From horror to hot dogs: “Halloween’s” Malcolm McDowell

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You will see no less than 5 people this Halloween dressed as Malcolm McDowell’s character Alex DeLarge from the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film, “A Clockwork Orange.”

 

It’s difficult to imagine the man who once played Alex in A Clockwork Orange buying a hotdog for a toddler. But that’s exactly what actor Malcolm McDowell was doing when the Weekly caught up with him via telephone.

McDowell will be in Las Vegas October 30 to November 1 for the multimedia horror event Fangoria Trinity of Terrors. Most recently known to slasher film fanatics as Dr. Sam Loomis in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II, the friendly English gentleman looks forward to meeting and chatting with fans this weekend at The Palms.

You’re such a pleasant gentleman and have an impressive resume, why do you think you’re best known for your villain roles?

Who knows? We are, after all, actors. We’re not the roles we play. The heavies, the baddies, are usually the good parts. So, I’ve got no compunction about playing “baddies,” as my kids say.

What was it like working with Rob Zombie on Halloween?

It was fantastic. He’s a friend of mine now and we did the first [Halloween remake] together. Rob’s also going to be in town with his band [at The Pearl October 30], a happy coincidence. … It was great working with him. I like him very much. He’s a great guy, and we always have fun on the set. We always manage to laugh and not take it too seriously.

Actually, even though I’m appearing in this Halloween I and II, in fact, I’m playing a supposedly good guy. He’s a doctor. He may be a complex, strange man, but he’s one of the few that are out there trying to help.

The whole weekend with Trinity of Terrors focuses on the horror film genre. Do you enjoy scary movies?

I’m not a great fan of slasher movies. I never have been, but I know people love them, so to each their own. I don’t know. It’s never been my favorite thing. So, I’ve never actually seen any of Halloween—the earlier ones. It’s weird.

In the U.S. you’re probably best known for your roles as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, the man who killed Captain Kirk in Star Trek Generations and, of course, the Halloween remakes. What lesser-known roles are your particularly proud of?

Time After Time was a terrific movie and a lovely role because I got to play the good guy for once, so that was fun. I enjoyed it just for that reason, and, of course, I met my then wife and we had two children. So out of that movie, I got two children, which is pretty incredible.

I think the roles that I’ve been proudest of are very difficult roles for an actor, such as a serial killer who’s a pedophile and a cannibal in a film I did called Evilenko, which was shot in the Ukraine. It was a very difficult thing to pull off and I think we did a good job with it. I also like the part I’ve been playing on television on Entourage. That is, after all, a comedy even though I’m playing a guy you wouldn’t want to mess with. But he is a great character. I mean, the great characters of Shakespeare are complicated – you’d call them baddies today—Macbeth and Lear and stuff like that. They’re all amazing parts.

You’ve also done some really fun voiceover work for cartoons and video games. Do you have any favorite roles?

I love Bolt. That’s my favorite. That’s a fabulous movie. I loved very much doing a video came called Fallout 3. Which is done very well. I play the president of the United States—but not with an English accent.

In keeping with the Halloween spirit this weekend, can you elaborate on your role in the new vampire film Suck?

We shot it up in Toronto. It’s a sort of vampire musical. I’m playing the so-called vampire slayer who is afraid of the dark and has covered himself in flashlights. It is a comedy and it was great fun to do. I heard it had an incredible screening in Toronto at the film festival and the reaction was fabulous.

Every year someone dresses up for Halloween as Alex from Clockwork. Do you ever plan a costume or will your kids be dressing up as someone?

I think I’m going to go dressed as Alex this year! [Laughs.] Why not? That’d be fun, wouldn’t it? I’d look like his grandfather now. But no, I’m being facetious. I know people and they come and tell me like I’ve never heard it before: “You’ll never guess what I’m going to go as!” And I go, “No, I have no idea!” But I always know. But that’s cool, that’s fine. I think it’s great that people do and they love it—and also it is a pretty easy costume to replicate, which is one good thing about it.

My five-year-old son Beckett—and it’s perfect for Vegas—he’s obsessed with Elvis and Tom Jones. If I could get Tom Jones to come to the house and have tea, he said he’d give [Tom] his favorite surprise. I said, “And what is that?” And he said, “A cookie.” But what child goes around singing “It’s Not Unusual” around the house? It’s wild.

(Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly and at LasVegasWeekly.com.)

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