Linnea Quigley: The Queen of Low Budget Screams Interview by Greg Tiderington

When you think of the name Linnea Quigley what do you think of? A cult actress in exploited low budget horror films of course!
She had her first taste on acting in the horror flick 'Don't Go Near the Park' but was first recognised as Delores in the slasher flick 'Graduation Day' which starred Christopher George.
Then she won smaller roles in 'The Black Room' and the controversial Christmas slasher 'Silent Night Deadly Night' (In which she had the most memorable killing in the whole flick) But was crowned a scream queen when she played Trash in the famous zombie flick 'Return of the Living Dead' and by that time she was swamped with work during the late 80's in cheesy low budget horror films (Mainly directed by David DeCoteau) such as 'Creepozoids', 'Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama', 'Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers', 'Night of the Demons', 'Witchtrap' and 'Murder Weapon' (In which she produced as well) to name a few.
She started acting in more independent horror films during the mid 90's and millenium later on in life like in 'Jack-O', 'Fatal Frames', 'Death Mask', 'Corpses Are Forever' (Which she won an award for at a film festival ceremony) and 'Kannibal'.
She also reformed her rock band the Skirts and are playing at many underground gigs.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her which was a delight to doing and you can check out her official site at:

Greg: At what age did you see yourself as an entertainer?

Linnea: Well- I was really shy. I’d close the door and sing along to records with (Don’t laugh too hard) Donny Osmond, Jackson Five and Barbara Streisand. I even tried to cut my hair like Barbara Streisand, the blunt cut then I’d put scotch tape on my chin overnight to have a dimple since I had a crush on some actor in TV show I think called Young Rebels. Wasn’t until after moving from Iowa to California did I even think of relay acting or performing. My friend Dawn and I drew costumes and started to fund for band equipment in the 5th grade. So at 18, I guess I thought… Well… Maybe.

Greg: Did you see yourself acting in horror films?

Linnea: I loved watching them but I had no clue but I didn’t want to do good girl parts since that’s what I was and wanted to be a bad girl.

Greg: What was your first taste of acting?

Linnea: My 1st was Fairy Tales. A wonderful agent Hal Gather (Who killed himself not long ago and was a very big thing) who started Demi Moore etc. got me a film. I had no clue but I had a topless scene and oh man, I was terrified, plus my first lines. I got through. Wow, I’m an actress now!

Greg: How old were you?

Linnea: I was, I think, 19 at the time.

Greg: When you were at the end as Sleeping Beauty which was a nude scene. Was that the reason why you usually got cast in exploited flicks was because of that film as I understand you get uncomfortable when you have a nude scene in a show?

Linnea: Not because of the film, but it’s just strange. I didn’t think anyone would want to see me nude. I thought I was not good looking plus now it’s a whole different thing. I’m asked to keep clothes on. Ha ha.

Greg: Did it go to theatre’s and did you ever see the premiere of it?

Linnea: Yes, I did go see it on film. I was like embarrassed but also felt kinda important. Also, I was there so many hours and on film it’s like so fast.

Greg: What was your first horror film?

Linnea: At my first premiere of a horror film (can’t remember the name, but it’s on Elvira’s worst) I remember throwing up before going in to see it. I was so nervous. So since I forgot, the first horror film name I guess was Graduation Day was the first. No, it was Don’t Go Near the Park

Greg: Who did you play in it and what was required for you at the audition?

Linnea: In Graduation Day I played a girlfriend of this cocky guy who got killed. Then I tripped. Also, I was the bad girl. At the audition, I had to scream and act terrified at nothing.

Greg: What was your character like in the film?

Linnea: Her name was Delores, kind of a loose girl.

Greg: What year did it go to cinema’s?

Linnea: I don’t know what year, but I did a cover shot the same day. I did a commercial on American Bandstand with Dick Clark for my 2nd Close Up toothpaste commercial-Strange. Axe in the head on a Graduation Day poster, then clean cut Close Up toothpaste commercial.

