As we start to fill-up up our Netflix queues with classic horror flicks in preparation for Halloween, we realize the greatest villains of the genre still hold power over our adolescent selves. We still can't say Candyman in the mirror and clowns will always be scary, but what about the average joes who play the leading men in our nightmares? Sometimes it helps to disassociate and think of Freddie Krueger waiting in line at the DMV. Spurred by the recent release of Gunnar Hansen's (a.k.a Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre) memoir titled Chain Saw Confidential, we decided to "pull off the mask" of our favorite villains of horror.
Leatherface — Gunnar Hansen
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We skipped a lot of early morning classes in college, but perhaps we would've be scared straight if Leatherface was our English professor. The actor turned professor quit the biz to teach freshman English at University of Texas. Can you imagine the strapping six-foot three Hansen discussing the thematic resonance of Don Quixote? While Hansen spends most of his days in a small coastal town in Maine, he recently ventured back into acting, playing bit cameos in such classics as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Jason Vorhees — Ari Lehman
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Ari Lehman looks like a mix of street magician and the sexy sax man — the stuff nightmares of made of. He also holds the distinct honor of playing the first Jason Vorhees in the original Friday the 13th. As it turns out, creeping out generations of children is not his only talent, as he is accomplished jazz musician and studied classical music and jazz piano at both Berklee School of Music and NYU. His passion for pounding the keys led him to tour with prominent reggae and African music groups and eventually led to him starting his own band — "First Jason," whose sound "hits you over the head with an anvil being swung at 1000 miles an hour by the metal gods."
Michael Myers — Tony Moran
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After slashing his way through a couple of teenagers as Michael Meyers in Halloween, Tony Moran found himself making mincemeat out of high mortgage rates as an actor-turned broker. He shared his passion for acting with his actress sibling, Erin Moran of Happy Days, and did a number of guest appearances in The Waltons and CHIPS and then quit at age 30. Turns out, Michael Myers had such emotional depth it required three actors to play him, including Nick Castle and Tommy Lee Wallace. Since Moran wasn't anxious to wear the Michael mask again, his footage from the first film was used again in the sequel.
Freddy Krueger — Robert Englund
Robert Englund is the Kevin Bacon of horror villains. The man has literally worked with everyone in the business and has an IMDB credit list longer than our tax return. Before he donned the striped crewneck and switchblade gloves, he was briefly considered to play the part of Han Solo in Star Wars and even had Mark Hamill bumming on his couch. After playing bit parts on various shows and a recurring role on V, he took on the role of Freddy for three consecutive films and continues to work steadily today.
Chucky — Brad Dourif
It takes a Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee to truly capture the demonic essence of a possessed doll. Character actor Brad Dourif has worked with some of the directing greats over the course of his career. He got his big break on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, worked with David Lynch in Dune and Blue Velvet, played a slimy villain in the Lord of The Rings trilogy and appeared in several Werner Herzog films. Like Hansen, Dourif also dabbled in teaching, leading acting and directing classes at Columbia University before becoming the voice of Chucky in all of the Child's Play films. Which leads us to wonder if there's a connection between playing psychopathic villains and academia.
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Even though the Hollywood community has just finished heaving heavy golden statues at him, Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, is still not done with television. Gilligan's upcoming series Battle Creek was picked up by CBS for the 2014-'15 television season. Battle Creek will focus on a pair of Michigan detectives with different methods of crime solving that must work together. House creator David Shore will serve as the showrunner of the new 13-part series, while both he and Gilligan will play executive producers. While it's fantastic news that Gilligan will keep his brilliant mind in the world of television, and it's nice to hear that Shore will return to our living rooms with a new project, these two creative forces have ideas that mesh about as peacefully as a nitroglycerin-powered Shake Weight. With the wild unpredictability of Breaking Bad, and the comforting assurance that Dr. House will find the cure just in time for the end credits in House, a combination of their efforts might have resulted in something like this...
Vince Gilligan: "Okay, so I have this idea for a show where the main guy is a high school teacher who is diagnosed with cancer and decides to cook meth to provide for his family."David Shore: "I like it! And then a roguish British doctor sees a half-filled glass of water sitting on a table, which gives him an epiphany where he realizes that the cancer is really a rare African blood disease that can be cured by applying eucalyptus sap to the infected area?"Vince Gilligan: "Um... let's come back to that. So how about later on, the teacher poisons a kid with Lily of the Valley, putting him in the hospital, and blames it on a rival drug dealer."David Shore: "But then the hospital doctor — still roguish — sees a can-opener sitting on a table and determines the type of poison and where it came from. Then this doctor breaks into the teacher's house, like any doctor would do (I'm pretty sure it's in the Hippocratic Oath), and finds the Lily of the Valley plant to implicates the real criminal."Vince Gilligan: "Well... that's an idea. So how about we have this DEA agent that gets gravely injured by a pair of sociopathic twin hitmen in a shooting that nearly paralyzes him?"David Shore: "But then the agent's doctor sees a maple leaf blowing in the wind and learns the trajectory of the bullets fired! Using this information, he determines the motives of everyone even tangentially involved in the shooting, figuring out that the DEA agent's paralysis is just a moderate head cold right before other doctors operate on him."Vince Gilligan: "You know what? How about we each do our own shows for a while and then regroup on this thing called Battle Creek in a couple years?"David Shore: "Sounds great. If you need me, I'll be rolling around in syndication money."
