For over thirty years Kane Hodder has been giving his all to the horror genre and fans all over the world. From his years of stunt work to his iconic portrayals of Jason Voorhees and Victor Crowley to his more comedic roles in Holliston and Almost Mercy Kane has earned his place as an icon of the genre.
Terror Time: Hi Kane, you balance the horror bad ass persona amazingly well with your comedic and intellectual side. How hard is it to keep up the horror bad ass image as you grow and age in the genre?
Kane Hodder: Ha ha ha. Well thank you very much. Now I won’t have to kill you. You know people that have read my book understand that my early life wasn’t very easy. There’s a lot of stuff in my past that I can draw off of to bring rage and violence and that never goes away. My pool of resources is always there and even though I’m now 61 I’m still able to get the same intensity as I was when I was 21 so that part of it is easy. It’s more difficult keeping my temper with society because I have a short fuse with assholes and stupid people. I’ve always loved horror so to become known for it is a perfect situation for me. I do love comedic roles though.
TT: Yeah I love the comedic stuff you’ve done in Holliston and other pieces. So with you being 61 now what’s your secret workout regimen that keeps the Kane Hodder physique?
KH: No secret but I’m very dedicated to it and that’s the biggest factor to staying in shape. With traveling so much like I do it doesn’t mean that you use the excuse of not being able to find a gym to workout. That’s not an excuse. I don’t subscribe to any specific regimen of working out. It has to be consistent. I still go very heavy with weights because I feel that it maintains the density of the muscles better. It makes me feel less old when I’m able to lift the same amount of weight that I was able to lift twenty years ago.
TT: I loved your performance in Almost Mercy. The story is so timely and plausible. Your character is essentially the bully archetype. Was it difficult to portray that role, given that you had experienced bullying growing up?
KH: No. Actually I seemed to fit right into the role somehow. I drew on things that happened to me in my past and use them to my benefit so it felt liberating in a way to recreate something to a character that happened to me. I love that character and the movie is extremely well done. Like you said the story is certainly plausible in this day and age. For me to portray the only lighthearted and comedic character in the film if that’s not switching up the tables for me I don’t know what is. For me to always be the one committing violent acts in films and now I’m the only thing that people are laughing at. Tommy DeNucci let me do whatever I thought felt right and if he thought it was still within what he wanted to see he let me go with it. When you have a director who is that confident in themselves to let you try stuff that’s a dream job. I wanted the character to be “that guy” that everyone knows in their life who thinks he’s just so fucking cool yet in reality he’s so cringe worthy. It was a fantastic time.
TT: You were in the genre during the heyday and you worked with many of the greats during that time. What’s the main difference you see in those you worked with then and the directors of today?
KH: Good and bad things. Sometimes the directors today try way too hard to do something completely different. It’s always nice when someone comes up with something different but don’t sacrifice your story because your trying to make a mark in the film world. Stay true to the film and do what’s best for the film instead of making a name for just yourself. Some directors today that’s their attitude. Fortunately, there’s some young directors today that go with their skill set like Adam Green and it’s an absolute pleasure to work with people like that. Like a new film I did called Death House, Harrison Smith is very, very,very, good and he put together an amazing cast for the film that is being labeled by people as “The Expendables of Horror” but that’s misleading because a lot of the roles that the horror icons have in the film are more like cameos. It’s still cool to see them but I don’t think people should label it “The Expendables of Horror” because to me that would mean that the characters played by those people are in the entire film. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s my way of thinking. Regardless, it’s a really good film and I had really high hopes for it as we were shooting it and from what I’ve seen it’s looking better than I had hoped. All of the actors are really good. My personal favorite performance from what I’ve seen is Sean Whalen. Barbara Crampton and Dee Wallace are also just so good from what I’ve seen of it.
TT: Yeah and that was a real passion project for Gunnar Hansen before he passed away. Since the two of you spent so much time on the road at conventions was he pitching the film to you thorough out the years?
KH: Yes, he was. I seem to remember that he had a different title for it but I just wish that he had been able to be around when we actually did it. It’s been a lot of fun.
TT: Speaking of conventions, the convention crowd is definitely a family. Having been a part of so many conventions what’s your favorite part of the convention circuit?
KH: My favorite part I know it sounds like I’m just trying to kiss ass but it’s the fans. I’ve seen people at conventions for over twenty-five years we’ve become friends over those years. Meeting the fans and seeing them grow up. Every convention someone will bring me a photo of me and someone that was a year old and now their twenty-two. It’s just amazing to think about that. I’ve known people since they were born. People have even named their kids Kane in honor of me. How can you not be flattered by that? It’s a huge honor.
TT: Amen. Like I tell everyone you are not a dyed in the wool horror fan until you’ve been choked at a horror convention by Kane Hodder. It’s a rite of passage.
KH: Ha ha. It really is. As you know I do it pretty hard. If you’re a male I’m going to choke you enough so that you can’t breathe while I’m doing it. I have groups of guys come to conventions that bring their new buddy to get choked because they’ve all been thru it before. I wish I could see how it feels to be choked by me.
TT: Ha ha. Yeah don’t try that.
