The Original Sleepaway Gangster: Daryl Wilcher by Greg Tiderington

Many people know Daryl as the bad ass gangster from Detroit as Riff in 'Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland' in which he was foul to everyone in the film and loved his rap music as well as using his switchblade knife and gun to scare the campers but of copurse got what was coming to him from the transsexual killer Angela Baker for all his nasty deeds. Yes he really stood out in the film as he reminds you of those other type of gangster thug characters in 'Boyz in the Hood', 'Candyman' and 'New Jack City'.
He also had similar roles like this one in TV guest appearances on 'America's Most Wanted' and 'In the Heat of the Night' plus his bit part opposite Emilio Estevez in 'Freejack'.
A local actor in Atlanta, Georgia work is limited there but he puts everything he's got into his work and due to his role as Riff, moderator Jeff Hayes from cast him in his short comedy-horror flick 'Grandma's Sloppy Seconds' as a newscaster Riffley Rogers which played at the Horrorfest in Denver, Colorado as well as his role as Leviathan in another comedy-horror in the same vein as 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Night of the Demons' and 'Evil Dead 2' titled 'Zombeak' which just got accepted at the Cannes Film Festival in which he did a remarkably good job in might I say.
To top it all off he approved my site on him being official in which you can check out at

  At what age did you see yourself as an entertainer?

As a young lonely introverted kid, I just liked playing pretend--dressing up as Superman and Batman.  I didn't see until later that this was called 'being an actor' and that you could essentially get paid for putting on a costume and acting silly like on Halloween.

Did you see yourself acting in horror flicks?

No, not at all.  When you're an aspiring don't have the luxury of picking and choosing parts.  You're just happy to get ANY paying job--be it 'Horror', 'Drama', 'Comedy', 'Action' or etc.  99% of the time I'm unemployed.  I happy to get any job in any genre!  But my preference would be ANY of the 'big budget escapist fantasy action and/or super-hero/ sci-fi crap'.  This is what made me want to be an actor.  But like I said...being out of work most of the time...I'm happy to get ANY paying gig.  I'm just glad I haven't had to do porno........yet.

What was your first acting gig?

My first job was a modeling gig for Coca-Cola.  I think my first acting job was public service ad for teen pregnancy for PBS.

What was your first horror film?

My first horror movie was Sleepaway III.  It was my first time working on any movie as a 'principal'.

How did you hear about the auditions for 'Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland'?

We got the auditions through our agent.

What parts did you read for at the auditions?

I read for the character who was putting firecrackers everywhere.  I really wanted that role...and thought they would cast me for that instead of 'Riff'.  I didn't think I was tough enough for 'Riff'.  I've always seen myself playing more 'introverted nerdy types'.  This is easier, because this is closer to my real persona.

Who were you up against for the role as Riff?

I don't really remember this.  It was kinda a 'mass audition' with them juggling kids and having them read different roles to see who would fit which part best.

Did you ever see the original 1983 cult classic flick before audtioning? 

No...actually I didn't.  I had heard about the 'shocking ending'...but didn't see the movie until after I got involved with the franchise.

How did you feel when you found out you won the part as Riff?

Very happy!  It was my first movie I was happy to be a paid actor working in anything!

You played that part well. What made you relate to a bad ass role like that?

Honestly, I don't know.  Like I said, I've never seen myself as a 'tough guy'.  (I'm actually a pretty wimpy 'geek-nerd'!)  As a child, I lived for a few years in the rough parts of Detroit, Michigan, (Ironically, Riff's hometown!?!), so, I just roughly based him on alot of the badass kids who lived in my neighborhood at that time.

I understood it was pretty cold on set what month and year did you start acting on set?

I don't remember the month...I can't even remember the year.  But I do remember that it was really fucking COLD!!!  I hated this part of it!  Especially at night when the temperature would really drop.  They keep us on the exterior sets and sometimes wouldn't let us go into the cabins to warm up...even between shot set-ups.  I really hated that shit.  We were all huddled around those industrial sized gas powered heaters that looked like rocket engines and could incinerate you if you got to close.  But there was one actor who had to be tied to a tree with no coat on during one set-up.  I thought he was really lucky because he had these two sexy female P.A.'s in overcoats who were forced to 'hug him' and snuggle their coats and bodies around him in between shots to keep him warm!  (Lucky Bastard!!)

Tell me what it was like doing the fight scene with Mark Oliver as another gang member in Los Angeles named Tony DeRaro in the canteen room? 

That was alot of fun!  Mark was really cool to work with.  The scene was plotted out carefully by stunt coordiantors to make sure we wouldn't get hurt.  We had arm and knee pads on to protect us.  Both Mark and i were really jacked--we weren't worried about getting hurt--we were having too much fun.  I'm no action star--but for the small moment in time--i could pretend to be Bruce Willis, Rambo, or Arnold!  When Mark and I took our tumble over the table during the cafeteria fight...we landed with a thud!  But it was a piece of cake!  We were more worried about hurting each other rather than ourselves.  As soon as we landed, and they yelled 'CUT'!  We both jumped up, grabbed each other...and at the SAME TIME asked each other: "Are you Okay??!"

