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Wednesday, October 23, 2019


                       The face is unforgettable, and his performances in 80's horror classics such as The Fog, Creepshow and Halloween III: Season Of The Witch are the stuff of legend. I'm also sorry to say that if you even claim to consider yourself even somewhat of a pedestrian fan of the genre, you should know this man's name automatically - he's Mr. Tom Atkins, and to say that he's set the bar for powerful and memorable portrayals is an understatement. He was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time to discuss his role in the recently released Halloween slasher, Trick, directed by Patrick Lussier - so grab a cold one, settle in and enjoy the words that are coming from this cinematic bad-ass!


ZT - Tom, first of all, congrats on the film - you were fantastic in it. Can you tell us about your character and the film's premise?

TA: In the film, I play "Talbott" - a town curmudgeon, an old crank. I run the local diner and I run an annual Halloween film festival where it used to be held at a drive-in, but the weather prevailed up there in Newburgh, New York which led us to move it inside an old Presbyterian church. He's an angry old man but he adores the kids of the town, and it's obvious that he does although he'd never show it or act like he did. He tries his best to save the kids from the killer known as "Trick" and whether he's successful or not, you'll have to watch the film to find out. I loved making the movie with Patrick Lussier - this is our third film together - we did My Bloody Valentine 3D, Drive Angry and now this - he tries to put something in each of his films for me, and what I love about them is that they're really not the biggest roles in the film, but they're beautifully realized, full-blown characters which I love to play. 

ZT: I've always said that if you consider yourself an 80's horror fan and you don't know the name of Tom Atkins, you should be discredited.

TA: You should be ashamed! How the hell can you NOT know the name? (laughs)

ZT: What is it about this particular genre that's kept you coming back all these years? 

TA: It's kind of serendipitous that people kept offering me jobs - I was never a movie star. I hear people say sometimes "Well, I took a look at that script and turned it down - I didn't like it." I never had that luxury - whenever someone sent me a script and asked me to do it I always said: "Yes - count me in - I'm up for it." It was a job, it was a paycheck, it was a way to feed my wife and son. I've turned down a couple of roles that I thought were reprehensible, and I'm not even sure if the films got done. I love the genre and I feel at home in it, and I guess I'm suited to do it because people keep inviting me back to do more of them.

 ZT: You're no stranger to stage work as well as on-screen work - do you find one more personally rewarding than the other?

TA: I love making movies and TV, especially right now because they're easier and they pay better. The theater has never paid well unless you're playing the lead in the latest hot musical on Broadway in New York -  then they pay very well. Doing plays is very satisfying - I did a one-man show here in Pittsburgh for 10 years called "The Chief" at the regional theater downtown - it was a 600-seat house, and it was based on Art Rooney, Sr. - the original owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the same time, I was playing Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" for 8 years. I loved doing all that, but they've been the last - I haven't done a stage show in the last 5 years, and I'm not looking to. I'd go anywhere to work with Patrick, or Fred Dekker or John Carpenter - I'd love to include George Romero in that but I can't anymore, God bless him and rest him -I loved him, he was a great guy. 

ZT: Shout Factory recently released a collector's edition Blu-ray of Night Of The Creeps, and there was a limited edition that was sold that came with an action figure of your character - I'm sure you've seen it by now, but tell us: was it surreal seeing your face on an action figure? 

TA: Yeah it was - my wife and me were both looking at the test shot that I got sent in an email, and I thought "WOW - that was actually my face back then!" You think about it - we made the movie 35 years ago, and then Shout Factory called me last Summer to tell me that they were going to make this figure, and the extras that come along with it - we've got a shotgun and a revolver. They said "we can also add a cigarette" and I said, "Nah, I don't want that in there - how about a bottle of beer?" Well, due to copyrights they couldn't put a Miller Lite label on it, so they made it an Atkins Lite, and there's a beer can in there with "Dekker"on it for Fred. I absolutely loved them, and 6,000 were made and they sold out in two months.

ZT: Lastly, after the release of Trick, what's going to be keeping you busy on the working end of things? 

TA: Right now, although it may not seem like it because I'm sitting here in this chair, but I'm going to be in the third entry into The Collector franchise, and this one's called The Collected - we're currently shooting in Atlanta, and we actually shot the ending of the film a week and a half ago. I'll be heading back to Atlanta at the beginning of next week to finish shooting - I get to play Josh Stewart's father, and we're having a great time so far - it's a great script and there's not a lot of gore that's just there for the sake of gore. It's got good characters and you'll care for them and root for them and it really reminds me of the 80's films.  

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