The Washington Times - April 20, 2009, 01:16PM

Gather a gaggle of horror film actors in a room and you’re bound to discuss classics like “The Shining” and “The Exorcist.”

It’s still a blast to hear industry veterans at this year’s StarFest convention in Denver tell tales of what scares them silly. And, yes, all those stories about actors sitting for hours on end while makeup techs administer fangs/fins/blood/etc … it’s all true, they swear.

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The panel? - actors Ethan Phillips (”The Island,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” the upcoming “Dahmer vs. Gacy”), Jed Rowen (”Driller,” “Zombie Farm”), Robert Picardo (”Star Trek: Voyager,” “The Howling”), Pal Tallman (1990’s “Night of the Living Dead” and “Army of Darkness”) and director Jaume Collet-Serra (”House of Wax,” the upcoming “Orphan”).

Phillips recalled seeing his favorite horror film, “The Exorcist,” for the first time, an event which made him a die-hard genre junkie. “I was stoned out of my mind,” the actor said. and the film’s transgressive shocks shook him to the core.

“I’ve been chasing that one experience ever since,” Phillips said. Horror films, Phillips says, “take me out of my everyday life.” “It’s like being awake during a nightmare, but safe,” he added.

Tallman said “The Haunting” with Julie Harris, a black and white chiller, still gives her the creeps oh, so many years later.

Picardo cited “Alien’s” chest bursting sequence - “the biggest mind blowing experience I’ve had in a theater.”

Collet-Serra summed up why he thinks the horror genre exists in the first place.

“It’s human nature. You stop when you see an accident. Some of that [urge] needs to be satisfied,” he said.