Bill Moseley requires no introduction; the legendary actor has two massive horror icons to his name in the form of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2‘s Chop Top and Otis Driftwood, his strangely alluring serial killer from Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and sequel The Devil’s Rejects. 14 years after Rejects, Moseley is set to play Otis again in one of the most anticipated horror movies of the year, 3 From Hell.
Wicked Horror got the horror icon on the phone to talk Otis, Chop Top, doing comedy, and how in Satan’s name he, Baby, and Captain Spaudling managed to survive being shot to hell in Rejects moving ending. Mild spoilers for 3 From Hell follow.
Wicked Horror: So, where is Otis as 3 From Hell begins? ‘Cause last time we saw him, he was being, well, gunned down by police.
Bill Moseley: Otis is alive if not well, I mean, he’s pretty well, of course not necessarily between the ears, but physically he’s well. We pick up basically after the shootout, and after Otis has recovered enough to have been incarcerated for the last 14 years. So Otis has a lot of living to do after being behind bars that long.
WH: You’ve technically been playing this character for the best part of 20 years, with the gap in between the last two movies. How did it feel to return to him again after so long has passed? And is there anything new to learn about Otis, for you, as an actor?
Bill Moseley: What’s new certainly is 14 years older on my part, the beard’s a little grayer, but I would say that Otis is basically just pretty much the same consciously. It was interesting because when I was told that we were doing 3 From Hell by Rob [Zombie], it was a little daunting because Otis in Devil’s Rejects, he was pretty impressive [laughs] and to try to do justice to that character, or even exceed it – or try to – that was a challenge. At first, I was a little overwhelmed by the prospect. But then when I started to get back into it on the set, with Rob and Sheri [Moon Zombie], and Sid Haig and some of our new guys like Richard Brake and Pancho Moler, I started to get more comfortable. It didn’t actually take very long. As soon as I got out of the way and let Otis be Otis, then everything seemed to work out a lot better. It’s only when you have the insecure actor being like “oh what’s my better side, what’s that line?” that there’s an issue. Once you get that person out of the way and just let Otis take over, things go very smoothly.
WH: On that note, how did Rob Zombie first sell the return to you? ‘Cause I’m sure you, like the rest of us, thought you were done with these characters.
Bill Moseley: I did. For years, Sid Haig and I would be on the horror convention circuit together and we even had a little routine where someone would ask if there would be another Devil’s Rejects, and Sid would call out to me and say “Bill, is there gonna be another Devil’s Rejects?” and I’d say “Nope,” then he’d say “Why?” we’d count to three and then in unison we’d say “’Cause we’re f****n’ dead!” And I figured we were f****n’ dead, but it turns out I underestimated the marksmanship of the Ruggsville sheriffs department who were firing away at the end of Devil’s Rejects and apparently they couldn’t shoot straight, so in some way we all got hit and shot but obviously there was no bullet right to the head so we managed to survive, and then they kept us alive until we were healthy enough to go to jail.
WH: Do you think this is it for them? Or do you think it could continue even beyond this third film?
Bill Moseley: That’s more of a Rob Zombie question, but I’m definitely rearing to go, so let’s keep going. But then again that might be a spoiler. We have to survive 3 From Hell first and then see what happens after that!
WH: Well I’m sure everybody’s rooting for you, like, let’s not mess around here.
Bill Moseley: Exactly. I hope so. We do need all the help we can get.
WH: What initially attracted you to the character of Otis? Would you consider him a villain or more of an antihero because he’s quite beloved among horror fans, as you know.
Bill Moseley: When I first met Rob back in ’99, his manager called and said he’d just got this project, House of 1000 Corpses, green-lit by Universal Studios and that he wanted me to play the part of Otis Driftwood. I remember looking at it and thinking it was awesome! [laughs] I first met Rob when I was dressed up and in the makeup for Chop Top from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, so I originally thought he wanted me to be like his own version of Chop Top. Obviously, Rob had different ideas and led me gently but firmly away from Chop Top and into the skin of Otis. I really appreciated that because I didn’t really see Otis in me as much as Rob might have. And then once I started playing Otis… You know, the way I play any kind of antihero or monster or psycho, I always play it as though I’m the only sane one in the room and everyone else is crazy. So, by those standards, Otis is a saint.
WH: You mentioned Chop Top, and we’ve been talking this whole time about Otis — you have two horror icons to your name. Do you feel like there’s still anything you’ve left to do within the genre? Because you’re still working extensively in horror.
Bill Moseley: I still think of myself as a baby in this universe, so I’m always up for doing a new character. That’s why I love horror so much, because there’s so much room to play different characters. Sometimes it’s a new, improved psycho, sometimes it’s a red herring. I can play all kinds of stuff. So that remains to be seen, I guess.
WH: You did a little bit of comedy in Holliston, with Adam Green. Would you like to do more of that in the future maybe? More comedy stuff?
Bill Moseley: If you look at all my horror characters, there’s always a bit of comedy to them. They might be frightening or psycho or bizarre but they’re all happy in their work [laughs]. And I think Crazy Max [from Holliston] is definitely happy in his work, so there’s always comedy in those characters. So yeah I’d be up for that. Even romantic comedies would be great. [Note: make this happen, Hollywood]
WH: What’s up next for you?
Bill Moseley: I have about three movies coming out or in various stages, one is called Crepitus, a scary clown movie I did, another one called Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, that should be coming out from the same people that gave you Cynthia, and then there’s an Australian movie I did that I think is on Shudder now called Boar, about a giant, killer pig in the outback. I’m always busy doing something. Right now I’m about to start my convention season, which will take me to the UK in early October, by the way, as well as all over the US and Canada, so that’s something I always really look forward to every year. And then just as an actor, I’m always just looking for new work!
Tickets for the September 16th/17th/18th nationwide release of
3 From Hell are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell