Actor John Molinaro first came to my attention in the brief but hilariously memorable role of Mr. Winthrope in Pool Party Massacre (you can read my review of the film here). His latest film is Rolfe Kanefsky’s Party Bus to Hell, which I’m really looking forward to. Recently, I had the chance to chat with John about how he got into acting, his favorite horror films and what’s next for him.
PopHorror: What made you decide you wanted to be an actor? How did you get involved with acting?
John Molinaro: Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be in the movies, but somehow life takes over and it wasn’t until the last few years that I really started to focus on it more. I was having a conversation with a good actor friend of mine, Manu Bennett who plays Deathstroke on the CW TV show Arrow, and he said something that really hit home about life in general. One of the hardest things to live with is regret, so I got some professional headshots done and picked up my acting classes and went to work. You never want to look back on your life and wish you had tried harder or have that “what if” question.
PopHorror: Your performance in Pool Party Massacre was absolutely hilarious. How did you come to be involved in the project? What was it like working with first time director Drew Marvick?
John Molinaro: Thank you, Charlie! I got a phone call from a very talented and funny actress, who also played my wife in Pool Party Massacre. The actor who was originally cast for that part had conflicting commitments and had to bail on the film. Mrs. Winthorpe called me and asked if I’d be interested in working with her on this slasher film. Duh! Of course. Working with Drew was so amazing. What a wonderful and humble soul he is. But working with Drew is like hitting a Royal Flush on video poker. It’s fantastic, but then you think every time you gamble (or film) it will be like that. It’s not. Drew is a one of a kind and I’d work with him again anytime.
PopHorror: You have a role in the science fiction film Before the Dark. What can you tell me about your role and the film?
John Molinaro: Before the Dark is such a cool little film. It was written by Brad Hamerly and directed by Bennie Oliveri. I can never fathom how these guys wrote and directed such a complex film. It’s a thinking person’s sci-fi, which is really cool. I loved working with these guys and it was a pleasure to be involved in such a great story. I played the role of a government agent that gets called in to deal with top secret experiments and people when the situation requires a little muscle.
PopHorror: You play the lead cultist in Rolfe Kanefsky’s Party Bus to Hell. Was it fun for you to play a villainous role? What was it like working with such a talented cast and crew?
John Molinaro: WOW! I can’t say enough about this film. This was such a blast to work on. I loved this role… I grew up rooting for the bad guys and listening to heavy metal. This role was written for me (laughs). Seriously, as an actor you have to be able to adapt to virtually any character that you play, but sometimes one comes along that hits the sweet spot. The cast and crew were great to work with. Everyone on set was extremely professional, but at the same time, were happy to be there and enjoying it all. Sometimes you are faced with some really long hours and weather conditions that don’t want to cooperate with filming, but everyone kept a positive attitude and I attribute that mostly to the director Rolfe Kanefsky and the executive producers Michael and Sonny Mahal for keeping things on track.
PopHorror: The film recently had it’s premiere. What did you think of the final product?
John Molinaro: The premiere was fantastic! What a great experience sharing the red carpet with such talented actors and actresses such as Tara Reid and Sadie Katz. I was excited to be watching the premiere for the first time with such a large audience but also on the edge of my seat. It’s always nerve racking making a film because once you are done filming, the movie is really in the hands of the director and editors. It can go either way at that point, but Rolfe had a very talented team working on post production and I couldn’t be happier as to how Party Bus to Hell turned out. I’d love to see this become a cult classic.
PopHorror: You have a role in the action/revenge film Out for Vengeance. What can you tell me about your character?
John Molinaro: Out For Vengeance is an action film written, directed by and starring Salar Zarza and has a ton of awesome martial arts actors, including Michael Quissi who played Tong Po in the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Kickboxer. I worked on this for several weeks in the Netherlands and they are now at the tail end of filming and should be released sometime in early 2018. My character’s name is Jackson and he is the sniper on a special forces team. What a fun character to play as he was a very down to earth but also a cocky badass. I got some really fun lines and got to show off a bit during a few fight scenes including a bar brawl with two stuntmen. I grew up watching JCVD films and I’m honored to have worked with a team that comes from the same camp.
PopHorror: You’re also part of the cast for Ride Hard: Live Free, a dystopian action film where you play the role of Spider. What can you tell us about your role without spoiling anything?
John Molinaro: I am really excited to see the finished film come out. This was a rush as it was such a cool story and character… I get so lucky with cool characters. Spider is real hot head biker that isn’t afraid to voice his opinions or go toe to toe with anyone who disagrees. Spider is loyal to his M.C. gang, but isn’t a yes man and loves to get a bit scrappy. Such a thrill being on set with Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy) and R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw 3).
PopHorror: Are you a fan of horror films? If so, what are some of your favorites?
John Molinaro: Funny you should ask… When I was a kid, one of my older brothers loved to take me to scary movies all the time without telling me what I was about to see. Ones I remember vividly are Ghost Story, American Werewolf in London and The Exorcist. So as a kid, I had nightmares and was not fan of the genre, but then as I got older, I saw the light… or the darkness you might say (grinning). I recently met Linda Blair at a horror fest and honestly, I wasn’t sure how I’d react seeing Regan in person! I enjoy the horror/comedy films but truthfully, I’d really like to be in a horror film that keeps you awake at night. Not necessarily ones with an overly amount of gore and full of shock, but ones that really get into your head and make you have to watch cartoons before going to bed. My favorites? So many, but the top ones are Hellraiser, Let the Right One In, Halloween 2, American Werewolf in London (ironic right?), 30 Days of Night (I’m partial to vampires) and I’ve always liked the first few Nightmare on Elm Streets.
PopHorror: If you could work with anyone in the indie horror scene, who would it be?
John Molinaro: Oh man… I know you said indie, but my wish list would be Rob Zombie, Fairuza Balk, Rosario Dawson, Danny Trejo, Liv Tyler, Sarah Michelle Gellar… This list could go on forever.
PopHorror: Any upcoming projects?
John Molinaro: I’m currently working on a made for TV series called Shades of Sapphire directed by Conrad Glover, where I play a drug cartel boss. I’m also working on a short film that I wrote, produced and starring in called Promises. I’m hoping to have that ready for the festivals by early next year. Not all in the horror genre, but I wanted to make a film that was thought provoking and potentially controversial. Not to stand on a soap box, but there is so much stupid crap going on these days, I wanted to create something that meant something and hopefully will hit the heart strings of the audience.