EJ Moreno speaks with prolific actor Clancy Brown…
Clancy Brown has been a dominant force in Hollywood for years now, with his presence in horror films like Pet Sematary Two delighting genre fans. His recent turn in The Mortuary Collection has become another fan favorite, even walking with Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Best Supporting Actor.
Before the awards win, Clancy Brown sat down with me to discuss his love of horror, some of his character work, and what he enjoyed about playing Montgomery Dark in The Mortuary Collection.
What first got you into horror films? Do you have any memories of the genre growing up? Something to explain how you got so good at it.
Oh, I don’t know that it has anything to do with it, but, you know, just as a kid, we had matinees on the weekend at our local movie theater. Sometimes they would have the Tarzan’s Three Challenge with stuff like The Return of Dracula or the Dracula movies with Christopher Lee. Those great Hammer Horror movies. And some of them were really breathtakingly, gory and scary for a little kid in a small town.
So then, when I started doing this for a living, there wasn’t a lot of horrors that was floating my boat. I mean, there was Exorcist, which was a pretty great, great film and totally terrifying. But when I was hitting the professional scene, there was just a lot of slasher stuff I wasn’t that interested in. There could be exceptions, like, you know, early Guillermo like Kronos and stuff like that. But I couldn’t quite get myself into those rooms.
So it was really that interested finally when Pet Sematary Two came along, and Mary Lambert was doing it. I actually asked her, I said, ‘why are you doing, why are you doing this kooky movie, this kooky sequel to this work you already made. Like it was great, and you’re such an auteur.’ You know, she said to me, ‘this is the only thing that I’m getting offered to do.’
I said, ‘well then, let’s knock it out of the park.’ So, it was more fun than anything else. I always thought Pet Sematary Two was a parody of the first film and horror films in general.
That’s a great way of looking at that; it feels like Scream before Scream. But yes, your understanding of the genre seems to help you nail these roles.
In general, the characters in horror are all pretty well-defined. I mean, they’re pretty well rationalized in their belief. Horror is un-embarrassingly moral and righteous. So, it’s a pretty clear and easy thing to understand why you’re doing it and what you’re doing. The characters all behave in a really rational way for the most part. Even the monsters, even the bad guys and the creatures, you know?
Well, absolutely. A bit like your character Montgomery in The Mortuary Collection.
Okay. Yeah. Well, you don’t know that much about Montgomery, and I just kind of went with that and found that as what’s curious about this movie. I think he has a secret throughout the whole thing. You can tell, he has a secret, has a world view and everything like that. Even at the final last moment, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know exactly what his crimes are, just that they’re bad. But guess it shows that he really doesn’t escape the judgment, I guess.
You add those layers into that performance where you get things from him with just subtle glances. What was the process of getting into this character? Minus the physical process as it looked to be a transformation for you as well.
Um, it was really very well written. I mean, Ryan wrote it out pretty, pretty clearly. Also, Caitlin and I had fun playing it and exploring it. She played kind of that new millennial bratty kind of disrespectful person, but also charming and intelligent. And he was kind of more old school, and they went back and forth. I think they kind of liked each other in a weird way that, you know, damaged people like each other.
But really, Ryan put us in this sandbox and let us play. I don’t really know the answer to your question, but just give every credit to Ryan and Caitlin.
Well, that leads me perfectly into my next question. I think the chemistry between your characters was so good. What was that like with Caitlin and you onset? Was it just as fun and fiery?
Yeah. We had a good back and forth. By the time she got to the set, I was already in makeup. I mean, she was there with her husband and little girl, and I would see them every now and then on the weekend as Clancy Brown.
And then, by the time she got to the set, I was in Montgomery. So she’s kind of dealing with two different people. She’s just all business. She knows how to have fun, but she wants to get the day just like everybody else. So, she’s game for anything, which you can see in that fight sequence for Babysitter Murders. My goodness. That’s all her. I mean, it’s such a great sequence. It’s so good.
Thanks to Clancy Brown for taking the time to speak with us.
The Mortuary Collection is now available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray.