Kane Hodder: “Killing Makes You Happy”

Kane promises not to rip my head off at the Hatchet III premiere.(Photo ©2013 by Bryan Reesman.)

Kane promises not to rip my head off
at the Hatchet III premiere.
(Photo ©2013 by Bryan Reesman.)

Stuntman and actor Kane Hodder will forever be known for playing supernatural serial killer Jason Voorhees in four bloody installments of the infamous Friday The 13th franchise, yet believe it or not, the man has been in the movie business for over 35 years. He has done stuntwork on films including House, Waxwork, Out For Justice, Spawn and Daredevil and had lead roles in Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield, The Afflicted, the Friday franchise and the Hatchet trilogy.

I recently chatted with Kane for my Friday The 13th retrospective for MSN Movies, and we also spoke about him portraying the murderous Victor Crowley in Hatchet III as well as the perils of stuntwork.

You seem like a happy man.
[laughs] Well, killing makes you happy.

Hatchet III has to be one of the most over-the-top horror movies I’ve seen in a while.
I know, and I think it’s the first time Victor has ever looked really scary. [With] the different makeup and the shots we did, he looks scary now.

I remember you telling me at the premiere that you tried to nuance his performance a bit more this time out.
I did. Over the course of the three films, I just wanted Victor to look a little less twitchy and nervous. He’s settling into his role as a prolific serial murderer, so I don’t see him being as nervous as before.

I’m assuming that the Hatchet trilogy is wrapped up now?
It does seem to be wrapped up, but knowing Adam he probably held back some facts that could be told in another installment. But if it doesn’t happen, it isn’t something that’s critically important. Knowing him, he has some ideas.

Don’t you think it’s funny that Jason Voorhees and the Friday The 13th series was shocking back in the day, but now you can buy a Jason doll. Kids are growing up with this stuff now.
It’s not as insidious as it once was.

“As bizarre as it sounds, it might be interesting
to do a heartfelt love story at some point.
I think I could pull that off.”

I wasn’t a fan of the Friday The 13th reboot.
I didn’t watch that one. In the trailer, it didn’t seem like the Jason I was used to — running, having tunnels, keeping people captive.

Is there any movie that you really enjoyed working on or that had some crazy stunt story that people might not know about?
There have been some good stunts. I did a movie called Fair Game with Cindy Crawford and Billy Baldwin, and I was one of the stunt guys on it. I also played a character for one scene where there’s four of us in a helicopter, and we’re trying to get on the train that Cindy and Billy Baldwin are on. So we have to fly over the moving train at night and drop out of the helicopter one by one onto the top of the train. It’s a difficult thing. If you’ve been in a helicopter, you’ll probably be able to picture this.
Fair Game          The first guy is on the skid as we’re flying over the train, and he has to jump when he feels like it’s time. So the pilot is compensating for that weight being over on the skid. Suddenly that weight disappears when he jumps, then the helicopter goes off-course for a second and the pilot has to bring it back. Each time someone jumped, that would happen. The helicopter got a little screwy and then came back over the train. I was the fourth one out, and by the time I went that thing was all over the place. The first guy was on the skid. The second guy climbed down onto the skid and jumped. That makes about it 3 feet lower of a jump. We were jumping about 15 feet to the top of the train, so the second guy climbs down the skid and jumps. The third stunt person is a stuntwoman who is doubling an actress. She jumps from the deck instead of going down to the skid, so that’s a little higher. Now in my macho dilemma, I’m thinking, am I going to be the only one to let the stuntgirl jump from a higher place? So my ego dictated that I jump from the deck also. We did it three times, three different takes, and keep in mind that this was at night.
          Then we broke for a meal at about midnight. While we were at lunch, it rained, and then Tony Scott said we should do it again. [laughs] So we had to do it two more times with a wet helicopter and wet train, which made it far more hazardous. The way things turned out, the very last take we did they just wanted to see us landing, so they had the helicopter come in much lower over the train and just wanted to see us hit the train. We didn’t jump as far, and wouldn’t you know, in the final version of the movie that’s the main take that they use of us jumping. All those previous jumps from 15 feet were not even used, and the low one that made it look far less dangerous was the one that was used. That’s just how the stunt business can be sometimes.

Back in the Eighties, Jason did not look out of place in Manhattan.

Back in the Eighties, Jason did not look out of place in Manhattan.

You’ve worked on both big budget and low budget movies. I recently interviewed Shannon Lee, brother of the late Brandon Lee. Considering his death on the set of The Crow, when you have worked on certain low-budget films, I imagine the safety concerns have been different because there’s not as much money? Do you ever worry about or have you run into any problematic situations?
Banned poster promoting Friday The 13th Part VIII.

A banned poster promoting
Friday The 13th Part VIII:
Jason Takes Manhattan

Not really because that’s the stunt coordinator’s job. Just because the budget may be less doesn’t mean that things have to be less safe. The stunt coordinator has to make sure that the capability of doing those stunts within the budget is there. That’s the biggest value of a qualified stunt coordinator, to able to stand up to the director and say, “Look, it’s not safe.” The director’s just trying to get the shot, so you can’t blame them, so that’s where the stunt coordinator comes in and needs to stand his ground if he feels something isn’t right.

Is there some ideal role that you’d like to try? Some type of film you haven’t done before?
As bizarre as it sounds, it might be interesting to do a heartfelt love story at some point. I think I could pull that off. I’ve been challenged by other directors to do things that I never thought I’d do, so that seems like that would be a pretty good challenge, to convincingly play a likable type of
character that does nothing but intimate,
heartfelt things.

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