THING or CENOBITE BARBIE: BARBIE WILDE
TELLS ALL by Owen
born Barbie Wilde has training as a mime,
but as you will soon discover her lips
are anything but sealed. Many will
recognize her as the female Cenobite in
Clive Barkers Hellbound:
Hellraiser II, or as a drummer in
Grizzly II: The Predator (as
opposed to what Grizzly I: The
Cuddler?). She was also a very
predatory punk in the Charles Bronson
vehicle Death Wish III, and
even appeared in the Bollywood
blockbuster Janbazz. This
woman has had a great wealth of other
experiences as well from
performing in a cabaret in
Bangkok, to working as a
casting director and film critic, to
various music video appearances, as well
as working as a choreographer. Barbie
even has several recordings to her credit
including the dubious honor of
contributing the background vocals to the
theme song from Morons from Outer
Space. With a resume like
that you expect something sensational,
and you wont be disappointed.
Hello Barbie, can you start the racks and
razors readers off with a visual and
describe the room where you are answering these
I'm in a room that has a window overlooking
the sea. Unfortunately, I have to keep the
shutters down most of the time, because I find
looking at the sea far too distracting. One
day I sat down to work, turned my head to look
out the open window and hours went by without me
noticing. The sea is a mesmerizing force.
I suppose first off I want to hear about how you
came to be cast as the Female Cenobite in 'Hellraiser
I went to an audition and got the part.
I had actually looked up what the word 'Cenobite'
meant beforehand, so I could be prepared for any
questions. Tony Randel, the director,
thought that Cenobite was a word that Clive had
made up, but I put him right. Maybe I was a
bit snippy when I did it, so in revenge, he gave
me the role.
I've talked to Doug Bradley about this - but I
have got to hear your take on the entire make-up
process for that movie. How did it figure
into the entire day you were in the shoot?
We were picked up anywhere from 4 to 6 in the
morning. The make-up process took about
four hours for me. It was very grueling to
sit there without moving for so long.
However, the make-up guys were all adorable that
it wasn't so hideous. (The worst bit was
having the full cast made of my head. I
thought that I was going to suffocate.) The
costume took half an hour to put on and it was
quite uncomfortable because it had been made for
Grace Kirby (who played the first Female
Cenobite). She had a back problem so when I
was laced up into the costume, it pulled my spine
a bit out of whack. For some reason, I thought
that I would be cold on set, so the first day I
wore heavy Lycra tights and knee-high leather
boots under the costume. That, on top of
the make-up being applied to every exposed
surface on my body as well as the heavy leather
costume, meant that I didn't leave any place for
my skin to breathe (a la Shirley Eaton's
character in 'Goldfinger'). I felt
distinctly odd by the end of the first day.
But I was also very jet-lagged because my plane
had been delayed from Toronto, so I had to take a
taxi from the airport straight to the
studio. Not a very nice first day
Do you remember the primary bit of
direction you were give by director Tony Randel
when it came to acting like a cenobite?
I remember him telling me the background of
the scene (where the Cenobites threaten Imogen
Boorman in Channard's office) and that I had to
really work that bit of business of sharpening
the knife. Basically, he wanted me fairly
unemotional, i.e., . . . dead.
I also want to hear a bit about your
work in 'Grizzly II: The Predator'
My boyfriend at the time, Richard Burgess, was
producing the music for the film. He was
also going to play the drummer for the band that
was going to appear in 'Grizzly', but at the last
minute he was asked to produce Adam Ant in
Sweden. So he trained me to take his place
as a 'mime' drummer. The premise of the
film was that an enormous, angry bear was
rampaging through a State Park at the same time a
rock concert was taking place. To get
thousands of free extras, the production company
paid for Nazareth, of all people, to come over
from the States and perform a free concert.
Before they came on, the film band (complete with
exotic dancers choreographed by 'Strictly Come
Ballroom Dancing's' Bruno Tonioli) filmed a few
takes in front of an extremely bemused crowd of
Hungarians. (We filmed near Budapest.) I heard
that there were major problems with the
mechanical bear, which was supposed to attack the
hapless extras. That and the rather fragile
state of mind of our director meant that the film
never made it out of the producer's basement.
Sadly, I never met George Clooney or Charlie
Sheen who were also supposed to be in the film.
