Rob Zombie “Halloween” Panel at 2020 Days of the Dead!

Prior to the event, the 2020 Days of the Dead Indianapolis convention offered some great horror reunions including Friday the 13th Part VI, Child’s Play, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween. While concern for Covid-19 would slowly whittle the first two films down to a single cast member, Halloween’s top two stars would make it to this show. Taking the stage that Saturday morning was Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode) and Tyler Mane (adult Michael Myers). Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Zombie’s Halloween nor Halloween II when I saw them in theaters, both have grown on me over the years. At the same time, I wasn’t sure how practical attending a panel would be in lieu of social distancing. Once I walked in and saw all the audience chairs carefully placed apart from one another, I realized it wouldn’t be an issue. Note to the squeamish – there was a fair share of F-bombs dropped during this panel. I audio-recorded and transcribed everything into this blog, as is. I figure if you’ve sat through a Rob Zombie movie, then what can I possibly shock you with here? So let’s get to it…

Days of the Dead’s famous black horse wore a mask along with everyone in the audience. As soon as the guests took the stage and were a safe distance from everyone, Tyler removed his while conveying what we all feel the minute we’re given the opportunity to do so…”Man, does it feel good taking off this fucking mask!” 

Then he turned to the audience. “Hey, I really want to thank Days of the Dead for having this event and for giving all of us an opportunity to get out of the house. I’ve been stuck at home with my 23-year-old son and I cannot get him the hell out of my house. And he’s drinking all my booze now! 

Scout Taylor Compton took a chair at the opposite end of the stage before yelling to Tyler, “You sure you don’t want to sit next to me?”

Tyler: Have you been tested?

Scout: I’ve been tested, have you been tested?

Tyler: No. 

Scout: (laughs): Yikes, get away!

Tyler to the audience: This is a Q&A so somebody has to ask a question and we’ll have the answers…maybe. Any questions?

Audience member to Tyler: How long was your wrestling career?

Tyler: I started in Stu Hart’s Dungeon (wrestling school) in 1985 and I wrestled for 11 1/2 years pro. And then transitioned into film.

Scout: That long, really?

Tyler: Yup.

Scout: Man, your poor body.

Tyler: Yes, everything hurts. If I ever wake up in the morning and something doesn’t hurt, I’m gonna be dead. But it was a great stepping stone to where I am now. I was also lucky to go all over the world. I wrestled in Japan, Australia, England, Africa, Yugoslavia…and I saw a lot of shit.

Audience member: I heard somewhere you wrestled Andre the Giant?

Tyler: I did. I wrestled Andre the Giant at the Tokyo Dome in Japan and he was a big guy. Of course, I let him win but it was so funny because when he went to pin me he said. “Sorry boss” and then fell on top of me. It was the longest three-count I ever had in my life! I was like, ‘I can’t breathe, get the fuck off of me!’ And then it took him another 10 minutes to get off of me, but it was an honor.

The late 520 pound, Andre the Giant

Audience member: What was your most memorable experience in the wrestling ring?

Tyler: I was with the Angel of Death (wrestler) in South Africa and we were wrestling the local hero when he got bloody and went running out of the ring. So there were about 25,000 people trying to kill us while he just bailed. We were stuck in the ring for about 45 minutes knocking chairs away that people were throwing at us along with stones and whatever else they could get their hands on. Suddenly, just about exactly at the 45-minute mark, we hear gunshots from up in the balcony. A female officer jumps down in the ring and says, ‘Come on! This is starting to get serious!’ And we’re thinking to ourselves, ‘What hasn’t been serious for the last 45 minutes!?!’ So she got us safely back to our dressing room and we were stuck there for about an hour and a half. Another crazy story is when I was wrestling in a ring in Japan and a 7.4 earthquake hit and the entire ring started shaking.

Okay, I understand I’m not the biggest wrestling fan, but this was a horror convention and it was time to get this panel on track.

Me: Can you both share stories of how you got signed up for Rob Zombie‘s Halloween and what it was like working with him?

