SINISTER 2 – And the Pleasant Surprise of a Strong Sequel

25 Aug

I don’t generally appreciate horror sequels.  I will go, I will spend my money, I will buy a snack, and oh…  I will be scared, but I’m not gonna like it.  I go in with my standards not particularly low but certainly not high.  With my expectations just a touch more realistic, I can come out of a sequel with a nod to my friends like, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.”

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER(s) 2 and 3 were not horrible films, and as sequels go, they weren’t that bad.  But they are somewhat forgettable films in comparison to their predecessor.  It really hurt me to say that too, you know how I feel about Whannell and Wan…  That is true love that will never fail.  My point being that you can have a great film like INSIDIOUS that is wonderful on its own, but with a sequel that is sub-par, and kind of just makes you sad.

SINISTER 2 is not one of those films.

sinister2

The film begins in a very similar fashion to part 1.  We helplessly watch a home video that shows the demise of a family.  Ex-Deputy So and So (who’s name, I don’t think is actually mentioned) is now a private investigator who is traveling the states, trying to find out what happened to Ellison Oswalt’s (Ethan Hawke) family and all of the families like theirs who have been stalked and hunted by Bughuul.  Shannyn Sossamon plays Courtney Collins, a mother of two boys who is on the run from a troubled marriage, Ex-Deputy So and So tracks the mysterious murders to the Collins home, and things get freaky from there.

deputy so and so

I was going to write something about getting freaky with Deputy So and So but then thought that might be a little tacky… So I won’t say anything about that…

What I loved about this as a sequel is that while keeping with the tone of the first film, it still finds a way to do things in a unique way.  The children are not really used as a scare tactic this time around, instead as tools that keep the story moving, there is introduced a reason as to why the family movies exist, and it doesn’t undercut the story, or cheapen the original film.  Some sequels in over-explaining the origin of their ghouls and beasties do this poorly, in my opinion the SAW franchise is one over-explanation after another, after the first film, old characters come in and out like guests who’ve overstayed their welcome and the story drags, introducing instead more shock and gore to delight at least the gore-hounds in the audience who are less concerned about story.

The music continues to be a big player in the film.  The score, this round composed by tomandandy, does not disappoint and keeps with the tone of the original, subtle, creeping music of Christopher Young.

Without giving too much away (I hate when people do that) SINISTER 2 must be the strongest sequel I have seen in a very long time.  To come out of the theater and think to yourself, “I think this is as good as the original” is a rarity, and an accomplishment in an age where every horror film needs a sequel, and most of them are sub-par.

All in all I give SINISTER 2 4 out of 5 stars, which is ridiculous.  Go see it now.

I’m off to watch HEATHERS 1988 and wish I was Wynona in the later 80s…  Have a spooky evening!!!

xo
J

sinister2.1

Night night!

Afterlife with Archie (Book One)

23 Nov

This is going to be short and sweet, mostly because it started as a Facebook status and then I realized *oh wait don’t I review horror related things somewhere?*  Also I do apologize as I don’t read a lot of comics, so this will not be as in depth as some of my other rants.  I’m slowly finding my way into a horror-y niche of comic books (I have a big book of classic EC inspired horror comics, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, and now this…  And I read the original Archie’s as a young girl.

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (Book One)

Well, kids. My childhood has been torn from the depths of my heart and ripped to shreds by a zombie dog.

#Spoilers

#Spoilers

Afterlife with Archie is emotional and thrilling. It is wonderful to be able to look back at something that I loved so much as a child, see how it has grown too, and become something dark, mature and new.

We begin our tale in the first few pages at night, Sabrina hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Jughead, holding a lifeless Hot Dog with tears in his eyes, asking for her help to bring him back.  I will say nothing more on the story-line but from the cover above I think you get the idea.

I don’t think I have ever cried reading a comic before… So that’s new. (The whole Vegas thing? Real tears.)
The zombies are very standard, which I enjoyed, a series so rooted in the 40s and 50s deserves retro zombies. I liked the little homages to classic zombie-related films as well: “Sometimes, dead is better.”

All in all I think that this series is a must for those who were fans of the original comics, like horror or zombies, and who are ready to get a little closure.
I can’t wait for book two!

