February 4, 2023

Marshal Hilton Talks ‘Primal Rage’

Marshal HiltonPrimal Rage, screening later this month as a special one-night event across the country, features seasoned character actor Marshal Hilton in one of his most impressive performances to date.

The film looks great. Have you had a chance to see a film with an audience yet?

Patrick and his team did an outstanding job finishing the film. I attended a friends and family private screening about a year ago. Since most of the audience were Genre fans and people that work in the business, it was nice to see even hardened genre fans react to certain moments in the film. When folks that have either created, or watched certain types of moments in movies hundreds of times, scream “OH SHIT!”, you know that the moment hit the mark. It seemed to go over very well. Generally, I don’t watch my work after the film is completed. I find it very unnerving to look at myself. I’m very self critical and I don’t want to let my ego free to self edit my work. Acting is the artful practice of freeing your “self” up; letting the camera see all things pretty, ugly and frightening. The camera wants to see organic imperfection, not an egos filtered view of the “self”.  I don’t want my ego to protect me from my instincts. Once an actor does that, you start posing, and know one likes to watch that.

The reward of a film playing in theaters – if even for one night – is that cast and crew get that immediate feedback from the audience. Will you be at a screening yourself, keeping an eye on the audience?

As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of watching my old mug, but I will be attending in support of the Primal Rage family. I met so many wonderful and supportive people on this film. I want to be there to share their moment in the sun. What we experienced and learned about one another is far more important than the making of a movie. Friendships can last a lifetime, movies, not so much.

I imagine there’s moments in the movie that you just know they’re going to be jumping out of their seats in too, and that you’ll be keeping an eye on the audience at that point?

Oh for sure. That’s what its all about. Movies are made for the audience. That’s why I always sit in back of the Theatre, the very last row. Watching the audience can tell you a lot. It also distracts me from watching myself.

Did the film do test screenings, do you know? Do independent films, on the whole, do those?

I’m certain that Patrick and the Producers shared the film with colleagues to get feedback, but as formal test screenings, I don’t believe they did. I know that Jon Landis was at the friends and family screening and he apparently really liked the film, so in that sense, that was a nice vote of confidence.

Marshal Hilton - Primal RageDo you see this as a critic’s movie or as an audience pleaser? Or do the two now go hand-in-hand?

Definitely an audience pleaser. In my opinion, Genre audiences don’t seem to put too much weight on critic opinions. They are much more curious and open to different forms of entertainment. Genre filmmakers have never really cared that much about what critics thought, otherwise they wouldn’t make the films they make. Genre filmmakers are much more honest with their muse and instincts. In order to be true to yourself as an artist you have to say “F it” and insulate yourself from critical considerations. Critic’s make their hay engaged in the intellectual interpretation of Art, verses the actual creation of it. Critical interpretation of Art is an important function to help synthesize the messages that Artists are offering up to the world with their work, but there are some who seem to hold themselves up to a sense of lofty self-importance and try to be clever with philosophical ramblings and aggressive negativity. Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one. I just think that some like to be controversial and loud as to say “…Listen to me!…My voice is better than the movie!…”. Civility seems to have gone out the window. If you don’t like something what’s wrong with saying “…I appreciate and respect the effort, but the film wasn’t of me…” rather than sharpening their blades and cutting someone’s heart out for shits, giggles and Click Bait…

Horror hasn’t really been recognized as much as it should’ve been in recent years – but with Get Out now up for Oscars, things seem to be changing. Would you like to see more and more of these films be up alongside… well, whatever Meryl Streep has any given year?

…only if the film deserves to be there in recognition of its artistic merit, not because of an artificially imposed system of political correctness. Awards shows have never been my thing. I understand what they are and the service they provide to the industry; it’s commercialism rewarding commercialism, I get that. They can elevate one’s career to soaring heights of opportunity in a single moment. They do provide positives in that way no doubt. But award shows are very political and the powers that make them happen are keenly aware of that. Hollywood is a political beast. I’m just not terribly fond of politicians and gross displays of self-indulgence on any level. I’d rather make things that feed me artistically and let others do what they do.

Primal Rage CastYour name is definitely out there online for this movie, and the film is getting great reviews, does that have as much to do with the horror community being one of the largest online groups out there or is it a testament to the film?

Both. Genre fans are without a doubt the most passionate and honest fans we have as artists. They seem to be very comfortable with whom they are and what they love, and they aren’t afraid to fly their flag. All you have to do is attend Comic-Con San Diego, of any other fan style convention to understand how passionate they are. There’s also a sense of anti-establishment, a defying convention, a respect for individual uniqueness that permeates their spirit. And with the way our society is splintering I believe that people are moving away from generic society. We as a society seem to be celebrating the unconventional more and more, and genre fans have always been unconventional.

As for the great reviews, that’s a testament to Patrick Magee and his team for the quality of their amazing work. His passion for Practical FX and the genre shows up in every frame of the film. The list of superlatives for his work in my eyes would be endless.

As for my name being out there, my publicist Clint Morris at October Coast is kicking ass. I’m so proud of what Patrick has made with Primal Rage. His perseverance and patience to finally bring his fifteen-year dream come to life is truly humbling. I am honoured that he would want me to be a participant in his vision. I will continue to sing praise for Patrick, my cast mates, and the crew as long and as loud as folks can stand me. Clint helps me with that.

Marshal Hilton HeadshotHow important is social and online marketing for a movie like this?

It’s huge. Viral support is actually the fans sharing with fans. It’s friend-to-friend messaging, not corporate-to-consumer messaging. I think when people discover things on their own, without the manipulation of cajoling, paid corporate advertisers, they have a sense of ownership, and they have a spiritual equity in the things they find. Fans are smart. They know when someone is jamming something down their throat. But when friends willingly share something they like with their friends, it a communal experience and more organic. It’s an honest sharing experience. That is why and how some films rise to cult status. It’s real and organic fandom free from corporate manipulation.

It’s been a pleasure and thank you for reaching out. Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew, I just want to say thank you for supporting this film. It was a passion project for everyone involved. I hope you and your readers enjoy the film. And remember; be careful when walking in the woods…

Thank you…

Special thanks to Marshal for the discussion. To learn more about him and what he’s working on check out the following links:

Give him like and a follow and tell him ScareTissue said hi!


I've been a fan of horror and slasher movies for as long as I can remember. I consider the original Halloween to be the best horror movie of all time and my guilty pleasure horror flick would be The Exorcist III. You can find me on Twitter at @406Northlane or TikTok @406Northlane where I'm sure I'll offend you at least once a day.

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