Scout: Mine was a long process. In fact, I was cast last and had to go in about five or six times to test with Kristina (Klebe) and Danielle (Harris). I tested privately with Rob though Rob actually didn’t like to have in-person auditions. He would watch self-tapes and I guess I was like the first tape he’d seen. He told me he wanted me for the part as soon as he saw it but that he was fighting with the company. So it was a long process for me and it was really hard. At the time I was auditioning, it was for an untitled Rob Zombie film so I had no idea I was actually auditioning for Halloween until the very end of the process. I remember coming to the site to audition with Danielle and Kristina while waiting in a van with Dee Wallace. She was like, ‘They are really fighting for you! They really like you.’ And that made me feel so good. I finally got the part and as soon as it hit the media, people were instantly comparing me to Jamie Lee Curtis. I was 17 years old at the time so it was very intimidating. I was a little scared and I remember coming to the set and Rob saying, ‘I hired you to be YOU so don’t copy what she did. This is a brand new Laurie Strode and although you guys are very similar, you’re also very different. I just wanna share that with you.’ Rob is one of the sweetest guys you will ever meet…I can’t even compare him to anyone else. He’s very intelligent and, like I said, a sweetheart who’s totally romantic with his wife. I mean, that is the ultimate love story right there. I remember during the first movie I had no idea who Rob Zombie was that he was a musician. I turned 18 during filming and he brought me all of his CDs from White Zombie on. He was really shy and quietly said. ‘Here, in case you wanna listen to my music.’

I know this whole COVID-19 thing is killing him because he loves to perform “live” but, yeah, I could go on for days and days with stories about Rob Zombie and how he’s such an incredible person.

Tyler: I did The Devils Rejects (2005) with Rob and he called and said, ‘Hey, I wrote this movie and if you don’t do it, I’m not gonna do it. So please do it!’ He explains to me what it is and I’m like, ‘Yeah that sounds pretty cool!’

Scout (to Tyler):, were you a fan of the original Halloween franchise? Because I’d never seen the original before.

Tyler: Oh yeah, I’d seen the other Halloweens before.

Scout:  My uncle had scared me with that fucking mask so that’s the only reason I even heard of that goddamn movie.

Tyler: Yeah, and then I scared you with the mask.

Scout: (laughs) 

Tyler: We ended up doing the two Halloweens together and became like a family. It was a really great experience.

Audience member: Which of the two Rob Zombie Halloween films is your favorite?

Tyler: You know, I like them both. When we started the second one I said that I wanted to kick it up a notch. I didn’t wanna do just the same thing. So as far as being physically challenging, the second one was more intense. (Turns to Scout) Should we tell them about our first scene together?

Scout: Oh, fuck off!

Tyler: What?

Scout: You’re going to tell it wrong.

Tyler: I tell it right.

Scout: Fine you go ahead and tell the wrong story and then I’ll tell the right one. 

Tyler notices an audience member nodding his head and turns to him.

Tyler: Are you familiar with the story of how she tried to kill me?

Audience member nods

Tyler: See maybe you should tell the story because you’ll probably be the only one that gets it right between the two of us!

Scout to the same audience member: OK, but are you familiar with the story about how he later tried to kill ME?

Audience member: Yes I am.

Scout: OK, there you go! We both tried to kill each other on the first day of filming.

Tyler: OK so in the very first scene we work together in we’re in the basement and it was the part where Kristina is laying there dead and there’s this big emotional scene and then Scout is supposed to stab me with a knife. In the movie business, they have fake knives with retractable blades. Well, they forgot to switch them out and Rob lets the whole thing play out. Scout picks up the knife and goes to stab me and my eyes bug out of my head as she proceeds to stab me with a real knife!

Scout: OK, it wasn’t like blood was pouring out of you.

Tyler. Um, I had to go to the hospital…

Scout: No, you did not!

Tyler: OK, no I didn’t (laughs)

Scout: Big baby, liar!

Tyler: The good news is that she was a 17-year-old weakling

Scout: I was pretty weak.

Tyler: They had put a piece of cardboard underneath my suit.

Scout: OK, so this was my first horror movie and nobody told me….

Tyler: …nobody told you what a fucking knife can do?

Scout: Would you please be quiet? We were using the retractable knife at first. Nobody told me that they were going to switch them out.

Tyler: Yeah until it stuck into my body.

Scout: OK but who’s fault was it? Not mine.

Tyler: Props (department)

Scout: Props! Exactly!

Audience member: I’m gonna go 50-50 on that.

Scout (yelling): It was the damn props people!!! (Laughter) I’m crying over a dead woman, her boobs are out and I’m having a hard enough time trying to concentrate. Then later as the scene continues, there’s a built-in staircase that was really high, like two stories…

Tyler: Yeah. it was like 22 feet or so.

Scout: So I’m running up the steps and there’s like nowhere for me to go – I’m literally just standing on a ledge. So I look down below and I hear them yelling for Tyler to continue and I’m wondering how the hell he’s going to fit in this narrow staircase but I hear him clomping up. So he makes it up and I just go flying off the ledge but he grabs me just before I drop. So he saved my life and then I saved his life by cutting into cardboard instead of his body.

Tyler: No, you tried to fucking kill me and I saved your life! Family is forever? Fuck that!

Scout (laughs): You have known me for so long. I’m sure there were lots of moments where we almost killed each other. Do you remember those ant hills during Halloween II? Oh, that’s right you weren’t out there.

Tyler: Is that when you were running through that field behind the house?

Scout: Dude, the anthills were up to my knees! And Rob is like, ‘Well we don’t have lights out here so just dodge them.’ And I’m like, ‘Dodge them???’ As soon as you step into one you can feel them crawl up your legs.

Tyler: Fire ants

Scout: I just had to run as fast as I could and it was crazy.

Tyler: How about the firehose at the hospital?

Scout: Oh my God, it was freezing! OK, so he had a wet suit and a jumper on while all I’m wearing is a nightgown! We’re running through eight rain machines and as soon as the taping ends, I’m like, ‘Where the fuck is Tyler?’ And they’d be like, ‘Oh he’s in the warming van.’ Meanwhile, I’m sitting there freezing and drenched!

Tyler: You were out there staying in character or whatever the hell that was, I’m like, ‘Screw this!’

Scout: No, I could barely walk. You could’ve helped a fucking player out here!

Audience member: What are your thoughts on the 2018 Halloween?

Scout: Wait…we didn’t finish answering the last guy’s question about which movie we liked better!

Tyler: Well I liked them both but for different reasons. What you have to understand about the second one is that Rob was constantly fighting with the distributors and the producers who kept trying to change everything throughout. We went through rewrite after rewrite after rewrite.

Scout: Oh my God, and this was going on in the middle of shooting. That’s why Laurie is like all over the place emotionally (does a hilarious impression of acting loopy).

Tyler: It was a nightmare for Rob and he was trying to rewrite late at night. I remember one day he came into my trailer and slammed the door and was like, ‘These fucking idiot Weinsteins want you to kill a chick in a tanning booth!’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I go into a tanning booth?’ And he looks at me and says, ‘EXACTLY!’ I mean why would Michael Myers be in a tanning booth? Just stupid shit like that. So he had to overcome a lot of hurdles but, at the same time, I think it brought us all closer together.

Scout: Yes it did. And I feel the same way about the movies as Tyler does.

Tyler: So the next question was do we like the 2018 version? Well, 2018 was a great year we didn’t have to wear masks. Yup, it was just a great year. I’m sorry what was the question?

The audience member repeats question

Tyler: Yes, 2018 was a great year! (Laughter)

Scout: Oh, come on Tyler!

Tyler: Well I gotta support our movies!

Scout: Yeah, but I feel like we should support all of them. So I saw that movie in the theater. I love Jamie Lee Curtis and that’s instantly where I thought she would go if her character was a real person. So that was really rad! I didn’t really like the ending…I did not like the ending… it was too…I don’t know it was just like…

Tyler: I didn’t like that somebody had to save Michael Myers halfway through. Nobody had to come and save my ass.

Scout: There are some special things in there that were really fun but I just didn’t particularly like the ending. I love Jamie and as soon as all those lights went on and everything I was like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ That’s how I would be too – the crazy lady. There’s the crazy cat lady and then just the crazy lady.

Tyler: Well you are a crazy lady.

Scout: I am. That’s gonna be me in like 20 years.

Audience member (to Tyler): Why did you have to kill Danny Trejo‘s character?

Scout: Oh yeah, why the hell did you kill him?

Tyler: And why not? Actually, we had to do some re-shoots on that. With the first screening, we actually let him live which made people more sympathetic to Michael Myers. And we’re like, ‘Well, we can’t have this. You know he’s supposed to be totally evil.’ So we had to go back and re-shoot and those re-shoots were crazy with the TV set. Usually, they give you a fake TV and pull all the guts out of it but I was picking up a full-on TV. I remember walking with it and hitting the water sprinkler. I’m trying to set it down and Rob is like, “When you drop a TV, you’re supposed to let it slam down.” And I’m like, “Rob, this is a real TV and the only one you’ve got, man.’ And he says, ‘What???’ And I go, ‘Yeah, this is a real fucking TV!’ He says, ‘No, it’s not’ and proceeds to pick it up. Realizing it’s real, he yells, ‘Oh fuck!’

