Top 5 (alternative) Arnold Schwarzenegger films
#5 – Hercules in New YorkAs Arnold’s Austrian compatriot Maria Von Trapp reminds us, there are few better places to start than at the very beginning. Credited as ‘Arnold Strong’ and dubbed throughout because his accent was so ridiculous, Arnie’s very first film saw him play the son of Zeus, inexplicably beamed down to modern-day (well, 1969) New York where he cavorts around making an arse of himself before becoming, obviously, a professional wrestler. Co-starring Arnold Stang, best known as the original voice of Top Cat, we sort of wish clips from this were shown every time Arnie tries to pretend he’s a serious politician.
#4 – Cactus JackReleased a few years before Schwarzenegger got his big break with Conan the Barbarian, Cactus Jack is a parody Western starring, of all people, Kirk Douglas. Arnie plays a character called Handsome Stranger, second only to Woman Who Wets Herself in the annals of brilliant character naming, who must escort the beautiful Charming Jones somewhere or other whilst fending off the attacks of ageing cowboy Cactus Jack (Douglas himself). Because we’re all heart, the above video is actually the entire film – knock yourselves out.
#3 – Red SonjaNothing says ‘perfect Saturday night’ like the words ‘Dutch-American sword and sorcery’, does it? Nominally starring Brigitte Nielsen as a dull Conan spin-off character, the real star of the show is Arnie as Lord Kalidor, the only man on earth with the cojones to stand up to Sonja and her great big massive sword. Although it has much more in common with the utterly, utterly distressing Conan the Destroyer than the actually quite clever and subversive Barbarian, Red Sonja also boasts a six foot evil queen with a glowing green ball, not to mention an “Icthyan Killing Machine” which Kalidor helpfully blinds. A remake has been nearly in production for some five years, so don’t hold your breath.
#2 – Last Action HeroA cruelly underrated meta action film which stars Arnie as himself AND as his character Jack Slater, the hard-bitten star of a film series popular in the world of Last Action Hero. Slater’s biggest fan, a child actor who is still working but not in anything you’ll have heard of, goes to a private screening of Jack Slater IV and finds himself thrust into the madcap world of his hero. Notable for its incredible slew of supporting actors, including Charles Dance, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellen, Sylvester Stallone (as The Terminator) and Tina bloody Turner, this is not a film to attempt if you’re already a bit pissed.
#1 – End of DaysThis may be not only Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best film, but the best film in the world, full stop. In his finest ever foray into horror, Arnie plays tough luck ex-cop Jericho Cane (what a bloody name), whose life has been peppered with various exciting events including but not limited to having his family murdered, being attacked by a priest called Thomas Aquinas and finding out that Satan is heading to earth for the Millennium, planning to boff some unfortunate babe and fill her full of Antichrist. As you do. Cane charges around New York trying to protect Damian’s mum-to-be from the murderous Vatican Knights and the Devil himself (played, spectacularly, by Gabriel Byrne), while fighting off a super-strong Miriam Margoyles and being really cynical and deadpan the whole time – ooh, it’s marvellous. Whether you’re wishing Halloween wasn’t over, counting the days until the winter solstice or just praying for the acension of Satan our master, End of Days is Arnie’s finest hour.