Christian Slater and his devilish eyebrows have returned to the mainstream with Mr. Robot, and he’s back doing what he does best: manically goading a vulnerable character into madness.
When Slater first appears in Mr. Robot as the titular unkempt, anarchy-advocating asshole, it appears to be casting. And all through Season 1, he urges Elliot to join his criminal fsociety plot. It only gets better when we realize that Mr. Robot is an illusion, the embodiment of Elliot’s darkest impulses. Slater has enjoyed a long career and many roles, but he’s always at his most memorable when he’s cast on the chaotic side of the alignment system.
This dumb 1986 thriller was Slater’s first psycho teen role, and he plays a creepy, Nazi-loving nerd named Mark who torments his sister’s emotionally vulnerable babysitter, Helen. If it wasn’t enough for him to be torturing a nervous, middle aged woman, toward the film’s climax you learn that she was even institutionalized, apparently for anxiety. Mark pushes Helen over the edge, and she ends up killing him for it. Oh, and before he dies, Mark kills a classmate with a fencing sword, because I guess that’s how murderous nerds murder.
This cult classic black comedy is undoubtedly Slater’s most famous role, and it feels like kismet that he and Winona Ryder are both back with hit tv shows right now. Slater’s character J.D. is a handsome, cynical, and homicidal outsider who pushes popular Veronica to help him murder her friends, confusing Veronica and a generation of teenage girls with his sociopathic charm. J.D. is all about the chaos.
Pump Up The Volume
In this more positive, less murder-y and sadly lesser known film, Slater plays — what else? — a weirdo teen loner. This time he starts his own underground radio station. Somehow every teen in town listens to him, and man, does Happy Harry Hard-On speak to those teens (there was even a sly reference to Slater’s pirate radio in the most recent episode of Mr. Robot). After the town is rocked by a suicide, Slater incites some full on teen anarchy with this rousing speech, pushing uptight, stressed, or apathetic classmates to cut loose. Slater cites it as one of his best roles.
Another movie about suicide. What is it about Christian Slater that is so dang depressing? In this case, it may be his bad ‘90s mustache. Slater plays Julian, a deeply depressed man, who moves to a new town with the purpose of ending his own life, but ends up falling in love. It’s 50 percent him driving his new girlfriend to kill herself, and 50 percent other people driving him to kill himself in this off-brand Romeo and Juliet story.
Slater seems to have gleefully leaned in to his notoriety, with a number of small roles as himself or very similar characters. He encouraged Archer creators to make his character, aptly named Slater, look just like him. This one might be a tad unfair, because it doesn’t take much to push Archer overboard, but Slater is his most recent recurring nemesis. His reappearance in Season 7 with a half-assed side plot involving MK Ultra seemed designed solely to further shake up Archer, and his relationship with Lana.