Evil Never Dies...
Hey there, fellow horror geeks and monsterphiles! Prometheus here with another interview with one of my favorite movie killers, Tony Moran. He was in a little, low budget film back in 1978, called Halloween where he played the unmasked (and masked), Michael Myers. No big deal. The film only spawned a million carbon copies and its own genre.
Tony has a new film out, THE STREETS RUN RED, from writer/director Paul M McAlarney. We discuss the new movie and Tony shares some crazy details about Halloween. Plus, his opinion on who wins, Michael verse Jason! Check out our discussion, and the trailer for THE STREETS RUN RED below!
TONY MORAN = TM
JOSHUA SCAFIDI = JS
JS: Hey Tony, how you doing?
TM: Good man, how are you?
JS: I’m good, thank you for the phone call.
TM: You bet.
JS: You, have a film coming out - THE STREETS RUN RED!
TM: Yeah, yeah! It’s pretty wild my friend. (laughing)
JS: It looks pretty nuts. What can you tell us about it, Tony?
TM: Yeah, its um - I really enjoyed it, it was my second movie with Paul (McAlarney). In this one, I play a reporter that is kind of maybe confused, and you’ll see when you see the movie. He could be confused; you’ll understand when you see the movie.
Anyways, it’s pretty brutal. I mean that in the kind of like the best possible way. I’ll put it to you this way like Paul is into punk, the punk scene. And I come from the punk scene and I love punk, I still do. Still listen to punk rock at 63 years old and heavy metal, it’s just my thing and to surf. So, when the Butthole Surfers came out, I understood. I totally get it. The punk scene was crazy, and so is the movie. It’s pretty crazy and it’s brutal and it’s right in your face about a lot of stuff. Balls to the walls like, you know, the middle finger up in the air and everything. Like fuck you, so what?
JS: Sounds like my kind of movie!
TM: There ya go, and me too. But don’t get me wrong. I took the part very seriously and as a matter of fact, Dave Sullivan who’s the producer, you know Dave?
JS: I’ve heard of Dave, yup.
TM: Ok, Dave and Paul the way they wrote it is not what you're going to see and what I did. And even Dave when he talked to me, he goes “yeah I kind of see this guy and he’s a smart mouth and a this and a that,” you know. I was classically trained, not patting myself on the back, believe me.
But I was classically trained so I looked through a bunch of stuff and I’m reading through stuff and I don’t care if it’s a low no-budget film to a high budget film or whatever. I don’t like to do those, I like to do low budget independent films. I prefer that. And I don’t care if anybody sees it or not. My thing is not to be known, that’s what’s so great about me being Michael Meyers. I can go wherever I want where I live, and nobody knows who the hell I am.
JS: Right, right.
TM: It’s the most awesome thing in the world. The thing is that I take it very seriously and I came up with what I thought – Dave and Paul looked at me and Paul was like no, yeah, no you played a Mafia Don in my first movie. You can do whatever you want, I trust you explicitly. There’s a lot of improvisational stuff in there, but it’s very honest. It’s raw, and it’s awesome.
JS: What attracted you to the role?
TM: I already did a film for Paul (McAlarney) called Ungovernable Force, where I played the Mafia Don. When I read that I was like, “oh man, this is killer,” and I can pull off playing a Mafia Don in my sleep. I loved the whole crew and Dave (Sullivan) is a very good friend of mine now. We became close friends during the first film. So, when he mentioned the second film, THE STREETS RUN RED, I was like, well, send it to me. I know Paul’s style of writing, it’s real anarchy stuff, and I love that.
JS: Now the original tag line for THE STREETS RUN RED was “Revolutionizing Serial Killer Films.” In your opinion, how would you say it’s done that?
TM: It’s turned it upside down and gone completely away from the whole norm of what you think about serial killing and serial killers.
JS: Okay. Interesting… What was it like on the set? Was it all business or did you guys keep it light?
TM: No, that’s why I like doing independent movies. It’s serious, everybody’s doing their job, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t get a lot of the blasts. There’s no pressure from the unions or studios or any of that kind of shit.
JS: Right, nobody breathing down your neck.
TM: Yeah, right.
JS: Now, of course, I have a couple of Halloween-related questions for you, Tony.
JS: When you did the original Halloween, the “OG Slasher” film, did you ever think Michael Myers would become such a big deal, such an iconic part of horror?
