Crispin Glover

Authored by: Sarah Thomas

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138950276
eBook ISBN: 9781315668819
Adobe ISBN:


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Innovative in his artistic outlook, marginal in his success, transgressive in his oddness, and excessive in his performances, Crispin Glover embodies cult stardom. A true cult auteur in many regards, one of his most recent endeavours is an internationally-toured live show called ‘Crispin Glover’s Big Slide Show’, an event described in one press release as ‘bewildering, unnerving, surreal, and blackly comic’, and ‘unsuitable for children’ (Hodgson 2014). It mixes screening and live performance, showcasing Glover’s own directorial effort What Is It? (2005), a film with a cast of actors with Down’s Syndrome and described by Glover as ‘Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe and how to get home as tormented by an hubristic racist inner psyche’. 1 A further feature of the Slide Show are readings and illustrations from Glover’s re-working of 19th Century books, accompanied by an earnest over-the-top commentary which tends to be greeted with nervous laughter and rapturous applause. 2 Aside from his own offbeat projects, much of his conventional fame stems from his early role as George McFly in Back to the Future (1985). Since then he has occupied a significant space in alternative independent cinema and cult television with scene-stealing supporting roles in River’s Edge (1986),Wild at Heart (1990) and the Starz network’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2017), and embellished mainstream productions with elaborate eccentricity, such as insisting his character in Charlie’s Angels (2000) be reworked as mute.

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