A Scream Queen Scared of Her Own Shadow? Talking With Mara Marini by Owen Keehnen

Lovely Canadian born actress Mara Marini is now a California resident and she's also one charming scream queen - who laughs even more than she screams. Mara has been very busy the last few years with a slew of films (lots of them horror) like 'Deader Living Through Chemistry' (a short that is included on George Romero's 'Diary of the Dead' DVD, 'Shock' , 'In The Dark' , 'Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters' , 'Dark World' , 'Blood Legend' , 'Psychosomatika' , 'Gothic Vampires from Hell'... and there's more films on the way. Unlike most scream queens Ms. Marini is equally at home on the stage and even had a very successful 15-week run in Bram Stoker's Dracula for director Ken Sawyer at the NoHo Theater. Things are only looking better for her in 2010 and she certainly brightened my day in this exclusive www.racksandrazors.com interview.

  Mara, Happy New Year. Do you have any big plans for the evening?

Hi Owen! I usually have a few different plans...but this year, I am spending New Years Eve with my family in Winnipeg. Even though the plethora of invites in LA are taunting me...it's going to be more of a chill NYE, ringing in the next decade.

So tell me a little something about your role as Mercedes in 'Psychosomatika' with Jeff Dylan Graham (with whom you also made 'Blood Legend' in 2006). How did this new role come about?

Mercedes was a lot of fun to play. I adore Jeff. So, getting the chance to work with him again - and as his sister, no less - was a wonderful experience. Jeff and I kept in contact since 'Blood Legend' and he gave me a call when auditions for his movie came up. We were both blonde when we first worked together - and we both happened to have long dark hair when 'Psychosmatika' started pre-production...so. I like to think it was fate. Lynn Lowry, Peter Stickles, Lee Perkins, David Collupy and Ned Christensen...they all just made the project so much fun.

I must say 'Gothic Vampires from Hell' (2007) is one of those movies I would rent on title alone. Is it as much campy fun as it sounds? Can you give me a teaser that is going to make it irresistible?

It was a lot of "campy fun"...it was an interesting project to work on. I play Rayne who is in a band with her twin sister, Ravyne (I play the keyboards and she plays the drums)...and this record executive wants to sign us - but you come to find out she is after a little more than our "music". Lol.

Mara, you also starred in 'Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters' (2006). So if you were going to be the head of a Scream Queen sorority what would be some of the hazing activities you would have potential candidates go through to see if they make the grade?

Haha. Excellent question. I was never really exposed to the sorority/fraternity worlds - they aren't too prevalent in Canada. But, I have come to learn that they are pretty important in the States. I would probably make them do something nerdy...like whoever beats 'Monkey Island' (my favorite computer game) first (while I watched - no cheating!!)...or who has the best scream (give me a run for my money. Lol.)...or who sews Monroe (my little Chihuahua) the best Halloween costume...or who makes me the best Caesar or Pickletini...?

I also want to hear about your 15 week run in 'Dracula' at The NoHo Theatre. We don't talk much about horror on stage. What was that experience like? Did you have a vampy crowd in the audience or the more serious sort of Bram Stoker fans?

'Dracula' was one of the best experiences I have had. I had been dying to work with Ken Sawyer (director) since I moved to Los Angeles and saw him direct 'Woman in Black' at 'The Road Theatre'. He is absolutely amazing and has such an eye for gorgeous visuals and provoking images. This was just a perfect night of theatre. The talent was solid. The set was stunning (Desma Murphy is nominated for an Ovation award for the set design!). The audio and mood that Ken directed was absolutely thrilling (Ken is also nominated for an Ovation award!). We had full houses every night. It really was an amazing show and I was so happy I got to be a part of it.

You've made a good amount of films in the past few years. In addition to those I've mentioned you done such flicks as 'Munch', 'Deader Living Through Chemistry', 'Darkworld', 'In The Dark', etc. What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you on a set?

'In the Dark' was shot in Arvada, Colorado, at this abandoned hospital in the middle of nowhere (which was actually torn down shortly after the shoot). It was all night shoots...and I tend to get scared pretty easily. The cast and crew thought it was hilarious to make me scream at every turn...so I was on edge 99% of the time. One pitch-black night, while they were shooting a scene I wasn't in, I went walking from set to my trailer. You had to walk across a semi-scary field to get to the trailer, that night. All of a sudden, I saw this dark thing following me - and I just started screaming...and SCREAMING! Everyone stopped shooting and ran out to see who was attacking me. I opened my eyes...turns out I was screaming at....my own shadow!!! Super humilating. I'll never live it down, so I might as well share it with you! Lol. But it was super scary *when* it happened!

Do you have any other upcoming projects you want the racksandrazors readers to know about?

This summer was a lot of fun - I had a supporting role in the action film, 'Ballistica' ; I played a prissy Texan art dealer in 'Head Over Spurs in Love' ; and I played a Marilyn Monroe-type starlet-wannabe in 'Rock and Roll' . I also recently shot a really funny skit for 'Chelsea Lately' with Guy Branum, Chuy Bravo, Chris Franjola & Sarah Colonna (which should air in January) and a fun 'Vevo' commercial with Adam Lambert. Coming up next is a really cool Tarantino-esque project called 'Sushi Girl' , directed by Kern Saxton (who directed me in 'Deader Living through Chemistry' - which is on the 'Diary of the Dead' DVD).

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, creatures, aliens, telemarketers...what does it for you horrorwise Mara and why?

Number One is sharks - 'Jaws' still scares me. Number Two is spiders ('Arachaphobia' changed my life!). Three is a tie between vampires and ghosts because vampires scare me, but they are also kind of sexy...and ghosts *could* be real. (I get goose bumps and my eyes water when people tell me ghost stories...like clockwork!)

What was the first movie to scare the shit out of you?

See above. 'Jaws'! (I was scared to go the bathroom because I thought sharks would come up the toilet!) Then, 'Archanaphobia' - I "still" do a nightly spider check (ceiling corners, floor corners, under covers and under the pillow) thanks to that film. And then 'Candyman' (I couldn't look in the mirror for two full weeks!!!).

And what was the last horror movie you saw that really annoyed you?

'Batz' . I thought that one was really bad. It still remains the only movie I have walked out of (in the theatre), along with 'Joe Dirt'. I really didn't like 'Anaconda' either - because I felt sorry for the snake/was on the snake's side the whole time.

Okay, we're pulling into the Mara Marini Drive In. What three horror flicks are on the triple bill for tonight and what goodies are they going to be serving up at the concession stand?

'Jaws', 'Arachanphobia' and 'Candyman!' Lol. With chocolate sharks, gummi-spiders and jube jubes (which was my nickname for Jeff Dylan Graham [my onscreen brother] in 'Psychosomatika' , actually!)

What is your dream horror movie role?

Honestly? It would be Mina in 'Dracula' - with Ken Sawyer directing the film version!

And your favorite horror flick death scene?

Chrissie Walkins' skinny dipping and then getting devoured in 'Jaws' ...you don't see a lot of gore, but it still gives me chills.

What's the best Halloween costume you ever had?

It wasn't scary - but Victoria Beckham, hands down. I had a blast with it and my date looked quite a bit like David. It was a lot of fun. My 2010 is going to be pretty fun too...you'll have to wait and see!

What scares you in real life?

Spiders, sharks (when I am in the water. Lol), ghosts... I still get scared when I am home alone that there *might* be a monster under my bed. My friends make fun of me because if I hear something in the night - they think it is absurd that my mind immediately goes to "monster" or "ghost" instead of "robber" or "murderer". Lol. Must be all those horror flicks!!!