Did you know about Pamela Springsteen being the younger sister of the Boss and seen her in shows like
'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', 'Reckless' and 'Scene from the Goldmine'?

I had no idea who she was.  I didn't find out she was Bruce's sister until after we started shooting.  I think i said something stupid to her like, "Maybe Bruce can contribute some music to this movie!"  I know she probably thought I was an idiot...but she was SO SWEET and soft-spoken.  Actually...I really AM an idiot!  I really didn't know that the hair Pamela had was a wig!?!  I never saw Pamela without her 'Angela costume' during the shoot--so, I was real surprised that she was wearing a wig!

What memorable experiences do you have on set of the filming?

Except for the cold...everything was great.  We were all a bunch of kids--just jacked to have a paying gig and to be actually working in a movie.  Sleepaway Camp III was my 'first', and was the equivalent of "losing my cinematic virginity"!

What was the most difficult scene to do?

The dialogue wasn't complex...the acting was easy...there weren't ANY difficult scenes, as far as I can remember.  Just the physicality of dealing with a cold exterior set.

One of my favourite directions was when Pamela Springsteen as Angela Baker coming into your tent asking you to gut the fish for dinner and you point a gun at her. What was racing through your head when you did that? Ever remind you of a bully in school or any delinquents?

We just played that scene the way the Director wanted.  I did base Riff on kid's from Detroit...and I did have my share of bullies...but I've never had anyone point a gun at me.  In my day, with bullies, you only had to worry about getting your ass kicked.  Just when kid's stopped fighting with their fists and started carrying "glocks" and "uzi's", was about the time I left Detroit and moved to Atlanta.  I was lucky enough to bypass the whole 'Boyz N' the Hood' type of violence.

Out of all the actors who did you associate the most during the shoot?

Probably the guy who played whitebread 'Bobby'.  He was a great actor to work with...and a cool guy.  He plays 'the sun' now, in those 'Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwich & Breakfast Bowl' TV commercials.

After the release of the film did you get any fan mail or go to horror conventions since your role was very well remembered to fans?

Nope.  I'm actually surprised Sleepaway has the fanbase that it does.  I got a few fan e-mails...but the most rewarding relationship I've had...and the best thing to come out of Sleepaway for me was meeting and becoming friends with a guy by the name of Jeff Hayes.
He runs an official
Sleepaway Camp fan website and he's become a good friend and a really cool guy!

What kinds of feedback did you get from the part you played?

Most of it has been positive...because it's come from (biased) fans of the movie

Of course you got work playing similar characters in shows such as
'Amercia's Most Wanted', 'In the Heat of the Night' and your bit part in the motion picture 'Freejack'. Were you imagining to yourself what you did as Riff and went along with these shows especially 'Freejack' since your part reminded me totally of that character?

I was totally not thinking of Riff at all.  But I was surprised at always getting these 'bad guy' roles because I'm such 'a pussy' in real life.  I was really bothered by all the roles I got that always had me getting killed off.  I started to think that maybe someone was trying to tell me something.

Were you approached to act in any other horror flicks due to your role as Riff? I could see you in a
'Candyman' film for sure.

I saw a review were someone said I resembled the guy from 'Candyman'.  But, no,  I haven't gotten any roles because of my playing Riff.

Now you had a special appearance in Jeff Hayes' short 'Grandma's Sloppy Seconds' as a newsreporter Riffley Rogers. Where did you shoot that scene and what was required?

One of my best friends has his own video production company that shoots music videos and stage play videos like for Tyler Perry and his Madea franchise.  This guy was supposed to help me shoot this anchor-reporter footage, but he forgot.  So rather than let Jeff down...I rigged up a set IN MY KITCHEN and shot the footage myself using one of those cheap digital disposable video cameras.  I thought the quality initially looked horrible...but Jeff is a really talented videographer, and he made it work.

I just recently saw you as Leviathan in
'Zombeak' which was a stretch than the roles you usually portrayed in other shows. How did you hear about that film?

Zombeak's casting dept. posted an ad for 'Open Auditions' on a 24 hour automated phone casting hotline put out by the Georgia Film Commission.

Did this film help you become a versatile actor?

Oh, come on...this WASN'T Shakespeare!  It was just over the top campy fun!!  Sam Drogg was a hoot to work with...he had that manic 'mad scientist' vibe!  This pale, frail, rail thin guy, who looked perpetually semi-panicked and semi-stoned at the same time.  I was amazed that this guy pulled this film off with the resources that he had.  A true: "down n' dirty-in-the-trenches-zero budget- guerrilla filmmaker"!

I loved the moment where you came across as a mobster like to Melissa Gilbert's role. Tell me about your experience doing that scene? 