Greg: I remember watching you in Graduation Day as you played the role of Delores. What was it like working with the legendary B-film actor Christopher George?

Linnea: Oh, I didn’t get to work with Christopher George. He was such a good actor.

Greg: What memorable scene did you have in that film?

Linnea: I guess I remember the day or late day I had a running scene-I ate a big catered lunch then and had to run a lot and I threw up (In private). I remembered the one crew members Sheepdog had to act also that day. I also remembered Vanna White showing people her mud wrestling photo ad before Wheel of Fortune.

Greg: Did you get any feedback from fans as that was one of the top horror flicks people remembered you from?

Linnea: I didn’t get feedback really from Graduation Day but it showed on TV a lot so people remember it.

Greg: Who did you get along with the most in that film?

Linnea: I got along with everyone I guess but I’m a loner. I didn’t realise until years later my friend Debbie Dutch is into it too.

Greg: Although this wasn’t a horror flick you were in but I liked you the best as the deaf-mute Heather in Savage Streets and for some stupid reason on it was catagorised as an action/horror simply because it was directed by Danny Steinmann who was recognized for directing a couple of other horror flicks like Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning and it also starred another scream queen Linda Blair. I was wondering what kind of an experience was it like working with Linda?

Linnea: I was terrified working with Linda Blair. She was like a big star. She was cast the last minute and Cherrie Curry had been her part but something happened. I felt so dorky. All the other girls had cool make-up, clothes and well I was kinda plain.

Greg: Did you and her remain friends and were you two ever asked by other directors to act in their horror flicks together?

Linnea: Yes. I see her not much since I made my worst mistake of moving from L.A. but we both are huge animal rights people. No one asked to team us again. They should as she’s so nice and a great actress.

Greg: Robert Dryer who played the Scar leader Jake in the film as he raped you and put you in a coma halfway through the film has been typecast playing other types of roles in cheesy shows cause of his rugged looks. Tell me what is he really like in person?

Linnea: Robert stayed in character so I don’t know.

Greg: The next film after that you had a special appearance as a loose teenager named Denise in a flick that tried to carry on the tradition of slasher flicks like Halloween titled Silent Night, Deadly Night. I thought you all did a good job in it. You had to go to Utah to do the film where it was freezing cold and you were topless in it. Were you cold through your part and wishing that filming would be finished soon?

Linnea: Yes, I remember being in a cheap motel shooting nights. There was a no disturb sign, so I took the paper, chewed gum and stuck it on the door. I collect do not disturb things from every place. I go now-weird! Yes it was cold and had to hold my breath while impaled on antlers then they have a fight under me.

Greg: When Robert Brian Wilson who played the demented Santa killer Billy picked you up to impale you on antlers, was it difficult for him to do it the way the director wanted him to do it at first and did there have to be retakes of it? It’s hard to pick someone up in the air like they were like a pillow.

Linnea: Robert Brian Wilson is so cool. He did a great job. I was a bit sore in ribs but he’s amazing. He’s cut parts off and went right back to work.

Greg: Was Wilson a good person to work with at all? He was convincingly scary in his role.

Linnea: Robert Brian Wilson was great. He’s so positive and has an aura of good around him.

Greg: You had a cameo in Fatal Games but I never saw you throughout the film. Was your scene taken out in the cutting room floor but decided to credit you in it anyhow?

Linnea: I think Sally Kirkland is doing rubdown on my back but I’ve never seen the film. It’s vague.

Greg: The classic zombie spoof Return of the Living Dead was your hit success becoming a scream queen. What were you asked to do to audition for the film?

Linnea: On audition for Return of the Living Dead? Wow! I guess it had been cast. Then they didn’t go for a while. The girl that was cast in my role got pregnant so Stanzi Stokes called me in. Stanzi had cast me in Silent Night, Deadly Night. I read for them, came back to read on video again the scene before I dance on a tombstone.

Greg: What was your reaction for when you got a callback to it since it was a well budgeted movie and better pay for you?

Linnea: It was just a small film at the time . So again, I had Screen Actors Guild pay but I was shocked I got it. I had no clue but it was very big.

