This past weekend, The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center hosted 3 days of geek craziness at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con. The Con’s motto is “Get Ur Geek On” and fans poured in to meet celebrity guests, take in four panel rooms worth of Q&A discussions, weekend-long gaming tournaments, cosplay, and more. One of the celebrities I was most interested in meeting was Jeffrey Combs. A veteran character actor with over 130 credits to his name on IMDb, Combs was there in between co-stars from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Jake Busey from Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. While many know him from his classic role as Dr. Herbest West in Re-Animator (1985), Combs has been performing as Edgar Allan Poe in a one-man show for a decade. I was able to speak with him about the convention, his career, and his upcoming work. I totally got my geek on!
Geeks of Doom: I just read that you’re going to be performing in Sleepy Hollow [New York] this Fall, doing your show Nevermore.
Jeffrey Combs: Yes, I’ve been doing the one man show for awhile, it’s been running a long time in LA and touring around the country in Baltimore, Boston, Austin, Montreal, Vegas, San Diego, Nashville, just a lot of places. So there’s this new film festival called the Sleepy Hollow Film Festival, just a short train ride from Manhattan. Their idea for this festival is movies that are based on literary works, which is kind of a cool theme. They asked me if I’d do my Poe show. It’s a beautiful theater. I did a Facebook video with the guys while they were there and I was blown away by the space. I’m just really excited about it, we’ll be there October 12th.
Geeks of Doom: Your career it feels is based on literary work with all the Lovecraft films you’ve done, and I know Dennis Paoli wrote this.
Jeffrey Combs: Dennis Paoli wrote the script, and Stuart [Gordon] directed it, so it’s all one piece and everywhere I bring it people are deeply moved by it so we hope it continues.
Geeks of Doom: Castle Freak was just on Joe Bob’s Last Drive-In on Shudder.
Jeffrey Combs: I know, with Barbara [Crampton].
Geeks of Doom: That to me is the great trilogy of horror that no one talks about, yours, Barbara Crampton’s, and Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft trilogy.
Jeffrey Combs: We’re talking about it.
Geeks of Doom: Which of those three, or which role of those three is your favorite?
Jeffrey Combs: Well, different reasons, different things. Re-Animator was certainly the one that got us all on the dance floor.
Geeks of Doom: There was a great cosplayer here yesterday dressed as Herbert West with the severed head.
Jeffrey Combs: Yes, I saw him and we took a picture together. Definitely LSD flashbacks. Re-Animator started it all. Who knew? We didn’t when we were shooting it. It was one of those experiences filled with happy accidents. We had a great editor, great director, great cast, script, music, just everything came together. It was early in my career and I didn’t really know any better. You go forward and you get other movies, and you realize yeah, that was pretty miraculous because it doesn’t always end up that way. It doesn’t ever work that way. It was just one of those good things.
Geeks of Doom: I just saw Castle Freak for the first time and it was interesting see you as a leading man.
Jeffrey Combs: Why was that interesting?
Geeks of Doom: Between Re-Animator and From Beyond you play versions of mad scientists.
Jeffrey Combs: The moment you are a mad scientist and you do your job well, they say “˜do that again, play crazy again.’ I’m just an actor, I’m a character actor, and I don’t like limiting myself to genres or a particular prototype or person. It’s other people that do it. Another offer comes along and you say okay, here we go, it’s going to be the same thing. I’ve always tried to, even if it’s in the same realm, I try to mix it up a little bit and not do exactly the same thing.
Geeks of Doom: Last thing, you’re standing next to Jake Busey, The Frighteners is probably my favorite of your performances, and you have the Deep Space Nine crew to this side. You have a panel later. What is it like to be here and have fans from all these various universes converging?
Jeffrey Combs: Well, I tell people I have a foot in two worlds. I have my beloved Star Trek and then I have my horror contingent over here. It’s the best of both worlds and I’m grateful for all of it.
Jeffrey Combs is an icon of sci-fi and horror who has been entertaining, shocking, and scaring fans for four decades! Aside from the above mentioned films and his appearances on Star Trek, Combs has lent his voice talents to countless series including Justice League Unlimited and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, as well as two animated films based on young Howard Lovecraft. He has two projects in post-production on IMDb including a horror anthology called Holiday Hell where he stars as the Shopkeeper, who narrates the four tales.
His one-man show Nevermore will take place on October 12th in Sleepy Hollow, New York as part of the Sleepy Hollow Film Festival. The festival runs October 10th – 13th in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the release of author Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Find all the info about Nevermore and the festival here. The Great Philadelphia Comic Con wrapped up an awesome weekend. Stay up to date with them at their site here.
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