Scout: See we don’t ever complain and then Rob would be like, ‘Well, what the fuck? Why didn’t you say anything?

Tyler: I’m in the shack where I’m trying to get to her and it was a real shack and they gave me a dull ax. And I’m like, ‘Can we make this any more difficult?’

Scout: Yeah, you were out there at like 3 AM in the pouring rain that was just after our big chase. And then we went into a Waffle House for breakfast covered in fake blood and nobody cared!

Tyler: 7 AM in the morning covered in blood at the Waffle House and nobody even looks sideways at us.

Scout: That’s kind of scary isn’t it? God, I miss those times!

Tyler: Another time we were going through the Hardee’s drive-through at midnight…

Scout: …and I pretended I was being kidnapped.

Tyler: Its midnight, she’s covered in blood, and screaming that she’s being kidnapped. The Hardee’s people just shut their window and didn’t do anything and I’m like, ‘Goddamnit scout! They’re going to have me fucking arrested!’

Audience member: What was Sid Haig like?

Tyler: Oh, man, such a great guy.

Scout: He was an amazing guy who loved doing these horror conventions as much as I do. I did a movie with him called Cynthia (2018) and we were promoting that up until he passed away (September 21, 2019). So I saw him right before he passed and it was really hard. You know life is short guys so you’ve got to live your life, Don’t hold any grudges and… oh man I’m gonna cry…

Tyler: Don’t cry. Audience, quick, next question…a happy question!

 

Audience member: What are your favorite roles you’ve played?

Tyler: Well my favorite role hasn’t come out yet. I filmed a Netflix TV series called Jupiter’s Legacy and the character (Blackstar) is badass.

Scout: Can you talk about that or no?

Tyler: That’s all I’m saying.

Scout: Well I know all about it and it is really cool!

Tyler: When you see it, you are going to be like, ‘Holy shit!’ It is very intense and very physically draining but, to date, probably my favorite character. They’re talking about releasing it either later this year or early next year. It’ll be one of Netflix’s bigger series and, hopefully, it does well.

Scout: I think I have about three favorites but my first one would be doing The Runaways (2010). It was about Joan Jett and Cherie Currie’s first band and I got to play Lita Ford. Joan and Cherie were both there on the set every day and the fact that all of us girls sat there and formed our own band, I mean we were practicing at night and during the weekend so we were almost like a real band. So that was one of my favorites. (Note: the real Lita Ford was less than pleased with the film as she expressed to me at a past Days of the Dead you can read about HERE). I also did this movie with Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci called Love Ranch (2010) which was about a brothel.

Tyler: Well, of course, you like that one

Scout: I mean it was such fun!

Tyler: Oh, was is it now? (Laughs)

Scout: Shut up! I mean, I love doing period pieces and it was an opportunity to play with Helen Mirren who I got to physically fight in the film. I mean, her heel was like on my chest and she was calling me names. She is such a rad chick. I mean I want to be like her.

Tyler: Of course you’re not gonna mention any of the movies you and I worked on together.

Scout: Well obviously people are here because we did Halloween.

Tyler: We’ve actually done four movies together. We did the two Halloweens and then we did 247 degrees Fahrenheit

Scout: …and you almost got me killed in that one, too!

Tyler: How did I… would you quit saying that word! And I don’t know if you guys know but I have my own production company called Mane Entertainment and we did a movie called Penance Lane (2020) which is currently available on all the platforms so please go check it out.

Audience member (to Scout): OK so watching you run and scream through two movies, it’s got to be emotionally and physically draining. How do you prepare yourself and was any scene you did particularly hard to do?

Tyler: it was…

Scout: Um, this is my question. Do I treat your questions like this?

Tyler: Well I can answer that one for ya! (Scout smacks his arm)

Scout: The next time you call me and ask me to be in one of your productions, I am going to remember this panel! Particularly this moment where you ruined my question.

Tyler: But I know where you’re going to go with this!

Scout: Oh no, Tyler, you don’t know me as well as you think you do! I’m 31 now, not 17.

Tyler: Wasn’t it the bathroom scene?

