An Interview with Edward X. Young – By Nic Brown

I was talking with Women of Horror featured actress, Melanie Robel, when a tall, lanky, bearded man in a Hawaiian shirt strolled purposely towards us. Edward X. Young, stood out from the typical, black clad, horror convention crowd as he moved  through the halls of the Famous Monsters of Filmland show like a man on a mission. He was in fact looking for some of his co-stars from Cameron Scott’s production POST MORTEM AMERICA 2021, which was set to resume production right after the show’s conclusion on Sunday. After running into Melanie, Edward learned that most of the cast had taken a break and gone out for a bite to eat. That was when Melanie said, “You really need to interview Ed! He’s a great actor and he’s doing special effects work as well.” 

Although he looked familiar, I couldn’t place the name. Still he was confident and well-spoken, and Melanie’s contagious enthusiasm quickly led to a conversation. It only took a couple of minutes for me to realize that Melanie was right. There was more to this man than just great taste in shirts!

*   *   *

Nic – Edward, it’s not often that you find an actor who also works as a special effects make-up artist. Which one did you start out as?

Ed – Professionally, I started out as an actor about five years ago. However, as a kid growing up, I was more interested in creating the special effects and the prosthetics. When I was in my teens I was fascinated by the work of Tom Savini and I tried to duplicate the effects that I saw him create. So you could say I started out with the effects. In fact I used to make Super 8 films when I was in high school. I wanted to not just be an effects artist, but also a director and I guess you could say that I’ve evolved into an actor as I’ve gotten older. Now I’m an actor who also does special effects.

Nic – What kind of effects do you specialize in?

Ed – Well with all due respects to the CGI effects experts out there who I’ve worked with, I’m firmly rooted in the practical effects. I’m an old fashioned, retro effects kind of guy. I like the messiness. You can have the computer create an effect or you can be on the set covered in fake blood, and it just always seems more authentic and fun that way.

Nic – So how did you get you get back into the film business both as an actor and a special effects artist?

Ed – I started acting again in 2005; it was a late in life thing for me since I was in my mid-forties then – that shows there’s always hope! (laughing) I was involved as an actor in the movie SEA OF DUST, which is being released world wide on August 10th. It’s a tribute to the Hammer Studio films and Tom Savini is in it as the starring villain Prester John, an evil demon incarnate. It’s a period piece and we were lucky enough to also get Ingrid Pitt from THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, and of course we worked with some terrific make-up people like Josh Turi. Even though I was an actor in SEA OF DUST, I learned a lot from him.

Then I kind of graduated into doing the special effects for films when I was working on a movie a couple of years ago called THE GREEN MONSTER, not to be confused with the Red Sox and Fenway Park! (Laughs) It was made by Untold Horror and Scream Kings and it was definitely inspired by the Rob Zombie movies. In it, I play a character who’s kind of redolent of Sid Haig’s Captain Spaulding and Bill Moseley’s Otis Driftwood. The movie was a real guerilla production, well made but very low budget, and while we were on the set they had a need for someone to create some make-up effects and they didn’t have anyone around who was capable of doing the effects they needed. It was a gore drenched horror film and I told them that I’d read the script and knew what they were looking for and that I could do most of it. So I did it. I got some nice stuff in there too; disembowelments, stabbings, throat slashings, a great gunshot to the head. A lot of good stuff! (Laughing again) I really only did that because I had to, but my reputation started to proceed me and people had heard that I’d done a good job on THE GREEN MONSTER and so I’m frequently asked to do them now.

Nic – Let’s focus a little more on the acting side of your career. What are some of the other films you’ve been in since your return to acting?

Ed -Well SEA OF DUST is the one coming out right now. I also worked on ONLY GO THERE AT NIGHT Parts One and Two. Then I did THE GREEN MONSTER…. You know, I’ve done twenty five films and all but two of them are horror films. Here at the Famous Monsters convention I’ve got the movie EMERGING PAST where I play father Cole, he’s an exorcist. I also do all of the special effects for that film so I’m rather proud of that picture. The producer of that film, David Lee Madison, then cast me in his movie MR. HUSH. I get to play the lead and title role, and I must admit that I’ve played the lead a couple of times, but it’s my first titular role where my character is the name of the movie. MR. HUSH is my biggest film to date and in addition to the lead role I was also in charge of the special effects. I had to beg off on doing all of them because it’s difficult to try and play a lead who is an elegantly dressed, Victorian styled gentleman and at the same time do all the gory effects. So I differed to my team of special effects experts who worked with me. They were my posse: Kiara Fattorusso, Rob Brown, and my wonderful fiancée Susie Palermo.

