The killer next door

Kane Hodder, a.k.a. Jason Vorhees, tells his story in Unmasked: The True Story of the World's Most Prolific Cinematic Killer

Camping, anyone? Kane "Jason Voorhees" Hodder (left) cuts up with with co-author Michael Aliosi

TRASH Having terrified generations of horror film fans with his portrayals of some of cinema's most feared and iconic characters, Kane Hodder is a modern monster movie legend.

Perhaps best known for his long-time portrayal of the hockey mask-clad killer Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise (he played the role four times — more than any other person) the actor and stuntman has had a storied 30-plus year career in Hollywood, which he covers in his excellent new autobiography, Unmasked: The True Story of the World's Most Prolific Cinematic Killer (Author Mike Ink, 352 pgs., $25.99).

Co-written with Michael Aloisi, the book is full of great behind-the-scenes stories from Hodder's entertainment work, but it also delves into his childhood, when he was the victim of many a bully, and into brutally honest and heartbreaking (but ultimately inspiring) detail about the horrific burn he suffered in a 1977 stunt gone awry.

"It's not so much the re-living the traumatic stuff that's hard, but it's the stuff that I am really grateful for that's hard or emotional to talk about," says Hodder over the phone from a book tour stop in Massachusetts. "It's like any other therapy session, though — you talk about the things that bother you and you feel better."

The softer side of the celluloid boogeyman is revealed throughout the pages, from stories about the people that helped save him and aided his recovery, to interacting with his loyal fans. Hodder also talks about teaming up with Scares That Care! a nonprofit organization run by horror industry professionals to help sick children.

"It's nice to not only help raise money — I [also] enjoy talking to young people who have burned or have been bullied, because I can certainly identify with both of those things," he says.

One shouldn't think that Hodder has lost any of his ability or appetite for terrorizing, however. His roles in recent films such as BTK (2008) and Hatchet (2006) are clear examples of that. He enjoys giving people a good scare even when he's not working on screen — around Halloween he sometimes appears at events at haunted houses and attractions to sign autographs — and he can't help himself from getting in on a little of the fright action.

"Very often I'll just go into the haunted house and take somebody's spot for a while, and scare people for fun. When I can smell that fear it's very intoxicating to me," Hodder says with a dark chuckle. "I just really enjoy scaring people, I think it's so much fun."