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
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
(2) Did you
have a good Halloween? What did you do and what
was your costume?
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
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
(4) I'm also
curious about how social of a thing it is. Do you
all get along together and socialize, or is it
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
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
going along with that, what has been the most
surreal and unbelievable thing you have witnessed
in all your experience on horror film sets?
"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?
that's a tough one.
Maybe: "I was a Teenage Marine Biologist Who
Died 58 Times on my Way to Talk to
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...)
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?
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?
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.
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.