For Claire Westby it's all about zombies...and writer/director Brian Clement. The stunning actress is best known for her work as zombie huntress and exterminator (with a zombie wouldn't that be redundant?) Argenta in Clement's 'Meat Market' (2000) and the sequel 'Meat Market 2' (2001). She has also explored the world of the living dead as Jane Decarlo in the Clement chapter film 'Exhumed' (2003) which she also did costumes for as well as produced. As if that weren't enough Claire had the tables turned on her a bit and played a zombie in the 2002 flick 'Binge and Purge'. She also further explored her flair for costumes in the 'The Dead Inside' (2005). In this exclusive www.racksandrazors.com interview Claire Westby talks zombies and burlesque and takes no prisoners!

Hi Claire, why not start the readers off at www.racksandrazors.com with a visual and describe the room where you are answering these questions?

Hahaha, Well, I'm sitting in my car on the beach (too cold to sit outside today), typing on my Mac power book during my lunch break. I've been pretty busy these days with pin-up photography, burlesque performances and sewing, so this is the only time I get to work these days.

Okay Claire, I guess first off I want to hear about how the role of Argenta came about who you play in both 'Meat Market' (2000) and 'Meat Market 2' (2001)?

Argenta is a product of Brian Clement's (writer/director) fertile imagination. He is always good at creating strong female leads who don't fall into stereotypes, which would be nice to see as a trend in films with larger budgets, but I find to be frustratingly rare, both as an audience member and an actor.

What character traits do you think you and Argenta share most strongly?

A love of licorice and good hair and a hatred of zombies?

What in your opinion makes zombies such a frighteningly popular horror staple or more specifically why you seemed so cinematically linked to them?

I think it's how slow they move, but that they are still capable of harming you. I think it's meant to be an analogy of forces in society that creep into our daily lives without us noticing it, and by the time we notice that something's wrong, it often feels too late to effect change. I think zombie movies mirror the hopelessness we feel about things in our life it seems we can't change, so I think it's a fear most of us can relate to. As to why I'm linked to it, I will be in just about any movie Frontline Films will have me in. I miss the days of the action movies, as they are moving towards more thoughtful dramatic pieces, which I think is great, but it would be fun to get to chase zombies again.

You also confront the undead in 'Exhumed' (2003). Can you give me a quick description of how your character Jane Decarlo fits in with the proceedings?

Jane is a private investigator looking into what she thinks is a simple case of a jealous ex-husband keeping tabs on his former wife. What she stumbles on is a tangled web of glamorous dames, a mad scientist promising them innovative beauty treatments through his time machine, and an evil general from the future trying to go back in time to find a device of great power, which acts as this time machine. The scientist learns that he can bring back people from the dead with this device, and with the general tries to build up an army of the undead to do their bidding.

You also produced and did costumes on 'Exhumed' as well as acted. Did you enjoy all three roles or was tackling the three a bit much to juggle?

Oh no, it was so much fun, and it felt great to be more involved with the production of the movie. I am also a bit of a stickler for period details, being a big fan of the fashions and designs of the first half of the last century, so it was great to be able to work on making it as perfect as we could with our little budget. I'm sure it was more trying for Brian, as I tend to leave things to the last minute, so it probably upped his stress as I sat on set finishing up stitches on a garment needed in a second, but I think it all worked out pretty well.

I noticed that you also run a faux fur company in Canada. Did that come before or after your 'Exhumed' costume work and were the two directly connected?

I have been doing Coquette Faux Furriers since Oct 2002, so a bit before Exhumed, but it worked perfectly, since I was able to use a lot of the products I had on hand for costuming, and through the film I met Kitten Coquette, a burlesque performer from Vancouver who appeared in the nightclub scene, and would become one of my first models, and the first dancer I sponsored with product.

Then you play a zombie in 'Binge and Purge' (2002). Did fighting zombies give you any tips as to how to play one...or -what is something necessary to keep in mind if you are going to play the undead?

Yes, definitely! Watching zombies for hours does help you to improve your walking dead game, so I'm thankful for that experience. It's surprisingly fun to stumble around in a horde of zombies. Nothing is more enjoyable than sitting in a room with your friends making zombie noises for adr. Trying not to laugh is the hardest part.

Do you have any other pending projects you would like to let the www.racksandrazors.com readers know about?

Frontline Films is actually working on Meat Market 3! I' m very excited, although I will likely be behind the camera for most of this one - maybe I'll be a zombie in there somewhere. I' m hoping to try my hand at filming some of this, and I'll be helping out with costuming again. We're currently looking for investors for this and another period piece that is in the works too, so if anyone is interested they should contact us at brian@frontlinefilms.net. I'm also keeping my alter ego busy with burlesque and pin-up modeling, which you can check out at Bettina.ca and SuicideGirls.com. I'm hoping to work in a tour to Las Vegas and New York and area in the summer or fall, and I'll be attending Glamourcon in LA in November, a pin-up model convention.

Okay - we're pulling the car into the Claire Westby Drive In. What three horror films are you going to be showing on your triple bill and what goodies are going to be served at the concession stand?

They Live
Evil Dead 2

Concession will be stocked with tons of delicious vegan junk food.

What makes you go psycho in real life?

Sugar. And meanies.

What scares you in real life?

People who don't think politics effect them. I think we all have a responsibility to each other and our community to be active and aware of what goes on around us.