by: The HORROR Man
I finally get a chance to talk with Parry Shen.
Parry Shen maybe best known for his role as Shawn, the dimwitted swamp tour guide in Adam Green’s Hatchet. Yet there is more to this man than meets the eye. His latest role puts him back in the Louisiana swamp that is home to one Victor Crowley. This time he is playing Shawn’s twin brother Justin and is desperately trying to find Shawn when he goes missing after the first Hatchet.
I had the chance to talk to Parry about his role in Hatchet, Hatchet II and future projects. Enough of me blabbing, lets get to the interview.
Horror Man: So in Hatchet II your playing Shawn’s brother Justin who is sort of Reverend Zombie’s (played by Tony Todd) sidekick. Whats the story behind that?
Parry Shen: “Ya, I don’t know if anyone caught this but basically how it was always written was that Reverend Zombie has a few swamp tours running, some legal some illegal and Shawn actually worked for him. So Justin and Shawn were his two lackeys. In the first film Shawn mentions his brother who we learn is in fact his twin, that got him the swamp tour job in the first place.”
HM: In Hatchet, your character Shawn is a bit of a goof and clumsy. Now you play his brother Justin in Hatchet 2. How is Justin? Can we expect the same out of him as well?
PS: “Well for being brothers, they do have similar aspects besides just outward appearances. This time we wanted my character to be more of a straight man, I call him the less inept brother. He’s more concerned since he got Shawn the job of doing swamp tours in the first place and he has always been the one taking care of the screw up that is Shawn. So in the film Justin is like, wait Shawn didn’t bring back the boat? So he is more worried than anything. Justin doesn’t really believe the whole Victor Crowley legend, he is just really concerned for Shawn.“
HM: Tony Todd plays Reverend Zombie and this time around you have a chance to work closely with him. How was that for you?
PS: “The first time around I didn’t have any scenes with Tony. I would just see him at conventions and such, so when I got the script for Hatchet II it was very exciting to see we would be working together. The man is a legend, not just in the horror genre but as an actor in general. There’s a reason he’s been around for so long ya know. Its great to see him work and be working with him.”
HM: Horror films have seen an up rise in popularity lately. There has always been a big audience for them but more and more non-horror fans are checking these films out now. Is this sort of a genre you feel you could stick with or are you more inclined to do other non horror related projects?
PS: “Well, my love of acting sort of lead me to the horror genre. I didn’t start out by saying wow I want to get my head chopped off and blood sprayed all over me. Just like Tony, his big break was Candyman and he did such a great job in it, people in that genre wanted to keep using him. Same goes for me, this is like my fifth horror film, my first was in nineteen ninety seven. Plus the horror fans took notice of me and it just sort of snowballed into what it is today. We both enjoy doing other types of roles not just horror. I mean, that’s why we became actors, so we can wear different types of masks in different roles.”
HM: By now you have probably heard the drama that has been going on regrading Hatchet II being pulled from theaters. Can you comment on this at all?
HM: Oh man you haven’t heard?
PS: (Laughs hysterically) “Ya man I know about it.”
HM: Man, I was feeling all super bad there for a minute. I didn’t want to be the one to break the news to you. (Both of us laugh for awhile).
PS: “It’s everywhere! With every project you hope for the best and expect the worst, but in this case the worst actually happened. I was telling Adam (Green) that everything was perfect up until the opening. We had great reviews overseas at Frightfest and no one over here saw it yet so the buzz was very big. He made, honestly, a better film then Hatchet. It’s much stronger, kills are better. So many people are going to be speculating about it. Was it the strong arm of the MPAA, or was it AMC’s fault, the list goes on and on. There’s so many factors in play. We put out the best product we could but I can’t really comment on why, ya know. To AMC’s credit they really were ready to release it unrated but for some reason on Friday they began pulling it. ”
HM: There are so many varying reports about what actually went on. AMC even released a statement on Twitter of all place saying Hatchet II was pulled due to lack of attendance. I don’t know if you know this but the horror community is in a real frenzy about it and are spiting venom at AMC.
PS: ” One of the things that doesn’t add up is the attendance factor. AMC started pulling it before the weekend numbers came in, so when they say its due to attendance that doesn’t really make sense to me. I would like to hear what they have to say about that. AMC has to answer to someone too, so they probably don’t want to rat out there bosses. So we may never really know the true reason why.”
HM: Well the fact of the matter is, Hatchet II is the first film in twenty five years to come out unrated, and you guys should be super proud of that.
PS: ” Right, and the cast has been great about it, but we were depressed. I feel that something good will come out of this. It does suck but I still feel we will see something good happen.”
HM: Lets get off this serious subject for now. How were the makeup effects on Hatchet II compared to those on Hatchet?
PS: ” Well with the first film we had to double check our work. This time we had a bit of a learning curve. We knew what worked and what didn’t. We had comparisons to look at from the first film and I could kind of see from the first film what needed to be shaded or re-worked but now for Hatchet II, when I saw Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley, he really looked deformed. Rob (Penderagt) did a great job on the makeup effects.”
At this time during our interview I veered away from Hatchet II and asked Parry about up-coming projects. We can look forward to a new game coming out threw Activision based on Hong Kong triads called True Crime. Parry said ” It’s sort of like The Departed, where there’s an undercover cop whose sort of wrapped up in the triads and starts becoming friends to these guy’s. The game play looks great and I’m real excited about it.”
Also on Parry’s agenda is the release of the second volume of his graphic novel “Secret Identities”. Which is an anthology of Asian American writers and artists. So be on the look out for this in the coming months.
I would just like to say thank you to Parry Shen for this awesome opportunity and for a great interview. Also on a personal note, Parry is a very humble guy and someone I respect very much. He travels the country and talks to collage students about being actors and how they can make it in the business. This is awesome of him to do and I give him much love and respect for it. Thanks again Parry.