P.S. So unfair for anyone who identified themselves as a “Jughead Girl”.

Please read, and stay scared darlings,

xo Jessie

Back From the Dead – THE DESCENT (2005)

11 Nov

What?  Two posts in two weeks?  UNHEARD OF!

I have returned again for another segment of Back From the Dead, where I will watch a film I used to dislike, or watched only once and judged unfairly, in the hopes of either being pleasantly surprised having wrongly judged a film in my angsty black haired youth, OR confirming my high-school assumptions that EVERYTHING SUCKS.

Last week we looked at DARKNESS FALLS, and thus far, scary black-haired, perma-frown Jessie was winning.  But this week we take a look at Neil Marshall’s 2005 cave-diving, claustrophobia inducing THE DESCENT.  Of the other films of Marshall’s I have seen, DOOMSDAY and DOG SOLDIERS, it is safe to say that I am split right down the middle having loved DOG SOLDIERS and having hated DOOMSDAY (next week on Ashes and Rashes (just kidding)).

I SAID NO.

GO AWAY DOOMSDAY. I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT.

THE DESCENT (2005)

I’m going to begin this by saying that my problems with claustrophobia have not always been a thing.  In fact I think that it actually only started a couple of years ago, not that I have had a lot of experience traveling through small spaces or crawling through tunnels.  This film…  This film, confirmed that I do in fact have a problem.  Y’know, because waking up to a full-fledged panic attack from dreaming that I was crawling through a tunnel and got stuck didn’t confirm it enough for me.  But all that aside…

Uh-huh.

Yeah.

THE DESCENT begins with a scene that I thought set the mood for the film… absolutely… perfectly.  We open on a group of women white-water rafting down a giant, tumultuous river, you can hear a child in the background screaming for her mother.  The rapids pick up, and the faces of the women in the raft change from lighthearted and excited to concerned.  Soon after, the rapids pick up even more, it looks as is we might lose one of the women to the intense river, the women start to look terrified and the audience genuinely fears for the women.  Soon after this, the women make it to the end of the river, faces back to smiling and laughing, and they calmly return to the shore, hugging family and friends.  We are introduced to our main character Sarah, who’s husband seems to be giving a little bit too much attention to her friend Juno.  Cut to a car, Sarah’s daughter sits in the back seat as Sarah and her husband discuss hushedly his strange behaviour when he swerves slightly into the next lane, hitting a vehicle head on who’s cargo of lead pipes finds it’s way into some faces.

The imagery in the beginning of this film, showing the women putting themselves in real danger, purposely terrifying themselves for the sake of the thrill and then coming out laughing really got my attention.  Then with the added comparison of something so routine as driving your car leisurely and causing such a horrific crash was done masterfully.

A year after Sarah lost both her husband and her daughter, still struggling with the weight of the horrific accident, she and her adventurous friends decide to go cave-diving!  From here, the nightmares really start.

Like worse than my claustrophobia nightmare...

I mean, imagine not being able to check the picture before it was developed? NIGHTMARE.

I don’t know exactly what it was about this film that bothered me when I was younger…  Maybe I was mad about not being able to go to some party or something.

THE DESCENT is an exercise in many different types of fear: the fear of losing your loved ones, the fear of the unknown, claustrophobia, fear of the supernatural, and the fear of losing your mind.  In that order actually.  You can look at the film as Sarah’s descent into a personal cave, fighting these demons and creatures, breaking ties with the people that only remind her of her past, and breaking free, finally finding her peace, (or so you might think).

On second viewing, and with a little extra thought post-credits, I’d have to say that I was very very wrong about THE DESCENT.  The creatures were scary, the scares were plentiful, the characterization of the characters (though not very thorough) still made me care a bit about them enough to not want them to die, as far as I can see there is not a very clear reason as to why I should hate this film.

ANGSTY ANGST ANGST

ANGST
Sidenote: I literally just looked up my old profile on MySpace to find this picture… You’re welcome.

I just hated everything.  You’d never know because I am ridiculously cheery now, I swear.

ANYHOO.  With a rockin’ beginning, one scare that was super predictable but with perfect timing still scared the HELL out of me, and great characterization and story, I give 2005’s THE DESCENT 4 lead pipes out of 5!

