Book Review: Unmasked – Kane Hodder Biography

Unmasked: The True Life Story of the World’s Most Prolific, Cinematic Killer is one of the most amazing autobiographies I have ever read. Kane Hodder grabs the reader by the throat and drags them through his personal heaven (growing up on an island in the South Pacific, becoming a slasher icon) and hell (brutal beatings from bullies, a terrible burn accident, improper medical treatment that almost killed him). We learn how every physical and psychological scar shaped the man known for playing Jason and Victor Crowley. Unmasked offers slasher fans a brutal, uncompromising look at the life of a kid from Nevada who wanted to be a stuntman and survived hell to become a horror legend.

Mike Aloisi, the writer who shaped Kane’s story into Unmasked, has to be commended for prying these stories out of Hodder. Aloisi could’ve relied on old Fangoria interviews or dvd commentaries and labeled the product an official autobiography. Instead, the writer somehow convinced Hodder to open up about secrets the actor/stuntman kept hidden for decades. Hodder admits revealing some of this personal information is down right painful. These nuggets of private information add so much depth to the book and the reader’s impression as to who Kane Hodder the man really is when he isn’t killing people on camera.

For Friday the 13th fans Unmasked provides a treasure trove of information about all things Jason as seen through the eyes of Mr. Hodder. It’s obvious Hodder thinks of Jason Vorhees as more than just a character he played for a paycheck. Reading his thoughts on being replaced for Freddy vs Jason is like watching someone pick a scab off a festering wound. Hodder’s words drip with anger and bitterness over the studio’s decision to replace him as Jason. Something I didn’t know about this episode in Kane’s career is the studio actually sent him a script and told him the film was a go. Later, after trying to get in touch with producers and studio heads, someone casually told him he’d been replaced by someone with experience playing the character.

Despite Hodder’s gruff “fuck with me and I’ll put you in a coma” exterior, the man is quick to praise everyone who’s ever helped him in his life and career. Kane admits he might not be here today if it wasn’t for fellow burn victims who helped him fight back through the pain and depression. He’s also grateful to directors Rob (The Devil’s Rejects) Zombie and Adam(Hatchet) Green, who wrote the forward forUnmasked, for hiring him at a time when he thought his career was finished. And in a rare move for an actor’s autobiography, Kane Hodder thanks the fans for supporting him all of these years. Hodder admits he loves all of his fans, except for one sick bastard who sent him a package containing a bottle of freshly squeezed semen. It’s a twisted little story about a fan’s devotion to his hero, folks, but Hodder’s reaction is funny as hell.

You don’t have to be a Kane Hodder fan to enjoy Unmasked. Hodder’s triumph over adversity is a great story worthy of notice from mainstream media outlets. There’s plenty of dark humor and behind the scene anecdotes to wet your appetite but the real meat of the book is Hodder’s life and death battle after his accident. This book is really an absolute must have for slasher fans.

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