Greg: I understand that many of the actors didn’t get along with the director Dan O’Bannon as people said he couldn’t handle the job directing for the first time and was better off as a sci-fi writer like he did with the smashing classic Alien. Did it make the work less enjoyable because of this?

Linnea: I had no trouble with Dan, but I did see things. It was a hard shoot. Rain machines, cold, effects. Just a lot. Plus, he has a very specific image.

Greg: Tobe Hooper from such classics like Poltergeist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Invaders from Mars fame was originally going to direct the film. What was the reason why he couldn’t do it?

Linnea: I don’t know why Tobe didn’t. I never knew that fact.

Greg: Your role as the sleazy punk Trash in the film was your best performance I thought. What scene did you have the most fun doing as there were a lot of enjoyable moments like dancing in the graveyard etc.

Linnea: Thanks. I had fun except I hated the make-up and being painted and not being able to get it off. Then the cold, cold rain, but I loved doing the character.

Greg: Now one of the extras who played a zombie in the film had to eat a cow’s brain from what I understood in the film and I know you are a true animal lover as well as a vegetarian. Did the thought gross you out and did you ever talk to Dan about using something else before shooting the scene?

Linnea: I arrived on set right after the main eating scene so I had no idea. I don’t think anyone but Dan did. I heard that the actor got very ill.

Greg: What actor/actress did you enjoy working with a lot?

Linnea: James Karen, Don Calfa, Beverly Randolph etc, etc. Brian Philbin, Jonathan Terry, Miguel A. Nunez and John Philbin.

Greg: Do you stay in contact with any of the actors or actresses from the film these days?

Linnea: I saw Beverly, John and Don not too long ago.

Greg: A lot of punk rock groups like The Damned, 45 Grave and the Cramps played the songs for the film and you yourself have an all women punk rock band called the Skirts. Did you ever ask the producer if you could do a songtrack for the film?

Linnea: No, I should have asked about the songtracks, but it was so busy that I didn’t think of it.

Greg: Did you get interviewed on a lot of talk shows like Entertainment Tonight or the Tonight Show because of your part in the flick?

Linnea: Oh yes, I’ve done so many talk show interviews. MTV, Entertainment Tonight, E, and on and on.

Greg: A lot of B-film horror directors were looking for you more than ever after the film hit theatre’s. I thought that you would be perfect in a Friday the 13th sequel and the one that comes to mind is Jason Lives playing Darcy Demoss’ role or one of the girl camp counselors. Were you ever asked to be in any of the Friday sequels and why couldn’t you do them?

Linnea: I didn’t know they were looking for me. I have no clue why I never did a Friday the 13th sequel.

Greg: Well your next horror flick after Living Dead was Bianca in the monster film Creepozoids directed by David DeCoteau. Was he a fan of your previous work as he seemed to cast you in several of his other films?

Linnea: I met David years before he was a director on his small film. Very Disney like, but we clicked.

Greg: What location did you shoot the film?

Linnea: In a warehouse in a bad part of L.A.

Greg: How long did it take for you to shoot it all?

Linnea: It took I think, 14 days.

Greg: Was it true that you came on as executive producer for it and was it very challenging work for you?

Linnea: Actually, I co-produced Murder Weapon and The Girl I Want with David. It was alot of work and just headaches but I liked it.

Greg: What kind of chemistry did you have with Ken Abraham who played your boyfriend Butch that you would like to share with us?

Linnea: Ken is great. I would tease him saying on shower scene they would look at him not me and just joke a lot. He is very cool.

Greg: What about Kim McKamy who played Kate? Why did she move on to pornography as usually it’s the other way around for most actors?

Linnea: Oh man! Kim wouldn’t do topless scenes. I didn’t believe it when someone said she was in X-rated films.

Greg: The film received a quick theatrical release in the fall of 1987. Was the release pretty much nationwide? If not, what places did it play at?

Linnea: I think it was an all over weekend release.

