It's no secret that I am an alucard carrying horror nerd. Last year, for the first Über Röck Halloween, I wanted to interview someone special, someone who walked the twisted line between horror and music and who could provide a suitably entertaining article for my favourite time of year......so I contacted Ari Lehman.
For those of you that think that Michael Bay is a horror auteur, let me explain. Ari Lehman played the legendary Jason Voorhees in the original (and best) Friday The 13th movie three decades ago. Remember the shock ending that is truly, and rightly, an iconic horror moment? Yeah, that's Ari. So he has the horror angle covered, what about the music? Well, Ari fronts FirstJason, a boundary blurring metal/punk crossover that is just ripe for picking by Über Röckers worldwide. When I had the idea for Über Röck's 13 Days Of Halloween I just knew that Ari had to be involved and, legend that he is, he duly agreed, providing such a great series of answers to the 13 questions that I have put to the Devil's Dozen of musicians for this series of interviews (including six movies in his all-time top five!) that he just had to be the first to be featured...........
What are your most vivid childhood memories of Halloween?
Hi Gaz and HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE To All Of Your Readers! When I was a very young boy of around four or five years, my family lived in Houston, Texas, at one of those "Town House" communities, surrounded by parking lots with a swimming pool in the middle. Halloween was coming and I remember my Mom was putting a Jack O'Lantern that we had carved in the upstairs window. This window was on the second floor, and it was a floor-to-ceiling picture window. Mom had placed the face of the Jack O'Lantern towards us, instead of facing out the window. "How's that?" she asked me. I thought that the Jack O'Lantern should face OUTSIDE however, and I told her so. "Mommy, I think it should go like this---" and when I turned the big pumpkin
around, I proceeded to FALL OUT OF THE SECOND FLOOR WINDOW! Somehow, I managed to turn myself around in mid-air, and GRABBED the window sill for DEAR LIFE! My Mother was screaming now, "ARI HOLD ON!", the neighbors were running over from the swimming pool, and one man leaped right underneath the window and said, "I'll catch him!", but I held on tightly. Mom grasped my wrists firmly, and pulled me back into the house! Although a bit scraped up, I was safe and sound. Wow THAT was a SCARE!!! That was actually the second time that Mom saved my life. It makes perfect sense that I would play Li'l Jason, a boy so very dedicated to his Mother.
Why do you think that the worlds of horror and metal/punk have always been so closely linked?
Both horror cinema and hardcore music embrace exhaustive exploration into The Unknown, specifically into the darker side of the dichotomous natureof the Human Psyche. The audience and creators of both seek to go beyond the norms and limitations of mainstream acceptance and rise up out of the sedentary cemetery of the social tyranny of intolerance. By this I mean intolerance of NOISE, intolerance of BRUTAL IMAGERY, and EXPLICIT LYRICS!
What are your thoughts on the state of horror movies at the present time? With all the remakes and rehashes there doesn't seem to be much original thought going on at present.....
Actually there are some very original thoughts, too! For example, my friend Jaume Balaguero's [REC] and [REC]2, also THE ORPHAN, and ya gotta admit, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is fresh, even if not really a HORROR movie. The thing I believe that distinguishes two of these films is applying the current advances in technology as part of the actual content of the film. The photography and editing in the [REC] films are revolutionary. Not only are we taken on a visual thrill ride, the emotional aspect is heightened by the ultra-fast pacing and harsh hand-held digital texture. BRAVO! THE ORPHAN, on the other hand, is all about harsh Human Drama, and excells by having cast the exactly right actors who happen to be superb at theircraft. The new ideas come in the form of breaking down accepted social rules about age and sex. HARD CANDY, another tight thriller, was also well cast, and this makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Indie filmmakers TAKE HEED!
Has there been a horror remake yet that has bettered the original movie?
Well, "bettered" is a loaded term. I can go on the record as saying that while the original 1956 version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is a classic, the 1978 version starring Donald Sutherland is an excellent film.
