KINDERTRAUMA: What is the first movie that ever scared you?
PAUL KELMAN: Ha! Good one! It was “Curse of Frankenstein,” 1957 Hammer Films with Peter Cushing playing the Doctor! I was around 8 or 9 years old. It was my first horror movie! My Father took me and I spent most of the time slumped down below the seat in front of me, peeking up every little while! It really terrified me! I had dreams about it for days after. The Monster was so horrible looking! I can still remember how scared I was.
PK: Well I don’t get ‘scared’ anymore! (laughing) Having done films I look at special effects and CGI. I see the artifice. I was also in the virtual reality industry for around a decade, so I have a good grounding as to what can be done with computer generated reality, especially in three dimensions. But I still get excited and allow myself to be taken in, especially if it’s well done.
PK: I think it was when we got to hang out with real miners and they took us down to the “Face” in a real working mine at Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, an Island Province in the East coast of Canada. We were crouched down in this low tunnel only about twelve feet wide and five feet high. A tight fit. The Giant Drill bit took up five feet in width! We stood along side it as it drilled into the Face, black coal dust flying into our goggled faces! One miner hosing tons of water on the bit to cool it down! The noise was deafening and one wrong move and the massive Drill blades would shred you! Talk about a dangerous job! Some of these guys had been miners for thirty years! Most had sons who also worked the mine. The work was passed down through generations.
PK: Well, there wasn’t anything specific. I can say though that it was a tough shoot. We shot the whole film in about seven weeks, which was ambitious for a rather complex shoot. For me there were a lot of action scenes like the fight with shovel vs. pickaxe between “TJ” and “Axel” (Neil Affleck) especially difficult on a speeding rail car! And having a mine ceiling cave on our heads, “Sarah”(Lori Hallier) and I. And then all of us climbing a vertical steel ladder slippery with mine grease and flowing water! Really the most challenging was just the fact that we were shooting in a mine in the first place. Riding open air wooden mine cars barreling down a mine shaft at what felt like 40 mph in the pitch dark with only our head lamps for light isn’t for the faint of heart!
PK: You’re kidding right? Of course I’d do it! But I never thought by any stretch of the imagination that the work I did in that movie was special or even good. I can say it was an ‘honest’ performance but nowhere near what I could bring to a role now as an actor. It’s been thirty-three years after all. I’ve walked a few miles since then. I’d be lying if I said that I ever expected MBV81 would become a ‘Cult Horror Classic’! I’d really all but forgot about it until a year or so ago. We did have a special screening with the cast at a theatre in Toronto a few years back and the place was packed. But I figured it was a one-time deal. Then about a year ago it started with a few fans finding me on Facebook.
KT: Thanks Paul, It’s an honor!
PK: Anytime. My pleasure entirely!