Greg Stacy’s FAT LOT OF GOOD

February 16, 2007

EYEBALL FOOD: NO GNUS ARE GOOD GNUS

Filed under: Eyeball Food,Geekery,TV,Weird — gregstacy @ 10:08 pm

Here’s one for my fellow aging Gen-X’ers. You know that crazy-ass kiddie show that was on in the morning when you were a kid, the one that nobody but you seems to remember? With the kids on the asteroid and the weird-looking puppets and the cartoons and stuff? Well, here are the psychedelic credits. And here’s Knock Knock the bird busting Goriddle Gorilla’s balls. And one of those freaking cartoons about the the little line man with the gibbering baby nightmare voice. And finally, Gary Gnu! (“I’m a gnu! How do you do?”)

Weird bit of trivia: Kevin Clash, the guy who did the voice of Goriddle, went on to do the voice of Elmo. While normally Elmo would be enough to earn somebody a piece of prime real estate by the Lake of Fire in Hell, it’s possible that Clash has earned a free pass through the pearly gates thanks to Goriddle. We’ll just have to wait until the Day of Judgement to know for sure.

February 14, 2007

Life without Flash is a gas, gas, gas

Filed under: Games and tech,Geekery — gregstacy @ 9:50 am

I am about to make your internet experience so, so much better.

What if I told you that with the click of a button, you could make all of that horrible Flash go away? No more blinky banner ads. No more “punch this monkey and win a brand new car!!!!” No more three-minute trailers for the latest Ashton Kutcher movie sneakily downloading themselves to your desktop. No more dealing with an internet that increasingly resembles one huge, noisy, ugly-as-hell MySpace page. 

Well, that sounds great, you say, but what about when you actually need Flash? Like, to see stuff on Youtube, for instance? What about that, then? Huh?

Ah, friend, I’m not talking about doing away with Flash altogether. (Although that idea is certainly tempting.) No, I’m talking about the the power to turn Flash on and off at will. You turn Flash on to see somebody’s grandma breakdancing on Youtube, then turn it off so you don’t have to look at all the winky, blinky, noisy crap everywhere else! Just imagine it! It’d be an earthly paradise!

Well, friend, you don’t have to imagine it… just click here and take you first step into a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.

February 10, 2007

EYEBALL FOOD

Filed under: Eyeball Food,Geekery,Music,Weird — gregstacy @ 10:27 am

Just reprinting my old articles is getting a little tired, so I’m going to start up a new section here on FAT LOT OF GOOD. EYEBALL FOOD will showcase all sorts of interesting video crap I find online: obscure music videos, geeky tech stuff, people in gorilla suits… whatever the heck I feel like, really. So, here is today’s deliciousness.

MARGO GURYAM’S AMAZING, TERRY GILLIAM/YELLOW SUBMARINE-ESQUE, ANTI-W MUSIC VIDEO . As much as I love this thing, even a pinko like me has to admit the last few seconds are rather thumpingly unsubtle. (Spoiler warning!) Either show the dummy growing devil horns, or have its nose grow, but both? Why not go all out, and show him speaking with a forked tongue while his pants catch on fire?

DINOSAURS! LIVING! LIVE DINOSAURS! This thing sure makes the modern Hollywood CGI crap look like the crappy crap it is. I almost want to hop on a flight to freakin’ Australia, just so I can see this show in person.

HOW THEY BROUGHT THE DINOSAURS BACK TO LIFE. Behind the scenes special effects geekery, with giant rubber lizards. Heaven.

NORA, THE PIANO-PLAYING CAT. Admittedly her music is an aquired taste… but what stage presence!

December 28, 2006

The Man Behind the Eightball: Dan Clowes dares to keep clowns off drugs

Filed under: Art,Geekery,OC Weekly — gregstacy @ 2:00 am

(Published in OC WEEKLY… uh, sometime in the ’90s. Probably ’97 or so, around the same time that Clowes had one of the Ghost World girls declare that they hated anybody who could ever write for an alternative newsweekly. Sigh… I still love you, ladies!)

Picture this: A strange invader – part human, part mid-’50s tin-toy – has just parked his rocketship above the streets of a gray urban metropolis and climbed down a rope ladder. Clearly, he does not come in peace. With one metal claw he beats upon a little war-drum mounted to his belly, with his other claw he brandishes a pistol firing thick spurts of a pink, mutagenic goo vaguely resembling Pepto Bismol. This slimy stuff has already transformed much of the city’s population into grotesque, unhappy-looking freaks, and the homely, inexplicably naked nuclear family cowering in the scene’s foreground are clearly the next in line for transmogrification. All would be lost, but a green ray has just blasted a hole in the stunned spaceman’s groin. The ray is being fired from outside the scene, from just about exactly where we’re standing. The fate of the world, it would seem, rests in our hands. A mysterious apparition hovering over the action complicates things still further: it’s the bland face of a bald, bearded, bespectacled older gentleman who bears a striking resemblance to Sigmund Freud. He holds something in his hands that looks like a remote-control device. Does he control the killer spaceman? Or is he us, firing the ray that saves the day?

This scene of cartoon carnage graces the cover of Eightball #18, the latest issue of an amazing periodical from cartoonist Dan Clowes, and it serves as an interesting contrast to Clowes’ earlier work. Clowes first made a splash on the comics scene in the late ’80s with the debut of Lloyd Llewellen, a campy, seriously retro comic that chronicled the adventures of the book’s titular character, an early ’60s swinger who was constantly getting entangled in ginchy sci-fi adventures involving aliens and beatniks and curvy dames with big, B-52-style bouffants. The book was one long, snide, adolescent giggle, and when it folded in 1988 Clowes’ small cult of fans must have assumed he’d soon be back with more of the same.

But with the publication of the first issue of Eightball in 1989, it was immediately clear Clowes’ work had undergone a major evolution. Like a Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, the saga Clowes began in issue #1, had a truly nightmarish quality. Velvet Glove began just as Twin Peaks was hitting it big, and the articles comparing Velvet Glove to Lynch’s work were endless. Indeed, there were parallels to be drawn – Clay Loudermilk, Velvet Gloves’ feckless protagonist, lives in an irrational, violent, vaguely Eraserhead-like America where monster births and dismemberment are treated as little more than creepy inconveniences – but while the Lynch of the early ’90s was an artist in rapid decline, Clowes’ talent was just beginning to fully blossom.

Early issues of Eightball featured entertaining but relatively lightweight satirical pieces that might have been more at home in the pages of Lloyd Llewellen. In fact, Lloyd actually starred in a couple of them before Clowes dropped the character for good. The best of these pieces was probably the Dan Pussey stories, which took a long, unblinking look at the absurdities of the comic book industry and its artistic domination by books about super-powered guys in their underwear. (In an interview, Clowes once noted that there’s hardly anything “natural” about the marriage of superheroes and comic books: “What if every novel or film was about clowns who took drugs? It would be just about as strange.”) Clowes later admitted that poor Dan Pussey, the terminally repressed superhero artist who starred in these stories, was a nightmare projection of the geeky hack that he himself nearly became, which perhaps explains the passion, almost hysteria, of these strips’ attacks on the comics industry’s stagnant and polluted “mainstream”.

Once Velvet Glove and the Dan Pussey stories were completed, Clowes’ work underwent yet another startling evolution, as the artist ditched most of the wise-guy attitude that had made his name. Caricature, the main story in Eightball #15, tells the heartbreaking tale of Mal Rosen, a self-deluding soul who travels the land, eking out a meager existence drawing caricatures at county fairs. He’s managed to get by for years without realizing just how desperately lonely and unfulfilled he is, until one day when he meets Theda, a troubled teenaged girl with whom he strikes up an ambiguous friendship. As a recovering caricature artist myself I can say that Clowes gets every miserable detail of the profession exactly right, right down to those awful, all-too-frequent moments when a family plops their literally deformed, developmentally disabled child in your chair and expects you to make the kid look “funny”. The relationship between Mal and Theda feels just as true. Few stories in any medium, and none that I can think of in the tragically underused medium of comics, have handled loneliness and narrowly missed connections with such depth and grace.

