I had the opportunity to talk with a true horror legend, Victor Miller, Jason’s true father. Many of you will instantly recognize his name and the influence he has had on the horror genre. For those of you who don’t know his name, you should, he wrote the original ‘Friday the 13th’. Besides having a killer horror legacy, Victor has three Emmy Awards and Four Writer’s Guild awards to his name for his time as a TV drama writer. Victor is also a talented voice-over actor.
Victor has been involved in many projects over the years. He is now working on a new project, the horror film ‘Rock Paper Dead’. Miller is working alongside Kerry Fleming on the psychological/slasher film about serial killer Peter Harris, nicknamed ‘The Doll Maker. When Peter Harris is pronounced “cured” and released from the mental asylum he returns home. Harris is able to keep his impulses in control until he meets a beautiful young woman and his world begins to fall into chaos. ‘Rock Paper Dead’ has an impressive cast including Dee Wallace, Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman and Bruce Davison, among others.
Even though our discussion is mainly about his latest project (‘Rock Paper Dead‘ ), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Victor about ‘Friday The 13th’, after all, it was the first horror movie I ever watched and it started my life long love affair with genre. I’ll never forget it, I was eight and at a sleepover when we decided to watch the girl’s older brother’s half-worn-out VHS of ‘Friday The 13th’ (1980). I slept under my bed for a week after watching it, but from then on I was hooked on horror, so please forgive me if I have a “fangirl” moment or two.
KM “Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get your start in writing?”
VM “I did it a lot in grade school and high school. Most writers tend to be liars as children. Lying to my mother was my first memory. Fictions are lies that happen to be true. I was also terribly unsuited for anything else.”
KM “And us horror fans are thankful for that.”
KM “You are a horror legend for writing ‘Friday the 13th’, but I have always wondered how did ‘Friday the 13th’ and Jason come to be?”
VM “Because I needed a reason for a mother to become a homicidal maniac. My therapist says that I created Mrs. Voorhees because she’s the mother I wish I had. If i6+t would have been me that drowned in that lake, my mother would have said it was my “own damn fault”. Mrs. Voorhees would have said because the counselors gave in to their lust that the counselors needed to be punished. Subconsciously, Mrs. Voorhees is my ideal mother.”
KM “Is it true that Jason was originally named Joshua?”
VM “It is, his first name was Joshua. My son’s name was also Joshua and I didn’t want him o have to carry that. Jason has always been a bit of a creepy name to me, so I changed his name to Jason. ”
KM ” Besides the original, what ‘Friday the 13th’ was your favorite?”
VM “I haven’t seen any of the sequels.”
KM “If you could go back and change anything about ‘Friday the 13th’ what would it be?
VM “My contract, other than that, I love the movie.”
KM “Now you’re working on a new project, ‘Rock Paper Dead’, alongside Kerry Fleming. How did you two come to work on ‘Rock Paper Dead’ together?”
VM “We met through a mutual friend (Mike). Kerry and two of his co-workers came to California and we hung out. I looked at a script for a show for him and we decided to try to write a movie together, ‘Rock Paper Dead’.”
KM “I know you can’t reveal too much about ‘Rock Paper Dead’ at this point, but if you had to guess, what will fans love most about the film?”
VM “Hopefully it’s as good of a roller coaster ride as ‘Friday The 13th’. The characters will have strong motivations for everything they’re doing. They will feel a certain way and act a certain way and you will be able to see where they’re coming from. Everything has its reason. We’ve taken a family film and turned it on its head. They’re a family of horror. My good friend, Harry Manfredini is writing a chilling score for ‘Rock Paper Dead’. He also did the music for ‘Friday the 13th’. That’s how we met and became friends.”
KM “The movie has such a strong cast already, how did they become part of the movie?”
VM “Isn’t it fantastic? Most of the characters were written for certain people. We were talking about Ari Lehman one day and thought how cool it would be for Ari and Kane Hodder to be guards at the asylum. The house will be a character all its own. There was a house my wife and I lived in for twelve years. It was once a doctor’s office. Our dining room was once an operating room, you could feel the history of the house. It almost felt as if the history of the house was more important than you were. You will be able to sense the history of the house like that, in ‘Rock Paper Dead’.”
KM “Are you attending horror conventions these days?”
VM “I do when I’m invited. Horror fans are incredible, they’re dedicated. I was at one in San Antonio a year or two ago, and there were all these families. One couple with kids that were about eight or ten, and the parents say “Our Kids are huge fans” and I thought “I should call Social Service” (Laughs).”
Of course, this is when I tell him about the first time I saw ‘Friday the 13th’.
KM “Ok, I have to ask, besides ‘Friday The 13th’ and ‘Rock Paper Dead’, what is your next favorite horror movie?”
VM “Psycho, Tony Perkins, and Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock said “I am going to kill a well-known star in the first twenty minutes.” and he did, Janet Leigh. With major stars, you don’t expect a major scare. The twist at the end when you learn that the mother wasn’t the killer after all got me. After watching it, I didn’t shower for a week.”
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but Victor is a kind, funny, man. It was an honor to interview such a talented man. I am very eager to see his new horror movie ‘Rock Paper Dead’, which is still in pre-production, I think it’s going to be fantastic.
Click HERE for the full-length article on ‘Rock Paper Dead.
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Rock Paper Dead