show fame.
In Angel Heart, she shattered her small screen image and did a sex scene which in turn garnered an X-rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America. After some editing Parker was able to get an R-rating before release.
Aside from the sexually provocative component Angel Heart is a very disturbing film. It has some roots in voodoo lore and casts Robert De Niro as a creepy smoldering menace who may have ties fixed in the supernatural.
Parker was born in London. He started out as a copywriter there for a big ad agency in the late ’60s to early ’70s. After writing a screenplay for a co-worker, Parker dabbled in TV commercials before making his first feature film Bugsy Malone.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Alan Parker: 1944-2020