Matthew Faison’s screen career began in the late 1970s but it would be on TV shows during the 1980s that he would begin to gain exposure, with bit parts in The Greatest American Hero, M*A*S*H and Magnum, P.I. Following a minor role in the crime thriller The Star Chamber in 1983, Faison turned his attention to movies, eventually landing the part of Stan in Friday the 13th Part V: Jason Lives, in which he would be beheaded during the film’s paintball sequence. He would return to the slasher genre several years later when he portrayed a deranged teacher in New Line Cinema’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Matthew Maison discusses Friday the 13th Part V: Jason Lives.
How did you win the part of Stan in Friday the 13th Part V: Jason Lives? Are you a fan of horror movies and were you familiar with the previous films in the series?
I don’t recall the audition specifically but I remember that it was kind of loose and that we all laughed a lot about the fun it would be to make it. I must confess that I have never been a big horror fan although I really loved the old Hammer films with Christopher Lee. My younger brother never missed a horror flick however, and the creepier and bloodier they were the better he liked them.
Your scene is one of the more comical moments in the movie, as Jason stalks a group of office clerks out in the woods playing paintball. What kind of advice did Tom McLoughlin give you on how to play the character and how much intentional humour did he want in the movie?
Tom was a new director at the time and I think I recall that he wrote the script as well as a path into directing. A very nice guy he gave us a lot of room to work and basically the dialogue in our scenes were improvised on the location in rural Georgia.
How much gore was cut from that scene as the MPAA was especially harsh with the movie? Was there any cuts made to your death?
Much of our death was removed in the edit. Initially, we were to be part of a ‘triple-header.’ Jason drops from the tree and with one slice of the machete decapitates all three of us. They built a clever rig that would cause our headless ‘bodies’ to drop followed by our three heads a second later– a bit too grim for the censors I suppose. We all went through a rigorous special effects routine where they cast our heads and hands in latex – very elaborate work involving having our entire faces covered with liquid latex to make the mould – they even shot close-up stills of our eyes to get a perfect match. Individual hairs were inserted again for a perfect match. The heads were very realistic and more than a little creepy. I had young children at the time and declined the offer of the head when the shoot was over for fear of having my son open the closet one day only to find his disembodied Dad’s head and bloody stump.
Your scene was the only part of the movie that C.J. Graham did not play Jason on. How was Dan Bradley like to work with and how would you compare his and Graham’s performances?
Never saw any of the other movies in the series. ‘Jason’ was only on the set that day for the ‘triple header’ shot so we barely spent much time together.
Having also appeared in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Puppet Master 3: Toulon’s Revenge, how would you compare Friday the 13th to the other franchises you have worked on? What do you think it is about these movies that makes their appeal last so long?
I had a good time on all three. Much more laughter than you might expect. Making horror films is much like making any other movie and the experience is, as in most efforts, highly dependant on the people you are lucky enough to work with. I have no idea why there is such a following – probably fertile material there for a master’s thesis for some budding sociologist.
Over twenty years later, what kind of memories do you have of working on the feature and do you think the movie is still entertaining?
I have never actually seen the whole film start to finish. Perhaps one day I should trek on down to the video store and see if they have a dusty old copy somewhere in the crypt.