Sweet Caroline: Talking With Caroline Williams by Owen Keehnen

Caroline Williams is known to many horror fans as Vanita Brock, Leatherface’s first love interest in Tobe Hooper’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ (1986) with Dennis Hopper, Jim Siedow, Bill Johnson, and Bill Moseley. Her work as the kidnapped DJ was certainly an attention getting role. She came back for more TCM mayhem in a cameo as Vanita in Part 3. Her horror movie credits are a collection of sequels. She was also Loretta, the magician’s assistant who dreams of being gorgeous and has her granted wish become an explosive nightmare in the Las Vegas based “Leprechaun 3’ (1995). In addition Caroline was also Matty Crimmins in the 1989 scare flick ‘Stepfather II’ with Terry O’Quinn and Meg Foster. Recently she made her first appearance on the horror convention circuit at Texas Nightmare Weekend…and now after a taste of how great scare fans can be she is anxious to get back in the frightening thick of things.

Hi Caroline, can you start the http://www.racksandrazors.com/ readers off with a visual and describe the room where you are writing the answers to these questions?


 

My husband's office -- paneled, sea-foam green walls, bamboo shades, Thorne' chair, DishNetwork, 25" TV, Sony DVD player, X-box.

Okay, lets start off talking about 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' (1986).  How did you get the role as kidnapped and terrorized DJ - Vanita 'Stretch' Brock, Leatherface's first love interest?

Showed up at a very quiet casting session in Austin, TX.  Proceeded to run screaming down a long hallway, into the casting room; shoved Tobe and Kit off their chairs, piled the chairs in front of the imaginary ice-house door.  Done!

Now with a bit of distance on that Vanita character, what do you see as the predominant character traits the two of you share?

Nearly impervious to embarrassment or rejection; dogged determination; modesty.

Do you have a predominant memory of shooting the movie?

Just that it was a swirling tornado of sound and action and motion and more sound.  None of us ever seemed to stop moving.  Which made all the Grateful Dead in Tom Savini's Ghoul School look attractive at times.

You've been on a lot of sets in your career - but that one sounds like it had to be interesting with Tobe Hooper directing and a cast that included Dennis Hopper among others.  What was unique about that set?

Kit was the quieter and more contemplative of the two.  Tobe is like a military commander.  He's certain of where he's going and what he's doing and that's essential director stuff in my view.  Hopper is a consummate technician as an actor.  He knows exactly what will draw an audience in, what they want to see.  How to economize emotionally so you don't get worn out.  All those many years of experience and living.  It showed.

You also made a cameo appearance as Vanita in 'TCM 3'.  Were you eager to reprise the role; was it a contractual obligation, a favor...?

Jeff Burr directed me in "Stepfather 2" and I was eager to help him out in any way I could.  He's terrific and creative and a great guy that you do that sort of thing for. 

I also love your work as Loretta in 'Leprachaun 3'.  Where you wish to be beautiful and are given your wish and your bust grows and your lips grow and grow and grow until...  Do you have any memories of the FX they used on your make-up or prosthetics?

Only that the appliances stank to high heaven and that my then fiancée (now husband) showed up to watch the shoot.  Was my face red!

I also want to hear about your work in one of the great forgotten horror series --- as Matty Crimmins in 'Stepfather II'.  What do you recall most about that role and filming the movie itself?

That Terry O'Quinn was one of the most pleasant and thoroughly nice people that I'd ever met in my life.  He radiated contentment.  His present success is well deserved and makes me feel lucky that I knew him then.

Oh, and I must hear of your impressions at your very first horror convention 'Texas Frightmare Weekend'.  What was that experience like?

It wasn't anything like I had imagined.  What a creative, friendly and intelligent crowd.  I thought it would be a very serious, dark, Goth, nihilistic.  Instead, an artistic community has taken shape around these films.  Music, body art, piercings, fashion, hair and makeup, photography, short films and videos.  Terrifically creative.

You have made a solid impression in several horror flicks, so I've got to ask what is the oddest fan request you've had?

No stalkers, crazy phone callers, scary characters.   I've never had one, really.  People have always been respectful, thoughtful, and considerate.  Just really appreciative at being entertained in the way that they like. 

You have done so many movies and TV roles - everything from 'Days of Thunder' to 'Murder She Wrote', 'The District', 'The Division', 'NYPD Blue', 'Diagnosis Murder', 'Mike Hammer', 'Suddenly Susan', 'Sabrina', 'LA Law', etc.  Is there some role or moment in your career where you watched yourself and said - "That is definitely my finest moment as an actress"?

An episode of a TV series I guested on called "Equal Justice".  The storyline had me as the daughter of a Kevorkian-type victim.  Courtroom drama. On the stand.  27 takes (including reversals, close-ups, master shots) of long, emotional dialogue, directed by Michael Switzer, producer was Thomas Carter.  I slipped into the room where they watched dailies and Thomas Carter asked, "Who's that terrific actress"?  I said, "It's me".  He sent me home with a raw, unedited reel of that scene.  It got me a lot of work.

Do you have any other upcoming projects or appearances you would like to plug or mention or let the http://www.racksandrazors.com/ readers know about?

Just finished recording some commentary for a new special edition DVD of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 which is supposed to come out in September and I'm looking forward to doing more horror films after all these years.

Okay - we're pulling the car into the Caroline Williams Drive In.  What three horror flicks are on the triple bill tonight and what goodies are they serving up at the concession stand?

A slower start with "The Omen", building to any of the "Halloween", "Nightmare" or "Friday the 13th" series; double-body-slamming into "Hostel".

What makes you go psycho in real life?

All the little, annoying minutia of life.

What scares you in real life?

When you have kids, you'll know.