Bill Oberst Jr. my interview with the nicest “horror villain” working today in the industry

After watching the movie DIS by Adrian Corona. I was blown away by it. If you haven’t seen it rent/buy it on Vudu, and Amazon. The actor Bill Oberst Jr caught my attention with his performance so, with the chance to sit down and talk with the man whom you have seen in many movies I had to jump on it. Let’s breakdown the man that is Bill Oberst Jr. and hear his thoughts on films, history and the art of horror. 

 

  • JA: Tell our readers and me a little about yourself. How it all began for you?
  • BOJR: Oh, Jai, it’s the oldest story in the world (well, the oldest story in the world of entertainment, obese-unpopular-bookish-bullied-and-terrorized-straight-A-sissy-kid-with-horrific-acne retreats into fantasy and learns, to his surprise, that he can make a living there! Who knew?
  • JA: You used humor and impressions to get by in school. I know that Ray Bradbury is a huge influence for you. Did Bradbury inspire you to act in horror movies?
  • BOJR: About the same time, I discovered Ray I found my first copy of Famous Monsters Of Filmland Magazine, run by one of Ray’s real-life pals, Forrest J Ackerman. While Ray got my head into fantasy, Forest turned me on to old-school horror. Monster makeup and reprints of the old EC Comics followed quickly, and boy, I was in deep: life-sized posters, Dick Smith’s course, claiming my dad was an undertaker so I could buy Mortician’s Wax, seeing Lon Chaney’s mask get ripped off for the first time, sneaking out at night to walk around the yard like a werewolf…thank God for Ray and Forest. They came along at exactly the time I needed their wonderful weirdness in my strange young life.
  • JA: The movie DIS from Adrian Corona is very metaphorical and symbolic. Did he explain the movie to you beforehand or did you just read the script with knowledge on what to expect?
  • BOJR: Adrian explains nothing. His work stands there, meaning he’s my favorite kind of director. At the start of the shoot, I asked questions, but he answered with quiet mumbles, so I took his cue and sank into the silence. The silence was very appropriate for DIS, and it pervaded our set during the entire shoot. A lot of hushed conversations.
  • JA: What was your initial impression filming DIS and watching it complete?
  • BOJR: My initial impression was filming it: “This is the most grueling shoot of my life.” My initial impression was watching it: “And it was all worth it.” I am very proud of DIS and of being part of a film that uses cinema as a metaphor; that does not explain itself. I’d rather do ten films like DIS than one vapid blockbuster.
  • JA: You got lavish praise for your role in Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies as Abraham Lincoln. Do you think you would play another historical figure in any genre?
  • BOJR: The history geek says “Yes, please.” I’d love to. I played General W.T. Sherman in a docudrama ten years ago and still have fond memories of it. Playing Lincoln was a dream role for a guy like me (even if I had to stand on a box.)
  • JA: You’ve played many characters ranging from children’s films to dramas and horror. Do you have more fun playing say a villain or perhaps a good guy? I say this because one you’re a nice guy with a face to match like very trusting and caring. Does this also help to play villain roles?
  • BOJR: Ah, you are an astute one, young Jai! Yes, being a “good guy” inside with a “bad face” outside does indeed help in playing villain roles. Moreover, you know, I don’t think villains ever think that they are villains….we all have such self-delusions. I enjoy mixing vulnerability and melancholy with malice. That’s the gold standard for me. My face helps.
  • JA: I know you’ll be in 3 FROM HELL the new movie by Rob Zombie which is the third film of his Firefly trilogy. You strike a resemblance to Bill Moseley a little bit. Do you two share any scenes in the film? That’s if you can talk about it because I know the film has been extremely hushed about the post-production.
  • BOJR: I do share a scene with Bill, and we’ve done another film together since that one wrapped, with even more scenes together. I love working with Bill. He’s a great talent. Horror is a niche world within the larger world of film, so everyone tends to cross paths again and again. Last year I was shooting a film which Dee Wallace was also in, and we were talking about this: it was the third film we’d both been in that year alone. I can say that working with Rob Zombie was a slice of inspired madness – he’s quite unforgettable
  • JA: Speaking of clowns since Rob Zombie is notorious for using them. You played an evil clown in Circus Of The Dead known as Papa Corn. Which is a sleeper hit in the underground horror community? Tell me about your experience with that. Did you enjoy playing a character that you normally haven’t played before?
  • BOJR: Thank you for mentioning Circus Of The Dead. That character was terrifying to play because his worldview was completely nihilistic. For Papa Corn, there is no meaning. In anything. Which gives him license to hurt as the whim strikes him. I find this to be a truly horrifying worldview, and being inside of a man who held this view for the weeks of shooting that film was deeply affecting. I had nightmares afterward, and that has not happened since I played Father Simon in Children Of Sorrow. Billy Pon has made an unflinching, disturbing movie, and my hat is off to him. However, I can’t watch it again, at least not alone.
  • JA: Finally, speaking of the circus as stated you’re a huge Ray Bradbury fan. In my opinion, the most underrated sci-fi fantasy thriller is “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” I think you would be perfect as Mr. Dark. Would that be a character you would love to play or do you think you’ll be suited for someone else from the novel?
  • BOJR: Oh, I’d crawl across broken glass with my tongue dragging the floor to play Mr. Dark! I do get to do it onstage in the new show Ray Bradbury Live (forever) as Ray himself doing a reading from the book (Ray was a great performer of his material), and I have to tell you that I look forward to climbing that bookcase with relish. Mr. Dark scares the hell out of me. He knows what we want. He offers what we want. Also, as Bradbury says in that book, “Why would the devil buy souls when he can get them for free…when most men jump at the chance to give up everything for nothing?” Would I take Mr. Dark’s tainted bargain? Would you? Who can say? That’s the real fear.
  • JA: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I along with your fans appreciate getting to know a little more about you and your work.
  • BOJR: Hey, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you and with House of Tortured Souls readers! I love hearing from folks around the world, so hit me up on social (I’m billoberstjr everywhere such as imdb youtube instragram facebook twitter billoberst.com. I’ll try to keep making better and better movies. I love this genre with all my creepy little heart, and I’m proud to be associated with it




Posted by Jai Alexis

Associate Producer for the films Teacher Shortage, Violet. writer of the short film "The First" when he's not working he's eating Mexican food and watching The Golden Girls

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