John Carpenter's Halloween or Rob Zombie's Halloween?
OK, here we go: I simply do not find Michael Myers scary! I will admit that to me, the Rob Zombie version is SCARIER than the original.
Fast zombies or slow zombies?
I think slow zombies are scarier, if they have the death-twitch down.
What's the greatest ever horror movie kill?
Sleeping bag kill, Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees - FRIDAY THE 13TH PartVII: THE NEW BLOOD
Who is the baddest ever horror movie villain...and why?
There are many greats, but the BADDEST ever? JASON VOORHEES! He kills without reason, and WITHOUT FAIL. Not an evil schemer, but righteous vengance gone horribly awry. Unreachable, unstoppable, indestructible!
Who is the greatest ever Scream Queen?
Now THAT really is a loaded question. Maila Nurmi, VAMPIRA, is my vote. I was fortunate to have composed, performed and recorded the original score for the independent film VAMPIRA: THE MOVIE before she passed away. The film got THE RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARD for BEST INDEPENDENT FILM of 2007 and in it, Maila tells her life story. Absolutely FASCINATING!
Name your Top 5 favourite horror movies of all time...and tell us why!!
DER GOLEM (1920): How He Came Into The World - Paul Wegener: Combines Kabbalistic Mysticsm with early fears about violent racism. AMAZING!
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925): Starring Lon Chaney, is one of the most influential horror films of all time. It has a literary background which reveals a fascinating history. Also it speaks of the Svengali-type control of popular music stars which is still very relevant today.
THE MUMMY (1932): Starring Boris Karloff. In this ultimate journey into The Unknown, a resurrected ancient Pharoah seeks to seduce a beautiful girl to follow him into the afterlife, to be reborn as eternal lovers.
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) - Charles Laughton: This is the film that started the American slasher tradition. A sexually repressed charlatan preacher travels the countryside seeking victims. Great use of music too!
PHENOMENA (1985) - Dario Argento: starring young Jennifer Connelly. This film is propelled by a young woman's facinating ability to control nature, animals and insects. Donald Pleasance is the classic progressive scientist who investigates. Music from IRON MAIDEN and MOTORHEAD too!
HELLRAISER (1987) - Clive Barker: This film is amazing in its ability to link visual imagery to The Unknown factor of the mind WITHOUT EXPLANATION.
What underrated horror movie would you recommend to our readers just in case they have never seen it?
I don't know about "underrated" but: There is a NEW film that has not been released yet, from Italy that is truly excellent. Once released I am certain it will be highly praised. SHADOW (2009/11) - Federico Zampaglione: Here is a great one that I saw while at THE FANTASY HORROR AWARDS in Orvieto, Italy. Brilliantly shot, action-packed and FULL of suspense, the audience is continually compelled to decipher the situation, which changes drastically at one crucial point. Here is the SHADOW Trailer
What 'star' of the music world would you like to see slaughtered in gory horror movie style?
Force Kenny G. to listen to death metal until he likes it or DIES!!! If he likes it perhaps we could hear some SOPRANO SAX WITH DISTORTION? BRUTAL!!!
What are your plans for Halloween this year?
FIRSTJASON is performing every weekend of October, reaching our fans in Chicago, Green Bay, Kalamazoo, Indiana and Kentucky. Halloween Weekend we have two shows in Chicago, including a Charity Auction for the Troops! FIRSTJASON is planning a EU Tour in May 2011 with HANDS OF TIME from Italy. I am performing a Solo Concert at WEEKEND OF HORRORS in Botropp, Germany, on Nov. 12 opening for THE OTHER.http://www.weekendofhorrors.com
MANY THANKS AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE!!! JASON NEVER DIES!!! - ARI LEHMAN/Jason The First http://www.firstjason.com
(Source: Gaz E, Uber Rock, October 19, 2010. http://www.uberrock.co.uk/interviews/61-october-interviews/1496-h13-ari-lehman-first-jason.html )