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An Interview with Jeff Kristian, Star of Nightmare on 34th Street

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2023

Films starring Jeff Krisitian on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Nightmare on 34th Street - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

Itís a holiday anthology of short horror stories. What more could you possibly want for ChristmasÖ sherry, mince pies and a few diabolical murders? I play a twisted priest whoís choir boys take revenge. And if you look closely, thatís also me at the beginning of the film strangling Dani Thompson [Dani Thompson interview - click here]. Iím expecting hate mail.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Jeff Kristian can we actually find in Father McShane?

 

McShane is an arrogant narcissistic predator whoís been shielded for years by those too weak to challenge him. Iíve experienced people like that first hand, and we see them in the news almost every day. Iím really not like him at all I hope, although we do have the same haircut.

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place, what drew you to it?

 

Director James Crow first contacted me way back in 2017 at the beginning of filming. I was already a fan of his work. It was an easy decision for me, really.

 

To what extent could you identify with Nightmare on 34th Street's approach to both horror and Christmas?

 

I know there are horror fans who like to watch someone being mindlessly hacked to pieces with a hatchet, with bits flying off and blood squirting everywhere. But I prefer to let my imagination do some of the work. Thatís Nightmare on 34th Street, it gets inside your head. Christmas just makes it more personal. And a bit sparkly.

 

What can you tell us about your director James Crow, and what was your collaboration like?

 

James has a very clear idea of what he wants to see in his viewfinder but is also very open to suggestions and interpretation. And he often has new ideas in the moment. It feels fluid, like working with music. Thatís not as common as you might think and itís great fun.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!

 

Actors are just showoffs who like dressing up, really. And James often works with the same crew and performers, so itís usually nice to turn up and find youíre spending the day with people you know. Like being on the set of a Carry On, I guess.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Well, Iíve worked on two other James Crow films that I believe are out next year. And publicity is just beginning on a Rahel Kapsaski movie based on the Aleister Crowley poem The Red Lips Of The Octopus [Rahel Kapsaski interview - click here]. I play Crowley in his fading years, as he looks back on his relationship with lover Herbert Pollitt. I also composed its soundtrack. Iíve worked with Rahel on other projects, including her sister Seleneís movie Spidarlings [Selene Kapsaski interview - click here], theyíre both amazing artists.

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

Itís something that just kind of happened. In 1970, Tommy Steele cast me in his BBC TV special In Search Of Charlie Chaplin. I looked a bit like Chaplin as a six year old. Because Iíd been on telly, I kept getting asked to do stuff on stage. So still at school, I was moonlighting around while training with a couple of actor mentors. I was gonna enrol for stage schoolÖ but then I joined a band. Rock'níroll, baby!

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Nightmare on 34th Street?

 

Iíve always been cast as oddballs. Iíve played an alien drag queen from Mars, a transgender Snow White on crack, an icecream man who melts his customers and a psychopath who rubs his face in murdered rentboysí underpants. Whatís not to like?

 

Besides making movies, you also have an extensive resumť as a stage actor - so what can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and how does performing in front of a live audience compare to acting in front of a camera? And which do you prefer, actually?

 

I loved doing theatre and old time music hall, and singing with live bands. I think Iím probably best remembered for my cabaret show. But in late 2016, I realised I had been on stage non-stop for over thirty-five years and needed a break. Three months later, I was on the set of Nightmare on 34th Street. I do miss performing live though, the audience responds instantly. But film work is more laid back, which suits me right now.

 

You of course also have to talk about your career as a songwriter and recording artist! So what can you tell us about your music, your musical influences, and of course your career highlights in the music world?

 

Next year is the fortieth anniversary of my first solo single, it was a bit of a shock when I realised. And this year Iíve been recording new versions of old songs with my very first band The Berry Lane. Writing pop songs is my true love. Iíve had songs in films for about twenty years now, which is a real honour. Of my four in Nightmare on 34th Street, If Everyone Believed In Christmas entered the LGBTQ music charts at number three last week. Iím so humbled and amazed. And itís glam rock, my fave genre!

 

How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

I think Iím brave, you have to be. But my confidence comes in part from taking time to prepare. Knowing my characterís backstory can inform me how they will react and what choices they will make. Sometimes itís in the script and sometimes I have to make it up. The rest is technical stuffÖ learn your words, show up on time, know your spot and where the camera is.

 

Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?

 

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Some of my examples might seem predicable. Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren. They can really do it and you canít help but watch. Itís a masterclass. At the moment Iím drawn to anything with Jonathan Bailey. I could watch Bette Davis till my eyes bleed.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Nightmare on 34th Street

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I get a bit bored with formula films. Scriptwriting 101 should be a guide, not a template. Predictable. Iíll go put the kettle on.

 

Your website, social media, whatever else?

 

Everything is at jeffkristian.com

 

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

 

James Crow and I wrote a song together for Nightmare on 34th Street. Itís called Pagan Dream and was recorded by Joshua Takacs for the end titles. The Jeff Kristian version will be in stores soon.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Straight back at yer! x

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

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
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