As good as Caricature was, it was merely a dry run for Ghost World, a series of interrelated but not exactly serial stories that draws to a close in Eightball #18. Ghost World follows Becky and Enid, two bright, aimless, would-be hipster teens who may or may not be in love with each other. They spend their days watching crappy TV, rummaging through boxes of junk in thrift-store bargain basements and imagining elaborate biographies for the various weirdoes they spot on the street, until the day comes when Enid has to decide whether or not she’s going away to college. This new development puts their friendship to the test, and the fear of losing each other eventually drives both girls to desperate, alarmingly petty behavior.

In Ghost World, Clowes displays such skill that he makes a good case for the argument he puts forth in the Modern Cartoonist booklet included in Eightball #18: “(Comics) are in a sense the ultimate domain of the artist who seeks to wield absolute control over his imagery. Novels are the work of one individual but they require visual collaboration on the part of the reader. Film is by its nature a collaborative endeavor. Comics offer the creator a chance to control the specifics of his world in both abstract and literal terms.”

The pity of it is that so few comics creators take advantage of this absolute control. Clowes does, and in the pages of Eightball he creates work that is the equal of art being done in any medium today.

To Infinity and Beyond!: The Naked Cosmos

Filed under: Art,Geekery,OC Weekly,TV,Weird — gregstacy @ 1:53 am

(Printed in OC WEEKLY, June 23, 2005)

Once in a great while, usually when it’s very late at night and you’ve been restlessly flipping around the more disreputable end of the TV dial, you come across a show of perfect, transcendent strangeness. It could be Dr. Gene Scott’s mix of fierce televangelism and dancing bimbos. Or Dr. Franklin Ruehl at his desk in outer space, discoursing on the Phantom Army of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Or some forgotten Spanish-language B-picture where fat guys in wrestling masks battle vampire babes. Or even (you lucky dog) your first Ed Wood movie. Whatever it is, you wake up the next morning wondering if it was real, or if you dreamed the whole thing.

Gilbert Hernandez’s new, straight-to-DVD TV series, The Naked Cosmos, is like all of those shows put together into one mind-frying package; this is concentrated public access weirdness and should not be taken without first consulting a physician. Hernandez, the justly acclaimed cartoonist who co-creates the Love and Rockets comic book series with his brother Jaime, made his name crafting bittersweet stories of life in the fictional South American town of Palomar, stories that are often compared to the works of such writers as Carson Mccullers and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But with The Naked Cosmos, Hernandez lets a different side of himself out to play, cutting loose with a wild parody of/homage to all the kitschy TV he grew up loving as a dorky Oxnard kid.

The Naked Cosmos is a kind of surreal kiddie show hosted by Quintas (Hernandez), a Beatle-wigged, pop-eyed, psychic dandy who takes us on an unforgettable journey through inner and outer space accompanied by the lovely Mistress Velda (Hernandez’s wife, Carol Kovinick) and Ego (Hernandez again), a mellow hippie boozer with the power of teleportation. Quintas faces opposition at every turn from his masked clone, the seethingly envious Kalisto (Hernandez yet again), and both are rivals for the affections of the cheerfully oblivious Velda. All of them report to the Chief (Kovinick), a lady who wears a bondage cat hood and issues her orders over the phone in Spanish. Every now and again the action stops cold for a short film presented by Zansky, a jolly expatriate from another dimension. Hernandez portrays Zansky via the old summer camp trick of drawing a face on your chin and standing on your head, a perfect example of the show’s nutty, low-budget ingenuity. The budget for this thing is so low, in fact, that Hernandez doesn’t even use split screen effects when he holds conversations with himself: the camera just cuts back and forth between Hernandez in different costumes, emoting with hammy gusto and clearly having the time of his life.