Scout: OK, well yeah, (audience laughs) but to answer your other question, I got into acting when I was nine and I had a really tough childhood with my biological mom. I noticed that acting, for me, was like therapy. It was my way of getting things out so whenever I would go into a crying scene, Tyler will tell you, I’m like laughing and giggling right before they yell “Action!” And then I’m crying and screaming without a problem. It’s like a hairline thing for me. I don’t have to go into a dark place it’s just my thing.

Tyler: Great therapy.

Scout: I find a big release doing scenes like that. But there was one moment where I couldn’t get out of it. It was with Danielle Harris whom I got very close to during the filming. In the scene where she is laying naked and all bloodied up, they wouldn’t let me see her until it was time to shoot.

So she was laying there dying and Rob let it go on for a really long time. By that time, she and I were almost on a sister level with each other. So it was really hard for me to see and I had a lot of trouble getting out of it. I had to go outside and get some fresh air and Tyler was there and he made me laugh and I have to admit he is like a father to me.

Tyler: Father? I’m gonna talk to this fucking horse now…

Scout (laughs): Well he is! I looked at him and I was shaking and crying and I told him I had trouble getting out of it. I was literally shaking and he made me smile automatically.

Audience member: Years from now, if they ever go back to your Halloween series, where would you like to see your characters go?

Scout: We actually were supposed to do a third one.

Tyler: If they wait too long, I’m gonna be chasing her in a fucking walker! (Scout laughs) I have a feeling that’s what’s going to happen because no one‘s going to hire us again for it and Rob is certainly not gonna do it.

Scout: You know what? Rob might surprise you. I actually talked to him recently. I was interested to see where Rob was going to take it. I think the end scene with Laurie Strode hinted that it was going to go somewhere neat but, unfortunately, I think he just didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. There was just too much head-bashing with producers but I would’ve loved to have done another.

Audience member: It seems like at the end of Halloween you were taking on the evil of Michael Myers. Would that have been something you’d of liked to have explored? Being the killer?

Scout: Oh man, I would’ve loved playing the killer! I was looking forward to seeing where that was going to go.

Tyler: Maybe we’d of become a tag-team killing duo.

Scout: No, I don’t think that’s where it was going but I do think it would’ve gone to a darker place.

Audience member: Aside from the films you’ve played in, what are your favorite horror films?

Scout: So when I grew up, The Exorcist was my thing. I also have a really big obsession with Chucky and still do. I had no freaking idea that Brad Dourif was the voice of Chucky when we were in Halloween together. And then, when I found out, I came to the second premier with all my Child’s Play memorabilia for him to sign. My dad is a mortician so I was raised around the dead and stuff like that. So horror movies were a big thing for me.

Tyler: My favorites are JAWS and The Shining.

Scout: Oh my God, I just saw The Shining for the first time recently. It was rad!

Tyler: The original JAWS is amazing and I could watch it all the time. I was 10 years old when I saw that at the theater and I didn’t want to sit in a bathtub after that.

Me (to Tyler): Having played Sabertooth in the original X-Men movie, what are your thoughts on the MCU and would you ever return if they asked you to play Sabertooth in their universe?

Tyler: I would love to reprise the role of Sabretooth if they asked me. Of course, a lot of it would depend on the script. In the original, there were so many characters they were introducing they didn’t know what to do with most and we’re all basically just henchmen.

Scout: Can you explain to me how you got that part?

Tyler: They were originally looking at one of my tag partners but I don’t know, maybe he was a little bit out of shape or something. I had the long hair back then and they wanted me to do the stunts. They were like, ‘Hey we want to drop you 140 feet off the Empire State building’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ So I went in to audition for it and there’s this kid sitting there on the computer not paying any attention to me. I walk in wearing fake teeth because I really wanted this role. I announce that I’m there to try out and the kid just keeps sitting there on the computer. So I look around and say, ‘Who the fuck is this kid?’And he turns around and says, “I’m Bryan Singer, and you are Sabertooth.” Then he jumps on top of a glass table and I thought he was gonna break it. He starts yelling, ‘Choke me! Choke me!’ So I did and that was my audition.

Scout: Oh my god are you kidding me?

Tyler: Nope. So as I’m walking out I see my stunt double who was a close friend of mine. I got the role but he ended up doing the stunts and getting dropped the 140 feet. He’s still tweaked to this day because of that. But, yes, if they do another one I would love to finally take that character to the level I think he should’ve gone.

The hour seemed to fly by. The two thanked the audience, put their masks back on, and returned to the convention.

Dave

 

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