Lance Henriksen

During the week of May 2 – 7, 2011, John Kenneth Muir and Joe Maddrey organized a community tribute to Lance Henriksen, to celebrate the actor’s birthday and the release of his official biography. Below are archive links to the essays that came in from bloggers around the world over the course of six amazing days:

Lance Henriksen: Acting Like He Means It by Sean Stubblefield of From the Stars
The Tao of Lance Henriksen by John Kenneth Muir of Reflections on Film & Television
The Masters biography: Lance Henriksen by Joe Maddrey for
A Viewership Lived Through Lance by Michael Alatorre of It Rains… You Get Wet
Lance Henriksen Goes West by Joe Maddrey of Movies Made Me
My Life with Lance by James McLean of Back to Frank Black
Lance Henriksen: Over Forty Years of Kicking Ass and Taking Names by Christine Hadden of Fascination with Fear
The Essence of Excellence by Troy Foreman of Back to Frank Black
Death, Destruction and Puppies by Terri Wilson of In the Comfy Chair
Not Bad for a Non-Player Character, Part 1 by Will Johnson of The Paxton Configuration
Not Bad for a Non-Player Character, Part 2 by Will Johnson
7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Birthday Boy, Lance Henriksen! by John Squires of Freddy in Space

The Cult TV Faces of: Lance Henriksen by John Kenneth Muir
Lance Henriksen Funhouse by Uncle Lancifer of Kindertrauma
Images of Millennium (Season One) by Gordon Roberts of Musings of a Sci-Fi Fanatic

Hard Target by Alison Nastasi of The Pineal Eye
Pumpkinhead by Uncle Lancifer
Near Dark by Alison Nastasi
The Horror Show by Jim Blanton of Fantasmo
Stone Cold by Ivan Lerner of The United Provinces of Ivlandia
Nightmares by J.D. Lafrance of Radiator Heaven
The Pit and the Pendulum by Alison Nastasi
The Invitation by Joe Maddrey
Savage Dawn by Vern of Then Fuck You, Jack
Alien 3 by John Kenneth Muir
Excessive Force by Vern
Aliens / Johnny Handsome by Michael Alatorre
Mimic: Sentinel by Uncle Lancifer
Near Dark by Jane Considine of Gris Gris
Hard Target by David Steece of Randomaniac

“The Well-Worn Lock” episode review by Jane Considine
Millennium: Critical Mass by Joe Maddrey
“The Wild and the Innocent” episode review by Jane Considine
What the Killer Sees: Frank Black by Adam Chamberlain of Back to Frank Black
Five Favorite Frank Black Moments by John Kenneth Muir
“The Thin White Line” episode review by Jane Considine
Lance Henriksen: Profile and Measures of the Millennium Man by Gordon Roberts
“A Single Blade of Grass” episode review by A.M. Henry of Sick B*tch

Lance Henriksen Interview on The Quick and the Dead by John Kenneth Muir
Lance Henriksen’s Ten Favorite Westerns by Joe Maddrey
Interview with Lance Henriksen by Mike Gencarelli of Movie Mikes
Lance Henriksen Interview by Alison Nastasi for FearNet
Exclusive Interview with Joseph Maddrey by Dominick Starck of
Vaultcast: The Lance Henriksen Interview by Brian Solomon for The Vault of Horror

by Vern
by Brian Solomon for
A profile of the artists in “Not Bad for a Human” by Joe Maddrey
A profile of the artists in “Not Bad for a Human” by DiRT of The Pop Culture Network


I LOVE THIS BOOK! Lance rocks! - Harry Knowles, Ain’t It Cool News

Engaging, entertaining and marinated in enlightening anecdotes. Makes me want to go back and rent everything he’s ever done. A must for the collection of any scifi/horror fan! - Max Brooks, author of the New York Times bestseller World War Z

While reading veteran actor Lance Henriksen’s biography – co-written with Nightmares in Red, White and Blue writer/producer Joseph Maddrey – one is navigated through the story of a feral youth turned poet laureate, whose life’s blood beats in the heart of every film he’s touched… Henriksen’s undeniable talents as a storyteller are on full display here, and Maddrey serves as a perfect tour guide through the maverick actor’s world. Together, they have crafted a compelling (and moving) tale about Henriksen’s journey toward onscreen success and self-discovery. - Alison Nastasi, Rue Morgue

Not Bad for a Human isn’t your usual actor’s autobiography; it lets the reader experience the story of Lance Henriksen’s life and career on the level where his craft begins — his internal process. With depth and humor, he recalls his advancements and mistakes, how he turned accidents and opportunities to his advantage, and we follow him, film by film, as he moves beyond merely looking right for a part to finding unique keys to inhabiting characters, whether it’s for a work of art or a rent-paying work for hire. Illuminating yet down to earth, this portrait of the cult star as a working actor commands respect — because it’s worthy of it. - Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog and author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

