With Rob Zombie’s 3 FROM HELL set to release this month, legendary character actor Bill Moseley (THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE 2, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS) found time to talk with us about vegan catering, the logistics of machete-swinging, and the unique ennui of being in a road-tripping band of serial killers.
How does the theme of Found Family continue in 3 FROM HELL?
Well, you know, it’s a typical family insofar as when there’s an outside threat, we all band together and become very tight. When there isn’t an outside threat, we’re irascible, we’re at each other — teasing, arguing, everybody’s trying to find their power within the family structure. Whether it’s “There ain’t no ice cream in your fuckin’ future” or whatever, they’re all trying to stake out their place in that family dynamic.
And definitely, boredom plays a role in that.
Yeah, ’cause even though it looks like we’re just on the road for a minute and a half onscreen, we’ve been driving for like seventeen hours, so I really don’t wanna stop for ice cream! And, in fact, boredom is what fueled that brutal scene at the Kahiki Palms Motel in THE DEVIL’S REJECTS — we’re all just waiting for Captain Spaulding, and it can really drag when you don’t have much to do. Especially when you’re in a room without an air conditioner in the middle of Lancaster, California.
Even though the events of 3 FROM HELL take place immediately after the previous movie, there are still fourteen years in between the last movie and this one. Have the ways in which you’ve changed as a person in that time affected how you approach the character of Otis?
I’m sure it has. It’s kinda hard for me to see the forest for the trees, but certainly my beard is whiter, maybe I’m a step slower. I don’t necessarily think so. [laughs] But Otis has been in prison that whole time, as has Baby, for that matter, and Captain Spaulding. So time has passed slowly. With Otis, I’m certainly no stranger to prison, and in fact, I think that according to Rob’s history of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, that’s where Captain Spaulding and I met. It’s interesting, because I don’t think that Baby had ever been in prison, certainly not that kind of a prison, so I think that when we all get together in 3 FROM HELL, I’m especially sensitive to her and I’m trying to make sure that she’s okay, if her mind has snapped and she’s lost it. But I think that by the end of the movie, everything works out and we realize we’re all the same old people.
What was the most physically uncomfortable part of this shoot?
That would have to be the grand finale. Just getting out there and swinging machetes with a VERY big man. I think he was in the NFL, either a lineman or a linebacker, but he was a big dude. Other than that, it wasn’t too taxing — just slicin’ and dicin’, and running a little bit. Not too bad.
So the Fireflies aren’t running laps this time around.
No, but also, Rob and Sheri and even Richard Brake are all vegan, so there was the physical challenge of adapting to vegan craft services. I feel like they’re closing in on me, the vegans. My younger daughter is a vegan and my older daughter is a vegetarian, so as I’m entering the twilight of my life, they’re all trying to get me to stop eating cheese and hamburgers and all the things that I like to eat. So that was also a physical challenge, but one that was also pretty tasty.
The horror lifestyle, everyone thinks it’s all blood and mayhem, but it’s actually just responsible veganism.
[laughs] It is! I’m not there yet, but I can feel it, I’m pointed in that direction.
Having played so many iconic horror characters, do you ever start to feel the characters bleeding into one another? Like you’re doing a scene as Otis and pausing and going “Wait, I’m doing Chop-Top, hang on.”
I did that one time a long time ago. There was a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET TV series called Freddy’s Nightmares, and I did an episode called “Black Tickets.” I remember being very new to Hollywood and how slowly things worked, and I was playing a mechanic in a garage for this episode that was like a parody of Route 66, that old TV show. Not necessarily a psycho character, just kind of a twitchy guy. I drank coffee to stay awake because I’d gotten there at 6 p.m. and didn’t work until 4 a.m., and I was pretty spun-out by the time that they called me to work. And I started to do my lines and just reverted to Chop-Top. [laughs] And the director, I think he was Hungarian, he was alarmed when I did my lines, and he yelled [thick Hungarian accent] “Bill! You have lost your character!” I was terrified by it. Felt like he’d shot an arrow into my heart. But I try to keep ’em all separate.
3 FROM HELL is set for release later this month. Huge thanks to the delightful Bill Moseley for sitting down with us! Follow him on Twitter at @choptopmoseley and follow Rank & Vile on Twitter at @rankandvilecast.
Tickets for the September 16th/17th/18th nationwide release of 3 FROM HELL are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell