Interview: Kane Hodder

Rick: Let start with something a little different. Is there a question that you’ve never been asked?

Kane: Yes there is… You’ll probably be surprised that I’m even bringing it up. It is a question that I’ve never been asked, and you’ll understand why they have never asked, and you’ll probably find it weird that I think it’s even a question that could be asked, but, the question is do I wish I had never gotten burned? Because you think that everything I went through the obvious answer is of course I wish I had never gotten burned.

Rick: The flip side of that is that everything that happened to you turned you into who you are.

Kane: Right. That’s why I think it’s not a ridiculous question because I know for a fact looking at myself I’m a far more empathetic person to other people’s issues than I ever would have been had I not gone through something like that.

Rick: I think you would almost have to be more empathetic after surviving that…

Kane: That is a tough one, because there are two ways you can go when you go through something like I went through, and that is either come out as a better person which hopefully I did, or go completely the other way and be nothing but fucking negative for the rest of your life because why the fuck did this have to happen to me at 22 years of age, why did I have to go through that and you can be fucking negative and end up killing yourself. Which many people who go through getting burned end up on the bad side of things, and that is people who had proper care.

Rick: That’s what people don’t realize, I think people are empathetic, but they just don’t realize that when something like that happens to you it is a 24 hour fight every single day.

Kane: Right, and even with proper care it’s that, so now you compound the whole thing with poor medical care it makes everything a hundred times worse. That’s what I will never, no matter what I do I will never in my life be able to clearly explain how bad it was. You know me, I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself, but there’s no way that even a person that has been burned could understand what I had to go through because they had the proper care.

Rick: I am putting something in the magazine; you said that you think it made you a better guy. Now I’ve known you for 37 years, ever since Lone Wolf McQuade, and it is going into the magazine whether you like it or not, and that is that I’ve never met a better guy.

David Carradine and Kane on Lone Wolf McQuade


Kane: wow..

Rick: You have gone through all this and now, I mean there are only a handful of people that are recognized by their characters name or being the character in the whole freaking world, are you ever driving along it and it suddenly dawns on you?

Kane and Kane as Victor Crowley from the Hatchet movies

Kane: Oh yeah, absolutely. As you well know, you go into the stunt business not trying to become famous, that is not one of the things that is on your mind, if I go into stunts I’m going to become famous and sign autographs, we both know it doesn’t work that way, and that is why nobody can accuse us of trying to become famous because that is not part of doing stunts. Most very well-known stunt people in the business, you say their names in the general public and nobody has heard of them. I am amazed that I’m in the position I’m in because I never sought that out. I certainly didn’t discount it when it started happening because I just appreciated it more and people always say you’re so nice and friendly to meet at conventions and stuff, and I’m like why shouldn’t I be? Why is that unusual? If you don’t like doing conventions and signing autographs and getting paid for it and meeting people then don’t fucking do it. Nobody is making you do the conventions so the least you can do is be approachable to the fans, that’s what you are what you’re there for.

Rick: I can say on a personal note, having been at a few conventions with you is that everybody says I didn’t know Kane would be so nice. You always make them feel like they really got to interact with you.

Kane: I think when you become well known for something, and I don’t even like to use the word famous, but if you become well known for something and you never expected it you always appreciate it more. If you go into the business to become famous and then it happens, and you’re like well that was the whole point, so you become a dick about it…

Rick: We’ve run across a few of those in our time too.

Kane: As Bruce Campbell said in my documentary most of the assholes you meet are comedians, and the nice people are the ones who play horrible characters.

Rick: What is something that people would be surprised at about you?

Kane: If you are really asking and if it doesn’t sound self-serving, I always worry about that, I just want people to know that all stunt people are not just crazy and have no intelligence. Because of what we do for a living a lot of people think these guys are just crazy and stupid, and crazy and stupid are not synonymous.

Rick: Neither one is the case with most stunt people… I bet most people would be surprised that Kane Hodder qualified for Mensa… And you dumb asses that don’t what Mensa is, Google it.

Rick: What do you want to do in the future? I’ve seen you knock it out of the park directing, would you like to be a director?

