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Kevin Bacon On Why They/Them Shouldn't Be Compared To Friday The 13th - Exclusive

One of Kevin Bacon's very first roles came in the form of a camp counselor who dies a memorable death in the 1980 slasher film "Friday the 13th," which proved a cult hit and spawned a wide-ranging franchise made up of a dozen movies (including a crossover with "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and a 2009 remake). Now, some 40 years later, Bacon is once again starring in a slasher flick, this time with a modern-day twist.

The LGBTQ-focused "They/Them" (pronounced as "They-Slash-Them"), which is now streaming on Peacock, follows a disparate group of queer kids who are sent to a gay conversion camp, where a team of counselors try to change their sexual orientation and gender identities while a killer runs loose. Bacon plays paradoxical camp leader Owen Whistler, who comes across as welcoming at first but quickly shows his true colors as the bodies pile up.

Just don't compare the two horror films to each other when you're in Bacon's company, as the veteran actor is quick to explain why the movies are vastly different, as he did during an exclusive interview with Looper.

They/Them is 'deeper' than Friday the 13th

While it may seem like Kevin Bacon's career has come full circle with "They/Them," he said he didn't reflect on his role in "Friday the 13th" while on the set of his latest film.

"There's a great kind of separation," said Bacon. "It's 40 years, or something like that, and it felt like a very different kind of movie in so many ways — a higher budgeted movie, a movie with a social point of view. 'Friday the 13th' was a giant hit and worked really well as a very specific genre film. 'They/Them' is a little bit deeper than that."

One reason "They/Them" differs from "Friday the 13th" is the fact that the former almost doesn't need a serial killer to be frightening, as the real horror is what's happening day to day at the conversion camp. Another difference is that while he's still portraying a camp counselor, Bacon isn't an innocent victim. As Owen Whistler, he can go from charmingly empathetic to monstrously mean on a dime, exemplified by a horrifying scene where the character threatens to torture an elderly dog if one of the campers doesn't shoot it first.

So how did Bacon connect to such an awful guy? "Get in there and commit," he said. "I don't like to do things halfway. If I'm going to play him, I want to give it — like in that scene ... about the dog — I want to give it everything I can."

"They/Them" is now streaming exclusively on Peacock.