I have to give alot of the credit for that to Melissa.  She was really courageous and when I asked her what I could and couldn't do with her...she didn't set any limitations.  When it came time for us to shoot the scene where she's strapped down spread-eagled on a pentagram and assaulted...she came up to me and broke the tension by snickering: "So Daryl, you ready to rape me?!"

My favourite part was when you become possessed briefly by the antichrist as you reminded me of a Freddy Krueger or Angela of
'Night of the Demons' type of character. Was this your favourite moment of all time? Do share the nitty gritty details.

That actually was my favorite scene in the movie.  I had no idea what the special effects would look like...and Sam Drogg didn't give me alot of I just had fun with it.  I actually fooled Sam (and myself) into thinking that I really was a real actor who knew what the hell he was doing.  I tried to do a 180' and play 'the Devil' as 'powerful' as i could--the opposite of Leviathan...who was a complete fraud.  I'm a big Batman movie fan.  People joke that both Michael Keaton and Christian Bale stole their 'Batman voices' from Clint Eastwood's 'Dirty Harry'.  So I decided the only thing I could do was change my voice and make it as deep and gravelly as I could.  I copied Batman who was copying Clint Eastwood.  Of course, after post-production, the vocal and sound effects were amped up made to sound 100 times better than anything I could have ever done.  I also tensed all the muscles in my body.  this was an attempt to convey strength...but it was also my attempt to 'clamp down' and not fart!  (I had really bad gas that day!)

What scene were you mostly fond of during the shoot?

Again, the 'devil possession'.  That and the scene where the cowardly Leviathan has his breakdown scene.  The look on Vascara's face when she looks at him with disgust as he starts 'sermonizing' is priceless!

What was Sam Drog like to work with?

Sam was great.  He just had that funny "mad scientist" vibe.  He's such a normal looking guy...and it was weird to think that this 'zombie satanic chicken' thing came out of his head.  He's got kids now.  Can you just imagine the type of bedtime stories this guy reads to his children?!?

Lots of actors from SC3 have acted in slapstick zombie flicks like Kyle Holman in
'Hide and Creep' and Mark Oliver in 'Dance of the Dead'. Do you feel this film will help you get exposure other than in SC3 like it did them?

We'll see.  Drogg says he has distribution lined up.  But this is a weird little movie that will have to find an audience.  There are no guarantees for success and/or  profit in the video business...unless you're doing porn.

Did you ever see
'Night of the Demons' as it co-starred Jill Terashita from 'SC3'. This film very much reminded me a parody of that and other retro horror films. What was your feelings on this one?

I didn't see this one.  I may have to now.  Jill Terashita was a hottie!  Did she take anything off?

Will you be reprising your role in the sequel?

There's a sequel?  If they offer...and it in the old Michael Jackson song:  "I'll be There"!!

Where did this film show at? Any festivals?

I'm not sure what type of exhibitions the film was screened at.  Urban legend has it, that it went to, and was screened at,  Cannes.

What other acting projects do you have lined up?

None.  I work a 'real job'.  (Very boring and depressed...but it pays the bills)  I got discouraged and dropped out of the industry for awhile...but am now trying to restart a career.  My agent's sending me out on auditions--so we'll see what happens.

Now alot of the action in movies is sually places like Hollywood as I thought you'd be great in a
'Big Mommas House' sequel. Have you thought of trying to relocate there for work like that?

I'd love to.  But it's a cutthroat environment and you either have to have alot of connections to help you when you make the transition...and/or a tidy 'nest-egg stockpile of ca$h' to act as a safety net till you get situated.  I've got neither.  I'm too old for that whole cliched,  'hustling-struggling-sleeping on somebodies sofa-waiting tables-eating peanut butter sandwiches" struggling, broke starving actor thing.  So, I'm still stuck in the southeast.

Now heres some fun stuff: What are your favourite horror films?

I'm not really a horror fan.  I'm more into sci-fi and fantasy.  But 'The Exorcist' really disturbed me as a child.  I absolutely loved both the first and second 'Alien' movies.  I've got a couple of collectible 'Alien' and 'Alien vs. Predator' action figure dolls all over my home.

If you were a horror film actor whether he was alive or dead who would he be?

Does 'Blade' count?  I loved Wesley Snipes as 'Blade'!! Super cool badass vampire, with killer kung-fu moves, who didn't take shit off of anybody!

What show were you in that you cherished the mist and look back at?

I really don't have that extensive of a resume.  I'll have to add more credits to my resume to answer that question.  Getting acting work is like winning the lotto.  It has those kinda odds.  When you get a job--ANY job, it's memorable, and you're happy to just be working.

If you were in a show that you'd like to change what would it be?

Two of my favorite shows on televison have both just stopped production in 2008:  "Battlestar Galactica" and Boston Legal".  I'd love to be involved performing in that type of programming.  Boths shows had great acting, great drama...and were both intelligently written and focused on important, powerful issues that were happening in real life.

What is you idea of a perfect happiness?

Complete Emotional, Spiritual, ARTISTIC and FINANCIAL FREEDOM!!!