Call me a twisted freak or a serial slayer waiting to happen, but this Insider editor loves him some Jason Voorhees. Ever since the boy who refused to drown "popped up" in the original Friday the 13th, I've been in the theater (or at the video-store checkout counter) for almost every sequel. That's why, on this day of celebrating ghouls and goblins, I sought out Kane Hodder, the man who has played Jason more than anyone else (in parts VII, VIII, Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X), to shed light on the man behind the hockey mask.
TVGuide.com: What's the typical reaction when you tell someone new that you are Jason?
Kane Hodder: I don't usually bring it up in any way by myself. But whenever it does come up, the reaction is pretty much disbelief — "Nah, you can't be the guy!" Because wherever I happen to be at the time, if it's not L.A., they're like, "What would you be doing here?"
TVGuide.com: What is the secret to "being Jason"?
Hodder: The key to my personal success in playing the character is not to think about anything too much ahead of time, and just to go into the scene and do whatever feels natural. The first thing I do usually ends up being the best. I don't know if you would consider that a "Method-type" acting style, but... I've been told, and I agree, that most of the other guys look like they were acting. They looked like they were trying to be scary, and that isn't scary.
TVGuide.com: You actually were passed over for 2003's Freddy vs. Jason, and gosh darn it if it wasn't obvious.
Hodder: It's nice to hear that from people, because I like to think that my performance was better liked than the others. You'd be surprised how many fans were really upset that they weren't using me — especially when they realized I wasn't playing the character because of nothing of my own doing.
TVGuide.com: I read somewhere that it was a height thing, that they wanted Jason to tower over Freddy.
Hodder: It wasn't even that, to be honest with you. They hired a guy who's an inch taller than me, so if that was really the issue, I'm missing something.
TVGuide.com: Lore has it that you're the reason Jason doesn't run.
Hodder: Pretty much, yep! As ludicrous as it is that Jason always catches everybody when they run and he doesn't, I just never thought the character should run. Somehow it weakens him.
TVGuide.com: I always figured he knew shortcuts through the woods or something.
Hodder: That's what I always say — shortcuts. Plus, if I'm chasing a girl, she's always going to trip and fall. [Laughs] And the guy always stops to rest when he thinks he's safe. Either way, I catch up!
TVGuide.com: Has a blooper ever made it into the theatrical cut?
Hodder: The major one is that Jason has been missing an eye for a long time, and it switched sides. In Part VII, one eye was missing, but then in Jason Goes to Hell, the opposite eye was missing. When I pointed it out, they told me it was too late because the makeup had already been designed.
TVGuide.com: As Nightmare on Elm Street's wisecracking Freddy Krueger grew in popularity, did you ever wish Jason got to speak?
Hodder: Not really. It's such a different type of character.
TVGuide.com: But if Jason did, what'd be the first thing he'd say?
Hodder: "Owww! G--damn, you people keep f---ing with me and it hurts!"
TVGuide.com: You worked with Freddy himself, Robert Englund, on Wishmaster....
Hodder: We had known each other for a long time, way before that. In fact, I did a movie with [Nightmare creator] Wes Craven a long, long time ago, called The Hills Have Eyes Part 2. You probably know that I have burn scars over almost half of my body from a fire stunt that didn't go right, so after Hills Have Eyes 2, I had a meeting with Wes, when he was developing a character that he wanted to have look like he had been burned. He interviewed me as a possible actor to play Freddy — he liked my physicality for what he was thinking at the time — but then they decided not to make him a big guy. Obviously, Robert was a fantastic choice.
TVGuide.com: Who has the better theme music, Jason or [the Halloween films'] Michael Myers?
Hodder: Oh, boy. Honestly, I think Michael does! I've always loved that music.
TVGuide.com: What is being chanted in Jason's "theme"?
Hodder: From what I'm told, it originally was "Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch..." and then "Kill-kill-kill-kill...," but it never sounds like that. It's more like "Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah...."
TVGuide.com: What's the latest on more Friday the 13th sequels?
Hodder: Nothing I know about. And because they replaced me last time, I'm sure they'd never come back to me now. The fan backlash was so bad — they literally got thousands of e-mails saying, "Why are you replacing Kane?" — they'd feel like they were admitting they were wrong.
TVGuide.com: I've heard rumors that there will either be another Jason-Freddy movie, or they may restart the franchise from the beginning.
Hodder: [Restarting] might be in my favor, because they might not feel they were admitting anything if they went back to a "basic Jason" thing.
TVGuide.com: Where do you stand on the lack of an Oscar category for stunt people?
Hodder: Let's face it, there really should be one. Things like straight makeup and everything else get awards, and how many movies have you seen that would be nothing without the action? But stunts, somehow, are looked on by many in the business as just a bunch of crazy idiot motherf-----s who don't have any kind of intelligence. Why recognize them?
TVGuide.com: The profession has its own awards show, though, right?
Hodder: Yeah. It's better than it used to be — they just taped it a few weeks ago — but still, I can't stand it because the stunt business is very political and cliquey; nepotism's rampant.... I've been doing stunts for almost 29 years, and it's a lot of big-ego guys trying to top each other with the things they've done. I never go for the politics of anything.
TVGuide.com: What are you working on these days?
Hodder: I did do the movie Hatchet over the summer, which turned out to be the best horror movie I've ever been in. I play Victor Crowley, an Elephant Man-like character who does some brutal killing, but what sets this movie apart from other horror movies is the writing. Unbelievably enough, the writing is so well done, as are the acting performances — two things you wouldn't expect to find in a low-budget horror movie. Add the horror element with some unbelievably creative kills, which I always like, and you get a really, really good movie. I can't wait until it comes out.
TVGuide.com: Does Victor Crowley speak?
Hodder: No, but... there are flashbacks to when he was a child tormented by the other kids because of the way he looked, and in the flashbacks I play Victor's father. I had to do an emotional scene and pulled it off; it's going to break everybody's heart. When you see somebody like me crying, it's so much more heart-wrenching than a regular-looking guy crying.
TVGuide.com: You say you relish a creative kill. What's your fave of Jason's?
Hodder: Oh, by far, the one in Part VII where I picked up the girl in the sleeping bag and slammed her against the tree. It was my idea to bring it back [in Jason X] — "Let's do a little homage to my favorite kill!"
TVGuide.com: Finally, any tips for anyone slapping together a last-minute Jason costume? Aside from the mask, of course.
Hodder: First of all, everybody always thinks that Jason wears a mechanic's outfit, a one-piece deal, but it's not. It's a shirt and pants, and it always has been. Michael Myers wears the mechanic's outfit. But I would say the key is not in the costume but how you wear it. Anybody can put the thing on but you gotta move right. Don't force it. Do what comes naturally — and what's more natural than squeezing somebody's head until it bursts? [Laughs]