For one brief moment heading into my conversation with 1980s icon Corey Feldman, I thought someone was jerking my chain.
I had worked for months setting up the interview, thinking the star’s latest film was a good opportunity to talk with someone I had watched grow up alongside me through film and TV.
The interview would run on my weekly radio show, We Came from the Basement, on 92.5FM CFBX Kamloops.
The film in question is a low-budget horror movie (much like the films that launched Feldman’s career in the mid-’80s) called 6 Degrees of Hell. It was written by Harrison Smith and directed by Joe Raffa.
Smith arranged the interview, along with talks with other cast and crew. But the goal all along was Feldman.
Feldman, 41, should need no introduction to anyone who grew up during the ’80s. He got his start on TV, appearing on hit shows of the day like Mork & Mindy, Eight Is Enough and One Day at a Time.
Then came the big screen and a string of hits. Most horror nerds like myself got to know him through Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (they actually made six or seven more), Gremlins, The Goonies and Stand By Me.
In 1987, he appeared in The Lost Boys alongside Corey Haim. It turned out to be the first on-screen pairing of the two. The duo went on to make License to Drive, Dream A Little Dream and the reality TV series The Two Coreys.
Haim died in 2010.
Feldman has appeared in dozens of other movies and TV shows and has a successful singing career. But to many of us, he’ll always be that cool kid we grew up with.
Dialling into the interview wasn’t easy. For whatever reason the landline I used couldn’t connect to the international number. By the time I gave up and used my cellphone — long-distance charges be damned — I was eight minutes late.
“Hello?” said the voice on the other end of the line.
“How’s it going?”
It sounded like Feldman, but I wasn’t quite sure. The cynical journalist in me was ready for a setup.
Anyone who has watched Feldman, either on screen or in interviews, knows he has a very distinct laugh. You can’t miss it. And that laugh came a couple of words after “How’s it going?”
I was indeed talking to Corey Feldman.
Six Degrees of Hell, which hit DVD and Blu-ray late last year, follows six individuals who are caught in a supernatural perfect storm as an evil force lays claim to one of them while threatening to tear apart the soul of a small Pennsylvania town.
The story is told largely in flashback as Feldman’s character, Kyle Brenner, interviews one of the policemen involved in the massacre that makes up the film’s final act.
Feldman explained that he liked the script and the money was in place, which is often not the case when he’s asked to appear in a low-budget movie. Often, filmmakers will use his name to secure funding for a project.
“But what really sold me is we have the opportunity to create the first virtual movie experience,” he said.
He referred to the film’s setting, the very real Hotel of Horrors in Pennsylvania. Think one of those carnival haunted-house rides, but inside an allegedly haunted hotel. And there are actors in elaborate makeup and costumes instead of animatronic dummies.
Feldman said everything in the movie is a part of the attraction, and the family that runs the hotel designs all the costumes and makeup.
Suffice to say, it didn’t take much for the actors to get into the mindset needed for filming at the hotel.
“It’s creepy,” he said, adding he hopes people who watch the movie will be able to visit the Hotel of Horrors after.
Despite appearing in several genre films, Feldman admits he isn’t a fan of horror movies.
“I’m generally a pretty positive person,” he said, adding he doesn’t like the gore associated with fright films.
“But once I commit to a project, I commit to it wholeheartedly,” he said. And 6 Degrees of Hell is a project he wanted to put his support behind.
Talking to someone I’d watched on screen for decades was a surreal experience. Feldman was once quoted as saying he’s more than an actor; he’ an industry. He certainly has the confidence of someone who has been in a business for a long time.
Usually, when interviewing someone, you get a feel for who he or she is. I didn’t get that with Feldman. Maybe that’s because I only had 10 minutes with him. Or maybe, having grown up on film, Feldman is the industry itself.
Either way, it’s a conversation I won’t soon forget.