Thanks for tuning in again darlings, next week I tackle…  *pukes in anticipation* 2006’s BLACK X-MAS.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, maybe it will grow on me…  Maybe…

*pukes*

XO
Jessie

Back From the Dead – DARKNESS FALLS (2003)

3 Nov

Back when I was younger, more naive and not very specific about why I loved or hated the things I did, I watched a lot of horror films (that hasn’t really changed though…).  Most of those films I loved.  But some of them I absolutely loathed.  Looking back on those films, it is hard for me to place the exact reason behind my hatred.  So in honour of October rolling by with nary an entry from THIS lazy writer, I thought it appropriate to start November off with a bang and start something fresh.

I give you Back From the Dead: a new segment(thing) where I will watch these films that I swore I would never watch again, but this time critically, analytically, and either report back with a list of reasons for my hatred OR perhaps a new outlook, maybe after really paying attention and on second watch, these films will shred their way into my heart.

Only time will tell, but so far things are looking dim for the side of these movies, as I bring to you, my twice baked review of a little film called…

DARKNESS FALLS (2003)

We begin DARKNESS FALLS with a boy, getting ready for bed at night and tucking a tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, and following the classic warning of “If you hear anything, don’t peek!” from a window-sneaking friend, the suspense starts to build.  With a fake-out here, and some genuine terror there, we have a great set-up for a good old fashioned horror film.

NOW anybody who follows me on Twitter (IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?!) will have seen recently this hilarious tweet of mine.

OMG I’m so funny.  And yeah, it’s been a while since I dreamed up this new segment, who asked you?  The reason I bring this up is that only at THAT point in the film, the first five minutes, did I actually feel fear.  You’ll also notice, dear followers, that that was the only thing I tweeted, twittered, twatted, during the film.  Because the rest of my time was spent eating hardboiled eggs with no fear.

The tooth fairy (in this film) is said to have been a woman who loved children and when the children in the village would lose their teeth, they would bring them to her in exchange for a gold coin.  But her house caught on fire, and she suffered horrible burns that would leave her sensitive to light.  So naturally she made herself a mask of teeth and only went out at night.  Clearly this is bad decision-making on her part.  When two boys go missing, the town immediately blames the woman who wears a mask made out of body parts, and they have her hanged.  A few days later the boys return to their families unharmed, and it is revealed that the whole town is just AWFUL at making decisions.

All this to say, if you peek at the tooth fairy, she is going to murder you.  And she hates the light.

When a boy in present-ish time loses a tooth and after peeking at the tooth fairy survives, tooth fairy kills his mother and the boy grows up never shaking his fear of the dark, and pops pills to mask the depression of knowing that no one ever believed him.  His friend from years ago gets in touch and tells him that her little brother now claims to have seen similar things, and they band together to find out what is going on, in a town APTLY named DARKNESS FALLS, on a night when a huge storm hits, and all the lights go out…  But it’s a fishing village…  So luckily…  There’s…  A lighthouse.

I'm sorry it does what?

I’m sorry it does what?

One of the main problems I had with this film was the story was built around itself so tightly.  The town only exists within this story, and the story can only exist within the town.  MANY films cater to themselves effectively, where certain elements in a story just have to line up in a specific way for it to make sense.  But I start to get bored of a film when you can predict what will happen in the first few minutes because it has been so meticulously set up.  A good horror film can take place anywhere, you can look at the town in which it exists and say “this could be my own backyard” which is the main reason behind Wes Craven creating a horror so seductively set on “Elm Street”, a street that HAS to exist in every town.  Now, the character of Fred Krueger “existed” in the town set in the movie, but tell me after watching A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) you don’t worry about who’s going to visit your dreams.

He really does have beautiful eyes, though.

He really does have beautiful eyes, though.

Many horror films exist in a world where urban legends come to life, and you can say that that makes them “tight circle” films where the legend only exists in the town and the town only exists in the legend.  But even in a film like URBAN LEGEND (1998) it is plainly said during a lecture (I think with my love Robert Englund, fittingly) that not one legend has been proven exclusive to one town or another, an urban legend is a legend because it has the ability to travel around and seem true to wherever it is being told.