When I got back to London, I embarked on a very
strange episode of my career by appearing as not
only a mime drummer, but as a robotic mime
drummer for an outfit called Rondo Veniziano who
had an album out at the time. They were
just a couple of blokes from Italy who couldn't
be bothered to make personal appearances in the
UK, so a few musicians were rounded up to put on
robot masks and Renaissance costumes and appear
in nightclubs across the capital, vigorously
miming to the tracks. It was ridiculous
really, but it paid fairly well.
Of all the predators in the (uh) wild and
civilized world which one frightens you the most?
The human variety wins in all
categories. (However, I don't think that I
would like to be eaten alive by a Great White
Shark or have a Tarantula crawl up my arm.)
You were also featured in 'Death
Wish III' with Charles Bronson --
another popular film series. What do you
mainly recall about filming that movie?
I spent most of my time napping in my dressing
room until I realized that I wouldn't get used
unless I was down on the set. (On most film
sets, the actors hang in the dressing room until
they're called, but for me DWIII was an
exception.) 'Death Wish III' was a strange
experience. After all, we were filming in London
and pretending that it was NYC. It was shot
in a partly demolished hospital in Lambeth, South
London. The atmosphere on set was drenched
in fear. The director, Michael Winner, spent most
of his time shouting at everyone, except Charles
Bronson, of course. But Mr. Winner was also
very witty and funny (in a vicious way). I
think Mr. Winner fancied me a little bit, because
he asked me to do a scene topless. However,
I demanded more money to do it and so he used
another actress in the scene. But he didn't
ask her to take her clothes off! I remember
that Charles Bronson was a nice guy, very
gentlemanly; totally unlike his hard man image.
I also want to hear about 'Dating
The premise sounds terrific. Would you
please give a plot synopsis for the
readers as well as an account of your involvement
with the project?
Ever since I can remember, I've been
fascinated by the criminal mind. When I was
kid, I preferred reading Sherlock Holmes (along
with an unhealthy dose of Sci-Fi, courtesy of my
big brother) to cute little girl stories.
The book that really started my fascination with
the psychopath mind was 'The Order Of The
Assassins' by Colin Wilson. Wilson's 'A
Criminal History of Mankind' is also a big fav.
To research the novel, I read around 65 books
about criminal investigation, forensic science,
forensic psychology, real life crime,
psychopaths, etc. I also had some
contacts in NYC that allowed me to meet lawmakers
and forensic psychologists at a couple of
conferences as well as interview a detective on
the Manhattan North Homicide Squad.
'DATING BY MURDER' QUICK PITCH -- Small town, art
history scholar Professor Michael Friday is a man
with a problem. Actually, he is a man with
many problems. First, he is recovering from
a botched suicide attempt that injured him and
killed his wife. Second, he is tormented by
nonstop, sexual fantasies that are arousing and
violent. Third, he is obsessed and enraged
by the stream of banal TV drivel that is being
beamed into his living room. And finally,
he has fallen in love with forensic psychologist
Dr. Elene Sheppard, who doesn't even know he
exists. When he loses control and strangles a
prostitute one night, Michael experiences a rush
of Godlike power that catalyzes into a brilliant
and sick idea; something that will really grab
Elenes attention. Michael
orchestrates a sex-murder spree designed to
guarantee Elenes participation as a
forensic profiler in the investigation.
And, by intentionally leaving behind a powerful
art signature at his crime scenes, he also
ensures his participation as a technical
consultant. Dating by murder might seem
extreme, but Michael is an extreme kind of guy.
Enter into Michaels world through the pages
of his personal journal, where every diseased
thought, sick fantasy and disturbing dream
highlights his journey from zero to psycho.
Now you got into movies via being a mime --- how
do you think that helped when it came to
acting? Is acting very movement
oriented for you?
I think that most of my roles in film came
about because I either looked weird (throughout
the 80's I had either blue, pink or golden orange
hair) or because of my mime training. I'm
not that great at memorizing lines, so I was
quite happy in that niche. To be frank,
I've never rated myself as much of an
actress. I preferred being a TV presenter
where I was able to be myself and write my own
material (as well as use an autocue, thank you
You also are quite highly regarded as a casting
director. So how about some tips?
When someone comes in to audition for a gig --
what are the primary things to look for to give a
big thumbs up or thumbs down?