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Troubled star David Hasselhoff turned to drinking in a bid to overcome "anxiety and loneliness."
The former Baywatch actor admits in his forthcoming autobiography, Don't Hassel The Hoff, his addiction to alcohol started in the 1970s when he was starring in soap opera The Young and the Restless.
He writes, "Beer and tequila and scotch were my thing in the clubs. I'd wake up across town with someone and think, 'Uh-oh, I've got to go to work.'"
Hasselhoff admits he hit the bottle heavily in between Knight Rider and Baywatch, when he was struggling to find work.
In 2002, Hasselhoff fled the California rehabilitation center the Betty Ford Clinic, wearing only "sweatpants, a tank top and tennis shoes but no wallet."
He checked into a Marriott hotel and "once inside, I sat down at the desk, switched on the TV, and proceeded to have a few drinks from the minibar... I told myself I'd go back to Betty Ford in the morning, but first I needed another shot of tequila."
Hasselhoff hit the headlines last week when a video filmed by his teenage daughter Taylor was leaked online, showing the actor drunk.
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Top Story: Crowe Tying the Knot on 39th Birthday
Australian actor Russell Crowe plans to marry longtime girlfriend Danielle Spencer on his 39th birthday April 7 in Australia, The Associated Press reports. The actor's publicist, Wendy Day, said Sunday that the Crowe and Spencer would tie the knot at the family chapel on his property in New South Wales. "It's definitely April 7 on his property at Nana Glen," Day said. "It's not a Hollywood, star-studded affair...it's a family and friends affair for about 80 guests." The couple met during the filming of the 1990 film The Crossing. They had an on-again-off-again relationship until Crowe publicly declared his love for her and proposed last November.
"COPS" Producer Feared Dead
Paul Stojanovich, a field producer for the long running show COPS and the creator of the reality TV series World's Wildest Police Videos, fell 300 feet from a cliff into the Pacific Ocean and is feared dead, AP reports. Stojanovich, 47, and his fiancée Kim Srowel were hiking Saturday on a bluff at Treasure Cove in Oregon when he slipped while stopping to pose for a picture. Officers searched for three hours but found no sign of Stojanovich, Sgt. Mike Zimmerman of the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office told the AP Sunday.
Scorsese Deplores Oscar Campaigning
Director Martin Scorsese told Time magazine that Hollywood has grown increasingly aggressive in campaigning for Academy Awards. "If one of the actors from your film is not talking on that screen in the middle of the night, there will be five other actors from five different films talking," Scorsese said, adding that he feels obligated to be interviewed about his Gangs of New York. "The reality is if I don't do PR, I'm hurting the picture. And as many things as I did, that's as many things as I turned down." The film was nominated for was nominated for 10 awards, including Best Director and Best Picture.
Bonnie Hunt, Brad Garrett to Sub for Ailing Letterman
The Late Show With David Letterman has announced a slate of guest hosts for the week of March 17 as Letterman continues to recuperate from shingles. According to Variety, Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett will take the reins on Monday night, followed by comedian Tom Dreesen on Tuesday and Bonnie Hunt from Life with Bonnie on Wednesday. The show will be in repeats the final two nights of the week due to previously scheduled CBS coverage of college basketball.
Gandolfini and HBO May Resume Negotiations
The Sopranos star James Gandolfini and HBO are considering a deal to drop their dueling lawsuits and proceed with contract negotiations, the AP reports. Network executives involved in the negotiations told The New York Times that Gandolfini, who had previously sought a $20 million annual salary, has now lowered his request to about $16 million a year.
Minnelli and Gest Postpone Anniversary Party
Looks like the looming war in Iraq may put a damper on Liza Minnelli and David Gest's first anniversary party. "We held off sending our invitations out because we want to have our party when the world is at peace and people can come and enjoy themselves," Minnelli said. The party was set for April 15 at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. Spokesman Warren Cowan told Reuters, "With the threat of war imminent and considering more than 1,200 guests would be traveling from many different parts of the world, Liza Minnelli and David Gest have decided to postpone their anniversary party."
Country Music Fans Irate Over Dixie Chicks' Comment
Radio stations nationwide are boycotting the Dixie Chicks because singer Natalie Maines, a native of Lubbock, Texas, told a London audience last Monday: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Maines apologized Friday, saying, "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President (George W.) Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect." But the apology seems to have come too late for some irate protesters. On Saturday in Bossier City, Louisiana, protesters used a 33,000-pound tractor to destroy Dixie Chicks CDs and other items, while Two Dallas stations took Home off their playlists and one station in Kansas City held a Dixie "chicken toss" party to trash the group's CDs.