I guess you know where I am going with this.

DARKNESS FALLS, though your depiction of the tooth fairy as a teeth mask wearing, light sensitive wraith is disturbing, your story is somewhat claustrophobic in it’s setting, and predictable from the start.

I give you 2/5 milk teeth.

Stay tuned for more critical analysis (ranting) of twice-baked horror films coming soon.  Next I aim to tackle a film everyone else loved, but I couldn’t stomach for some reason THE DESCENT (2005).

Thank you for reading 🙂

Jessie

ANNABELLE (2014) and Audience Etiquette

5 Oct

AUDIENCE ETIQUETTE

I don’t mean to be a party pooper but…  Going to a movie theater is not a freaking party in the first place.

I don’t care if you invited every friend you’ve ever known, if you’ve had a few drinks before hand, or if your date is hella boring and you just need to vent about it to someone through discreet, dim-screen text message…  You do not, I repeat DO NOT need to have any kind of discussion in a movie theater.

I am of the belief that if you are actually spending money to come to a public place to view *and listen to* a film you’re going to want to actually invest the time in DOING THOSE THINGS.

Maybe I’m just crazy in the notion that some people actually like to hear every word that is spoken in a film.

Horror is a tricky genre.  There are the fans that are in it for a scare, friends dare their friends to come with them and laugh at everything between the pants crapping terror, but then there are film nerds that fell into a dark and dingy cave and became horror film nerds, and I know for a fact that they don’t have time for your adolescent BS.  Horror is a relevant genre of film.  People work very hard to produce these films, and I worked very hard for an entire hour to afford the ticket to see it.

Respect kids.  It’s all about respect.

That being said:

Annabelle-2014-still

ANNABELLE (2014)

I had a few reservations going into this film tonight.  I loved THE CONJURING, and ok haha, yeah, I love James Wan’s work as a whole.  So to take a film of his, make a spin-off and have him not direct it sort of made me a little nervous.  Of course, any chance I have to see a horror film in theater, I’m gonna take it.

Our story begins with Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (cuuuuute, sorry, Ward Horton), expectant parents and churchgoers who after an insane tragedy start experiencing horrifying, and haunting phenomena centred around an already trauma inducing doll.

This film was better than expected, I only had a couple of issues with it, (I don’t know if you would count this as a spoiler but you’ve been warned) the ending was a little weak.  That being said, with a few very well-timed scares, and obvious pointers in Wan’s torture of making you look exactly where you don’t want to look, John R. Leonetti’s ANNABELLE is a strong spin-off/prequel and I give it a good 7 points.

Yeah, I’ve introduced a rating system, what are you going to do about it?

Thanks for tuning into the two-parter kids, what did you guys think of ANNABELLE?  And what’s your audience etiquette horror story?

xo
Jessie

Nostalgia – Or – Why I Love Horror

16 Sep

I apologize in advance.

With my new-found commitment to write a little each and every day, you are going to see more of me popping up in your news feed, as I can’t just keep all of my genius to myself…  And hopefully that’s actually a good thing, because if not, why do you even HAVE me in your news feed?!

Also before we get started, go check out issue #335 of Fangoria Magazine where I was lucky enough to interview my idol Katharine Isabelle about GINGER SNAPS, Hannibal, the Soska’s SEE NO EVIL 2 and everything inbetween!!!

10352909_10154589016690035_6201592693574191510_n

*ahem*

Anyone with a taste for horror and a Netflix subscription can tell you that there are pretty significant sub-genres involved in my beloved pastime.  “Zombies”, “Supernatural Horror”, and “Teen Screams” are just some of the titles you come across when browsing around on your device of choice.  I would like to put out there that a very valid sub-genre (including the works of Stephen King, James Wan, and others) could be introduced under the name “Childhood Fears”.  On the most recent episode of Land of the Creeps we talked about Stephen King’s books and films (20 films were covered over the course of three hours, booze WAS involved) and I came to a realization.  A lot of horror, and especially Mr. King’s works, deals with those horrors that we dwelled on as children, clowns, child vampires who were once our friends scratching on our windows late at night, mechanics coming to life and killing people, are just some examples.