TM: No. There are a few things about this, Joshua, that will surprise you… I was in a workshop doing Shakespeare, fucken Romeo, and Juliette shit. Doing a lot of classical shit, okay. Getting classically trained. I hadn’t got a part yet, and my agent was my little sister’s agent. I don’t know if you know my little sister, she played Joni Cunningham on Happy Days…
JS: No shit…
TM: Yeah, that was my little sister. Back then, in 1978, producers and directors didn’t take you seriously if you did a horror movie. So, my agent calls me up and says “I got this low budget movie, it’s an independent horror movie and it’s called Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis is in it. You’d play some psycho.” I go, “yeah, no thanks. Not interested. “
TM + JS: (Laughing)
TM: I go, “who the hell is Jamie Lee Curtis,” and she tells me, and I go “I don’t give a shit. It’s a horror movie called Halloween; how stupid can you get?” She goes “come on, Donald Pleasance is in it.” I go “you’re telling me Donald Pleasance is in this piece of shit movie, come on. What are you, high?” I was a huge fan of his. I’m thinking, he’s a classic British actor, what the fuck is he doing in this movie?
Here’s a side note, Joshua. He was not their first choice. Christopher Lee was, but he turned it down. Three of four others turned it down before he (Donald Pleasance) took the role. Anyway, I’m thinking if I take the role and the movie sucks, at least I’ll have a credit with Donald Pleasance. Who’s going to see it anyway? I didn’t even know I had to wear a mask until I showed up on set and signed the contract. They never mentioned it. It was the first time a mask was used in a horror movie. Everyone used make-up.
JS: I heard it was a Cpt. Kirk mask turned inside out.
TM: Yeah. Yup. How that happened was Tommy Lee Wallace, who was the editor and set decorator for the movie, he was in charge of finding the mask, although they didn’t know what they wanted to use. They had no clue. He told me the story. They needed a mask and didn’t want to use the clown mask from when Michael Myers was young, they knew that.
So, he went scouring Hollywood, all the Halloween and costume stores trying to find something. He said that he saw the mask, and granted it was flesh-colored and had sideburns and eyebrows and all that crap, but he looked at it and he said he stared at it and stared at it, and what hit him was that there was nothing to it. There was nothing scary about it, really. It was just blank. If we customize it and paint it white, it should be pretty frightening because there’s nothing to it. Plus, they were a dollar eighty-nine a piece, so… he bought two. True story.
Here’s what happened, you’ll probably enjoy this and just so you know how big of an asshole I was back then… I finished filming in April and in August I get this invitation from John (Carpenter) for a screening for the cast and crew of Halloween. I thought that was the biggest fucken joke and I threw it away and didn’t go. I didn’t even go.
JS: What?! Why didn’t you go?!
TM: Because I thought it was so stupid! I thought, no one’s going to see this movie – THERE’S A MASK IN IT! What the fuck? So, I blew it off. I asked my girlfriend, can you imagine? So, one day I’m driving my Volkswagen Bug down Sunset Blvd after working in Hollywood and there’s this fucken billboard for Halloween! I’m like, are you kidding me? Then I noticed it was playing everywhere. So, we went to see it and the place was packed, and halfway through it I go, you know, this movie isn’t that bad! It’s pretty good!
JS: So, that was the first time you saw it?
JS: That’s crazy.
TM: The music, the score, is the last thing you do on a film. Well, they didn’t have any money, so John Carpenter was an amateur musician and came up with the score in three days. It was the perfect storm.
JS: What do you think of the new Halloween? Have you watched it?
TM: The new one with Jamie Lee Curtis in it? It’s okay, it’s alright.
JS: I don’t want to take up too much of your time, Tony, but I do have one more question for you. It’s more of a for fun question.
TM: You bet.
JS: In your opinion, Michael verse Jason, who wins?
TM: Oh, come on…
TM + JS: (Laughing)
TM: Come on. Not even close and I’ve told fucken Kane (Hodder) off like you know, come on jack-off, you’re gonna start this kid, really?
JS: You told Kane Hodder that? (Laughing.)
TM: Yeah! (Laughing.) Kane and I are friends. He takes it way more seriously than I do. I’m like dude, if it wasn’t for me…
JS: Michael’s the OG. That’s true.
TM: Evil never dies, kid.
JS: Right! Well hey, Tony, I appreciate your time. It’s been awesome talking to you, man.
TM: Good talking to you, too Josh.
Tony was a riot to chat with! Be sure to check him out in THE STREETS RUN RED!
Until next time, keep on geekin’ on, my friends!
Joshua "Prometheus" Scafidi