Steve Railsback emerged in the 1970s as an actor with an almost eerie capacity to essay characters with weird energy and a quirky, naturalistic menace. Railsback left his native Texas in the late 1960s to immerse himself in the New York theater scene, where he met accomplished director Elia Kazan, who gave the young actor his first film role, prophetically enough as a vengeful Vietnam vet in "The Visitors" (1972). After Railsback delivered a show-stopping performance as psychopathic cult leader Charles Manson in the high-profile television movie "Helter Skelter "(CBS, 1976), he took more square-jawed leads in the ABC miniseries "From Here to Eternity" (1979) and what would be tabbed as his above-the-credits breakthrough, the inside-Hollywood comedy "The Stunt Man" (1980). But bigger roles did not pan out, and his ensuing work was largely relegated to B-movies, a majority of them science fiction or horror - most notably "Escape 2000" (1982), "Lifeforce" (1985) and the right-wing fantasy "The Survivalist" (1987). He sealed his genre bona fides with a two-episode turn as disturbed abductee Duane Barry on Fox's sci-fi phenomenon "The X-Files" (1993-2002). Railsback bankrolled his next turn as a dangerous psycho, taking the title role in the indie flick, "Ed Gein" (2000). Regardless of budget or profile, Railsback remained a textbook case of Hollywood's sometimes confounding indifference to mesmerizing talents should they fail to fit neatly into a prepackaged box.