Well today, I was scrolling through the Fangoria website, and found a nice little flashback review (written by Ken W. Hanley) about one of my guilty pleasure films, DEAD SILENCE (read it here).  Yeah surprise, surprise, we all know I’m a Wan/Whannell fangirl.  The article basically outlined my exact feelings toward this underrated film, and although even Whannell himself has gone on record saying that he wishes it could have been better, I still go back to it time and time again, each time forgetting just how creepy and unsettling it really is, going in a little under prepared, pressing pause only a few minutes in to grab a blanket, a stuffed animal, to set my drink somewhere stable…  Finally I decided that I had some things to say about the topic of childhood memories, horror and how I was created.

Frankenstein3

“IT’S ALLIIIIIVE!”

When I was six years old (going on seven, thank you) I begged and begged my mom to let me watch Goosebumps, a show based on the children’s horror books by R. L. Stine, featuring such horrors as Slappy the killer ventriloquist dummy, a sponge monster that lives under the sink and brings you bad luck (this episode starring a tiny Katharine Isabelle), and ghosts and ghouls that would make any child hide under the blankets at any bump in the night, any whistle through the window, or any neighbour belting out show tunes at 3 in the morning (I lived in a weird neighbourhood)…  I digress.  I begged to watch the show, but when I put it on one day, mom saw this little “GB-7” in the middle of the screen and was like, “You kidding girl?  You ain’t watching this show til you seven.”  (My mom has never ever spoken to me like that).

gb-7

Buzz-killers.

On my seventh birthday, I awoke with a dizzy sense of excitement, not because I just KNEW that I got something Sailor Moon themed, but because I was seven, and that meant that that purple slimy rating on the TV couldn’t bring me down any longer.  I leapt from my bed and snapped the television on and I watched my first episode of Goosebumps.  I don’t even remember which one it was (*nostalgia*) but I was hooked.  From there my parents got me the books from the Scholastic Book Fair (greatest day of the year, am I right?  I feel the fever now and I’m 25-years-old…  I can go to Chapters any time I please for Pete’s sake…).

The horror craze didn’t stop there.  My favourite time of year became Fall, Halloween was a drug to me, even when the fog rolled in on the early morning in the playground at school, I felt at home.  For an entire year, I ONLY watched the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons, I became fascinated with witchcraft and my friends and I practiced “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” at every opportunity.  I searched for ghost stories and horrific tales from my public school library (one of which I try to find online from time to time, but I just don’t know enough about it now to do so, breaks my heart a little).  Horror stuck.  It was the constant in my life, and I, the weirdo in everyone else’s…

1B5600812-technolog2B685AC6B-2A63-D48A-8636-64C97357FD6A.blocks_desktop_large

I mentioned in an earlier post that when I was eight my mom read me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.  With my love for horror already blossoming, and finally the introduction to my mom’s favourite author (who I had always been interested in, seeing her read these books, laughing, crying, and I recognizing that slight change in her expression that said “fear”) my path was written in stone.

I think that as a child, being thrown into this world of “children’s horror” has shaped the kind of tastes that I have in the genre.  Instead of blood, guts and gore, I prefer a slow-burn film that packs a mean punch.  I prefer supernatural stories about ghosts and demons over slasher flicks (but don’t get me wrong, I am a Freddy fiend).  I prefer watching films about things that go bump in the night, what happens when you turn off the lights, and cautionary tales to films about serial sadists and over-exploitative rape revenge.  (BTW go watch TRICK R’ TREAT (2007), or CREEPSHOW (1982) for a prime example of the style I love)

What I love most about this “sub-genre” is that no matter how old you are, no matter how many times people have told us that there are no such things as ghosts or monsters these films still succeed in scaring the crap out of us.  That scared child at the back of our minds (after years of common sense, “real world” issues and countless nights shrouded in safety) tells us to turn the lights on, grab a teddy, grab a blanket, and set our drinks down somewhere stable.

As always, thank you for getting through this post,

I love you all,
Stay scared

Jessie
xoxo

Interview with Leslie Easterbrook (!!!!!!!)