An awful lot of Hollywood autobiographies these days are antiseptic and empty, but Lance Henriksen bucks the trend in his fiery Not Bad for a Human. With an unfettered sense of freedom, the movie star channels the same passion, humanity and searing honesty in this book as he does in each film or television role he tackles. The result is a valuable glimpse of one actor’s unique process and even more that: his philosophy of life. Consequently, this is the best star autobiography I’ve ever read.
- John Kenneth Muir, author of The Unseen Force: The Films of Sam Raimi and Horror Films of the 1980s
HENRIKSEN may be well known for playing bad guys or creepy weirdoes but in films like ALIENS, NEAR DARK and PUMPKINHEAD, a stronger vibe always came across to me and that is of a grounded paternal caretaker. This book backs up my intuition on nearly every page. Bounced around orphanages and raised without any real structure, he has molded himself as if from clay into the solid figure that was absent in his youth. If that’s not a hero’s journey then I don’t know what is. - Uncle Lancifer, Kindertrauma

When you see him in a role Henriksen always delivers a powerful memorable performance that offers everything from pain and suffering to love and passion, but to know where these emotions came from makes these performances stand out even more, because they are real. There is so much inner pain and struggle in this book that you can feel as you read the words the struggle he faces with ever situation. His journey from his troubled childhood and personal struggles with life makes this book not just an amazing look at his life, but one that showcases a glimpse of hope and lesson to those who think they have no options in life. – Bobby Blakey, Dallas Examiner

Not Bad For A Human is full of genuinely interesting anecdotes and I don’t want to spoil them all here. This book is different than the typical “my agent called so-and-so and we did lunch” celebrity biography. It’s different because the subject is pretty damn weird. I mean that in a good way, I swear! I didn’t expect to learn about life in a naval brig, or what it is like to be left for dead while digging for amethysts, but there you go, there’s something for everyone. Only in America can someone start their adult life as drifter and end up a movie star, right? Well, a b-movie star anyway… - Liz Walker, Geeky Universe

An addictive, quick, fulfilling reading experience… Before, I was a fan of the actor and was pleased with what I read and saw of the man in interviews, but now I’m definitely a fan and admirer of the man Lance Henriksen. – David, Forget to Breathe

What’s exceptional about Mr. Henriksen’s biography—appropriately titled Not Bad for a Human–is the emphasis on his real life as an influence on his onscreen work. Told in conversational anecdotes, the work is a collaboration between Mr. Henriksen and noted entertainment creator and analyst Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, While, and Blue). Readers are welcomed into Mr. Henriksen’s world by his refreshing candidness [...] Ultimately, this collaboration between Mr. Henriksen and Mr. Maddrey is nothing less than fascinating, and nothing short of moving. It’s the unexpurgated history of a man who’s built a sturdy stronghold on a foundation of sorrow. Not many people live up to the term legend bestowed upon them, but Lance plays the part gracefully, modestly, and with a marked appreciation for life’s little gifts.” – Chris Hallock, Diabolique Magazine

Lance Henriksen is the bad guy you root for and the good guy you’re afraid to trust. The actor with the deep, gritty voice always brings complexity to cliches when embodying his characters, but never more so than when standing in his own shoes. Henriksen’s new biography is deep and delirious, cracked, crazy and carefully crafted. It’s also one of my favorite books of the year…. Not Bad for a Human manages to be both a poignant biography as well as the blazing-bright documenting of a life lived for art’s sake. - Joe Nolan, Art Now Nashville

Not Bad for a Human, Henriksen’s autobiography co-written with Joseph Maddrey, is a perfect gift to fans of the actor. It’s not a typical rags-to-riches story where we watch our star ebb and flow his way to the top. Instead, the book is much more methodical. Henriksen describes in detail his passion for acting, where he musters the courage to bring his characters to life and what drives him to wake up in the morning. This is Lance Henriksen unplugged; he’s raw, visceral, truthful and never bullshits. He won’t let you blink. - John Soltes, Hollywood Soapbox

Henriksen gives his candid thoughts on all of his major roles… and some that he’d like to forget… Amongst the highlights are stories about how he approached Steven Spielberg with his idea of how Close Encounters of the Third Kind should have ended, how he deliberately terrorized a hitchhiker while preparing for the character of Jesse Hooker in Near Dark and his disappointment with the lack of creative collaboration on Millennium. What is most refreshing about these anecdotes are how they completely lack pretension and the bullshit that usually comes with Hollywood bios… It is an incredibly entertaining read, and probably the funniest book I’ve read in years (it will surely go down in history as the only biography ever to feature passages about unwanted foot massages by drunken foreign diplomats and Oliver Reed’s penis tattoo).. A must for Lance aficionados and casual fans alike. - Chris Cummins, Topless Robot

