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Wednesday, October 16, 2019


                    Any self-respecting horror fan will know the face of Dr. Herbert West in an instant, but make no mistake: Jeffrey Combs is one actor who manages to spread his talents around so vastly that he's not pigeonholed into simply screen work. He's flexed his talents on TV, stage and even some video game voicing as well, and the latest slice of creepiness takes him into the role of "The Shopkeeper" in the horror anthology Holiday Hell, opening on November 1, 2019. He was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time to discuss the role, as well as what else he's got up on the morgue slab (sorry, but I had to) - so grab your favorite Re-Animation cocktail, read on and enjoy!

 ZT: Can you give us a little peek into what Holiday Hell is all about, as well as your character, The Shopkeeper?

JC: It's a bit of a clever anthology piece, and my character is in the wraparound story - there's a young woman on Christmas Eve that's looking for a special present for her sister, and she comes into my curiosity shop as I'm about to close up, and there's something about her that seems familiar to me. I then tell her about everything that I sell, which just happens to have a story behind it, and there's a nice twist towards the end of the film. It was a very pleasant shoot, and I enjoyed working with Jeff Ferrell (one of the 4 directors) and got to hang out in Seattle - a city that I happen to love. It was great. 

ZT: Your live stage event "Nevermore: An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe" was showcased in Tarrytown, New York on October 12th at the Sleepy Hollow Film Festival - can you tell us how the show actually came to be? 

 JC: It was an idea of mine - I was looking around - I like to read and I enjoy history, and I was looking for a historical figure to portray...not really sure in what format - it was a bit vague, but I was looking at biographies, someone I could be a good fit for. I then found a book about Poe and I got really intrigued by him, the person, and I wondered how come no one had ever made a movie about this man in their life. It was so complex and riveting, and about a year later I was asked by Stuart Gordon if I wanted to play Poe in an episode of Showtime's Masters Of Horror (Ep: The Black Cat), and while we were on set he said to me "you really ought to do a one-man show." My response to that was "No way am I doing a one-man show!" But he kept urging me and about a year and a half later we sat down and found a theater and a 4-week run blew up into a little over a year - we were selling out and people were asking me to bring it to their towns all over the country. It's just a really powerful piece - it's an imaginary recital that Poe might have done - certainly not the way we'd do it, and we came up with a lovely script. We got really good reviews right out of the box, and with word of mouth it really took off. 

  So the guys at the Sleepy Hollow Film Festival were putting on a show that featured films of people with a literary background, and they thought that I'd be a good fit for that - it was a nice piece for their Saturday night during the film festival.


  ZT: Some actors seem to be a perfect fit for a specific genre - some with drama, others with comedy, but you fit in the horror scheme of things like a champ - is it in your blood?

 JC: No (laughs) - when I was a young actor and I was making a living on the regional theater circuit I wasn't doing horror - I was doing Shakespeare and contemporary plays - comedies, dramas, restorations. I had a variety of styles, so then I come to L.A. and kick around for a few years and just went in for an audition for a play, and the director said "I think you'd be right for something I'm casting right now which also wasn't horror - it was about 3 Vietnam veterans in a hospital, so I went in and met a guy named Stuart Gordon. Well, he cast me and just like a billiard ball off the side of a pool table I was sent in the opposite direction. Maybe I bring an intensity to my work sometimes that works well with horror, and perhaps my theater background gives me the ability to elevate some things. It wasn't the original plan, but I'm glad it turned out that way - as a kid I was always into horror and I always loved a good scary movie.

ZT: Lastly, after the release of Holiday Hell, what's coming up next on the work slate for you, or are you headed for a nice relaxing break? 

 JC: Oh, I don't know - the holidays are coming up quickly and I don't want them to be hell (laughs) - I may lay back a little bit. Next year I'm actually taking my Poe stage show on a Star Trek cruise - those ships have incredible theaters on them and they asked me if I'd bring my show and I agreed. That and I do a lot of voice work that pops up - as an actor you just never know what's coming around the corner.


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