The Arrow interviews Edwin Neal
Genre fans know him all too well. Edwin Neal marked many of us with his incredibly realistic performance of the self-mutilating, head-cheese loving and seriously messed up hitchhiker in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Mr. Neal recently dropped by the site to talk about his many upcoming roles, one of which is Dante Tomaselli's "Satan's Playground". Here's what the loveable loon had to say!
ARROW: What’s your favorite horror movie, tough guy?
ARROW: Nice! You acted in the "Knight Rider 2000" reunion TV movie. I have to ask two things: 1) Did you get to take Kitt for a test drive and 2) did you get to touch David Hasselhoff’s impeccable and show-stopping hair?
EDWIN: Kitt is a dog…I drive a ’79 Deville with a butt-kickin’ 425 engine. La Jolla to New York…me vs. Kitt. I’ll be there having’ Souvlaki at Murindo’s in Queens before Kitt gets to Omaha. And the Nuns told me never to touch a man’s hair…unless there was a real commitment involved…
ARROW: You will always be fondly remembered by all genre fans as the adorable "Hitchhiker" from the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Looking back, what was the oddest, most disturbing thing that happened to you on that shoot?
EDWIN: Haven’t had a drink since 1980...BUT...in 1974 when the film was made, I was on a first name basis with a lotta worms at the bottom of a lotta Cuervo. One night, we got a little too close to that worm and the Epstein-Barr face mark went on the wrong side. Oh yeah, that was fun! Man, we had more explaining to do than a Texas Democrat at a Brown Beret Fund Raiser.
ARROW: Have you seen the Texas Chainsaw remake and if so, what did you think of it?
EDWIN: Uh...you mean the 90210, CGI, version??? Yes, I think that about covers it.
ARROW: You’re now starring in Dante Tomaselli’s upcoming film "Satan’s Playground". What was it about the screenplay that rubbed you the right way?
EDWIN: Dante is a man of vision. This cat sees things they usta give you shock treatment for! I think it’s a really fun script and just the thought of getting to cut up Felissa Rose (of Sleepaway Camp fame) with a 14” BOWIE...hey...I was THERE!!!
ARROW: What can you tell us about your role within the film? Are you a psycho-a-go-go villain once again?
EDWIN: Nah, he’s your run-of-the-mill brain-deranged flower-eatin’Squirrel-head-pullin’-off lovable mug…you know…just a notch down from Ed Gein…but a notch up from S. Hussein.
ARROW: In your wise opinion, what will set "Satan's Playground" apart from other recent 70’s resurgence offerings such as "House of 1000 Corpses", the TCM remake and "Wrong Turn"?
EDWIN: Well for one, Dante’s not just a jaded HWD producer cutting a check to buy into a “name” entity and slapping it in the theatres, tryin’ to cut back a little of the change they lost w/ that Pearl Harbor movie thing. He spent months trying to make this come out right and I’m betting that he will.
ARROW: How was your on set chemistry with the lovely Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead)? Must have been a hoot to act with these two fine ladies!
EDWIN: Unfortunately Ms. Sandweiss and I didn’t have any great scenes together but she’s very intense and a terrific actress. But that Felissa lady; more fun than a barrel of sit-com Writers on “two-fer” night at Hooter’s. We had worked together on “ZombieGeddon” a while back and we were dying to commit more madness. One of the scenes in “Playground”, I almost beheaded her but after the check cleared and with the delivery of the 3 dozen Krispy Kremes, she ultimately forgave me! And I think some of the footage will make it into the film!!
ARROW: I’ve seen some footage off Satan’s Playground and an artsy Texas Chainsaw Massacre came to mind. Did you have TCM flashbacks while acting in the film?
EDWIN: Not really, this was a new day, a new deal as we say. The cast and the set was terrific to work with. We were out in the woods in the Cranberry Bogs in New Jersey, very spooky, with mist coming off the bogs and with the locals all very convinced that ‘strange’ things really do happen out there.
ARROW: I hear that you’ll be starring in a movie that’s a cross between "Clerks" and "Pulp Fiction". What’s the name of the film and what can you tell us about your role?
EDWIN: Got a bunch of stuff working…the name of the first one is “St. Awesome and The Shotgun Knights”…I'm probably going to be a crazy gun-dealer named “Chops”…just love to fire fully automatic…can’t wait.! Then on to Michigan I go to do ”A Moth to the Flame”. Reggie Bannister (Phantasm) and I will be detectives committing some more madness. Hey…The Rose and Reg-Man in one year…life is good!!!
ARROW: You’ve also been keeping busy doing voice-overs for animes the likes of FINAL FANTASY, STEAM DETECTIVES, THE DEVIL LADY and NINJA RESURRECTION. How did you stumble into that line of “performance” and what do you get out of it on an artistic level?
EDWIN: Man, have MORE fun doing the dubbing stuff…that is seriously whacked fun…I was the voice of Dr. Robotnik in “Sonic the Hedge Hog”!! I do about one every month and have my own “row” at Block Buster. What’s really great fun is to go to a signing like at a horror convention and we put out about 30 anime’s in which I do up to 4-5 voices per episode and watch people go, “That was you??”…”that was you??”…lol…lol.
ARROW: What’s next on your plate in terms of acting roles? Anything up in the air?
EDWIN: Also up is a Ilya Salkind film coming in the spring…boy, I hope that comes through. I would get to work with a great actor; Bill Moseley.
ARROW: Anything you want to say to all your fans? Right here, right now! You got the floor!
EDWIN: Just like to say me and the six kids really appreciate all the support and the love we’ve gotten from the fans during the years. Makes it all worthwhile when you hear how you inspired this actor or that one, this director or that one, or just a true “fan” who enjoyed what you did.
ARROW: Thanks Ed!
EDWIN: Peace and love!
I'd like to thank Edwin for dropping by the site and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I'm looking forward to seeing the lad go bonkers again in "Satan's Playground". Aren't you? I said...aren't YOU???