Mark McCracken [Interview]

 

Welcome to Day 23 of Trainwreck’d Society’s Annual Month of Horror Showcase! We have a fully loaded month of all things horror for you fine folks! October is our favorite month for this very reason, and we are so excited to share 31 full days of film showcases and interviews with some of the finest folks from the world of horror, just as we have been doing for the last 6 years. What started as a simple 5 day showcase, has now blossomed into a full blown month long event. You’re going to love this! Enjoy!

 

I can’t even lie to you Folks, I am VERY excited about this interview we have for you today. We have spoken at length about and with folks from the beloved Pumpkinhead franchise quite a bit over the years. But, there has been one person we haven’t been able to get a hold of, until now. Pumpkinhead himself! That’s right folks, we have the brilliant actor and creature creator himself, Mark McCracken gracing our digital pages today! Mark worked on the creatures for, and portrayed the titular character himself, in Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.

Yes, Mark has helped create and perform some of the finest characters we have come to know in the world of horror, and we are so excited to have him with us today! He’s an absolutely delight human being who has some wonderful stories to tell about his experience working in the world of film and television, as well as his latest gig with Universal theme parks, which sounds absolutely fascinating!

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Michael McCracken!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment and filmmaking? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I was a class clown from 1st grade. Loved it. As long as I got good grades, the teachers didn’t mind. Which I did. Was always into pretending/playing characters. Doing everything from Superman (George Reeves) to any movie monster I’d seen. Godzilla, Kong, The Thing. As I got older I knew I wanted to act. So I went to New York. Started there. From there to Miami. Where I started improvising and cut my teeth on film and TV. Then LA. Where I met Rick and the guys at KNB, et al. And the die was cast.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

First creature gig was Mant in Matinee. Loved the crew. Rick Baker was terrific. Jim McPherson is a genius. And super talented. I guess the take away – other than the mind blowing experience of who I was working with – was I had gone from doing what I was doing as kid, pretending in my yard, to actually being a creature, myself, in a film.

 

 

In 1993 you appeared in the second installment of the beloved Pumpkinhead franchise, as the titular character themselves! So how was this experience? And what drew you to the world of Pumpkinhead?

 It was the best. KNB is top drawer. Greg, Howard, Bob and crew. Amazing. They made everything from the life cast to long night shoots a breeze. Plus, in addition to being crazy talented, they are all bent and twisted and funny as hell. And we were all cracking each other up between takes. Which made the shoot all the more tolerable. What drew me to the world of P’head was a call from Howard Berger offering me the job. I couldn’t say no.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Horror is our fears, our nightmares, our most secret, personal discomforts brought to life. Which we would never want to happen. Film makes this a reality. And no matter how much we try to divorce ourselves from the story, saying it’s just a movie, that’s make-up, we know how that’s done, some greater part of our psyche still makes us believe. Plus, everybody loves being frightened. A great scare beats anything. Except maybe a great laugh. And when in life are you ever going to be in these situations and come out okay? The stories have us in the pocket of the protagonist, living the terror thru them.

What is your favorite scary movie?

My first memory of a movie that really bent me was the original House on Haunted Hill. I’ve always wondered why it wasn’t Haunted House On a Hill. Because the house was the problem. Anyway, the creepy old lady floating down the hall ruined me. I was a wreck after seeing that. For years. We lived in a big, old, dark house. And that made it worse. The Exorcist came later. And to this day, even though I know how the effects were done and things were shot, it still messes me up. I have a very hard time with it. But I LOVE it. That would be the one I still have to kind of cover my eyes with my hands and peek thru my fingers at.

 

 

 

Do you have any plans for this coming Halloween? And fun traditions that you try to stick to every year?

No plans. I do enough dressing up and performing throughout the year that Halloween could be redundant. When my daughter was little I used to love taking her out and mingling with the monsters. It is my favorite holiday. I kind of wish I could take advantage of some of the great costumes that are out there for the kids now. I used to love making my own costumes and doing my own make up. I love Halloween.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m currently performing several improvised characters at the Universal theme park. Which is a whole other iteration of the biz I stumbled into. Teaching a lot. Getting gigs for whatever they’re crazy enough to pay me to do. It’s a fun life. Getting paid to do what you love. Just keep your radars up. I’ll probably show up somewhere.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

Seeing myself in the mirror naked. I think there ought to be a law against such things.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

On a bulletin board on my desk I have a great picture of me holding my daughter when she was a baby. We are facing the camera and have the biggest smiles on our faces. It never fails to give me a grin.

 

 

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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