The name Brinke Stevens is almost synonymous with the scream queen phenomenon of the 1980s, but the beloved horror actress has gone well beyond the stereotypical stripped to be slain cliche. She has become the slayer, the neighbor, the doctor, the psychic, the activist, the neighbor, the nurse, the oracle, the demon... To put it simply, she has become an actress of depth whose extensive and prolific career in horror is nothing short of amazing. Just a few of her 120 film credits include the one that started it all - 'Slumber Party Massacre', 'Delta! Delta! Die!', 'Sigma Die!', 'Dead Clowns', 'Bleed', 'Horrorvision', 'October Moon', 'Grandma's House', 'Roots of Evil', 'Repligator', 'The Mommy' and the sequel 'Mommy's Day', 'Jack-O', 'Phantom of the Mall', 'Spirits', 'Teenage Exorcist' (which she also wrote), 'Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama', 'Cheerleader Massacre', 'Demon Treasure', 'Nightmare Sisters', 'Hell Asylum', 'Birth Rite', 'Hybrid', 'Sideshow', 'The Frightening', 'The Bad Father', 'Evil Ever After', Slaughter Party', 'Blood Scarab', 'Head Case', and many others including another half a dozen movies still in production. This is a working actress, and one that works damn hard. Still she managed to take a few minutes to answer 13 questions in this exclusive Racks and Razors interview.


(1) Brinke, I am thrilled to be chatting with you again. Would you be so kind as to start us off with a visual and describe the room where you're answering these questions?

Hi, Owen! Nice to chat with you -- and our loyal readers -- again too.
Although I have a designated "office" in my Los Angeles condo, I like to sit at my dining room table to do computer work. From my perch, I can look around the whole place and see 14 different colors of paint. Basically, I've painted almost every wall a different color -- just because I COULD! It's the first home I've ever owned, so I went a little crazy with my creativity.

(2) Did you have a good Halloween? What did you do and what was your costume?

In the horror business, it's always Halloween for me. I just returned from an October film festival in northern California (ShockerFest), where I judged some contests (like Best Costume and Best Screamer). I dressed as a "sexy witch" -- a frilly little black dress, fishnet stockings, and a tall pointed hat.
On Halloween itself, I stayed home with some dear friends, cooked a banquet meal, and handed out candy to strangers. Then, we all watched a horror movie. ("I Am Legend" starring Will Smith. Which I thought was well-done, despite its savage critics. He did a darn fine acting job.)
Usually, I'm booked to appear every Halloween at some convention or Haunted House across the country. But the convention scene has slowed down, so I enjoyed having a relatively quiet holiday at home for once.

(3) The term Scream Queen gets bantered about and used so frequently. What does the term mean to you, whom I consider basically the Grand Duchess of Scream Queendom?

For the most part, "Scream Queen" was a pop-culture term from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. There were numerous magazines (like FEMME FATALES, DRACULINA, and SCREAM QUEENS ILLUSTRATED) that heavily promoted the label.
I love to still be called a "Queen", thanks! But I'm not sure the term means as much today as it did a decade ago. Now they tend to call us "Women of Horror"... not nearly as lyrical.

(4) I'm also curious about how social of a thing it is. Do you all get along together and socialize, or is it strictly professional?

Most of the early "Scream Queens" have retired and moved on to other things. I just wrote a magazine interview with Julie Strain, for example. She's now completely retired from acting and modeling to raise her 2-year old son with Kevin Eastman.
But the horror community in general is still extremely social. Here in LA, we have a fabulous bookstore, "Dark Delicacies", that hosts signing events every Sunday. It's like our "living room", in that many dozens of horror-fans and celebrities show up to mingle and catch up on news every week.

(5) With your wealth of experience, do you have any advice to the younger generation of women looking to break into the horror film world?

When I first started out in the early 1980's, it was much easier then to become a horror film star. Only a few independent Hollywood studios were churning out product. Since then, horror movie production has spread across the nation, with thousands of individuals now shooting films everywhere. My advice to young actresses would be to attend genre conventions, hand out your photo and resume to all the young filmmakers who've set up booths. and just network like crazy.

(6) You're such an icon. You've been in 120 or so movies. You are constantly working. Has it been tougher to work as as you've gotten older or does your reputation make you even more in demand? How would you classify that change or transition?