It all depends on the brief. I actually
didn't enjoy casting that much. I used to
work for a commercial casting director and
sometimes she would just look at photos coming
through the mail and then throw them immediately
in the wastebasket without a glance at the poor
actor's CV. It was very
demoralizing. I discovered that the
obvious choice wins hands down every time.
Sometimes we'd throw in a 'wild card' on the off
chance that the director and the clients would go
for something unusual, but that happened very
rarely. Although it was a big job, I think that
casting the punks, skinheads and other extras for
the BBC's adaptation of 'The Buddha of
Suburbia' was the most fun. I met some
really interesting people. The director,
Roger Michell, wanted real people as extras and
background artists, so there were some
interesting times on set! Casting Tips For
Actors: Be polite and follow
instructions. Funny is good, but don't be
over the top. Be respectful to the casting
director. Remember that he or she has seen
dozens before you and even more after your turn
is over. Don't waste their time.
Okay, we're pulling the car into the Barbie
Wilde Drive In where you are the sole
proprietor. What three horror movies are on
the triple bill and what goodies are they going
to be serving up at the concession
1. I loved the American remake of 'The
Ring'. Naomi Watts was fabulous and I
thought the direction was excellent.
However, I haven't see the original Japanese
version which everyone tells me is much groovier.
2. Any vampire film. My favorite is still
the classic 'The Horror of Dracula' with
Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I once
saw Christopher Lee walk down the street and
disappear into a graveyard. Perfect.
3. The original 1962 version of 'The Haunting'
directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie
Harris, Richard Johnson and Claire Bloom. I
remember seeing it on television when I was a kid
and not being able to go to sleep that
night. Also, as far as black and white
movies go, 'The Innocents' (starring Deborah Kerr
and directed by Jack Clayton) is excellent
stuff. (Doug (Pinhead) Bradley is with me
on this one!)
4. (Sorry, I'm breaking the rules here.)
Must have the first
Hellraiser film, of
course! A nasty tale of sexual obsession
and horror. Brilliant stuff.
5. (I guess this is a multiplex
drive-in) There has to be a space for the
highly regarded 'Witchfinder General'. I've
never had the guts to watch it myself, but
anything that has Vincent Price being really
damned scary instead of just joke scary has got
to be exceptional.
6. Oh, I've got to stop. I found that
Sci-Fi films were more frightening than horror
movies to me as a kid. Is there room for
the 1956 version of 'Invasion of the Body
Snatchers'? My brother made me watch
Saturday afternoon science fiction movies and
they really disturbed me. Probably explains
a lot of about me now.
7. Finally, John Carpenter's remake of 'The
Thing' really grossed me out, but it had humour
as well. I really respect Carpenter as a director
because he manages to make low budget movies that
have the ability to scare the socks off you.
As for snacks, I'm a traditionalist: Cheesy
Nachos, Nuts, Popcorn and Hot Dogs. Also,
if it's allowed, I'd like to provide a full
cocktail bar with vodka martinis and margaritas
staffed by George Clooney lookalikes.
What makes Barbie Wilde go psycho in real life?
1. Do not pull my hair, even
accidentally. Woe betide you if you
2. Watching the news doesn't help my temper
either. Large chunks of my novel are based
on my own personal rage at watching human beings
go 'insane in the membrane' because they've been
infected by the triple whammy of fundamentalist
religion of any kind or a skewed kind of
'patriotism' or political extremism.
3. Reality TV: truly an Ebola of the mind.
4. Jerry Springer. He deserves a special
mention because I actually wasted two hours of my
life watching 'Jerry Springer: The Opera'.
Brilliantly sung, brilliantly acted, great music,
great production, but for what!!??? About
5. Injustice of any kind.
6. Andrew Lloyd Webber's music.
7. The smug smiles of those entrenched in power.
8. Political Correctness.
9. The smug smiles of those who believe that
their way is better than yours, whether it is
through religion, politics, art, or
whatever. Those who think that their
faith in something is better than rational
thinking. I'm a great believer in the
power of science and in the power of the human
mind; a powerhouse of imagination. I'm a
rationalist and I think it is our duty to inform
ourselves, rather than just hoping or praying
that someone else will take care of us or solve
our problems for us. That's what we have
10. Ignorance. The biggest killer of them
all. And how dare those in power seek
to keep us mired in it.