You know this gaunt growler. He lurks in the disreputable direct-to-video section of your local video store, if it still exists, or pops up on Netflix in a low-budget creeper rated with one reluctant star. He is, of course, Lance Henriksen, a tireless worker and a real character of a character actor. In his wild, circuitous life he’s compiled a trunk-full of anecdotes and chastened life lessons. With the help of co-writer Joseph Maddrey, he packed all of them into his autobiography, Not Bad For A Human. It lays bare his poverty-stricken youth and job-hustling acting career with a disarming lack of vanity and a rhythmic sense of cursing. - R. Emmet Sweeney, Movie Morlocks

The ample behind-the-scenes stories are merely the surface; the real wealth of Henriksen’s bio lies beneath the surface. His human spirit preys on you long after you finish. I’m still thinking about how he overcame the impossible, a mental lingering that doesn’t seem to pass. He is unique. As is his book’s inspirational effect on the reader. - Tim Ferrante, Videoscope

Anyone who has gotten to know Lance Henriksen will have experienced, in one form or another, his great generosity. That giving spirit is on full display here, evident in his willingness to candidly convey all the trials and triumphs of a life and career that have presented as many devastating disappointments as proud accomplishments. There’s much to be gained from the telling–for both the reader and Henriksen himself, the book suggests–and Henriksen’s candid delivery of these anecdotes is refreshing, insightful, and at times uproarious. Henriksen’s candor and Maddrey’s attention to detail complement one another beautifully in a dual narrative that lends the volume depth and a certain swiftness; one wild tale leads to the next and the pages are quickly turned. - Brian A. Dixon, Back to Frank Black

What’s remarkable is that the man in the book comes across as powerfully as the man on the screen, revealing aspects about him that are surprising, funny and sad, while at the same time confirming that he is in some way all of the characters with which fans will be so familiar. I finished the book with the impression of a genuinely humble man, but also a quite remarkable one, and although the emphasis is mostly focused on his films, his life and personality are so inextricably bound up with his work that in talking about one, he cannot avoid talking about the other. Fans will revel in both the familiar and the new, while those less acquainted with his work will find it a fascinating account of the life of a genuine method actor, a man who would find it impossible to approach his work in any other way. As for me, I found it as moving, amusing and thought provoking as any movie star confessional I’ve read. - Phil Beresford, Den of Geek

From gun fighting with Gene Hackman to befriending an emerging director called James Cameron, Lance Henriksen – best remembered as Bishop from Aliens – recounts an array of first-rate Hollywood tales in this powerful memoir. Earnestly describing the painstaking lengths he’s gone to as a method actor, this book intrigues at every turn and makes Daniel Day-Lewis sound decidedly lacklustre in comparison.” – Joe Ellis, Shortlist

The stories of Hollywood are not always stories of the blockbuster megastars, but just as well those who have quite prolific careers. “Not Bad for a Human” is a memoir of long time star of screen Lance Henriksen who has acted in nearly two hundred films throughout his career and has worked with countless individuals throughout his storied career, including a good deal of some of those megastars of the screen, as well as the megastars of behind the screen. A man driven by creative expression, “Not Bad for a Human” is a story of art, Hollywood, and just about everything else that leads up to the creation of both. - Midwest Book Review

The book (unlike so many other biographies) is not an exercise in vanity or look-at-me-ism, in fact it is more of what a biography is supposed to be – a telling of a life story yes, but to redeemable and edifying ends… Henriksen does not give the lame who slept with who details of salacious glory whoring of so many Hollywood biographies, he talks about on the onset horrors of fitting in [and] passion for the craft… Not Bad For A Human is a must buy for any fan of film, art OR biography. - Steve Damm, World of Superheroes

When Jim Bouton wrote his game-changing book about baseball called Ball Four, New York Times writer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said (and you can find it plastered on each copy): “Ball Four is a people book, not just a baseball book.” That was, mostly, true, as Ball Four examined the baseball culture, not just baseball. And culture has personalities, moods, and are grounded in reality. Lance Henriksen’s recent book Not Bad for a Human… is one of those “people” books that surpasses the subject matter on it’s surface level and examines other, deeper issues… It is the kind of nearly unbelievable story that makes your mouth gape in terror and that makes you laugh when it is sometimes highly inappropriate to do so. - Will Johnson, The Liberal Dead

Lance Henriksen’s story is intriguing in and of itself, but when added with the stories of his acting roles, this book becomes a tale of triumph over adversity through art. Thoroughly inspiring, this book proves that nearly anyone can make something of themselves, if they work hard, and bust their ass.
- Spooky Sean

Seriously, buy and read this book. I always knew Lance had an amazing life story, but this book will definitely inspire you to to get off your ass and do whatever you need to in order to reach your goals. The lengths that Lance goes to to leave his past behind and achieve something with his life are so much more full of risk, embarrassment, and balls (chutzpah, gall, backbone, moxie, etc.) than any of us would be willing to take, it’s very humbling.
- Lisa Sikorski, Pigtails and Combat Boots

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