Normally, a mainstream actress is considered "washed up" by age 40. At that point, they rush to a plastic surgeon and try to keep their career alive a tiny bit longer. Fortunately, I've found it to be very different in the horror community. I've had the same army of loyal fans for over 20 years -- and now their children are becoming my new fans, as well.
I've never encountered the same sort of "age prejudice" in this genre, thank goodness. I get hired just as much as I ever did -- but of course, the roles have changed. I'm no longer the nubile co-ed who strips, showers, and dies horribly. These days, I play far more meaty roles, like cops, detectives. doctors, professors, and so on. Over the years, I've built up a good reputation as a "reliable" actress, and it still serves me well.

(7) So with all that experience in films, what has been your favorite on-screen moment to date?

Typically, film-sets are difficult -- or at the very least, boring. I like it when I am pleasantly challenged. I remember a scene in "November Son", when I had to wade into a scummy swamp to tussle with a not-so-dead corpse. In "Haunting Fear", I enjoyed waking up in a coffin, clawing my way out, and killing a few people who desperately deserved it. In "Victoria's Shadow", it was fun to shoot in a cemetery after dark (without permits) and narrowly escape the arrival of police cars. It's the little off-beat moments like that which stick in your favorite memories.

(8) Somewhat going along with that, what has been the most surreal and unbelievable thing you have witnessed in all your experience on horror film sets?

The most "unbelievable" thing is the abuse of actors. You might already know about Debbie Rochon's on-set "accident" a few years ago, where she was unknowingly handed a REAL machete to slay someone -- and she consequently sliced open her palm on the sharp blade.
Two years back, I shot a movie in the Midwest that I was certain would kill me for real -- we had a few 24-hr shooting days in a row, with no sleep and no food. Safety and comfort must come first... and it's surreal to me when ambitious young filmmakers forget all about that.

(9) Back in the 1950s there were the series of films 'I Was a Teenage Frankenstein' and 'I Was a Teenage Werewolf', etc. If we were filming your formative years it would be called 'I Was a Teenage _____________'. Any why?

Gosh, that's a tough one.
Maybe: "I was a Teenage Marine Biologist Who Died 58 Times on my Way to Talk to Dolphins."
Why? Because becoming a horror movie "Scream Queen" was a complete, total accident. In 1980, I arrived in Los Angeles (from San Diego CA), armed with a Master's Degree in Oceanography. I just wanted a quiet little lab somewhere to explore communication with dolphins. Instead, I wandered past an open door one day (a casting office, as it turns out), and immediately was hired as an actress. One thing led to another. I never got a chance to fulfill my teenage dream -- but instead became a cult celebrity. (I can only imagine that somewhere, "God" is laughing...)

(10) You've done both plenty of times, so you should be an expert - is it better to kill or to be killed on screen and why?

I got my start playing the victim of knife-wielding maniacs (in films like "Slumber Party Massacre" and "Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity"). Soon, filmmakers discovered that I was skilled at a "Jekyll & Hyde" switch, where I started out fairly innocent -- and then "something" happened to turn me into a demon, vampire, or killer. (Like "Haunting Fear", "Spirits", and "Bad Girls from Mars".) I got very good at playing "monsters". I still prefer that sort of role, because being evil and demented comes so easily for me these days.

(11) You have so many loyal fans, what has been the most unusual request one has ever made of you?

Oh, they've asked me to sign body parts, skulls, machetes, and just about anything you could imagine. They've asked me to scream for them, which I tend not to do anymore (it really blows out your vocal chords for awhile). But the best requests from fans are simply to be in one of their movies. I love supporting the "arts" and young filmmakers.

(12) Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to let the Racks and Razors readers know about?

Yes... I shot two films in particular during 2008, which I think have a lot of potential. In Delaware, I played a serial killer's mother in "The Ritual" (directed by Anthony Spadaccini of Fleet Street Films). The entire movie was ad-libbed improvisation, which was really difficult and challenging for me, but I think it will be very special.
My other favorite project was "Demon Divas" (by Mike Watt and Amy Lynn Best of Happy Cloud Pictures), which we shot near Pittsburgh, PA. It's a horror-comedy throwback to 1980's films like "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama". I played a demoness, along with such stellar divas as Debbie Rochon, Lillith Stabbs, and Robyn Griggs. Though it was a small-budget production, it felt like a million-dollar shoot -- we each had our own personal make-up artist and wardrobe gal, for instance. They really did everything right.
And I'm excited about the release of Jason Paul Collum's "November Son", a follow-up to "October Moon". I have an even more interesting role in the sequel, and I'm very proud of our work together.

(13) What scares you in real life?

I used to be terrified of spiders. But after living alone, I finally found the courage to whack them with my house-slipper and be done with it.