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Aliens Star Lance Henriksen Talks About this Weekend's Horror and Sci-Fi Festival

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Lance Henriksen

is one of the most notable actors in the sci-fi and horror movie genres. He's had prominent roles in

The Terminator

,

Aliens

,

Pumpkinhead

, and

Scream 3

, among other films, so it's only fitting that Henriksen be inducted into the

International Horror Sci-Fi Festival Hall of Fame

.

That will happen Saturday, October 16, the same night Henriksen hosts a screening of Aliens and an autograph session/Q&A at MADCAP Theatres, as part of the 6th Annual Horror and Sci-Fi Festival.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Henriksen about the sci-fi and horror genres, why he loves Phoenix, and skinny dipping with Renee Zellweger ...

What are some of your favorite roles you've played?
In sci-fi and horror? Well, it all started out doing Terminator and Aliens, and I've done about 60 different films in the genre since then. They've all been really interesting roles. I just finished a film called Gemini Rising, where I play a marine colonel. Our crew has captured an alien and are holding him. Sci-fi and horror movies are morality plays, in a way. For example, I did a new horror film called Wilderness, in which a guy takes his son to the top of a mountain to catch up -- they've been separated for so long -- and some heavy things happen.

Sci-fi and horror films have taken the place of Westerns. They're the new morality plays, which Westerns used to be. To me, it's an adventure. The only reason I take a role is to have a new experience.

What do you like about the sci-fi and horror genres?
It takes care of the fears we're all living with. The world is changing rapidly. For example, they asked me to do some voice acting for a show where computers become self-aware. In the next 20 years, the world is changing to where we're more reliant on machines. Sci-fi lays out the possibilities and fears and sees what extreme it can go to, and how we'll need to adapt. If a movie doesn't have that search, it's not a horror -- it's just a slasher.

Are you excited about coming to Phoenix?
Yeah, I am. I've never been to a convention in Phoenix, so I'm really looking forward to it. I had an uncle in the Air Force, and some cousins, and they were out on Luke Air Force base for years. I'll never forget coming to Phoenix for the first time. I'm from New York, and I'd never seen the real desert, and such wide open space. Phoenix looked very different at the time, though. I remember they had old rifles at gun stores downtown, and you could buy one for $14. And I wanted to get one and go out in the desert shooting. I was just a kid at the time, but Phoenix was like the old west to me. It reminded me of a Western. I've made about five Westerns, by the way. The last one was Appaloosa with Richard Harris. I had to go skinny dipping with Renee Zellweger.

Oh, darn, right?
(laughs) Yeah, what a bummer.

What are you most looking forward to at the Horror and Sci-Fi fest this year? Do you ever get any strange requests at these types of conventions?
The Q&A is the thing I like the most. I love people asking questions about what they're interested in, or a part of a film they really loved. I get asked to do the knife trick a lot (a scene from Aliens where Henriksen's character quickly stabs a knife between all his fingers). But nothing bothers me.

The 6th Annual Horror and Sci-Fi Festival takes place Friday, October 15, through Sunday, October 17, at Madcap Theatres, 730 S. Mill Avenue in Tempe. Tickets cost $10 for individual screenings, $30 for a flex pass, and $99 for an all-access VIP pass. Call 602-955-6444 or visit www.horrorscifi.com for more information.

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