We Return to The Living Dead and More with Thom Mathews! (Interview)

Earlier this week we chatted with one of my FAVORITE genre actors Thom Mathews. Thom is known for his legendary work in “Return of The Living Dead” as the lead character “Freddy”. Additionally, he came back again in “Return of The Living Dead 2” as well. He also made quite the splash as “Tommy Jarvis” in “Friday The 13th Part 6”. Later on he would also lend his vocal work and likeness for the “Friday The 13th: The Game”, which is now available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. The man has appeared in some of my favorite films of all time and is as respectful and down to earth as they come! This interview was a real honor to conduct. Read below for the full interview!

Horror Headquarters: First, let me thank you for your time and opportunity to interview a horror film icon such as yourself. You have delivered some of the most well known characters in the genre with Tommy Jarvis and Freddy in ROTLD, (Which is tied for me as my favorite horror film of all time along with Romero’s “Day of The Dead”). Horror Headquarters as a whole and myself especially appreciate the chance to talk horror with you!

Horror Headquarters: How was your experience working on “Never Hike Alone”, the F13 fan film?

Thom Mathews: I met the director, Vincente DiSanti through mutual friends. They had already shot the the beginning of NHA. After seeing what he had in the can it was easy to jump on board. We made some minor changes. It was a very professional experience. I think the film speaks for itself. 

Horror Headquarters: How did you get involved with the “Friday The 13th” video game?

Thom Mathews: The guys over at Gun Media reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be involved in the game to reprise my role as Tommy Jarvis. We went back and forth getting the image right. Next, I went in and did some voice overs for the game. It’s amazing what Gun Media has created and continues to add content to the gaming experience of Friday the 13th video game.

Horror Headquarters: Is it strange to see yourself in a video game and have you played it?

Thom Mathews: It’s strange to watch your self in a movie let alone in a video game! Yes I have played the game. It’s great! We have a PS4 at the house. It’s fun to watch my son play as Tommy Jarvis and kick some Jason ass!

Horror Headquarters: What was the hardest obstacle to overcome while filming “Return of The Living Dead”?

Thom Mathews: The hardest obstacle was waiting to start shooting. It was 9 months between my first audition and the first day of shooting! There was a legal issue with the rights to the name as I understand it. 

Horror Headquarters: What was your personal favorite role in any film you have acted?

Thom Mathews: Well playing Freddy, from Return of the Living Dead, will always be a favorite of mine for many reasons. Freddy had a great character arch. Going from a young punk rockers “first day on the job” to a “brain eating zombie” was fantastic. I had fun with Damalas in Albert Pyuns “Down Twisted”.

Horror Headquarters: Do you have any plans for attending horror conventions in 2018?

Thom Mathews: I’ll be in North Carolina at “Days of the Dead” for two reunions, “Friday the 13th Jason Lives” & “Return of the Living Dead” on May 18-20th, 2018. I’m trying to get the promoters to screen “Never Hike Alone” as well. Should be a fun weekend.

Horror Headquarters: In “Friday The 13th Part 6” how difficult were the scenes in rain and in the water?

Thom Mathews: Shooting in the rain was fine. Shooting underwater was a new experience. CJ and I were underwater for 15-30 minutes at a time. I had a scuba diver off camera to feed me oxygen when I requested it by hitting my chest 2-3 times with a closed fist. We shot the underwater sequence at a large pool in the City of Industry in Los Angeles. 

Horror Headquarters: Would you consider reprising a role as Tommy in a “F13” film if the opportunity arose?

Thom Mathews: Yes. It would only make sense for me to be involved if it was some sort of continuation as Tommy Jarvis.

Horror Headquarters: Are there any cast members from previous films that your still friends with today?

Thom Mathews: James Karen from ROTLD. We celebrate our birthdays together because it falls on the same day. We have him and Alba over during the holidays along with seeing them though out the year. John Philbin, Linnea, Vinny (the Deputy from part VI) and Suzanne Snyder. I see a lot of actors I worked with and actors I was in acting classes or even auditions with at conventions throughout the years. 

Horror Headquarters: What made you lean towards the horror genre and the roles you have chosen?

Thom Mathews: Those were the opportunities that presented themselves at the time. I was a young actor trying to get a gig! I just got lucky!

Horror Headquarters: When you were growing up, who and or what were your film influences?

Thom Mathews: From my youth: Godfather, Rumble Fish, Alien, Jaws, American Graffiti, Soylent Green, Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter and One Flew Over the Cuokoo’s Nest to name a few.

Horror Headquarters: Are you working on any new projects at the moment? If not, any plans for new projects?

Thom Mathews: We are kicking around the idea of making a full length feature film sequel to “Never Hike Alone”.

Horror Headquarters: I want to thank you once again for allowing me to have a conversation and discussion with you on a genre we both love and adore. I appreciate your time and we look forward to following along with anything new you decide to pursue.

Thom Mathews: My Pleasure.