Doug Bradley really needs no introduction to horror fans. After many a turn as Pinhead in the venerable Hellraiser series in which he took center stage as the stalwart villain, Mr. Bradley jumps over to the "folksier" side of the franchise game in Wrong Turn 5, in which he plays the crazed Maynard, another in a long line of cannabilistic killers in the backwoods terror series. This one is particularly bloody, and we sat down with Mr. Bradley to tear into the guts of the new installment, as well as discuss his overall career as a purveyor of all things twisted.
TWITCH: To begin, have you seen the other four installments of the Wrong Turn series?
Doug Bradley: I am aware of the first one, but to be honest I've not seen the others!
To be honest as well, I've only seen the first two, and now recently the fifth, thanks in large part to your presence. I want to ask, even though they all seem to be pretty much stand alone films, coming in so late to the game, how do you make it your own, and keep it interesting to yourself?
Well I guess because I was not aware of the other sequels, I approached it entirely as its own film. That dovetailed with my character Maynard, who is not in the other films, and whose character isn't aware of the events of the other films, and was also by the fact that the first three films stand on their own, and WT4 is a prequel, so in essence WT4 is in a way WT1. WT5 is a sequel to the prequel so WT5 is kind of WT2! (laughs)
*Following this people? There will be a test later! - Sean*
There's only the origins of what I took to calling the boys (the cannibalistic killers) who I took to calling The Three Stooges during the shoot, is their activities during the previous movies when they were holed up in the abandoned hospital, and they have now come into Maynards territory, they are on his territory. Maynard is cut from the same cloth, he also a murderous backwoods maniac. What struck me in a strange way in the script is he's no idiot, he's not just a backwoods doohickey hillbilly with one tooth in his head. He is actually in his own thoroughly nasty way a smart guy. He plays mind games with everyone around him. He worms his way into everybody's head and is playing mind games with them all. Plus, we're led to believe from what Maynard says himself in the script and film, is he's been doing this succesfully for 13 years, out there in his cabin in West Virginia living off the meat and mummy of passing strangers, without ever alerting the authorities to his activities. So I guess you have to have a brain in your head, which Maynard does, even if it is just an animalistic cleverness to get this far along.
To ask a really broad, and admittedly kind of generis question, but what's your favorite thing about WT5? I mean you've done a lot of horror films, but this is particularly fucking gory man!
Well (laughs), I think that's the name of the game as you so eloquently put it, it's downright "fucking gory"! (laughs) That's basically the Wrong Turn movies and that's the fun of it, yes?
Speaking of gore, and all that, you're actually credited with make-up in some of the HELLRAISER series. How fun is it for you to play around in the latex? Because you know you hear so many actors kind of moan about that end of the process and it being so uncomfortable.
I was latex free and to a large extent blood free in WT5, I had a sticky shirt for a long time after I got shot in the shoulder, but back with Pinhead and the Hellraiser movies the make-up is part of the deal, and you simply have to take that on-board. There is going to be blood involved in some point and you're going to be very lucky if none of it comes your way. I see it as part of the imaginitive process in a big way, you have to take that into your character, and overcome the fact that it gets sticky and cold, and maybe a little annoying when you're trying to eat lunch during break, and just meet it and play it with the full passion that horror films require of you.
With your credits for make-up in the HELLRAISER series, were you already playing around with that stuff? Because you did some stage back when you and your buddy Mr. Clive Barker were doing stage work in the early days. Were you already mucking around with the spirit gum?
Yeah we absolutely were playing around with that kind of stuff, and with masks as well. I've talked before about the fact that very early on we did a production of Oscar Wilde's "Salome" and I was playing John the Baptist, who was blind and that was my first experience being stuck in make-up as it were. Clive applied paper mache' to the upper half of my head to create the blind eye-sockets, which he then he filled them suitably with goo and goop and blood, so these were permanently streaming with grue, and I was indeed completely blind. I had a rope tied around my waist which was measured out to the back of the stage so I wouldn't wander off the edge and into the audience. So yeah, this has always been part of the stuff Clive and I were doing together, which meshed quite seamlessly into the work we did together on Hellraiser. You seem to be suggesting though that I did my own make-up?
Well, you're credited with doing make-up in some of the later HELLRAISER movies on imdb. Is that erroneous information?
Aha! Well I don't know where that really comes from, but I am indeed having to issue constant denials about this. I have a credit as being part of the special fx make-up team, under an alias on the third movie, because I helped Bob Keene's crew out on one night shoot. I helped do some make-up fx, I was around but I wasn't working, but I was around and offered to help out because Bob was stretched a bit thin. I would help take my own make-up off because I knew what I could tolerate.The latex pieces are effectively glued to your head and you have to very carefully work with the oils to break the glue down, if you pull too hard too fast you're going to risk taking the skin off with the make-up and looking like Julia! (laughs) But no, in all honesty I am not capable of applying the Pinhead guise myself.
There goes my fanboy fantasy of you sitting in the mirror methodically applying each pin to your own head as it would be! If you don't mind, before out time is up I would like to ask you about the aborted HELLRAISER remake by the team behind the particularly vicious French film INSIDE. A lot of people can play a Michael Myers or Jason Voorheese, because you're for all intents and purposes stuck behind a mask. But Pinhead, not so easy. It being a remake (or almost a remake) were you ever approached about reprising the role of Pinhead for that proposed version?
There's kind of two things going on there. I turned down the sequel Hellraiser Revelations, but that was effectively Hellraiser 9, not the remake. As for the remake, Dimension [Films] never talked to me about it in any way, shape, or form. Something like five years ago someone sent me an e-mail saying "You should probably know about this," which was Dimension talking about plans, and Clive giving his response to suggestions from them when they wanted to remake the film. So that's five years ago, I've watched these directors come and go, but, no, DImension never talked to me about any of it, so no. But personally I really hate the whole remake culture that has taken over. I have no idea if they are any closer to getting this remake done than they were back then, and frankly I hope not. I've always been under the assumption though that they wouldn't contact me about it, because they tend not to when it comes to remakes. I mean, if they can remake A Nightmare On Elm Street without Robert Englund, then there's no real chance I'd say for the rest of us.
Anyone wondering what new terrors await in the woods regarding Wrong Turn 5, here is the official synopsis:
The backwoods of West Virginia are deeper, darker and deadlier than ever in this all-new, unrated chapter of Wrong Turn!
The cutting-edge terror continues when a small mining town hosts the legendary Mountain Man Festival on Halloween, where crowds of costumed partygoers gather for a wild night of music and mischief. But a killer celebration soon gives way to a blood-soaked feeding frenzy when an inbred family of hillbilly cannibals trick and treat themselves to a group of visiting college students who are just dying for a good time...
Run out and grab Wrong Turn 5 now on DVD/Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox at your local retailer or HERE on Amazon.com to maximize those Halloween scares ghouls and boils.