Celebrity Interview: Friday the 13th’s Kane Hodder

Kane Hodder has a killer personality. As Jason Voorhees from
many of the Friday the 13th movies, Kane has killed in more ways
than one—or even 100. But behind the hockey mask (and deadly weapons), the six
foot four Kane is an incredibly sweet, intelligent man. Celebrity Parents spoke
exclusively with the no-holds-barred gentle giant about his new book, Unmasked,
the severe bullying he went through as a child, and why his favorite hobby is not
dismembering people but rather taking IQ tests.

Photos: Gabbeli Photography

It seems that so many celebrities are coming out lately to
speak about their experiences being bullied. Not to negate their stories, but I
would say that your case was one of the most severe I’ve ever heard.

A lot of actors take something minor that happened to them
and then make it a big deal to make it their platform. But what happened to me
was truly bulling. When you’re getting beaten up daily—almost to the point of
non-recognition—and lots of other instances that I write about in my book,
Unmasked, that’s bullying. And I think that’s why a lot of bullied kids become
suicidal. When you hear about a kid killing themself over bullying, most people
think they couldn’t take the beatings; they couldn’t take the abuse. What happens
when you’re bullied badly and you do nothing to stop it—because you’re too
scared to stand up, which was my case—you  start hating yourself for allowing it to

What was the experience like of writing the book? It must
have been cathartic.

It was. But I worked with Mike Aloisi, who helped me to
write the book. It feels good to share these stories, because most of them were
never told. Even my parents didn’t know about the bullying. It was fun, too,
and certainly cathartic, to talk about things I didn’t talk about in years. I talked
extensively about when I was burned. You’ll
get tears in your eyes reading it. Big guys come up to me and say, “Kane, I’m
not a crier, but your book made me cry.”

Your burn accident truly changed your life.

I did a stunt that I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t go to a
burn unit. It got worse, every single day. I felt badly for my parents. You watch
your child go through an injury, you suffer with them, but you see improvement.
But every day my parents saw me, I got worse. By four months I was almost dead,
and then they said to get me to a burn unit. Why had I not been there from the beginning?
The doctor taking care of me had such an ego, and it almost cost my life. I got
a staph infection throughout the whole burn area,  and lost 60 pounds. I went down to 140 lbs and
I weigh 230 now. I received such terrible care and it made the entire recovery
so much worse, including the scars than they should be. That was the thing with
Mike; I talked about everything regarding the injury and stuff my own family
didn’t know. I was crying all the time telling them about what I really went through.
But once I started telling things, I made the decision to tell everything.

What do you want the takeaway to be from your book?

I’m not looking to be liked more. The main thing is that if
somebody who is in a similar circumstance reads this, I want them to know that
they can get through it. It was my own fault that I got burned, but the
severity  was not. I did something that I
wasn’t qualified to do. I paid the price.

There were two things that happened with the injury. Two people
who helped. The day I got burned, I burned all my clothing off. There was no
one in the fire department and we found a house, and the woman who answered the
door let me into her home, tracking mud and dropping skin all over her white
carpet, to take a shower in freezing cold water. I never got to thank her for
doing that for me.

Then, when I was transferred to the burn unit in San
Francisco, I became really depressed. I was 22 years old, and I thought that I
was going to have scars all over my body for the rest of my life. I was in a
bed, contemplating suicide, but I couldn’t even move. I looked out the window
onto the nurse’s station, and I saw a guy there around 35 years old, joking and
laughing. Then, I see scars all over him, and I realize that he’s a former
patient. He now has a normal life. He’s happy. Seeing him completely turned my
life around. He helped me and I never even met him. I still can’t talk about it
without getting choked up.

He represented hope to you.

That’s the thing I tell people. I know how it is to feel
suicidal; I talk to people in that situation. But look what I witnessed. Look at
the cool career I would have missed had I ended it there. See what the future
holds—I  would never have guessed I would
be doing anything like I’ve done. Even this… Celebrity Parents Magazine! I never
could have imagined I would be here. I just wanted to be a working stunt man. I
would have missed out on all this fun stuff

Let’s talk about the fun stuff. What has being Jason been
like for you?

It’s been a lot of fun. He’s been a great character to play. I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to play him several times. 

Okay, what’s your favorite way to kill someone?

One time, Jason wrapped someone around a tree. That
was fun! [laughs]

Was there ever a stunt that was too extreme to do?

No, as a good stunt person, you’re able to look at the stunt
and assess it. It might be  too risky the
way it’s written, so then you suggest an alternative. It will be just as
dramatic but safer for the stunt person. I have never turned down a stunt, but
sometimes you have to present it that it will look better, but in reality you’re
making it safer.


Let’s talk about Kane the dad.

Being a dad feels fantastic. My boys, Jace (a tribute to
Jason) and Reed are great kids. They don’t give me any problems.

They know better.

[laughs] I guess so! Jace is into lacrosse and just got
recruited to a great college. Reed is like me, and he’s going to be applying to
some heavy duty schools. I’m very proud of both of them.

How are you as a dad? What is your parenting style?

I never worry too much about what I say. I swear a lot but I
think that’s so insignificant in the full scheme of being a good person and a
good parent. I don’t care how my kids speak, as long as they are good kids, and
they are.

If it makes you feel any better, there’s plenty of cussing in
the Parris/Reyes household.

Yeah, it’s normal.

You’re also involved in the charity for burn victims, Scares
That Care and the “I Help Kane” Program.

It’s a great charity that does a lot of fundraising for
people who need it. I wanted to be involved because the money that is donated
in my name goes 100% to burn survivors. It means a lot to me that it goes directly
to them.

Kane, I need to tell you a little bit of trivia. On our
first date, my hubby and I went to see a Friday the 13th movie. This
was back in 1988.

That was my first one!

So you see, sir, you are the reason we are together. You’re
a part of our history!

[laughs] That’s really amazing.

Now is there any scary movie that you don’t watch?

No, I love them all. I appreciate the work that goes into them.
I just saw Paranormal Activity 3. I loved it.

When did you let your sons Jace and Reed watch scary movies?

When they wanted to. I didn’t push them at all. If they can
handle it, then it’s okay with me. I find that kids who watch scary movies end
up being less scared later on.

I can only imagine that your kids were treated like rock stars
in school having Kane Hodder as their dad.

It is a cool job and I think they were proud to say that
their dad did that. Hopefully it doesn’t reflect in a bad way on them.

In the hotel right before we came upstairs, fans were
flocking to you. What is it about the horror fan that you love?

They are loyal. They will go see anything you’ve done if
they like your work. They are the greatest group of fans you could ever ask

What is something that people wouldn’t know about you, Kane?

Well, 35 years in stunts and I’ve never broken a bone. Not
many stunt people can say that. I was an athlete in high school. I qualified for
Mensa, which most stunt guys don’t. [laughs] I didn’t join, though. I used to
love taking IQ tests; it was a fun thing to do. And I love playing poker, not
so much for the gambling but for the strategy and psychology. Sometimes, you
can metaphorically kill someone with your intelligence and wit, not your physical
strength. But having a hockey mask and a knife does help. [laughs]

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