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, thoughtful gentleman. Celebrity Parents spoke exclusively with the no-holds-barred gentle giant about his new book, Unmasked: The True Story of the World’s Most Prolific Cinematic Killer, the severe bullying he went through as a child, and why his favorite hobby is not dismembering people…but rather taking IQ tests.
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 happen.
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.”
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
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 for.
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]