I’m sitting here, still shocked by the news of Roddy Piper’s passing. It hit harder than I would expect, because it reminded me of childhood, and how so much of mine was filled with Piper. Sitting down with my older brother, we would watch every WWF pay-per-view event, and with how much of my time was spent watching his larger than life personality, it felt like I knew him. He was my hero.
I also grew up adoring John Carpenter films, so when THEY LIVE came out, it was the perfect combination of two of my biggest loves: Carpenter and Piper. I missed out on catching it on the big screen (why, I don’t know, I was a cinephile from an early age), but my father made sure we were at the video store the day the film hit VHS, and when the doors opened, we were the first ones to rent it. The film became a staple in my childhood, with my brother and I acting out every single scene. We would obviously quote the infamous “all out of bubblegum” line, and when our dad wasn’t looking, we’d joke around and reenact the scene in which the alien is having sex with the woman and is confused about her seeing his real face. Yes, I was that silly to lay on a bed and act like I was having sex with the air and asking what’s wrong?, just to make my older brother laugh.
As an adult, I’ve had wonderful experiences showing my children films that I had grown up loving and when Scream Factory released the Bluray of THEY LIVE, it led to one of my favorite life memories: showing my son Dexter the film for the first time. He fell in love with it, and it would be an understatement to say that we have watched that release over twenty times. Aside from SWAMP THING, THEY LIVE is my son’s favorite film of all time, and Piper is his hero, just like he was to me as a child. When I finally met Piper at the Days of the Dead convention, he was incredibly kind, everything a massive fan would hope for, and trust me, it was scary waiting to meet him. Having your heroes treat you like shit is never a good thing to experience, so when Roddy was so nice, it warmed my heart.
Today, as I was sitting down and getting ready to catch up on reviews, transcribing a new interview and the day to day going ons of being a horror journalist, I read that Roddy Piper had died, and it hit me guys. It really did. Memories of my childhood came back to my brain, and I looked over my shoulder and saw my son watching his cartoons, and it occurred to me: I had to tell my son that our hero was gone. It made me emotional and to be brutally honest, that hasn’t went away. Our hero is gone, I can’t get that out of my head. We all have people who made our childhoods better, who made our adult lives more fun than they should be, and heroes that over the years, never stopped being just that: your hero. Roddy Piper not only made my life a lot crazier, but made me as a child realize: it’s ok to be Rowdy. Goodbye, hero.