In the late ’80s/early ’90s, the mullet reigned supreme. A hairstyle that embraced both work and pleasure, its appeal spread far and wide. It seemed to be the pinnacle of hair fashion — until it suddenly wasn’t. Somewhere along the lines, someone deemed the hairstyle “lame” and “trashy.” This new opinion spread like wildfire, until the mullet was banished to small, rural areas known as “redneck country.” However, in its glory days, the mullet was modeled by the finest talents in entertainment. From action heroes to rock gods, comedians to rebel teenagers, the mullet was a hairstyle fit for both kings and peasants. Read on for five of the mullet’s most glorious moments.
5. Jean-Claude Van Damme — Hard Target
The mullet is most recognized as being a distinctly ’80s hairstyle, with most people seeming to forget that it lasted into the ’90s with the help of a few cinematic badasses. One such badass was Jean-Claude Van Damme, who rocked the mullet in the 1993 action movie Hard Target (1993). Weirdly, this is the only movie in which Van Damme adopts the “business up front, party in the back” look for which he is associated, but it continues to be one of his most well-known looks. His current IMDb profile picture boasts the iconic hairstyle, if you need any further proof of this. It begs the question, why did Van Damme end it after just one movie?Honestly, how cool would it have been to see him bring it back for The Expendables 2?
4. Kevin Dillon — The Blob (1988)
In Chuck Russell’s remake of the ’50s classic, Kevin Dillon takes the reigns from Steve McQueen as the teen none of the adults believe. In place of the clean cut McQueen, the remake updates the central character, turning him into a rebel with a motorcycle and — you guessed it — a glorious mullet. In this case, the mullet is a solid creative decision, highlighting the contrast and conflict between the youthful and rebellious Dillon and the authority figures who insist he’s nothing but a delinquent. Now, I’m not saying that The Blob is only a good movie because of the mullet at the center of it all. But it sure does help.
3. Dana Carvey — Wayne’s World/Wayne’s World 2
What is there to say about Dana Carvey that hasn’t already been said? The man is a comedy legend, and he’s at his best as Garth Algar, the loveably oblivious sidekick to the titular Wayne (Mike Meyers). There’s a lot to love in Garth, from his social awkwardness to his goofy smile. And yet, Garth is simply not Garth without his mullet. While Garth is awkward and reserved, his hair is the opposite: big, loud, and iconic. I dare you to find a character more fitting to the “business up front, party in the back” ideal as Garth Algar.
2. David Bowie — Labyrinth
The late great rockstar David Bowie was known for a wide variety of hairstyles, and even a variety of mullets. But the best of his many looks is that of Jareth the Goblin King in the ‘80s cult classic Labyrinth. Rocking a big, bold mullet that more than likely took gallons of hairspray to maintain, Jareth is a villain for the ages, singing and dancing with all the raw sex appeal that a rockstar in his prime should have. Dance, Magic, Dance would not be the iconic musical number it is without that mullet — or the baby-tossing, but that’s a whole different article…
1. Kiefer Sutherland — The Lost Boys
As a kid walking through the local video store, one of the most intriguing movie covers was that of The Lost Boys, Joel Shumacher’s campy vampire classic. But my eyes always went past leading man Jason Patric and straight to Kiefer Sutherland’s leering face, which was surrounded with the most glorious head of hair I’ve ever seen in my life. Equal parts spiky, flowing, and awesome, Sutherland’s character David made an impact on me long before I ever actually watched The Lost Boys. Everything about David is amazing, and his mullet adds to the raw magnetism that’s integral to the character. Cool hair, cool bike, cool vibe… it’s no wonder Michael (Patric) falls prey to his charms. David is one of the best horror villains of all time, and that mullet is a key ingredient to the character’s success.
With ’80s and ’90s nostalgia making waves in entertainment and fashion, perhaps the mullet will make a glorious return. Netflix series Stranger Things has already proven that the mullet can still be fashionable, placing it on fan favorite characters like Steve “The Hair” Harrington and Billy Hargrove. I for one, long for the day in which I see mullets peppering a crowd that isn’t gathered for a stockcar race or on the head of actors named David Spade. What ’80s trend would you like to see make a comeback? Do you think mullet culture could make a comeback? Only time will tell, I suppose.
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