Kane: I don’t think so, I love performing, and in the future I would love to be challenged with roles that that people would never expect me to be doing. That would be my ideal rest of my career is to continue acting and to be doing roles that people say “Kane Hodder is playing that”? What?!

Rick: Would you like to tell everybody, because I’ve done some of this, not anywhere near what you have done, how really hard it is to act without being able to talk or use your face?

Kane: I have always said that, when you can act without your voice or your facial expressions because you have a mask or prosthetics or something, is much more challenging, so I’ve always kind of joked that once I started playing characters where I could talk and move my face I was like man this is easy, which of course it’s not. I love that challenge, it’s a whole different challenge and I’d like you to put in there that movie The Shape of Water. You and I both know the guy who played the creature in that movie. Rick: Oh yeah, Doug Jones…

Kane: Yes, Doug Jones, and you and I have both been in prosthetics like that in the water. It is difficult enough to work in full body prosthetics; it’s ten times worse when you are immersed in water. And for him to get as little recognition as he did infuriates me. They talk about all these other acting performances in the movie, where like the actress who didn’t even speak and she was wonderful… What about Doug man? She had maybe twenty minutes of beauty make up every day, he probably had about four hours every day, before he even started working and he’s barely mentioned at all… It just makes me so upset that he doesn’t get more recognition for that role. You and I both know and people that do know appreciate what he did in that movie, but people who are ignorant don’t even think about it. It’s just a guy in a suit, no big deal. Fuck you…

Rick: When you are underwater, first off you are in makeup, you can’t eat, can’t smile so you don’t crack the makeup, you are totally isolated from everybody else, and then they stick you underwater. It is a feeling that unless you’ve done it you have absolutely no clue, I mean we have seen someone who was doing a character just flat out say he couldn’t do this…

Kane: And you had to pick it up and do it for the rest of the movie, but he couldn’t handle it so you had to do it.

Rick: It is much harder than people think to be immersed underwater, isolated completely, I mean we tied a rope around my ankle and you would yank on it when they called action, and yank on it again when they yelled cut..

Kane: I just wish that creature actors would get more recognition. Doug not only had to be in the water, he had to dance.. Ballroom dance in that costume, if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. He had to ballroom dance because she has a fantasy that she is dancing with him. He had to ballroom dance as the creature, bad enough he had to be in the water and all that. We know how that is.

Rick: I know someone else who danced as a creature…

Kane: Not very well…

Rick: Frankenstein…

Kane: Meshuganah…

Rick: That was Adam Green’s Chillerama.. I really enjoyed that movie. Watching you dance was hilarious.. I think that surprised a lot of people…

Rick: Tell me about Friday the 13th video game.

Kane: Do you know how long that you and I worked on that video game off and on, because I was doing the motion capture and you were the stunt coordinator for the entire video game. I don’t know if you realize the time period from the first session to the last session we did? Do you know how long it was?

Rick: I could make a guess; it had to be pretty close to two years…

Kane: We started January 2016 at the other location if you remember, over by the marina and our last session was October 2017 so that is almost two full years of off and on motion capture. That’s a lot of work man…

Rick: The feedback I’m getting about the game is awesome, anybody who talks about, they’re like yeah man I played Kane one time and I killed one… They just turn on and all of a sudden they’re all excited..

Ryan Staats, Rick and Kane during motion capture on the Friday the 13th video game

Kane: I think, between you and me is one of the best projects we’ve ever been involved with. That and

the Hatchet movies..

Rick: Definitely the Hatchet movies… I will say one of the things that you and I have done I am most proud of is when we drove with the girl standing between the two cars, like they did in Footloose.

Kane: For sure, stunt wise..

Rick: I have to explain what happened a little. We were recreating the shot from Footloose where Lori Singer stands on top on the cars as they go down the street, one foot on each car. We had a stunt girl named Hannah Scott, who has was absolutely awesome, she was as cool as a cucumber up there, and we actually were going 42 miles an hour around curves.. She was harnessed, but it is still dangerous and had to be scary as hell but she performed spectacularly…

Rick in the black car Kane in the green car

After we had done that we had to do a scene where Kane and I drag race in the forest, where one would be winning, then the other would pass and cut them off… We were following the camera truck which is also moving, and has a camera and operator on a boom arm on the back.