10 Sep

I am so honoured to say that I have had the absolute privilege to speak with the very talented Leslie Easterbrook.  This interview would have reached your eyes and brains and souls much sooner, had we not both been busy with different projects and in my case, gallivanting around.

I assume that we must have crossed paths at the busiest times of our lives, but somehow we made it work!

You will know Leslie from such films as: POLICE ACADEMY, HALLOWEEN (2007), THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, COMPOUND FRACTURE, SORORITY PARTY MASSACRE, and many others.

A legend of the genre, Leslie put up with your scatterbrained and eccentric blogger and gave us stories that may just rival anything you’ve ever gotten from this little blog that could.

I want to thank Leslie again for being so patient, and taking time out of her own overloaded schedule to give me (and YOU) some great answers.

Leslie Easterbrook

What’s your favourite scary movie?

Easy!  The Colossus of New York (1958). I’m not suggesting anyone rush out and buy this movie.  I love it, but not because it’s good.  It was the first scary movie I ever saw, and I took such a risk to see it that I nearly scared myself to death!

When I was in 5th grade I lived one block from Loup City, Nebraska’s only movie theatre.  That’s where I saw a ‘Coming Attraction’ for The Colossus.  It was only playing once as a ‘Midnight Movie’ the next Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 12:30 AM.   Gasp!  I HAD TO SEE IT, despite a resounding “NO” from the parents…

Never being good at taking direction, I cooked up a plan.  I invited my friend Jackie Tucker ( bless her heart, if she sees this I hope she will howl) for a sleep over on that Saturday night. We pretended to go to sleep, but kept our clothes on under our PJ’s, and our eyes on the clock.  We tossed the pj’s, tip toed out of my house, and ran to the theater just in time for the big event.  We had no trouble getting in because the theater was owned by parents of another classmate, Elaine Slomenski. Of course we had permission from our parents, duh…

The movie was wonderful, and we screamed our heads off.  That would be the end of the story if we hadn’t gotten cocky.  Feeling invincible, after the movie we stopped for hamburgers at the all night diner between the theater and my house.  The diner owner, and RAT, called my dad, and before we could gobble one bite of burger we were dragged out the door.  Yup, It was the best and worst night I can remember.  My punishment?  I was grounded for life, of course.

One of the most delicious coincidences of my career is that I got to work with Mala Powers, the young leading lady in The Colossus of New York, 3 times before she passed away.  Once on an episode of Murder She Wrote, and again in two separate radio dramas we recorded together for California Artist’s Radio Theatre.  She was a marvelous actress — and just as cool as I’d always imagined!

How did you get started in the business?

I will try to control the length of this answer — but your questions are too good, Jessie.  And complicated.  The problem with “How did you get started in the business?” is that my career has started over and over and over…  A nice flow would be ideal, but that ebb before each flow can break your heart.

Now, the best thing about starting over is it’s ultimately better each time out, but no one ever tells you this while you’re beating your head against the wall, and hanging by your fingernails…

I had the chance to choose between two careers at the same time.

I received an invitation to sing with the Burbank Symphony in Burbank, CA shortly before graduating from Stephens College in Columbia, MO.  My major was music, and my focus was opera.  A magnificent harpist, Virginia Ehrlich, was graduating with me and asked me to come to CA that summer and sing with the Burbank Symphony.  Her father was the president of the symphony.  Coincidence?  Yes!

It was a thrilling opportunity to meet and sing with the revered Rudolph Friml.   He was an important composer of classical and contemporary music.  He scored early films in Hollywood and was being honored by the concert.  He played piano for me as I sang his songs with the orchestra, many of which I already knew.  He was 92 that summer, and it turned out to be his last live orchestral appearance.

It was a wonderful experience, and while I was visiting and performing in CA my life (and plans) changed dramatically.

