After making a killing in blockbusters, A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Renée Zellweger tend to go pale whenever their old slasher flicks turn up on cable. Yet, no matter how successful John Hensley becomes, the Witchblade co-star isn't likely to scream bloody murder over a broadcast of his indie gorefest, Campfire Stories (which bypassed the multiplex and recently went straight to video).
"I did it right after the pilot for [ABC's ill-fated 2000 Gabriel Byrne sitcom] Madigan Men," the 25-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "It was described to me as being just as comical as it is gruesome, and the idea of getting splattered and all that sounded cool to me."
Of course, that's what the diabolical filmmakers must have wanted the naïve young actor to think. When Hensley arrived on the set, he found that all around him was "absolute insanity — but in a good way," insists the Kentucky native, who plays a jock whose cruelty sends a high school janitor over the edge. "The first day, the director threw me the keys to a Toyota pickup — he didn't even ask me if I had a license — and he said, 'Can you drive a stick?'"
Next thing Hensley knew, he was in the parking lot doing 360s like a Vin Diesel stunt double. "That's how it was the whole time I was there," he continues, chuckling. "They'd go, 'Okay, take this golf club and go fight this guy with it... but try not to hurt him.' It was out of control!"
In the end, not only did the making of Campfire Stories show Hensley a good time, it also helped him face a lifelong fear. "When I was a kid, movies like Friday the 13th would terrify me," he admits. "It was torture to watch them. I could not fathom how anybody could like something that horrible, that awful...
"Now," he concludes cheerfully, "when I see those things, they make me laugh."