In the world of horror films, Kane Hodder is a man who needs no introduction. He played Jason Voorhees in several “Friday the 13th” films and has played Victor Crowley in all three “Hatchet” films. Beyond that, he has acted in 100 films (and counting) alongside his duties as a stunt man in another 96 pictures. He has graced the silver screen in one form or another since 1974. Without further ado…
Gavin Schmitt: How do stunt men get insurance?
Kane Hodder: (laughs) You have some different questions, don’t you? Actually, we’re in the Screen Actors Guild just like all the actors, so we’re covered just like an actor is, regardless of what we do on the set.
GS: You’ve been credited with being involved with stunts on “Waxwork” and “Waxwork II”. Did you get to meet Zach Galligan at that time, or did you first meet for “Hatchet 3”?
KH: I only worked a couple days doing a fight scene, and those credits are wrong — I only worked on “Waxwork II”. I’m assuming Zach was in both of them, but I don’t even know. I never met him before working with him on “Hatchet 3”. [Note: Galligan was in both Waxwork films.]
GS: You’re also credited with stunts in “Four Rooms”, which makes me curious — what called for stunts in there?
KH: I was the stunt coordinator, and what really needed my attention was the Robert Rodriguez room, where there was fire in the room with kids nearby. I was just coordinating the safety of the room for the actors, basically. Just making sure nothing happens. When you’re the stun coordinator, you might not necessarily be doing any stunts, but you’re involved with the actions of the actors so that they’re safe.
GS: Although this is not the first time for you, with the “Hatchet” films they make a point of using practical effects like squibs as opposed to CG blood. Which do you prefer?
KH: Oh, I prefer the practical stuff. By a mile. Especially in scenes where, let’s say I’m getting shot. I’ve been shot so many fucking times I can’t even remember. To react to it, if it’s all CGI, you’re not reacting to anything at all. With squibs — and I don’t know if you’ve ever had a squib — when they’re set off on you, you feel it. So I can feel every “gun shot” that “hit” me, so the response is timed better and more believable because I’m actually feeling something. A squib, very often, will give you a pretty good impact. I would rather feel it and react to that. I’m still a fan — and maybe I’m old school — but I’m a fan of the practical, even the practical makeup. I don’t mind CGI if it’s enhancing something that’s practical, but if it’s all CGI I don’t care for it. It’s not the same, and effects people have devoted their lives to creating this kind of stuff. It’s sad when someone can sit at a computer and do something similar, though it won’t look at good.
GS: Jason Voorhees and Victor Crowley are both super-strong, deformed homicidal maniacs who never die. What sort of physical movements do you bring to set to differentiate the two monsters?
KH: That’s a good question, because I feel like Jason was always unstoppable in a deliberate, predictable way. It doesn’t matter that you knew what he was going to do, that he wasn’t going to run, he wasn’t going to look desperate… and he was still gonna catch your ass. So I think of Jason as methodical, deliberate, almost like a zombie in a way. And inescapable. With Victor, Adam (Green) and I thought he should be more unstoppable in an unpredictable way. So, we thought, to make him a little twitchy and nervous, especially in the first film. I’ve purposely toned that down over the course of the series because in my mind Victor is getting more relaxed with murdering people and it’s now second nature. He’s settled into his role. That’s the scary angle of Victor — he’s just so off the wall, you have no idea what he’s going to do next. For me, that’s the major difference.
GS: With Jason, he would kill in Manhattan, and space, and more or less anywhere. With Victor, is it fair to say that if you stay out of the swamp you’d be safe?
KH: Well, yeah, it appears to be that if these people would stay out of the fucking swamp, they wouldn’t die. Jason ventured outside his area and Victor has not done that, but if people keep entering his area there’s no reason for him to leave. You’re reasonably safe — just don’t go in the swamp or within miles of his house, and you’re probably okay, yeah.
GS: Would it be correct to say you’ve increasingly moved towards acting in recent years?
KH: Yeah, that’s true. And it’s nice. I’ve always wanted to play characters with no makeup, as well, and speak. My notoriety as Jason and now Victor has given me a chance to do other things. Which is fantastic. I got to play an abused husband in “The Afflicted” with Leslie Easterbrook. I’ve done some comedies now. I just finished a horror comedy called “Smothered” with John Schneider who wrote and directed. It’s a brilliant script — very funny but also brutally violent at the same time. It’s a whole different take on a serial killer. So I get to do different characters. I can always go back to my bread and butter — silent, murdering machines — but it’s nice to venture out from there.
GS: It seems like you have that “murdering machine” market cornered.
KH: I hope so. If I’m not the first called, I’ll kill them.
GS: You’ve done many, many horror films… but on your own time, in your living room, what do you actually watch?
KH: I enjoy a good comedy. A well-acted, clever comedy. An absolutely hilarious movie that came out recently was “Horrible Bosses”. I think that was so well done. But more than that, most people probably don’t know I’m a big poker player and as bizarre as it sounds, I have the hobby of taking IQ tests. I find that very challenging and entertaining, and that’s no joke.
GS: Would it be too much to ask to have you share how you’ve done?
KH: I just for fun took the official test at USC to see if I qualified for Mensa, and I did. It’s just a personal challenge. I didn’t end up joining the organization or anything. But I qualified and that was enough for me — a fun challenge.
GS: Thanks for your time, Kane. It’s been an honor to talk with the world’s smartest cinematic serial killer.
KH: (laughs) That’s right. You tell people that, or I’ll fucking kill you.