  1.  A trombonist in the symphony invited a friend who was a talent agent at a very fancy agency in town.  We met after the concert.
  1.  Talent agent, and lifelong friend, Frank Levy convinced me to give up grad school at Juilliard, join The Opera Workshop at UCLA, audition for the Musical Theatre Workshop at the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, and to stay in LA for at least a year.  (well, he put me on a good path.  I got into the workshop — and to pay for all this I became an usherette at the Music Center.)
  1.  Near the end of that year I had two job offers.  The first was from Spring Opera, San Francisco Opera’s touring company, to play Flora in the glorious opera “La Traviatta,” and the second was to play Snow White in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” at the St. Louis Municipal Opera for The Disney Company.  Flora paid $70 a week, but Snow White paid $1000 a week, and offered the chance to join Actors’ Equity.  Who was kidding who?  I grabbed Snow, bid a fond adieu to the opera, and began a career in the theatre, TV, and film.  Was I crazy?  Who cares?  I rant and rave at the BUSINESS…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
  1.  And now, as a ‘well seasoned’ actor, I am getting to work for indie filmmakers.  I love it!  Sometimes it’s like riding bareback, but I broke ponies as a girl, so bring it on!

What was it like working with Rob Zombie?

Working with Rob Zombie is absolutely wonderful.  His social demeanor is very much like his professional one.   He’s friendly, warm, courteous, thoughtful, irreverent, funny –and  the smartest guy in the room.  He is also always on the move!  His fans often tell me that he is quick and abrupt when signing autographs after his concerts.  I always laugh at the responses I get when I ask if he was discourteous, because he isn’t.  He just tries to be fair, and get to everyone he can before being whisked off to another location.

Rob can handle a vast number of things at the same time without shorting any one of them.  As a director this is his job, of course, but very few accomplish it with the grace he does.  In the height of the moment, and even when he’s losing the light and still has two set-ups left on his shot list for the day, he always welcomes questions and/or suggestions, considers them, and responds fairly.  He is quick, clear and decisive, never demeaning or impatient.  He’s as good as it gets!

Do you have any more film opportunities coming up?

Funny you should ask.  I have been having the time of my life working in Indies, and often with new filmmakers.  It is a thrill to be asked, and I learn something valuable on every shoot.  I find that when you take away the glamour and the gloss, the work becomes more honest, making it ultimately more gratifying.  It seems that working for passion is miles above working for a living, but learning to live on passion has been a bit of a challenge!

I will be shooting a film called Finger of God later this month here in LA, and Sugar Skull Girls in PA in July.  Hopefully, in July, as well, I will be shooting Penance Lane for (and with) my dear friends Tyler Mane and his very talented wife, Renae Gerlings in North Carolina.  Down Angel (Colorado) has been postponed.  We’re considering doing an Indiegogo campaign for it later this summer, and I am definitely planning a big Indiegogo push for yet another film, Vendetta.  I will take my first producer plunge with Vendetta, partnering with film composer Timothy Andrew Edwards, who introduced me to you.  (I have received a producer credit on several other movies, but only participated on camera and/or in post production.)  Neither Timothy or I have produced a film from scratch before, so luckily we won’t be producing it by ourselves.  Hopefully we will be quick learners.  Wish us luck!!

I know this answer is long, but I would like to mention some other films which are in different stages of completion and distribution.  Your readers may be able to view some of them if they know the titles.  The movie Greater is an exception to the rule here.  It had a bigger budget and has a more recognizable cast — Neal McDonough, Michael Parks, Nick Searcy.  It is the story of Brandon Burlsworth, an extraordinary young man who was the first college ‘walk on’ football player ever to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft.  Tragically, he was killed before he ever got to play his first professional game.

Here are some other titles to look for:  The Wedding Pact, Compound Fracture, Clubhouse, NightLights, Hollywood and Wine, Black Water Transit, L.A. Dirt, Rivers 9, House of the Witchdoctor, Daddy, and Number Runner

Do you prefer working in film or on stage?

I love them both. but I prefer film.  The work can be more subtle, intimate and immediate.  You can take risks with a character.  And, thank the Good Lord, you don’t have to live with your first take!  Creating out of sequence can be frustrating, but the challenge makes it worth it.

On stage you tell an entire story in every performance.  It’s more satisfying, yes, but also terrifying.  If you screw it up, that audience will never see the play the way it was intended.  And the audience is always a part of every moment of every play.   On stage you can hear it breath, whisper, and rustle.  It becomes a character in the drama.

I prefer working on film, but oh, you make me realize how much I miss the community of the theatre.