The DVD features four 22-minute episodes, bloopers, portraits of the characters by Hernandez and other artists, and an original, 20-page comic book, making this an absolute steal at $15.95. Issued in a limited edition of 2,000, The Naked Cosmos is only available for purchase online (at http://www.brightredrocket.com/nakedcosmos) or at America’s very hippest comics shops. The next time you’re restlessly flipping the TV dial in the dead of night, fire up this thing and you’ll go to sleep a few hours later confused but happy.

December 21, 2006

Unbroken Bond: Looking back with Your Eyes Only

Filed under: Geekery,Humor,Movies,OC Weekly — gregstacy @ 11:21 am

(Printed in OC WEEKLY, October 4, 2006)

I’ve noticed, in the cast and crew interviews for the upcoming James Bond prequel Casino Royale, how everybody concerned seems a little embarrassed by, or at least dismissive of, recent Bond pictures. There’s a lot of talk of starting the whole thing over and making Bond vital and dangerous again. “We know,” they seem to be saying, “we screwed up. We let our plots get too silly and gimmicky and Pierce Brosnan was tired and old, but we’ve fixed all that now. We’re ditching all the confusing, bullshit continuity, the ridiculous gadgets and all of that crap, and we’re rebooting this mother. We’re taking Bond back to where he once belonged!”

It’s a little puzzling where this attitude comes from, given that 2002’s Die Another Day was the highest-grossing Bond picture to date. It doesn’t seem as if the public was fed up with the silly, gimmicky plots, or tired old Brosnan, or the confusing, bullshit continuity, or the ridiculous gadgets. I think Bond’s producers have made the mistake of listening to the critics, who have been hung up on Sean Connery for way too long and keep insisting that James Bond should be more “relevant.” Don’t these guys get that James Bond is pop trash? He’s a superhero stud in a tux, unbeatable by any man, irresistible to any woman, with a boss car and a watch that fires rockets. Basically, we’re talking about Austin Powers played straight.

The Bond franchise, like the smirky sociopath at its center, seems to be just about unkillable. Since its birth in the early ’60s, it has survived endless parodies, including the original, 1967 version of Casino Royale, a peculiar and often incoherent affair featuring a cavalcade of Bonds, including David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and a seal (please, don’t even ask). Bond has been sent up on The Simpsons, in the Cannonball Run pictures, even on Deep Space Nine—and Jesus, you know you’re an easy target when Star Trek is gunning for your ass. There have been entire TV series featuring Bond-ish chimps, Bond-ish cartoon mice, and even (would you believe?) Mel Brooks’ and Buck Henry’s long-running Get Smart. For a while there, Austin Powers eclipsed Bond’s popularity, but when a new Bond movie came out, the crowds dutifully lined up to see it. Critics be damned: the public just does not get tired of this crap, ever.

The critics famously despised Roger Moore as Bond. They said his acting was wooden, they said he was too old for the part, and all agreed that his movies were by far the silliest of the series (we’ll admit that his Venetian gondola car from Moonraker was the kind of gag that even Mike Myers wouldn’t have stooped to). The public, on the other hand, adored Moore’s Bond, and Moonraker, which many critics still hold up as the worst of the entire franchise, was a massive success in 1979. It was the first movie in the series that I saw, and when I hear critics moaning about how they want their surly ol’ Connery back, I just do not get it at all. Moore is my James Bond, damn it, and he set the smirky standard all other Bonds must be compared to.

1981’s For Your Eyes Only, which enjoys a rare big-screen outing this week, was a bit of a franchise reboot in its own right. After the critical drubbing that Moonraker took, the producers decided to scale things back with a more earthbound, vastly less campy Bond adventure. Personally, I thought it could’ve used a few more gondola cars, and I still remember my childish disappointment that Richard Kiel never showed up as the metal-mouthed goliath Jaws. But seen with adult eyes, this entry has much to recommend it. The opening sequence alone is great fun, featuring the final fate of longtime Bond baddie Ernst Blofeld (although, due to legal issues, he is never named as such). The film is also a fascinating time capsule, from the bracingly ugly fashions to Sheena Easton’s cheesetastic title tune, and it boasts impressive quantities of the violence, sex and sexism that make old school Bond such fun. This is also the movie where you can play spot the tranny—the transsexual model Tula can be glimpsed somewhere amongst the film’s gallery of lovelies—and c’mon, that’s just neat.