Greg: Apparently David was going to make a sequel but he ceased production. Did he decide to drop it cause your character killed off by the creature at the end of the the first one?

Linnea: I didn’t know about the sequel.

Greg: During that same year with DeCoteau you played Melody in the comedy called Nightmare Sisters (During one scene it showed a theatrical poster of Creepozoids hanging on the wall) with your scream queen friend Brinke Stevens and your other friend who was building into a scream queen herself named Michelle Bauer. Was David trying to make a spoof of his exploited horror flicks with this film?

Linnea: David did a 3 day wonder film. Just fun stuff. I did my music in it “Santa Monica Blvd. Bad Boy”

Greg: What surprised me was that Michelle Bauer started out in pornography but it seemed like she wanted to get out of it fast as she only did a handful of them which was a good choice on her move. Did you ever ask her why she got into it in the first place? Was it to get her foot into mainstream acting?

Linnea: I really don’t think Michelle did X-rated films. I don’t know.

Greg: Did this one just go direct-to-video?

Linnea: Yes direct-to-video.

Greg: You were in another flick with the same people but this one was a horror as well as a comedy called Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama as a role of another punk named Spider and a lot of your horror film fans enjoyed you in this film. What did you think of this film in general?

Linnea: I loved Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. I loved playing a bad girl, living through it and the whole thing.

Greg: Robin Stille who played the head sorority sister Babs apparently took her own life due to alcoholism. Was she having problems on the set of the film?

Linnea: Robin had drinks on set. I got really hurt during our fight scene because of it.

Greg: There were rumours that Sorority Babes had a limited theatrical release and there were rumours that it just went direct-to-video. Since you starred in it you would know the truth. What did it get?

Linnea: It got a limited theatrical release.

Greg: You also played an ex-chansaw prostitute named Samantha in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers with Michelle Bauer and the guy who starred in it was Texas Chainsaw Massacre star Gunnar Hansen. I understand that you were a big fan of that movie. What was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be working with him?

Linnea: I was so nervous to meet ‘Leatherface’ I’d seen his movie a lot. He was so nice. He had no idea that he had fans.

Greg: Now the chainsaw fighting and other events with them were all the casts stunts. Was this dangerous to do?

Linnea: Yes it was a bit dangerous.

Greg: I read in an old Fangoria magazine that it got a limited release in theatre’s as a double bill with another horror film. What countries did it play at?

Linnea: I think London played it.

Greg: My favourite horror film of yours was Night of the Demons as the whiny Suzanne. You were in a party dress in that flick and was shaking your butt a lot in it (Please don’t take this as an insult or offense). Were you wanting the script to be different than it was with those scenes or were you okay with it?

Linnea: Well I liked Angela’s clothes better and all but now I see it’s cool but we were told we would be back for sequels as we were told for Return of the Living Dead. Just work for low SAG pay and next time….

Greg: Was doing the film like a one big party?

Linnea: I was older than most of the cast so it was strange. I’m real serious about work.

Greg: What were your favourite scene’s in the film?

Linnea: I loved the lipstick scene since it’s so weird.

Greg: What kinds of effects were used when it showed you sticking your lipstick inside the nipple of your breast?

Linnea: Secret, secret but it involves molds.

Greg: Was your ex-husband Steve Johnson friends with Kevin S. Tenney since he was doing make up effects for the film and did he refer you for the part in the film? Networking is always a great thing.

Linnea: No, I met Steve on the film and didn’t date until after the film. Kevin called me in and I didn’t go since I thought I wouldn’t get it since I was older. Then I got the part.

Greg: Was Night of the Demons your last film that you had a main role in that made it to theatre’s as the others you were in afterwards were direct-to-video it seems like but video and DVD does a lot better than theatrical releases cause people rent them more often than paying 10 dollars to go and see a show.

Linnea: I did cameos in theatrical films but now it’s really hard to get theatrical.

Greg: Were you ever asked to reprise your role in the two sequels like Mimi Kinkade was who played your gothic friend Angela?

