Fans of horror entertainment have the unique opportunity to meet Kane Hodder, the American actor and stuntman who starred as Jason Voorhees in four of the Friday the 13th movies, when he visits Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery in Salem this weekend.
Hodder, who played the machete-wielding monster in installments seven through 10 of the iconic horror series will be at the Nightmare Gallery from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a meet-and-greet autograph session, and to promote his tell-all book, Unmasked: The True Life Story of the World's Most Prolific Cinematic Killer, written by Michael Aliosi.
A limited number of Unmasked books will be on sale, as well as Aliosi's companion book, The Killer and I, about Aliosi's travels with Hodder while writing Unmasked.
The 57-year-old slasher-film icon has been maiming and murdering on the big and little screens for three decades, appearing in hundreds of films and T.V. shows, including his most recent role as Mr. Crowley in the Hatchet movie series, the third installment of which is in post-production and is set to be released next year.
Patrons can meet Hodder free of charge with museum admission, which is $8 per person ($6 for children) before 3 p.m. on the weekends. After 3 p.m., the museum becomes a haunted house, and admission is an extra $1. Autographs from Hodder are $20, and Nightmare Gallery owner James Lurgio said that many patrons bring items for Hodder to sign.
"He'll sign just about anything, as he's done in the past" Lurgio said.
The Nightmare Gallery hosts horror celebrities every year. Last year, Hodder was one of four guests that included Bill Johnson (Leatherface from the 1986 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II), Doug Bradley (Pinhead from the Hellraiser series), and Tony Moran (Michael Myers in the original Halloween).
Moran, who has appeared at the Nightmare Gallery for the last three years, appeared two weekends ago at the Nightmare Factory in Salem.
"When I was approached about Tony again, we talked about it and I thought the best thing to do is to bring him over to the Nightmare Factory," Lurgio said. "Nightmare Factory is a great haunt, and they had expressed interest in hosting a celebrity, and I thought Tony would be the perfect fit."
Hodder will be the only murderous antihero appearing at the Nightmare Gallery this year. R..A. Mihailoff, who played Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, was scheduled to appear on Halloween, but recently cancelled.
Lurgio said the city is already abuzz with anticipation at meeting the man behind the hockey mask.
"We had a great turnout last year, and there's a lot of people calling about him this year, inquiring," Lurgio said. "So, we would expect a big turnout."
Perhaps even more enticing to horror fanatics will be the event that Hodder appears at after his stint at the Nightmare Gallery.
On Sunday night, the Witches Cottage on Lynde Street is holding a screening of Lurgio's favorite installment of the "Jason" series, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood at 8:30 p.m., and Hodder will be on hand to provide live commentary of his first performance as Jason Voorhees.
Tickets for that event are $35, and are available online here.
"Not many people will be able to say they watched 'Jason' alongside Jason," Lurgio said. "We're looking forward to it."
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.