Through the film, Moore’s Bond is pursued by an underage cutie with one of the most unfortunate “sexy” names in the entire Bond canon, Bibi Dahl. Dahl is rather emphatically portrayed by Lynn-Holly Johnson, a pro figure skater turned actress, who is perhaps best known today for the 1978 chick flick Ice Castles. Johnson will appear at this screening, so you can ask her what she thinks of all this 007 reboot business. And just think: you’ll always be able to say you spent a lovely Saturday night with a Bond girl.

Uh-Oh, It’s Magic: Harry Potter and the muggle hordes

Filed under: Geekery,Humor,Movies,OC Weekly — gregstacy @ 11:17 am

(Printed in OC WEEKLY, November 21, 2002)

As a lifelong geek, it has always puzzled me why “normals” (as some geekfolk like to call non-geekfolk) can be so stubbornly confused by the success of things like Star Trek or the Star Wars pictures. A normal person will spend three minutes in front of an episode of Deep Space Nine and then crinkle up their nose in distaste, griping, “I can’t keep all that Romulan and Klingon nonsense straight. How can adults waste their time with that shit?!” Then they’ll change the channel and spend the next three hours in a happy daze watching tall men in shorts dribble a ball up a court and down a court and up the court again, complete with copious, slow-mo instant replays. I had no sympathy for this sort of behavior at all until a friend dragged me to The Fellowship of the Ring, and suddenly there I was, wrinkling my nose, muttering in the dark about all of these orcs and elves and Boromirs and Doromirs and Aerwyns and Arwyns and Morgors and Trogors and the quest that just went on for-freakin’-ever. If this is what Star Trek is like for you people, jeez, you have my complete sympathy.

The Harry Potter books, films, etc., have over a very short time become a Star Trek-sized phenomenon, and like other geeky delights, Potter-land comes complete with its own elaborate mythologies, insider terms and other mumbo-jumbo, all of which is surely as baffling to outsiders as warp drive and wookiees were to non-geeks in generations past. There are a multitude of intelligent adults out there who simply can’t abide the Harry Potter phenomenon—and for a multitude of loudly stated reasons. We hear from such people every time a new Potter book or film is released: they sound off in outraged articles, at the bus stop, from the very rooftops. Post-Sept. 11, more than a few pundits screeched that by letting our kids play with wands and broomsticks instead of forcing them to run around with pellet guns, we were raising a generation of wussies ill-equipped to face the horrors of war. Of course, just as many pundits were griping that the Potter books are far too dark and frightening for kids and were sure to transform our little darlings into a generation of Satanist psychopaths.

But while plenty of pundits and parents have their reasons for hating how popular Potter is with kids, I’m not a kid and I don’t have kids, so I can tune them out without much effort. It’s the snobs who really drive me nuts, people who can’t abide seeing other adults enjoying Harry Potter stuff; seriously, the next time anybody, in print or in person, dares to suggest that I am an idiot for enjoying the work of J.K. Rowling, I plan to take a Nimbus 2000 broom (now available at Toys ’R Us) and shove it someplace unwholesome.

Is the Potter universe great art? Probably not. It hits the marks it’s aiming for and does it well; it’s scary when it’s supposed to be scary and funny when it’s supposed to be funny, but I see no great depths beneath the surface of Rowling’s work. What it is, simply, is cracking fun, the kind of stuff that actually makes adults and kids alike pick up books and savor them as humans probably haven’t since the age of Dickens, no mean feat in our post-literate age. The films are a perhaps too-faithful translation of Rowling’s words, but they’re produced with showmanship and flair, and they deserve to rake in the millions of zillions that they do. If you’re looking for proof that civilization is crashing down around our ankles, go look at Eminem’s bank account.

