Even Santa’s Not Safe. An Interview With Kane Hodder.

December 23, 2010 by Chris Grosso

Kane Hodder is most notably know for his role as Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th film series. He also plays Victor Crowley in the more recent Hatchet film series and is a well respected stuntman.  Now that we’ve gotten the pleasantries out of the way, Kane Hodder is one bad ass man. His kill record on screen is untouched. He enjoys giving input on kill scenes while they’re being filmed, coming from a fans persepctive, but if you ask him to hurt a kid, or even kick a dog on screen, you’re the one who liable to be his next victim. Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma.

The following interview was conducted on 12/22/10.

The Kane Hodder Interview

TIS: I wanted to start out by asking about the volunteer work you do with children at burn centers.

KH: Yeah cool. I actually go to different burn foundations around the country that have camps where kids get together for a few days. Everyone there has suffered some type of burn injury so no one stares at anyone else, and it’s really just comfortable and fun for them. I know how valuable it is to talk to someone who has been through what you’ve been through. No matter what you think you can empathize with, you really have no idea unless you’ve been there yourself, and that’s including doctors. Doctors have tried to tell me things about being burned, but knowing they haven’t been through it, it can be hard to hear what their saying. They just really don’t have any idea of the experience.

So the most valuable thing is to talk to someone who’s been through it, especially when you’re currently going through it. Camp is great too, but when a person is currently in the hospital and someone comes in that’s been through it and can talk to them, you can’t put a value on that. It’s the one thing that turned me around when I was at my worst, and I never even talked to the guy. I could see him from my bed and he was joking around. I saw the scars on him, and he looked like he was having a normal life, so I was like wow, I guess you can do that after this kind of shit.

TIS: Wow. Would you mind telling me a bit about your burn experience?

KH: Yeah sure. During my first year in stunts, I was trying to really promote my career by doing all kinds of stunts for publicity purposes. I did a fire stunt, which I’d done many times before, but this one just went out of control. I ended up burning over 50% of my body, and that was over 33 years ago. My scars are still just as noticeable today as they were in the beginning. And here’s something thing that bothers me.

When you’ve been burned, and you carry the scars for the rest of your life, and you talk to someone who says, yeah I know how you feel, I burned my arm third degree, and then you look at their arm and there’s no scars, it’s much worse than if the person never said anything in the first place. Please don’t tell me that you know what I’ve been through when you don’t carry any scars from your burn. That means you were burned light first degree, which is no picnic, but if you don’t have the scars, then you don’t have any idea of what I went through. You got scorched, yeah sure, and that’s no fun either, but don’t try and compare the two.

But getting back on topic, the volunteer work is really rewarding. Even if I wasn’t notable for any kind of horror character at all, it would still be valuable, but when you add that factor in, it’s even more exciting for the kids. It really makes you feel good.

TIS: Nice. So moving into darker territory, can you tell me about your upcoming movie “Cut”, which also stars Tony Todd & Michael Berryman?

KH: Yeah, that was great. I didn’t have too many scenes with Michael, our characters don’t cross paths too much in the movie, but Tony and I had almost all of our scenes together. The directors were both open and secure enough to be able to let us make suggestions about our characters back story. We even came up with some extra scenes that we thought would be cool. We came up with a lot of interesting connections between the two characters, which was basically our own creations and it was really cool to be able to do that. I think it’s going to make the dynamic between the two of us really interesting.

TIS: Sounds cool. What else are you working on?

KH: Well I’m doing a 3D Robin Hood movie in Germany which has a horror twist to it. I’m playing Little John and the Sheriff of Nottingham is none other than Tom Savini. He was able to finish most of his work, but I have a lot of mine left. We wanted to shoot as much as we could before the bad weather, so in the spring we’re going to finish it up. Out of all the movies I’ve done, over a hundred of them, I’ve never done a 3D one. It’s definitely more time consuming and that’s why we have to go back and finish it in the spring. I believe Tom and I are the only American actors in the film, but everyone is speaking English, so I think they’ll be releasing it here.

TIS: Cool. And you’re also are working on a book called “Kill” which chronicles your life and the fact that you’re an insanely bad ass killer on-screen.

KH: Yeah. The website is www.kanhodderkills.com and I’m finally writing it after much prodding from Adam Green (Director of Hatchet I & II). He kept telling me I really needed to write a book and I finally said yeah, it could be interesting. I have the horror side of my career and the stunt side of my career and the whole burn story, which is a book in itself. It’s a time consuming process, but it’s coming out really well.