Linnea: As I said, we were promised to be back but who knows.

Greg: In 1989, you produced and starred in a direct-to-video horror-comedy titled Murder Weapon which didn’t have much of a story or budget to carry it. Was the producing side just a challenge for you as I can see you producing much better flicks like Night of the Demons etc. (Please don’t take this as an offense as I support you all the way Linnea and know a lot of these films aren’t what you choose to do but in the business you have to get what you take unfortunately)

Linnea: I needed to get feet wet but I know Murder Weapon lacked.

Greg: You were fortunate to find Lyle Waggoner as your shrink in the film and he is a known name and I used to watch him in the TV shows Carol Burnett and Friends and Wonder Woman. How did you find him?

Linnea: An agent named Jerry Wolf who David knew had Lyle. I had just seen him on an infomercial.

Greg: Is it true that Ellen Cabot is David DeCoteau as rumours was that David has different names listed on some film for different reasons or was this a different person? I think it’s a different person as David’s films seem very different than Ellen’s like when I saw you in the other film Deadly Embrace which I understood you weren’t proud of doing?

Linnea: I guess that David used it for fun but Deadly Embrace was kinda strange.

Greg: You have been extremely busy in the film industry and years later you were in independent horror films that had no nudity in them and it focused on your acting skills which I must congratulate you like your role as Ellie Kroeger in Corpses Are Forever. How did you know the director/writer/actor Jose Prendes in the first place as he cast you in his previous film Monster Man?

Linnea: I met Jose right after I made a dreadful move to Florida at a Fangoria Convention in Orlando. He was so nice, honest and very into films. I admire him.

Greg: Were you telling him about you wanting to do a film the focused on a solid storyline and wrote the right part for you?

Linnea: No, he wrote the film just himself. It was a black & white short all filmed on a 35mm.

Greg: Your part as Ellie in Corpses Are Forever I have to say was one of your best work and it really did focus on you as an actress and you won an award at an independent film festival for best supporting actress. Was this your first award? You had a lot of great feedback from viewers that saw the film.

Linnea: I didn’t know I had good feedback. I just trusted Jose and Alvaro the D.P. and I guess myself.

Greg: What directions did you feel was helpful that Jose gave you that made you do such a terrific job?

Linnea: Jose said something if it wasn’t right instead of “Let’s move on”

Greg: Did the make-up feel ok on your skin when you were a zombie spirit? It looked like it stuck on you quite good.

Linnea: You mean the fake blood? It was sticky. I felt like Carrie.

Greg: During the closing credits it said Next up was the Corpse Who Loved Me. Will that ever go into production and will you reprise your role? I hope so!!!!

Linnea: I don’t know. I hope that Jose makes a ton of money and asks me back. When I got hurt here I went and still going through physical and mental things. I don’t trust the doctors here. They almost killed me so I lost friends. I couldn’t move on the “tour of my house” It was in the beginning of being ill and it got worst. I could hardly do it but with help from Jose and Jessica I did it and I didn’t want to let them down but then I was bedridden for months and months.

Now here’s some fun stuff:

Greg: What are your favourite horror flicks?

Linnea: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, When a Stranger Calls and The Old Murder in Rue Morgue Wax Museum

Greg: If you have a film you'd like to change what would that film be?

Linnea: I don’t know. I can’t change it so I try not to think about it.

Greg: What is the film you acted in that you would cherish the most?

Linnea: Trash in Return of the Living Dead. My favourite! Really special to me.

Greg: If you were just a top scream queen for a day whether this actress was alive or dead who would she be?

Linnea: Nyoka queen of the jungle.

Greg: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Linnea: Health, happiness, no animal cruelty or human. No death and no financial problems.

Greg: What are your ambitions?

Linnea: Right now to work and be out of pain and back to myself. It’s slow but it’s coming. Also, to move to L.A. again. I miss my friends and just not being so alone. I love working and I’m doing things but I want to do another Return of the Living Dead type of film. My music which was going and work with Mortimor on “It Came from Trifalgar” which is going to be too cool.