From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s Chop-Top to Otis from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, Bill Moseley is known for playing iconic villains in the horror genre, but his role as an exorcist in The Possession Experiment—coming out on VOD, Digital HD, and DVD—is firmly rooted on the side of good against evil.
In anticipation of The Possession Experiment’s release from Momentum Pictures, Daily Dead had the opportunity to speak with Moseley about finding his "inner Max von Sydow" in the film's opening exorcism scene, and with the holiday season upon us, the talented actor also reflected on playing the killer Ricky in Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about The Possession Experiment. What jumped out to you about the role of Father Mark?
Bill Moseley: What jumped out to me was the fact that it was good versus evil, and for a change I was on the side of good. That was refreshing. I really looked at it as a competition. It came down to my faith, the church, versus the devil—good and evil. What was interesting was that this was an exorcism that the film picks up on its second or even third week. This was about just waiting out the devil. It's more of a marathon than a sprint. I had faith not only in the crucifix, and the Bible, and the ritual, and the holy water, but I just had faith that good was going to triumph, and then the devil threw a couple of curve balls.
Did you do a lot of improv in the role?
Bill Moseley: The only improv that I did, was at one point I've been pinned down by the possessed person and she was biting my neck. That was done in a respectful two shot, and I said, "Well, let's get in there for a close-up."
They seemed surprised that I was down with that, which I found very cute [laughs]. I said, "This is who I am, it's what I do. This is the bottom line here." He [director Scott B. Hansen] ended up getting some nice close-ups. The one thing that I suggested was putting some chicken on my neck, so that then when she bit, she'd have something to pull back with.
Bill Moseley: Exactly. That's what I like to do. I like to get down, I like to get dirty and bloody. I don't mind lying on the floor, being dragged, being raped by a possessed girl—all of that stuff is in a day's work for me. The more gruesome and fabulous, the better it is for me.
Do you have any favorite possession movies or performances that came to mind when you were playing the Father?
Bill Moseley: Certainly it would be Max von Sydow. I love the original Exorcist so much. In fact, it's so funny, because thanks to being in the horror business now for 30 years—it was 30 years ago I did Chainsaw 2—one of my pals that is in my phone book on my phone is Linda Blair.
I remember seeing The Exorcist in the theater and just being really freaked out by it, so much so that I had to see it a couple of more times, just to figure out what was going on and what was so disturbing. Obviously, my exorcist [Father Mark] certainly was channeling my inner Max von Sydow, who was so amazing in the part. Clearly, he never got particularly excited about it. Fighting evil doesn't happen in Technicolor. It's slow, it's a slog, and it really takes a lot of fortitude and patience. That's what I loved about The Exorcist, and that's what I tried to incorporate.
What happens is, you end up getting mad. That's another thing that I liked about the scene was that there is that slow fortitude, but then you just kind of get pissed. Every once in a while, although you're trying to be restrained and keep it together—you're the priest, representing the church and the forces of good—but every once in a while, you're human and your human emotions get the better of you. I liked the way it turned into this cataclysm, from going very slow and methodical—probably it's day 15 or day 20 of this same ritual—then, all of a sudden, things go terribly awry.
With the holidays upon us, I was wondering if you had any favorite memories of working on Silent Night, Deadly Night 3?
Bill Moseley: I have a bunch of memories, but one that comes to the floor is, we had put in a long day at the farmhouse where there was granny—the house where everything climaxed. It had been a long day, and there was a shot of me slowly coming down the steps. The blind girl is hiding in the basement, and I'm coming down, stalking steps, coming downstairs to get her. I was told by the producer that I could split, that they could just get a PA [production assistant] to put on the paper slippers—the hospital slippers—and come down the stairs.
I remember thinking, "You know what? That is exactly not going to happen." Because, to me, back then I remember just thinking how important it is to have the right cadence of stepping down the stairs. It's the stalking steps. The idea that some PA would just walk down the stairs without really knowing what was going on, I wouldn't have it. I said, "No, no, no. I'm more than happy to do that."
What I realize now, looking back on it—I did a good job, by the way—looking back, I think they were just trying to avoid paying me overtime [laughs]. I don't think it really had anything to do with the dramatic intent. I kind of laugh at that. I was very specific, I really was determined to be the guy, be the feet in that scene. If you ever see that movie again, and see those stalking feet coming down the stairs into the basement, you'll know there was a little story behind it.
That's lovely, that's a nice little gift. Before I let you go, I know you have a ton of projects on deck. Is there anything on deck that you can tease for fans that want to know what's next for you?
Bill Moseley: I'm doing a movie in January in Michigan called Crepitus. I play a scary clown in that, so I have to huddle with my colleague Sid Haig to get some pointers. One of the movies that's coming out—one of these days sooner or later—is a movie I did in Australia. It's a creature feature called Boar. It's by director Christopher Sun. He had a movie called Charlie's Farm that came out [in 2014].
Boar is basically about a giant pig in the outback that runs around killing people. It's kind of a Jaws on land, as they say. I just had so much fun making it, and Christopher Sun is such a great director. I'm really excited to see what that movie is going to look like. That's my big excitement.
On the music side of things, my musical collaboration with Phil Anselmo of Pantera, called Bill and Phil: Songs of Darkness and Despair, is coming out January 20th on Phil's Housecore Records label.