Thanks to Kane Hodder, you may never view a hockey mask as a mere sports shield. The 56-year-old actor and stuntman has made a living inspiring terror in others, and in his new book, “Unmasked,” he gives readers a peek into his world.
You look terrifying on the cover.
That’s my friendly look. I was trying to be as happy as I could.
Well, if that’s happy then I don’t want to see you mad.
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Are people scared to meet you?
At times. For the most part people are excited because, you know, if it were me — because I’m a horror fan — if I met the guy that played a character that I’ve been watching for years, I’d be very excited. It’s a cool deal, especially considering I went into this business to be a stuntman. All of my aspirations were just to be a working stuntperson. I never in a million years thought I’d be in a position of signing autographs, for God’s sake.
And as a stuntman, you once got in a very bad accident involving fire. Did you think you’d never return to the business?
That’s what doctors told me, so of course I had the opposite reaction and determination. It was the furthest thing from my mind to not go back. Even though it almost killed me, I loved the business. I realized that I had made a mistake in that stunt and I learned a lot from it, so my drive was just to get back to work. I did avoid fire stunts for a little while, but then I went right back into that as well.
What was that like?
There was a little hesitation but not like I thought there would be. A buddy of mine offered me a fire stunt. And I thought about it and I said, “You know what, why not?” Because I know much more about that type of stunt now. It went off perfectly and ever since then I’ve been doing lots of them. I’d hate to be terrified of something for the rest of my life because of what happened.
Do you prefer being behind the scenes as a stuntman or out in front as the villain?
I do like playing a main character in a film, there’s no doubt about that, but if that character still has a lot of stunt work to perform that’s the perfect situation, and that’s usually the case with the characters I play still.
So I guess we won’t be seeing you as a romantic lead anytime soon?
Well, look at me. (Laughs)
What terrifies you?
Oh my goodness, this question is so hard for me because when I give you my honest answer I sound like I’m trying to be a tough guy. There’s nothing that I can come up with. I know it sounds ridiculous.
What about tarantulas?
Oh no, of course not, I love all kinds of animals.
No, I’ve been in the ocean with sharks. Not heights, not claustrophobic…
Oh no, I do that all the time. I’ve spoken at I think 88 colleges around the country.
I do it so much, I have no problem. I know, I’m trying so hard to come up with something so it would be interesting. I mean, if fire doesn’t scare me, my God, what could be any worse?
Right. So who would win in a fight of horror movie villains?
Freddy would be out first. Then Michael Meyers, and then final two standing: Jason and Victor [Crowley, his character in the “Hatchet” film series], with Victor [at a] slight edge.
What do you think makes a good villain?
Believability. That was my biggest thing I always did with the Jason stuff — whatever I did I wanted it to look natural, so many times in a Jason scene not knowing exactly what I was gonna do, just going with what felt natural at the time so that there’s no way it could look rehearsed. There are so many villains I watch that look, to me, not that convincing.
I hate to name names (laughs) but some of the other Jasons I don’t think looked too convincing. One that really convinced me in the last couple years is a movie called “Red Hill.” The villain is played by an Australian guy named Tom. E. Lewis. He was so convincing as that character that I think that that made the whole movie.
Did he scare you?
No. I liked his performance. (Laughs)
What about life with your family and friends — are they scared to get in an argument with you? Do you freak them out?
Well, not just family and friends, but actors I work with. I purposely on the set will do things before their kill scene comes up to make them feel, “Oh my God this guy’s actually crazy.” I’ll do stuff where I know they’re watching me, but they don’t think that I know they’re watching me, so I’ll do stuff like bang my head on a tree or talk to myself and they’ll get all nervous. And I purposely don’t become too friendly with the actors if I’m playing the killer so that when it comes time for their kill scene they’re a little nervous anyways because of the actor, let alone the action itself.
But don’t you want to make friends on set?
I hate people.
Do you hate me?
No, I think you’re all right. You’re on my very short list.
Phew! How do you celebrate Halloween? The kids on your block must go crazy.
I’m rarely ever home, but even if I’m not home somehow it seems like the kids in my neighborhood avoid coming to the house anyway.