It’s no secret around here that I’m a huge fan of the Phantasm movies, and Reggie Bannister just so happens to be one of my childhood heroes. So I was, to put it lightly, quite enthusiastic about having the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
For those of you who didn’t already know this, he’s been doing tons of work since (and during) the Phantasm series, and is repeatedly referred to as “the hardest working man in horror”. On top of that, he’s a musician (check out The Reggie Bannister Band on myspace), and runs Production Magic, Inc with his wife Gigi ‘Fast Elk’ Bannister.
Mr. Bannister’s body of work is quite impressive (some 51 film and television appearances according to IMDb) and includes the following cult favorites: Phantasm (1979), Phantasm II (1988), Silent Night, Deadly Night IV: Initiation (1990), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Wishmaster (1997), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998), Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), and Cemetery Gates (2006).
So without further ado, here’s the interview with everyone’s favorite ass-kicking ice cream vendor!
Interview with Reggie Bannister
Jonny Dead: What did you think of the Phantasm movies once you were able to watch them as completed films?
Reggie Bannister: I thought, “WHAT THE HELL…!!?”. Seriously, I felt the same way as everybody else. It was a total trip! And when I say trip I mean it. The first picture was obviously just the beginning of the journey. Now we’re three more stories into it and it just keeps getting trippy’er.
Jonny: You’ve done quite a bit of work throughout your career, including appearances in Wishmaster, Cemetery Gates and Bubba Ho-Tep, what are some of your favorite films and roles in your body of work?
Reggie: You know I love all the above referenced pics and characters I’ve been blessed to play, but if I had to pick one right now I’d have to go with THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X. It’s a Phantastically odd, beautifully acted, produced and directed movie. The brain-child of Paul Bunnell. It was shot in 35mm black and white Panavision Kodak film stock which they (Kodak) don’t even make anymore. As a matter of fact Paul got the last vestige of that film stock to finish ‘Johnny’ just before The Artist‘s producers could get it to finish their film…they (The Artist), won an Oscar and we have a great movie as well. Johnny X is now available on DVD through Strand Entertainment. A great way to see it is to invite a bunch of friends to a screening. You’ll laugh, clap and jump up and down with the characters and music which is incredibly infectious.
Jonny: You’re a cult horror icon yourself, and have worked with other cult favorites like Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm. What are some of your favorite experiences working with either these or other fellow actors?
Reggie: You know Bruce and Angus are absolute pros. Having said that, I’m totally used to working with “Pros”. I have worked with “The Greats” throughout my life. Bing Crosby, George Burns, Carol Channing, Sonny and Cher…really the list goes on and on since I grew up in music and film. You know…it crosses over. Think about it. Johnny X for example not only features Kevin McCarthy (Invasion Of The Body Snatchers ) also we have Paul Williams and Creed Bratton of the TV series “THE OFFICE”…oh yeah, and me…how’s that for starters? Not too shabby! The movie stars Will Keenan, De Anna Joy Brooks, Heather Provost (a Tony nominated producer)…it’s been like that my whole life…WOW! PINCH THYSELF!!!!
Jonny: Are there any specific films or actors that inspired you to get into the business yourself?
Reggie: Either you’re an entertainer or you’re somebody else. When I was a little kid and you asked me, “What do you want to be, kid?” I always said, I want to be an actor, a singer, or a politician…I figured out politics and decided on a more creative trip. Everything and everybody creative inspired me. Too many names to mention thank God!!!
Jonny: Outside of film, it looks like you are a musician with at least one album under your belt, and run an independent production company with your wife Gigi Bannister. Are you still involved in all of this?
Reggie: All of it!!
Jonny: What new or upcoming films should we look for you in?
Reggie: Look for Johnny X and Bloody Bloody Bible Camp on DVD RIGHT NOW!!!
Jonny: Are all ice cream vendors really just using a front in order to secretly save the world from supernatural entities?
Reggie: YOU BETCH’A!!!