MCM London Comic Con saw a special panel featuring some iconic horror legends. Hosted by Stuart Claw, the Horror Through Generations panel included Kane Hodder (known for playing Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise), Ray Santiago (known for playing Pablo Simon Bolivar in Ash vs Evil Dead), Katharine Isabelle (known for playing Ginger in the Ginger Snaps franchise), Linnea Quigley (B-movie queen) and Tony Todd (known for playing Candyman in the Candyman franchise).
The panel began with the guests being asked how the role of horror had changed during the generations, particularly during the last two decades. “Right now I think horror is going through a big boom,” responded Tony, highlighting the advent of Netflix, Amazon Prime and the TV series’ shown on the streaming networks.
When asked about a lot more low budget horror projects coming up and how that differs from working on big budget productions, Linnea said, “I like doing independent films, only because they’re more creative. They have to do practical effects and not so much CGI.” She then added how when working on such films, the director often loves what they’re doing and it’s a dream of theirs.
Ray elaborated on how Ash vs Evil Dead used a combination of practical effects and CGI, saying, “It forces you to really act. I would go to work and look at X-marks [and be told], ‘That’s the axe coming at you, that’s the baby you have to save and that’s the bus that’s going to hit you. You ready? Go!’”
Katharine was asked about her role in Ginger Snaps and how aware she was that the film played a part in reinventing the werewolf sub-genre. “No one watched it for two years, right?” said Katharine who mentioned that while everyone who worked on the film loved the script, they didn’t think anyone was going to see it. “I was 17 at the time, I was not exactly an expert on werewolf movies, so I had no fucking clue what we were doing.” While reinventing the werewolf sub-genre was not something she was thinking about, she said that she loved how people connected with the film. “It slowly become a cult thing. It was not a big hit when it came out. With word-of-mouth and people forcing their friends to watch it, people eventually just realised that it spoke to them and they loved it.”
Tony was then asked about his role in Candyman and when he became aware that people were creating their own Candyman urban legend outside of the film. “We came out in 1992, it wasn’t till about 1994 when we realised that it had become entrenched in public consciousness.” He then recounted when he was once Christmas shopping with his daughter (who was three at the time) and a number of people approached him, calling him Candyman. “She dropped her bags and said, ‘That’s not Candyman, that’s my dad.’ Not only was that an awakening for recognition of the film, but my growth as an actor and father, it put into perspective what’s really important. Obviously I do that work for my family, and for me, but once you do something you have to let it go to public consciousness.”
Talk turned to remakes of Candyman and Friday the 13th that have been given the greenlight.
“Do you know who wants to do Friday the 13th?” said Tony. “Did you hear?”
“LeBron [James],” answered Kane, on the news that the basketball player is interested in producing the remake.
“He’s a big horror fan,” said Tony. “I actually got to talk to him, I know he’s going to move forward with that.”
“My character was so different to pretty much everybody else, because I didn’t originate it,” said Kane of Jason Voorhees. “Jason… there were six other films and a different guy for each one that played the character.” On the films where Kane starred, he added how he would sometimes “do something that comes spur of the moment,” particularly during scenes of action and violence, saying, “I have a lot of success with doing something that I didn’t have planned.”
The guests were then asked on successful horror films reflecting the times we live in and the theory of horror having a resurgence during times of uncertainty. “They say out of all times of conflict comes great art,” said Tony. “So, in America, we’re in a state of division. So I think that’s maybe one reason why there’s so many good quality films coming out. Because people will have to conceptualise, ‘What is this unknown thing that we’re all facing?’”
When questions opened up to the audience, Katharine was asked what it was like being killed by Freddy Kruger in Freddy Vs Jason. She revealed that when she was cast, she hadn’t actually watched a single Nightmare on Elm Street film. So someone lent her a DVD of the first film. “I didn’t know what I was in. I was young, I didn’t really watch horror movies back then. So I was like, ‘Okay, let’s check this out… this is scary as shit, I can’t believe I’m doing this. And here he is chasing me around a boiler room.”
Another question from an attendee had the guests being asked what their favourite horror film was from the last few years. Tony chose A Quiet Place, calling it “extraordinary.”
Ray, chose Heredity, calling it “so disturbing.”
“What about Mother!?” said Linnea. “I think that’s a horror film.”
Katharine said, “The end of Toy Story 3 thoroughly traumatised me.”
Kane did not choose a recent film, but spoke of his experience judging short horror films for Hulu’s Huluween Film Fest and was impressed at how good they were. “These are future horror filmmakers that are just getting their start, so it’ll be really amazing to see where they go with this.”
Kane was then asked about his experience working on the Friday the 13th videogame and whether he was able to incorporate any of his own ideas when it came to the kills. “We would do sometimes 40 kills in a day for the motion capture,” replied Kane. “Very often I would add a little bit of flavour to it, to make it more violent, more graphic or just more interesting. I’d say three quarters of the kills, I added things to it, just little movements, just to make it more… fun for me.”
The guests were then asked about their thoughts on the new horror auteurs such as James Wan and Jordan Peele, and Blumhouse taking on new emerging talent. “I just worked on a Blumhouse anthology series for Hulu,” said Ray. “There’s something that happens when you meet [the director] on the first day. You go to meet them and you don’t know if this person’s going to be good or not. But when you sit with them, they tell you their story and they pitch you the ideas for the character, there’s just something that happens and Blumhouse has an eye for that. They’re just really good at making good movies for very little money.”
“Blumhouse does seem to have a knack for finding amazingly talented unknown directors,” said Kane. “You can feel the passion that you sometimes don’t feel with an established director. You feel the confidence, but you don’t feel the passion that a new filmmaker might have. I like working with people like that.”
Photos by Harriett Greene (Manga Girl Photography)