We take off, following the truck, and race beside each other, with us taking turns cutting the other off and taking the lead. I look up and see we are coming up fast on the camera truck, Kane is on my left and all of a sudden he heads directly at my driver’s side wheel well, just flying… I react by yanking the steering wheel to the right and he barely misses me and with very little room to spare he heads right toward the camera, which is low enough for him to hit. He slams on the brakes and goes sliding right towards the camera, the cameraman booms it up quickly and Kane slides right under it to a stop… It was awesome!

Rick: When you went by me I never thought you were going to make it..

Kane: The camera was too low for me to fit under there so I had to assume that the boom operator would counter my move and he did. That’s probably the best driving stuff we’ve ever done. Old 37 was the movie…

Rick: The thing that got me is I had two actresses in the car, I was driving the convertible, and on the last one I’m looking at the camera truck ahead of us and I’m thinking, boy is this going to be close, and I was expecting you to cut in front of me and all of a sudden you went right at my wheel well and I jerked the car to the right and you went sliding right under the camera, but I remember the most is the two actresses in my car were just screaming bloody murder. I hope they got that on tape because they couldn’t get better screams. I was watching from behind and when you slid under that and I just went holy shit!

Kane: The best thing about it was none of us expected to do it

Rick: The director made up the shot on the fly because we had a little more time left with the camera truck, he told us what he wanted and off we went…

Kane: It wasn’t planned in any way but I had the faith in you to react to it, and the faith in the cameraman to react to it…

Rick: The best part is when we went back to the video village and the whole crew was clapping and cheering, that’s when you know it looked pretty good… I remember the director saying Kane I thought you were going to tear the front of Rick’s car off, and you said Rick won’t let me hit him, and I wouldn’t let him hit me. I remember walking away and whispering to you and said I wish you would have told me about that, and we both started laughing.

Rick: So how does it feel to not only have a book about your life, but now you have a documentary about your life, which by the way I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to see it and it was awesome, and I don’t say that because you are on the other end of the line. I was so shocked by how good it was, and not because it was your life story, but because it was like a first time thing and I didn’t know how good it would come out. I remember calling you and telling you how good it was, and you asked me what would you change, and I answered nothing, honestly nothing.

Kane: Yeah I’m very happy with it, and of course, and it’s going to sound fucking lame, but I feel kind of honored that people appreciate my story. A book and now a documentary, I mean there are a lot of people who have had tough situations in their lives so I don’t presume to be the only one to tell a tough story, but I know from the reactions of people that it means something to a lot of people that have been through a lot of shit, even if it’s something different, completely different, that someone can go through something like that and come on the positive side. I’m not going to say come out normal because I’m not, but to come out in a positive way, so I feel very happy.

The guests in To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story

Kane: Here is something I’ve never talked about, but since the documentary has started airing I have had so many people, I’ve had this in the past, but not as much as since the documentary started showing, I don’t know if you want to use this, if it seems too self-serving you don’t have to put it in, but I have had more autistic adolescents, young adults and adults come and talk to me about the documentary.

Rick: Well that’s good; I don’t think that is self-serving at all, I mean what a better crowd to hit?

Kane: Right, but how can you not become touched by something like that?

Rick: I don’t think you cannot get touched by something like that.

Kane: How many times has a parent said I’ve never seen my autistic son look another person straight in the eyes while he is talking.

Rick: I’ve seen the little kids with you at the conventions, there is a connection there somehow, you sit there, you look like a monster half the time, you’re built up, wear the tight shirts on and you are famous for killing people and little kids run up to you, start grabbing you and playing with you like a big dog…so it’s actually pretty cool..

Rick: This is one I want to know, for a long time a lot of things in the book and movie you kept to yourself.

Kane: Yeah, for most of my life, yeah.

Rick: Do you feel better for people knowing that?

Kane: Because of the reaction I’ve gotten, yes.

