This article originally appeared on eightieskids.com
Starring Mickey Rourke in arguably his greatest ever role, alongside the always-superb Robert De Niro, Angel Heart is a gripping psychological horror film that Empire magazine describes as being “a diabolical treat.”
Following Rourke’s private detective Harry Angel as he is hired by De Niro’s Louis Cyphre to track down a famous singer, Angel Heart takes a devilish twist when Angel discovers the truth behind his contract. Below are some things you might not have known about this controversial film.
20. It’s based on a 1978 horror novel called Falling Angel
Angel Heart is based on the 1978 novel Falling Angel, written by the American novelist and screenwriter William Hjortsberg. Born in New York in 1941, Hjortsberg was educated at Yale and enjoyed success writing short stories, novels and magazine articles. Although he wrote Falling Angel as a novel, he originally conceived the work as a screenplay.
Beyond this, Hjortsberg’s best-known work in film is the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s 1985 fantasy film Legend, starring a young Tom Cruise. Hjortsberg would go on to publish several more novels and write a number of screenplays (which unfortunately were never produced) before he passed away in 2017, aged 76.
19. Bill Cosby was enraged over Lisa Bonet’s role being ‘too sexual’
Angel Heart co-stars Lisa Bonet, in what was the very first film role. At the time Bonet was 18 and famed for her role on TV’s The Cosby Show. However, once the film was released, Bill Cosby (still a respected figure at the time, decades before details of his sexual misconduct became public knowledge) was far less happy with Bonet’s appearance as Epiphany Proudfoot.
Cosby openly criticised Angel Heart, calling it “a movie made by white America that cast a black girl, gave her voodoo things to do and have sex.” However, at the same time Cosby stressed that he hadn’t actually seen the film, claiming “it doesn’t offer my appetite anything.” The same year Angel Heart came out, 1987, Bonet would leave The Cosby Show for spin-off series A Different World.