People can read my authors blog on the site. He writes one every time we meet, which is pretty interesting. The blog is called The Killer and I. When he came up with the phrase, I told him it was grammatically incorrect, but he said “I know. I’m referencing the King and I” which I hadn’t picked up on. I’ve always been the kind of person who hates incorrect grammar and the misuse of words etc. It’s a really interesting blog to read from the beginning though.

TIS: Are you at liberty to share anything specific from the book yet?

KH: Well we’re kind of holding most of the stuff close to the vest of the book. I can tell you there’s so many things in the book that I’ve never talked about, which is pretty cool. One of which is that for a few years, I did a Christmas type holiday card that had a Jason theme to it, so we’re going to print all of those in the book. There’s a bunch of different, funny pictures from every year, all based around Friday the 13th. There’s really a lot of cool stuff. I’m sorry I can’t give you more, but I’ve been asked to not talk too much about it yet.

TIS: Sure man, I understand. So speaking about Adam Green, I was talking to him in October about Hatchet II being pulled from theaters after opening weekend. Do you care weigh in on this?

KH: It’s probably exactly the same as whatever Adam said. They were all for the unrated release until they got some backlash from the ratings board etc. So they got cold feet and had to bow to the pressure. It certainly wasn’t because of the unsatisfactory box office excuse they’ve used. They never expected it to be huge, and you never pull a movie that quickly. They pulled it because they got scared about all of the people complaining. I don’t understand why the MPAA has such a problem with putting the graphic stuff in the theater, yet they’re ok with it going on DVD. Which one of those two media is easier for an underage person to see, a DVD at home, when the parents are gone, or trying to get in to a theater where they’re watching out for minors? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. They don’t really care what you put on the DVD, which is what the kids will be more likely to see. And I don’t even think the Hatchet stuff is scary. It’s so over the top and ludicrous that’s it’s not even disturbing, it’s funny.

A perfect example, which Adam often talks about, is there’s a scene where I knock a guy on the ground with my hatchet and smash him in the teeth thirty times. Now on the DVD, they’re making Adam cut that down, they want it to actually hit once. For me, that would be more disturbing, to see someone thrown on the ground and SMASH, onto the next scene. When it goes thirty times, it’s so ridiculous I don’t even find it scary or disturbing even more.

So I think they’re actually making it worse when they cut it down like that. I just don’t understand the arbitrary decisions. It does seem like there’s a certain amount of payoff involved somewhere. A movie like Hostel has much more disturbing stuff in the theater than Hatchet would, but there’s a big campaign. I also don’t like the fact that the MPAA is an anonymous group. They don’t even give the names of the people that are involved in that, and that doesn’t seem right to me.

TIS: Yeah, definitely not.

KH: I think if they’re dictating what people can see, they should at least identify themselves.

TIS: Right on, but at least you guys got it out there, if only for one weekend.

KH: That’s true, and a lot of people did get to see it.

TIS: Yeah, and Adam actually made a good point to me about seeing films like that on opening weekend. He explained the importance of being there, showing your support, and having it reflect in the numbers, so it will open the doors for other films of the genre to have a chance at the box office.

KH: Yeah, exactly. And that’s a tough thing to try and convince people of because their immediate reaction is, oh you just want my money, as if we get the money from the box office. Well we don’t get shit from that. We’re just trying to help people have the opportunity to see more movies that they like, but if you don’t support them, what do you expect? 

TIS: Right. So I wanted to ask you about the infamous sleeping bag kill scene from Friday the 13th part 7, which is easily my favorite. Is there a story there, or anything special about the scene, or was it just another day at the office for Jason?

KH: Well you probably already know that it wasn’t just one hit against the tree when we shot it.

TIS: Right.

KH: Yeah, I actually picked up the damn thing and hit it against the tree five times. This is one of those scenes where less is more, like the hatchet in the mouth. It was actually more powerful just to hit it once. They shot it in slow motion and you could see blood seeping through the bag as I was hitting it against the tree. It was really different than what you saw in the theater, and that’s how it was written. It was one of those scenes where I didn’t add anything to it, and I’m usually there with my two cents to make the kill more enjoyable. I like to look at it as though I’m a fan watching it, so I ask myself, what would I like to see?

