A teacher, actor, writer, he took the time to sit down with me and reminisce about his past roles and working with genre legend Wes Craven, as well as to discuss his current projects.
Whalen has appeared in many roles, throughout many genres, including Wes Craven’s 1991 hit The People Under the Stairs, where he played Roach, a man with a missing tongue, who sacrificed himself to save the two young stars. You might also remember Whalen in Twister, as “Anton” on the series Constantine, or as “Becks” in 2009’s Halloween II. In all he has appeared in over 115 films and series.
Now, Whalen has written his own script, a story about a man and a murderous monster made of socks, Crust. Currently crowdfunding, Crust combines humor and horror for a film with heart. But I will let you hear more about it from him.
Horror Fule: “I love your character, Roach, in People Under the Stairs. What was it like to be on set with Wes Craven?”
SW: “It was great. Wes Craven was very nurturing. He really cared about his actors. He made sure we had a feeling of safety on his set. He made sure we could explore and create our characters. He was very calm and gentle, to be a strange, weird guy. Everyone he hired, his crew, everyone was chilled out and relaxed. It really allowed us to just go for it when it was our time to act. It was a great set.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow. I imagine it was a great experience. It is great film.”
Horror Fuel: “You have had a lot of roles in many different genres, do you have a favorite?”
SW: “Yeah, my favorite genre is comedy. I love doing comedy. I started in the Grove theater in Los Angeles, it’s a comedy improv place. Now I’m kind of giving back. I teach at James Franco’s Studio 4, his acting school in Los Angeles. I am the comedy improv teacher. So, I teach kids now. It’s really, really fun. I love comedy. I love the live comedy experience. I love comedy on the set, as soon as you do something funny and they yell, “Cut!”, It’s great to hear the crew laughing.
Horror Fuel: “I bet.”
Horror Fuel: “You recently played Reverend Kelly in The Axe Murders of Villisca, can you tell us about the character?”
SW: “He was a very disturbed man who admitted to killing eight people, two adults and six children. Then he said he lied. In the movie, he is disturbed and possessed by the spirits in the house. So, it makes it even creepier. He reeks havoc on the household, but it’s the evil in the house that is taking a toll on him.
Have you seen it yet?”
Horror Fuel: “Not yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. We did cover it before it opened in theaters. We also did a piece about the true story that inspired the film.”
Horror Fuel: “I did see another film you are in, Death House. It was great. I know when it comes out people will enjoy it. It’s really different and the genre needs that. Is there anything you can share about your role?”
SW: “Harrison won’t let us talk about it very much yet. He’s keeping a lot about it secret. The only thing I can tell you is that I play Satan and I’m part of Death House. Beyond that we aren’t really supposed to talk about it.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, well I understand.”
Horror Fuel: “You wrote your project, Crust. What is about?”
SW: “Crust is the story of a lonely guy who works at a laundromat and collects leftover socks from the dryers. He keeps them in a pile in his room and uses them to wipe his nose, wipe blood off his face, sweat off his body, and other bodily fluids. One day, his tears actually brings the sock pile to life. The sock pile turns into a monster named Crust. What he doesn’t realize is that it is killing people on his behalf. When he does find out, they form a kind of bond. And it’s a movie a little like Little Shop of Horrors and Willard (the movie with the rats). It’s a horror-comedy. It’s really fun and like you said, the genre needs that. It’s very different and it’s very fun. I like to do original things.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s great. We need more horror-comedies. Personally, I love them.”
SW: “I love them, they’re great. I think people will really enjoy it. More than anything, it has heart. It was written after I had gone through a divorce, and lost my house, and I went through a very dark time. When I came out of it I realized that everyone goes through dark times and we all have to figure a way out. And wouldn’t it be nice if we all had an unconditionally loving pet like Crust. He’ll take care of you and be sweet to you and kill all the asshole people in your life. [laughter]”
Horror Fuel: “That does make me a little nervous, I do have a little pile of oddball socks. [laughter]”
SW: “Ut Oh, be careful. [laughter]”
Horror Fuel: “When is filming set to begin?”
SW: “Well, it all depends on the final funding. We’re hoping in mid 2017. The campaign has 60 days left. I tell you what, whatever the perk is on the page, if people mention Horror Fuel, I will throw in an autographed picture for free.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow, thank you! That’s very kind of you.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you have anyone cast yet?”
SW: “We have Felissa Rose, myself, Vernon Wells, Scout Taylor-Crompton, Rebekah Kennedy, my friend Doug van Bebber, Charles Chudabala, and we have some other people lined up that are exciting, including some people from my class.”
Horror Fuel: “I have to ask this question for my own curiosity. What’s your favorite horror movie and why? I’m fascinated by people’s answers.”
SW: “My favorite horror movie now is Get Out. I used to be scared of The Exorcist. It was my favorite because I found it the scariest. But in terms of really good new horror movies, it has to be Get Out. I really like Key and Peele. I was curious, but when I saw it I thought it was really great. Actually, in a Vanity Fair interview, the writer-director mentioned that People Under the Stairs was an influence. That’s really cool.”
Horror Fuel: “Get Out is fantastic.”
Horror Fuel: “Do you have any other upcoming projects?”
SW: “Right now, I have a movie that will be out on RedBox soon, it’s already in Wal-Mart, and on iTunes, it’s called Blood Brothers.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, I know that one. I interviewed Hannah Levien, the lead actress.”
SW: “That’s out right now. That’s exciting. I’m also in The Axe Murders of Villisca. And there’s Street Level that I’m in right now. That’s by David Labrava. He’s from Sons of Anarchy. He played Happy.”
Horror Fuel: “I loved Sons of Anarchy. Happy was awesome. How did I not know about this?”
SW: “Yeah, you can rent Street Level now. He wrote and directed it. I play a serial killer in it. It’s very creepy. It’s one of my favorite roles that I’ve done in the past couple of years. ”
Horror Fuel: “I am definitely going to have to check it out.”
Be sure to visit the Crust Indiegogo campaign page and grab a great perk. Mention Horror Fuel, and you will receive a bonus autograph from Sean on top of the perk you choose! We need more horror-comedies in the world, and a film about a murderous sock monster is one that we need to see, so let’s help make that happen!
Check out Sean’s role in Blood Brothers. Witness The Axe Murders of Villisca, and read the true story that inspired the film. Don’t miss Death House (to be released soon), and be sure to see Street Level, which has an amazing cast and is out now.