In the end, what it comes down to is that if you detest all things Harry Potter, you probably either haven’t read one of the books, you went into one of the films determined to hate it, or you are an uptight and unimaginative jackass. You are excused from puzzling out the difference between a phaser and a lightsaber, but take my word for it, if you never trouble yourself to learn the difference between a muggle and a house elf, it’s your loss.

Emma Caulfield on BUFFY’s final days

Filed under: Darkworlds.com,Geekery,Interviews,Movies,TV — gregstacy @ 11:11 am

(Originally posted on DARKWORLDS.COM)

 The following interview with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and DARKNESS FALLS star Emma Caulfield caused a lot of controversy with the show’s fans. This surprised us, given her reasonable, non-gossipy tone and the fact that she never even names names. Still, we just couldn’t resist revisiting this story…

DW: By some accounts you were pretty determined to leave BUFFY by the end, and you wanted Anya killed in the series finale so that even if there was a BUFFY movie or whatever, it’d be clear that you would not be back. Is that true?

Caulfield: Well, that’s all been exaggerated. I had a fantastic experience on BUFFY and I thought it was a great show, but in some ways I didn’t feel that character was reflective of everything I could do. And by the end, I felt very unappreciated by certain people. Almost everybody was great, but certain people…

DW: You don’t want to name names? Even off the record?

Caulfield: No. No reflection on you, but I’ve been burned too many times! It wouldn’t be smart for me to say, but the people I’m talking about know who they are. By the end it was just no fun to come to work and be continually disrespected. But if they ever do a BUFFY movie and (BUFFY creator Joss Whedon) wants to bring me back as a ghost or something, I’d be glad to do that.

DW: Now, I’m sure you’ve been asked this to death, but what the hell. Can you tell me anything about if there’s a BUFFY movie on the way?

Caulfield: Honestly, I don’t know anything. I know that Joss is busy doing the FIREFLY movie right now, but that’s all I’ve heard.

DW: Do you do the conventions and fan cruises and stuff like that?

Caulfield: I have, sure. I’m doing a con in England at the end of the month.

DW: I’ve been to conventions myself, and fans can be so gushy. If strangers are coming up and telling you you’re the best thing ever, how do you keep that from screwing up your values?

Caulfield: Well, I guess if anybody comes up and says anything like that to me… I just don’t really believe them. I mean, I’m just not that impressed by anything I’ve done, acting-wise. I think I do good work as an actress, but in some ways I’m not sure acting is what I’m best at. I’ve always said that if acting doesn’t work out I’ll move on and do something else, I’ll make my mark some other way.

JEEPERS CREEPERS star Jonathan Freck

Filed under: Darkworlds.com,Geekery,Interviews,Movies — gregstacy @ 11:09 am

(Originally posted on DARKWORLDS.COM)

Jonathan Freck, who stars in JEEPERS CREEPERS and its new sequel, JEEPERS CREEPERS 2, recently sat down for an interview with DARKWORLDS.COM. Fortunately Freck proved to be far more personable than his onscreen alter-ego the Creeper, the flying monster that comes out of hibernation every 23 years to feed upon humans.

Asked if the considerable prosthetics he wears for the film are uncomfortable, Freck was good-natured but blunt: “It can be pretty tough, yeah. I Usually spend about four hours in the makeup chair, but it can be more like seven sometimes. We were shooting nights, so usually I’d get in there at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and then I’d be in the makeup for 8-10 hours at a stretch, we’d work all night and then finish around 6 or 7 a.m.”

Asked if the film’s nocturnal schedule complicated the rest of his life, Freck once again pulled no punches.

“Oh, it was awful. We were filming for like six weeks, maybe eight weeks, and I got completely turned around. The actual shooting days were one thing, but then I’d have days off and I’d just be completely out of step with the rest of the world. Thank God my girlfriend was so patient, she was really great and kinda said, ‘Ok, you just go off and do this thing, you get it done.’ She gave me a lot of freedom.”

One of the Creeper’s most frightening attributes would be the large, bat-like wings he uses to soar through the air and swoop down upon his victims; we asked Freck if he had to wear the wings as part of his costume, and if so, how cumbersome they were.

“When you see the wings in the film, that’s mostly CGI,” Freck said. “We experimented with some prosthetic wings on the set, but in the end almost all of that stuff was done by the CGI people.”

The Creeper is Freck’s best-known character, although the actor has also appeared in such pictures as SPIDERS and GOOD ADVICE and such TV series as STAR TREK: VOYAGER. We conducted the interview before box-office figures were available for JEEPERS CREEPERS 2’s opening weekend, but Freck was fairly confident that another sequel could be on the way.

“I think people would like to see more of this character,” Freck said. “He has a really interesting backstory, and there are a lot of possibilities: I mean, you can jump ahead 23 years, or go back 23 years, learn about his past or go into the future.”

“Leatherface” interview

Filed under: Darkworlds.com,Geekery,Interviews,Movies,Weird — gregstacy @ 11:04 am

(Originally posted on DARKWORLDS.COM)

At a hefty 6′ 4″, with piercing eyes and a voice that makes Darth Vader sound like a big sissy, Gunnar Hansen at first seems only slightly less intimidating than Leatherface, the mindless, hippie-killing freak he portrayed in Tobe Hooper’s ‘70s horror classic THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. But you don’t have to chat with Hansen for long to realize that this thoughtful actor has little in common with the role that made him famous.

Born in Iceland, Hansen moved to America at the age of five and grew up in Texas. A gentle giant with an academic temperament, Hansen was not far out of graduate school when he auditioned for Hooper and won the role of Leatherface. The character has become an icon in the years since the film’s release, inspiring a figure from McFarlane Toys, comic books, a punk band and a lot of ghastly nightmares for anybody who has ever seen the film. Hansen has stayed active as an actor, but he’s also worked extensively as a writer for film and print while also dabbling in web design.

Hansen was kind enough to chat with us at the 2002 Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, answering questions while excited Leatherface fans buzzed around. (Interview for Darkworlds conducted by Greg Stacy.)

DW: Will we see you playing Leatherface again anytime soon?

Hansen: No. They’re making TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 5 right now, actually, and I’m not in it. They offered me a part, but not as Leatherface. I was going to play Ed Guinn’s role from the original picture, the cattle truck driver. I told them I’d be happy to do it, but they’d have to pay me more than scale. So, I’m not in it.

DW: So, is it safe to say you don’t think you’ll ever play the character again?

Hansen: I wouldn’t think I would, no.

DW: Out of everything you’ve done, what role are you the proudest of?

Hansen: Well, I’m very proud of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. I think it’s one of the best horror movies. And I’m also pretty happy about MOSQUITO, a movie I co-wrote and starred in a few years ago.

DW: Are there any films you regret?

Hansen: Sure. There was a picture years ago that was just a disaster, the director couldn’t direct because he was too busy in the kitchen trying on his dresses.

DW: Sounds very ED WOOD.

Hansen: It was awful.

DW: Do you have any projects coming up?

Hansen: Right now I’m trying to find funding for a horror parody I wrote with a friend, it’s called THE LAST ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. It’s a parody of a bunch of movies, but in it I parody CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Except instead of Leatherface I’m called Babyface, and the reason he never talks is because he’s always stuffing food in his face. He always seems like he’s ABOUT to talk, but then he just eats a chicken leg or something. I really hope we can get it off the ground. I’m also waiting to see what happens with a project called THE NEXT VICTIM, an anthology film where I play a mental patient in the wrap-around segments. In the meantime, RACHEL’S ATTIC is just coming out on DVD now, so people can go buy that.

DW: Lastly, how do you feel about being so closely associated with the horror genre? Are you comfortable with that, or would you rather work on more mainstream projects?

Hansen: Oh, I’m not one of those actors who are so hung-up on that sort of thing. Really, I consider myself primarily a writer, and for me, movies are just fun.

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