Rick: Everything I’ve heard was positive..

Rick: Ok, you promised me a story no one has ever heard.

Kane: I think you are going to be surprised. Because it fits perfectly in this article, a story and it really is, and I’m not trying to make it sound dramatic, it really is a story I never told anyone. It happened in the hospital never told any of the nursing staff, never told my parents, that were there every day, never told my sisters, my nephews, nobody, ever, to this day. You know what; it just seems like the right time to tell this story. As you know I got burned and I was in a shit hospital for 4 months. After getting progressively worse I finally got to a burn unit in San Francisco, as you know, and everything changed. I was given proper medication and I started healing, the skin grafts started working and everything. I was there for 6 weeks, 4 months in the shit hospital, and 6 weeks in the good one and they turned me around. About 2 weeks into the stay at the burn unit I got my first roommate because every patient has been severely burned, and he was burned much worse than me, and he fucking died. So, I never knew it because I was so out of it all the time because they gave me proper medication, I was getting skin grafts, and surgeries and everything and one day he was gone, I figured they moved him. I asked and they told me he died, which happens all the time with burns. What I’ve always said about my situation, if you survive getting burned and you survive the first couple weeks that are the most critical because if you die it’s usually early. So when then told me after 4 months that I might not make it and that’s why they were shipping me to the burn unit, I was like amazed. Wait a minute, 4 months I went through and now I’m going to die? Hell!

It wasn’t surprising that he died; I had talked to him a little bit because we were in the same room, 2 beds in one room. One week later, and you have remember when I say they were giving me ketamine.

Rick: I’m not sure what that is.

Kane: On the streets it’s called Special K.

Rick: Oh! I‘ve heard of that for sure.

Kane: It is an hallucinogenic drug that completely takes away all pain, but you are totally aware, so I would go in to surgeries having been given ketamine, feeling they were doing something to me and feeling absolutely no pain but being completely awake. It was bizarre because I never experienced anything like that. So the point of the story is one early evening in my room after a skin grafting procedure and this fucking guy was standing there next to my bed. He was standing there and this was when I was at my worst psychological state because once you start healing and start overcoming the physical injury is when you get depressed. People don’t understand that either, you’re not depressed when you’re going through all the pain because the pain takes priority and you think about nothing but the pain and surviving. So once you overcome that and you’re going to survive, and in my case I’m 22 years old and I’m going to have burn scars over a good portion of my body for the rest of my life and always be stared at and shit like that. That’s when you get depressed, so here I am getting better physically and then getting worse mentally by a long shot, so I was very depressed. He showed up at my bed and told me I could get through this.

Now the reason I’ve never talked about that because I’m not sure if it was a result of the ketamine or if it was something that really happened, I could never really decipher what it was but it didn’t really matter if it happened or I dreamed it happened, the fact that I felt a dead guy told me I could make it helped turned me around. I always credit the guy at the counter in the burn unit and I could see his burns and he looked happy as a big part of it, and he was, but I’m not so sure how much more this didn’t help me too. Whether it was something that was just in my mind my mind or what, but it seemed to help a lot. You can see why I never told the story because of being on ketamine it could have very well just been that, I don’t know. The only reason I thought more recently about telling you about it because of our interest in the paranormal so that could have been an experience, I just don’t know…

Rick: I can’t tell you how many people who have told me they had someone come to them in a dream. I must have heard it a hundred times. It could be the ketamine where your brain was trying to find a solution to what you were going through, but it could just as easily have been the guy really showed up and told you that you were going to make it.

Kane: Whatever it was it seemed help me, it doesn’t really matter what it was. If you knew my dad he was never a big believer in that kind of thing, so he would have shot it down and made me feel stupid.

Rick: That is what I try to tell people, just because you didn’t have the same thing happen to you at the same place when you both saw the same thing, doesn’t mean

it didn’t happen to the other person. People see things differently, they feel things differently, they process things differently, and you can’t discount what somebody tells you.

Kane: It feels good to tell that story…

Rick: That is the perfect ending to the interview, a little paranormal theme…

Here are some links for the book, game and documentary