Superman's "Curse" Plagues Casting
Josh Hartnett didn't want it, and neither, it turns out, does Paul Walker. Walker is the latest star to drop out of the running for the title role in Warner Bros. new Superman movie for director Brett Ratner, Variety reports. Perhaps the "Curse of Superman" is to blame for why the pic is having trouble casting the Man of Steel. The so-called "curse" is based on the misfortune many stars connected to Superman TV series and movies have encountered, such as Christopher Reeve's paralysis, Margot Kidder's nervous breakdown, Richard Pryor's multiple sclerosis and George Reeves' death. Reeves, who played Superman in the 1950s, was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head in 1959.
February 13, 2003 11:10am EST
Oscar producer Gil Cates said U2 and Paul Simon, both of whom were nominated for best original song, will likely perform at the March 23 ceremony. Cates added he is uncertain if Eminem, whose song "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile also received a nom, will perform. "Eminem we're not sure about in terms of the schedule. We haven't heard," Cates told The Associated Press. Other songs nominated in the category are "Burn It Blue" from Frida and "I Move On" from Chicago. Cates could not say if Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones would perform "I Move On" at the Oscars. "The reason we really can't say is, if I say that we're going to ask someone and then they don't appear, a lot of things happen. Firstly, you know that we were turned down. Secondly, the next person that we ask knows that they're a second choice. So the only intelligent answer to that question is, 'What a good idea that is,'" Cates said.
After 2001's banner year for African Americans at the Oscars, including wins by Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, 2002 is looking a lot less diverse. This year's Oscar race produced only one black nominee, Queen Latifah, who received a nod for her supporting role in Chicago. Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, told the AP she hopes Hollywood becomes more accessible to people of color. "The more diversity in the body who does the voting, the more you'll see other--not just African-Americans--but Asians and American Indians and Hispanic people, Middle Eastern or whatever it may be," she said.
Charlie Sheen will star in the third installment of the Scary Movie franchise, which is set for a fourth-quarter release, Reuters reports. This latest development is part of a two-picture deal with the movie's distributor, Dimension Films, and its Miramax parent. Sheen is no stranger to slapstick comedy: He played Topper Harley in the lowbrow Hot Shots! and Hot Shots!: Part Deux, and appeared in the 1993 parody National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I. Scary Movie 3 will be directed by Airplane! and Naked Gun helmer David Zucker.
Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, will produce and star in the thriller Never Die Alone under his apprentice Bloodline Films banner. According to Variety, DMX will play a gangster whose life unfolds in flashback as a reporter probes events that led to his killing. The film is based on the 1974 book by cult writer Donald Goines, who penned 16 pulp novels between his release from prison in 1970 and his fatal shooting four years later. David Arquette and Michael Ealy will co-star on the project, which starts shooting Thursday in Los Angeles.
Tenacious D, the self-proclaimed "greatest band on Earth," is headed to the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor-comedian-rockers Jack Black and Kyle Gass--the duo that make up "the D"--will star in the film for New Line Cinema. The film's story line is being kept under wraps, but is said to be a "creation" story revolving around how the duo became the greatest band on Earth. Music video director Liam Lynch will helm the project, penned by Black, Gass and Lynch.
Fans of Fox's hit reality show Joe Millionaire are upset over last Monday's overhyped, episode, which promised much more than it delivered, People.com reports. Viewers were led to believe that Evan Marriott would make his choice between Zora and Sarah, and producers teased the final decision throughout the two-hour program. Instead, audiences were presented with a recap of the season. Scott Grogin, a spokesman for Fox, told the AP that viewers should have known better. "The payoff was always going to be on Feb. 17," Grogin said. "It's possible we were a little over the top with our promos, and we're sorry if people felt misled."
Kelly Osbourne has pulled out of performing at one of Britain's NME Awards, where she was due to sing her latest hit "Shut Up." A spokeswoman told Reuters Thursday the singer's showbiz parents, Sharon and Ozzy, were concerned about a possible terror attack on London while she is there. "Sharon and Ozzy are concerned about their children's safety and they don't want them flying about while the world is on high alert," she said. NME.com added that British promoters were expecting cancellations from other U.S.-based stars, including Pink, Avril Lavigne and Justin Timberlake.
Russell Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, has a new album coming out in April, and one of the tracks features a duet with Chrissie Hynde. According to People.com, Crowe and Hynde met in London last year and she has invited his band to tour the U.S. with her band, the Pretenders, later this month. Their single, "Never Be Alone Again," will be featured on the Grunts' CD Other Ways of Speaking, the band's follow-up album to their less-than-successful Bastard Life of Clarity, which reportedly only sold 156 copies in its first week of release in England.