I’m really proud of MR. HUSH both as an actor and for the work that we did on the special effects for that film. The movie is having a grand release on October 22nd and it’s having its own convention: Mr. Hush’s Weekend of Fear! We shot the film primarily in Pennsylvania and we’re having the convention at the Best Western Motel in Matamoras, Pennsylvania October 22nd through the 24th. We’ll have a lot of guest celebrities there including Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13TH), Brad Lorey (Michael Meyers in HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION), Scream Queen TIFFANY SHEPIS, and Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from FRIGHT NIGHT). It was a real thrill to work with all of these people, but especially Stephen; I’m a fan of his work in FRIGHT NIGHT and in that film he plays Chris Sarandon’s evil henchman and in MR. HUSH he plays my evil henchman so it is a weird dream come true! Also, David Lee Madison is the writer/director of MR. HUSH and his favorite movie of all time is FRIGHT NIGHT. In fact his daughter, Amanda, is named for Amanda Bearse (Amy Peterson in FRIGHT NIGHT) so this was a labor of love for him. It’s a retro horror film and I’m honored that he trusted me with the lead role in it and the special effects. It’s a great film and the convention is going to be a real blast.

Nic – Are you in production on any films now?

Ed – I am! As soon as we finish here at Famous Monsters, I’m off to work with writer/director Cameron Scott on his film: POST MORTEM AMERICA 2021, which features a lot of great talent like Melanie Robel, Michelle Shields, Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, Jim O’Rear, and Jessica Cameron who co-stars with me in MR. HUSH.
 
Nic – What about some of your non-horror roles?

Ed – Well you can see me online in MEGA MAN written and directed by Eddie Lebron. It’s based on the first three games of the MEGA MAN video game series. I play Dr. Light, the creator of Mega Man. Eddie Lebron is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker. In fact I think he’s the next Stephen Spielberg. He’s young and extremely talented. He’s a writer, director, special effects artist and cinematographer. Eddie’s also currently editing MR. HUSH.

Nic – As an actor what do you find to be most challenging?

Ed – That’s a tough one! I think my biggest challenge is that I studied acting and filmmaking in my youth and I didn’t stick with it then. You know when I was younger I dreamed of being in horror movies. I wanted to be the next Christopher Lee or Vincent Price. I made Super 8 movies and drawing my own horror comics as a kid and when I was in high school. Then I got into college at Seaton Hall University and the professors… well they mind-fucked me! They convinced me that if I was going to be an actor then I should be a serious actor. I should do Shakespeare, I should aim for “higher notions” (does air quotes and shakes his head) like working on Broadway or in television. They tried to get me to put the notion of doing horror films behind me. That kicked the passion out of it for me and combined with family pressures to get a “real job” (more air quotes) took the wind out of my sails.

I was getting a lot of lead roles in plays out of college. I was doing Repertory Theater and doing the Shakespeare; I was even the lead in CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD. I was being taken rather seriously and I was doing the serious acting. But I put it on the shelf and it drifted away because I’d lost that passion I had for it. So for me the biggest challenge was that I found myself 45 years old, I’d been working as a journalist in New Hampshire for a number of years, nasty divorce, economically ruined, and in this electronic age I found my sources of revenue disappearing. The paper and the magazine that I worked for both went under and I found myself out of work and feeling pretty low.

Well a friend of mine from college, Bill Temeny, whom I hadn’t talked to in about 14 years, found me through the internet and he urged me to try acting again. He’s been working as an actor out in Hollywood since the time I was working as one in New York and he kept encouraging me to get back into acting. He said you can do anything you want and you have enormous freedom to express yourself. Of course I hadn’t acted in two decades, so getting back on that horse was quite the challenge for me. I didn’t know if I could do it again so the biggest challenge for me was overcoming those fears.

What’s ironic was that now I go to auditions and if it’s a horror movie, I get cast before I walk out of the studio. If I go to anything else the tell me “don’t call us, we’ll call you!” (Laughing).

So now I’m living my childhood dream and if I could say one thing to anyone listening it would be don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams! If they are your dreams then there may be a reason you feel that in your heart. I am getting to where I always wanted to be. I’m a lead horror actor and a special effects make-up artist. So go for it! If you can believe it, you can conceive it, then you can do it!

*   *   *

Related Links:

http://www.myspace.com/edwardxyoung
http://www.facebook.com/people/Edward-X-Young/746786459
http://www.mrhush.net
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1980137
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Hush-the-movie/310235707819