But that’s how it was written, and how we shot it. I hit it five times, and there was a 90 pound dummy in the bag. Of course you can probably tell when I drag the sleeping bag out of the tent, there’s an actually person in there, who was actually the makeup effects assistant. I can’t remember her name, but she’s the one who was in the bag and she was little. Even though she was little however, it was still hard to drag her. The ground was wet, the sleeping bag was nylon and I was wearing foam latex hands, so it was hard to grip the damn thing, and that’s why I picked it up and swung it against the tree.

 I was actually pissed off at that point because I couldn’t grip the fucking thing right. It just kept slipping out of my hands. If it was the slick latex, that would have been easier to work with, but it’s hard to hold anything in there, let alone a 90 pound dummy. So by the time we did the take, I was really frustrated and that’s probably why it looks better.

TIS: Yeah, well it’s definitely a classic, and not just for the Friday the 13th series, but horror films in general.

KH: Definitely. And I have some other favorites too, like the frozen head scene in Jason X, but it’s definitely no sleeping bag scene! The sleeping bag is so good because it’s not a weapon. Kill somebody with something so inoculate, it makes it more interesting I think.

TIS: Yeah I think so.

KH: And it was also my idea to bring a version of that back into Jason X. I was told there was going to be a virtual reality scene where Jason was back in the woods and had to kill a couple of girls, so I said hey, sleeping bag! Let’s put one girl in her bag, and bang her against the other girl in her bag, and I ad-libbed the extra hit against the tree at the end. The director didn’t even know I was going to do that. I haven’t talked much about that, so there’s something new for you.

TIS: Thanks man. I definitely never heard that story before. So do you have a preference between old school horror movies and new school or are you impartial?

KH: I’m pretty much impartial for the most part. Almost every horror movie I watch, regardless of the budget or the quality, I end up finding something I like about it. Like one of the kills, or one of the performances, so you will rarely, if ever, hear me say that so and so’s movie was a piece of shit, because I always find something I like about it. That’s not purposely, but I also don’t go into it thinking that it’s going to suck, because then it will suck. People do that all the time. They convince themselves that something is going to be shitty and when they’re done with it, they say, I knew it. But I think there’s always something redeeming in the films I watch where I feel it was worth it, at least for one part. I mean hey, I’ve done things that aren’t so great myself.

TIS: Haha, fair enough. So in a recent interview I did with Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), he spoke vehemently against horror remakes. Do you have an opinion on this?

KH: Although I would prefer to see original material, it still doesn’t anger me when remakes are done. I don’t know why. I’m not of the same opinion as much. I’d definitely prefer to see something new and original, but I don’t hate them as much as most other people seem too. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I can understand why they’re doing it. There’s a built in success there, it’s business. I’d rather it not happen, but I understand why it does.

TIS: Ok, so in closing, I’d like to give you a scenario to finish, if you’re up for it?

KH: Hahaha, well very creative of you. I’ll give it a shot. Have you presented this same scenario to everyone?

TIS: No. It just hit me about ten minutes before you called. I don’t usually do “scenarios”, but thought this would be a fun way to finish the interview.

KH: Sounds good, and by the way, I would like to say you’ve done a really good job with this interview. I do a lot of interviews and I appreciate you being prepared and asking things that aren’t the same old shit. So ok, let’s go ahead with this scenario of yours.

TIS: Haha, wow. Thanks man. Ok, so it’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s sleigh crash lands at Camp Crystal Lake. While looking for help, Santa comes across Jason Vorhees and…

KH: (Laughter) Oh wow. Hmm, well to me, Jason never had a problem with young children. In fact, I never liked the idea of him doing anything to anyone who was underage, which is why you never see him kill anyone like that. So I would say that Jason takes all the presents and makes sure all the kids get them, because he has nothing against children, but he would rip Santa’s head off and mount it on a stick for invading his area, and then he would then take a shit in the sleigh (laughter).

TIS: Sounds about right. Is there anything in closing I didn’t touch on?

KH: Well you got the book and Robin Hood movie so I suppose I  just want to make sure the word shit isn’t spelled out like s**t in regards to the sleigh.

TIS: Haha, no problem there! Shit it is!

KH: Right, for invading his territory.

TIS: Haha, absolutely.

KH: Cool, thanks a lot Chris.

TIS: And thanks much for your time! Have a great holiday.

Check Out Kane Hodder’s Book “Kill” Here

If You Liked This, You May Like These:

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The Indie Spiritualist Interviews Doug Bradley

The Indie SPiritualist Interviews Michael Berryman

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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.