KH: You know I tried to hang myself when I was younger to scare my friends. Can you imagine if I had succeeded all the great stuff I would have missed out on. I do speaking engagements regarding burns and when I was going thru the worst part of my burn situation and even after getting out of the hospital and you realize that your twenty-two years old and you have to live with the scars as a reminder. I got to a pretty depressed point so I speak to groups about suicide. I got to a really low point and once you get healed from the burns that’s when the skin contracts so much that you can’t even move where ever the scars are you have to work that area out and it’s a very depressing thing to go thru. Unfortunately, I did contemplate whether I wanted to go on or not. What I like to point out to people is it could have been justified in some people’s eyes if I had ended my life because of where I was at in my head but my point is look at what I would have missed out on. That’s the point I like to make to people. I never say oh things will get better blah blah blah just in my particular case look at the life I would have missed. All the fans, all the Jason stuff, all the amazing things in my life. I’m not preaching to anyone but just look at my case and look what I would have missed.
TT: That’s beautiful and it leads to my next question. You successfully funded the documentary, To Hell and Back. How challenging did you find the aspect of crowdfunding?
KH: It’s tough and it’s really hard for me to ask people for money to help me do something. It’s just my mentality and a hard thing for me to do. I’m glad I did it because the documentary is going to be incredible and really a visual version of the book but much more to it as well. You don’t get the same emotional connection from reading a book as you do from seeing it visually.
TT: Oh absolutely. Especially with you meeting with the Dr. and nurses that cared for you in the hospital.
KH: Yeah and I got to sit in the actual burn unit that I was in with the Dr. that was in charge of my case because the unit had just moved to a new section of the hospital so we got to sit in the one I was in and just talk. It was so eerie because there was still equipment in there but they had moved the patients to the new unit. It was so weird being back there again after spending so much time there recovering.
TT: I can’t wait to see it. Onto a happier topic. Hollywood Ghost Hunters has been discussed for years will we ever get to see it as a TV series?
KH: I don’t know. If the right situation came along I’d like to. What would be fun about our group if we do a TV show is even if the show was similar to those other ghost hunting shows what I find that those shows often lack is a chemistry within the group and that’s the biggest thing our group has is a fun chemistry because we are all such crazy characters and everyone in the group has something to do with making horror films. So it’s a different dynamic and these are people who are used to trying to scare people with creative things so trying to see if we can get scared on our own and the dynamic of the people within the group would be entertaining regardless of the paranormal activity that may or may not happen. I think that’s the secret to a show is it’s got to be fun to watch regardless of if anything goes on and if something does then that’s a bonus.
TT: So do you actually believe in ghosts?
KH: I consider myself an open minded skeptic. I think a lot of things that people say is paranormal could have a scientific explanation to it. I am very careful not to let my imagination run away on me just to have a story to tell. I think that happens all the time to people and the power of suggestion is huge in the paranormal world. You hear something recorded and it sounds like just noise then someone says “Oh it sounds like get out or you’ll die.” Then everyone there thinks that’s what it sounds like. You have to be careful with the power of suggestion. I’m also open minded to accept that maybe these things do exist and I hope to get to experience them myself.
TT: When you’ve been on set for hours on end and you’re driving back home to unwind do you have a go to band or song that you listen to?
KH: No and I know it’s going to sound ridiculous but once I wrap for the night and take the makeup off I’m very relaxed already because I’ve gotten all my aggression out while working so I’m already relaxed at that point. I use a lot of music to get to the energy that I want before a shoot. I still listen to a ton of heavy metal. I’m a big fan of ICP and Twiztid so I listen to their music but that’s during work. Like for instance before I called you I was listening to CHILL,the XM station that has very low key music because when I’m driving I get road rage with people and I tend to get out of the car and confront people far less if I’m listening to CHILL and that’s not a joke.
TT: Oh god that would be the most epic road rage story for someone to be confronted on the road by Kane Hodder. No one would believe it but wow. I have to ask you how many people come up to you and ask you to tell them to “lay down next to your bitch.”?
KH: Ha ha ha. Certainly Holliston fans do. They love that. A guy recently at a convention asked me to yell that at him while he was laying on the ground. So I did.
TT: Now that’s power right there. Final question for you Kane. You do the Walker Stalker conventions which feature the stars from The Walking Dead. So why have you not been on The Walking Dead yet?
KH: Ha ha ha. I honestly don’t know. Greg designed my makeup for Jason Goes To Hell, I went with him to a Metallica concert, he was at my wedding reception. So that’s how well I know him but yeah that’s a great question. Ask Greg Nicotero that question when you interview him.
TT: I will make it a point to ask him. Kane where can people go to follow you online?
KH: Mainly I try to stay in contact via Twitter which is @kanehodder1 that is mine for real. There’s a ton of fake ones that say that they are me but they are not. I’m on Facebook as well.
TT: Thank you so much Kane for the time and insightful conversation. I really enjoyed it.
KH: Thank you man. I appreciate it.
It’s always a blast to talk to Kane and I can’t wait to see To Hell And Back. If you see Kane at a convention don’t forget to get a choke or “lay down next to your bitch.” from him.