Interview: Tom Atkins Talks About New Halloween Slasher TRICK and His Favorite Horror Movie Role

Tom Atkins is a legend in the horror community. His first film was The Detective in 1968, which starred Frank Sinatra, but Atkins is most often associated with films like The Fog (1980), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), and Night of the Creeps (1986). He also starred in Creepshow (1982), Maniac Cop (1988), and My Bloody Valentine (2009). Horror fans have had many years to get to know Atkins based on the number of movies he’s appeared in. In real life, he’s nothing like the sometimes unhinged characters he’s played that we all know and love. He’s in a much better mood and a lot more charming.

Atkins stars as Talbott in the new film Trick, directed by Patrick Lussier, who directed My Bloody Valentine, and written by Lussier and Todd Farmer. Trick stars Omar Epps (House, Scream 2) as Detective Mike Denver, Ellen Adair (Homeland, The Sinner) as Sheriff Lisa Jayne, Kristina Reyes (Blindspot) as Cheryl Winston, and Jamie Kennedy (Scream franchise) as Dr. Steven. Cheryl witnesses her classmates being killed by a masked killer named Patrick “Trick” Weaver, who was later arrested, but escaped police custody and was shot five times by Detective Mike Denver. Trick was assumed dead, but the following year, Trick appears on Halloween and commits another bloody massacre. Detective Denver is determined to catch Trick, even if it causes him to lose his own sanity. The movie features some pretty insane kills and gruesome special effects and offers a new take on the slasher subgenre of horror.

Dread Central was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Tom Atkins about Trick, his favorite movie role, his thoughts about current horror movies, and a lot more. Read on to find out what we talked about!

RLJE Films will release Trick in theaters, on demand, and digital October 18th.

Dread Central: Hi, Tom! Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me today! I’ve seen Trick and I really enjoyed it.

Tom Atkins: Well, good! I appreciate it. I saw Trick at the premiere October 9th at the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and I really enjoyed it. I loved it! When it started, I thought, “Oh my God. Patrick’s gone to the dark side.” It’s very bloody at the beginning and I thought it was really terrific. I love this sense of dread that you felt through the whole movie. I’m a great audience for anything [laughs]. I’m the best. I just get all wrapped up in it and react verbally and say things like, “Oh no, don’t go there! Oh God! Oh Jesus, please! Oh no!” And I had a bag of popcorn. I really enjoyed it. I had a wonderful time at that premiere. It was terrific.

Tom Atkins in Trick

DC: Talbott, the character you play in Trick, is a bit different from the characters we’re used to seeing you portray. What appealed to you about the script and the role of Talbott?

TA: I was the town grouch, an old curmudgeon. Everything appealed to me about it [laughs]. First of all, and this is the truth, it’s my third film with Patrick Lussier and I would go anywhere and do anything to work with him. I just love him. He’s like being with my younger brother. He’s just a wonderful director and I think all of his years of being Wes Craven’s editor have served him incredibly well as a director, because he’s shooting as he wants to see it. That makes it easier on his own editor, who I met [laughs] wandering around the production building one day up there in Newburgh, New York. He was a terrific, young guy. I saw him at the screening. It’s just phenomenal work, I think. It’s one of the best I’ve seen Patrick put together. I loved it. I just loved the film.

I love Talbott. He’s an aging grouch and curmudgeonly guy, but you could tell he’s also got a sense of humor about him and he adores the young people in the movie, in his own weird and angry way. It’s the older folks that he’s got no use for [laughs].

DC: Some of my favorite roles you’ve played were in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, The Fog, and Night of the Creeps. Do you have a favorite role and why?

TA: Sure! Night of the Creeps, Detective Ray Cameron. That is my personal favorite. I had all the good lines in that. “Well girls, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is your dates are here. [does high pitched voice] “What’s the bad news?” [regular voice] “They’re dead.” And then the zombie boys in their tuxedos come up the lawn to pick up the girls for the formal [laughs]. I loved making that movie. We had so much fun in L.A. in 1985 or so. I think that was the year we shot it and then it came out in 1986.

Fred Dekker is a dear, dear friend, and has been ever since we met making that movie and putting it together. I got to see him twice out in L.A. this past trip. He came to the premiere of Trick and him and some other people and I had dinner at Musso & Frank, that wonderful, one-hundred-year-old restaurant in Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard. It was in Tarantino’s movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s cool and it’s really good food. It’s a wonderful old joint.

Jamie Kennedy, Patrick Lussier, Omar Epps, Tom Atkins, and Aaron Dalla Villa at the premiere of Trick at Screamfest Film Festival, October 9, 2019
(photo credit: Rodin Eckenroth)

DC: That’s really awesome that Fred Dekker came to the premiere of Trick!

TA: Yeah, that was nice. Well, I was out there for a tribute day for Beyond Fest. They had a whole day just for Tom Atkins. They showed The Fog, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and Night of the Creeps. What a hoot! So, the people from Trick said, “Well, you’re already there. We’re going to premiere at Screamfest across the street.” The Beyond Fest was at the Egyptian Theatre and they premiered Trick at the Chinese Theatre right across the street. So, they kept me on out there and I got to stay in the old Roosevelt Hotel and go to the premiere and see Patrick Lussier and all the gang.

DC: Trick is a new take on the slasher subgenre. What are your thoughts on the future of horror?

TA: Well, I don’t know. I don’t like the new horror usually, things like Saw. They’re kind of relentless gore for no real reason. You don’t get to know the people. What I loved about the ones that we made in the eighties, and that I like about Trick, is that you do get to know the people. You have people that you can root for and hope that they get through it alive and come out the other side okay. But, with the ones like Saw, you don’t get to know them, you don’t even know who they are, and you could care less if they all get gored out. I thought Patrick Lussier did a wonderful job on Trick in that it starts off pretty violent, but then you do get to know Talbott, you hope he makes it, and Omar Epps and Ellen Adair, their characters. Some make it, some don’t. I love that there is something redeeming about the movie; that it isn’t just relentless slice ‘em up.

DC: I agree. I grew up in the eighties and I really love eighties horror.

TA: See? Yeah, that’s right. Thanks, I appreciate it. It’s nice talking with you.

DC: It’s so nice to talk to you. I really appreciate it!

TA: Thank you. See you next time!



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