Tom Atkins needs no introduction. The beloved character actor captured our hearts in the likes of The Fog, Night of the Creeps, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch. His latest genre offering, Trick, sees Atkins working with Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer for the third time, playing the kind of lovable grump only he can play.
Wicked Horror caught up with the hilariously caustic Atkins to discuss finding a home in horror, what kind of movie marathon he’d program if given the opportunity, and why he’ll appear in anything Lussier and Farmer do. Be forewarned, Atkins totally spoils what happens to his character below, so if you want to go into Trick completely green, best to read this after.
WICKED HORROR: I have to tell you right off the bat that Talbott is my favorite character in Trick and I’m not just saying that. No disrespect to Sheriff Jayne but there’s something about the town grump that always gets me. How would you describe him yourself?
TOM ATKINS: I would describe him as the town curmudgeon, the old grudge, who just adores the young people of the town though he would never, ever show that or act like he cared about them, but it’s obvious he does. He has the diner and he runs a Halloween film fest every year at what was supposed to be an outdoor venue, but the weather in Newburgh, New York, where we shot, threatened so we had to move it indoors to what was an old Presbyterian church. No offence, you old Catholic Irish country, you.
WH: You tussle with quite a few people over the course of the movie. Who was your favorite person to fight with?
TOM ATKINS: I loved Kristina Reyes, who plays the young heroine, Cheryl, and I liked Ms. Adair, Ellen Adair, who played the sheriff, she was sweet to work with. I’ll tell you a little story about Omar; the first scene I’m in is in the diner with Kristina and a friend of hers and Omar, who is sitting in a booth. I watch them talk and then I pour Omar some coffee and I tell him that Cheryl’s father’s death was no accident. Well, Omar was not there, he wasn’t on the movie yet. So he and I both had to do our scene with a stand-in, or sit-in rather, so when Omar came in I had already left, and when I saw it cut together, I had no idea. It was seamless, it fit together perfectly. This is my third film with Patrick Lussier, after My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry, with Nic Cage, and I just love working with him and Todd [Farmer]. Patrick said that he will write a part for me in every film they do together and he assured me that in the next film I will live, through the entire movie, which thrills me.
WH: Talbott is a role that certainly plays to your strengths, almost as though it was written for you.
TOM ATKINS: It was written for me! he knows I’m an old curmudgeon so I was born to play Talbott [laughs].
WH: Obviously, you’re among friends, but what was the hardest part of the shoot, if any?
TOM ATKINS: Oh, there wasn’t anything really hard about it…saying goodbye to everybody was hard, when it was all over. I didn’t like dying, stabbed to death by the evil Trick in the choir loft at the Presbyterian church in Newburgh, New York, you know, I would’ve preferred to have come out victorious, but I didn’t, and that’s okay. It’s always kind of sad to say goodbye to those guys when you finish what you’re doing, I mean, they were up there for a couple weeks after I left, but nah, there wasn’t anything difficult about the role or the actual shoot itself.
WH: Do you think Talbott could be resurrected for the sequel?
TOM ATKINS: No. I think Talbott is totally dead. Although…there was a moment in the script where both Omar and Ellen Adair look at my body and one of them feels for a pulse and says, “He’s gone,” but that wasn’t in the movie, we never shot that so… But, hey, it’s a horror movie, anything could happen. He could be resurrected! Who knows!
WH: You’re a lifelong horror fan yourself so, if you were programming your own marathon, like Talbott’s in the movie, what would you choose to show?
TOM ATKINS: I would do the exact same thing; Night of the Living Dead, also Bride of Frankenstein, the old Karloff movie from the forties with Elsa Lanchester, throw one of the Bela Lugosi movies in there, Night of the Creeps to throw me in there [laughs]… Yeah, those would be good I think. Also a sci-fi film, the original The Thing, from Howard Hawks in 1951, I love that movie.
WH: You mentioned Night of the Creeps, and obviously you’ve been working in horror for a very long time, you’ve done a lot of great stuff, but is there anything you still want to do within the genre?
TOM ATKINS: Sure, whatever Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer’s next movie is, I wanna do that. I am currently doing The Collected, the third in that series, and I play Josh Stewart’s father, he’s fighting against the evil Collector and Peter Giles is playing The Collector, and it’s a really nice role and I can give you a hint on how it ends for me anyway, I do not die, I survive the entire film. We’re shooting in Atlanta right now, we’ve already shot the ending, a 15-page sequence, so I head back down there the end of this week or early next week and I’ll be there until the end of October.
See Also: Trick is a Festive Treat [Review]
WH: Well, I love those movies, so I’m stoked to hear you’re a part of them, and honestly it’s been an honor to speak to you sir, so thank you.
TOM ATKINS: Aw come on, it’s not an honor! I’m just an old actor! But, hey, are you related to an old actor, he might have passed away, Jack Kehoe, who was in The Sting?
WH: Eh….I have no idea, but I will find out!
Catch Trick in Theaters, On Demand and Digital HD now