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An Interview with Tom McLaren, Star of Death Pool

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2017

Films starring Tom McLaren on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Death Pool - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


Death Pool is a horror thriller about a boy who experiences a traumatic near drowning incident at the hands of his cruel babysitter. He grows up to be a serial killer known as the Valley Drowner. The body count is high in this film!  The lead is Randy Wayne and he's just fantastic in this role, he's perfectly cast. I play his father across a span of 15-20 years. I'm disappointed by my son's choices, even before I learn of his psychotic nature.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life?


I thought of complex family relationships. You are bonded together for life by blood, but there are challenges from time to time because each person is truly unique. It brings up questions of unconditional love and how far that love will stretch. I had a great time working with Randy and Gena Kay (my wife in the film) and that also helped bring our scenes to life.


In all honesty, if someone like Death Pool's Johnny was your real life son, how would you behave towards him?


That's a good question. I don't think anyone can answer it with complete honesty, unless this happened to them. I want to believe that I'd be supportive, but when the child becomes an adult there is little the parent can control. Still, I believe I would never give up trying to convince him and guide him to get the help he desperately needs. I think the questions about 'what did I do to cause this?' would be very haunting.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you identify with its serialkiller theme?


I auditioned for it out of the blue. I had never met any of the filmmakers in the past. The serial killer concept is always fascinating. What caused them to be abnormal? Why are most people fascinated by them? In the film, the Valley Drowner gains media notoriety, becomes famous, and it's a brilliant statement on bizarre celebrity obsession. Overall, I'm a big fan of the horror genre. Whenever I get an audition for a scary movie, I secretly cross my fingers because I enjoy horror so much.


What can you tell us about Death Pool's director Jared Cohn [Jared Cohn interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Jared is a great guy - a talented director and a genuinely nice guy too. He had a very clear vision of how to present this story, plus I love the retro feeling Valley vibe he brought to it. He also allowed me freedom to interpret my character. I wanted the father to be different from the mother. She loves him no matter what, but I'm frustrated to see my son's life leading nowhere. I love him certainly, but it's a challenging relationship.


Tom with co-stars Randy Wayne, Gena Kay

What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


It was fast paced. All five of my scenes were shot in a single day!  We had a firm deadline at the house location, so Jared had to make a last minute change to my final scene (no spoilers but I will say I was lucky I didn't have to go into that ice cold pool!). I'm very pleased with my contribution. It's nice to explore a character across a span of nearly 20 years.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I keep busy!  I've recently done many commercials and have more films coming. I'm particularly excited about The Dead Tales, an upcoming feature film in the vein of The Twilight Zone. I have a great story line about a husband who is pushed to his limits. I also have the third and final season of The Dracula Files coming this fall. It's an audio drama series where I get to play my dream role - Renfield!


Your/your movie's Facebook, website, whatever else?


I'm on the web at Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @tommclaren1, and like my Facebook public page @tommclarenpage. Happy to chat with movie fans and horror fans :)


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


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I'm pleased to have two films on Netflix right now - Expelled and Exorcism of Molly Hartley. Two other films are active on cable TV - Santa's Little Helper and All American Bikini Car Wash. This year my hardcover book Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archive was released in softcover and is available in stores and online everywhere. I've had some great fortune that I'm very grateful for!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you, you're very kind and I do appreciate your support of the indie film world.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD