RUBEN ROX: Not All Scream Queens are Female by Owen Keehnen

26-year-old Ruben Rox is fast becoming a familiar name and recognizable (though bloody) face among horror genre fans. He’s a nice guy who loves the genre, loves making movies, loves having fans…and basically is the kind of person who is PERFECT for becoming a celebrity – all because he genuinely loves it and has fun doing it. And even better he is a fan of TRUE horror – no PG-13 crap…He loves the “unrestrained gore and gratuitous nudity” of the genre.  Ruben is talking our language here!

And to think it all came about quite by accident! After some high school drama Ruben was still mostly indifferent about acting and then due to an odd set of circumstances (overhearing the guy at his video store was making a movie and that it was to be a horror flick) --- he auditioned and was cast as a crazed dream killer in 2001 film ‘Within Dreams’. At that point his interest was heightened and soon he landed roles in a couple short films ‘The Jogger’ and ‘The Last Assignment’. After those experiences he KNEW that his joy in front of the camera wasn’t a fluke or isolated experience and that acting in horror movies was his destiny…or at least it was a very strong tendency tugging at his sleeve. Once that door swung open opportunity came rushing in and the out gay actor found himself increasingly in demand. Since 2001 he has appeared in a slew of more horror flicks – ‘The Parking Lot Killer’ – where he is brutally stabbed in (yep!) a car, ‘Twisted Souls’, ‘Nightmare Island’, ‘Creatures of the Night’, ‘Death House Massacre’, ‘The House By The Graveyard’ – featuring ghosts, a psycho killer, and zombies – that makes for a mighty full house, ‘Twitch’, ‘Night of a Thousand Screams 2’, and ‘Revenge of the Unhappy Campers’. Currently Ruben is working on a script of his own that he hopes to film sometime in early 2005 called ‘Bloodbath in Happy Woods’. Recently he took time off from his busy schedule to answer a few quick questions.




Owen: Hey Ruben, why do you think so many gay men are drawn to the horror genre?

Ruben: To be honest I don't know. I can only speak for myself: I like being a little scared (although its been a while since I saw a movie that made me jump out of my seat). I also enjoy not knowing what's gonna happen next, who will be the next victim. In this genre you just never know which direction the plot will take.

Owen: What drew you to it?

Ruben: I blame my cousins. When I was a kid, I used to spend weekends with them and they always wanted to rent horror movies or read scary comics.

Owen: What did you dress up as this past Halloween?

Ruben: As myself.  I didn't go anywhere; I just stayed home and watched movies.

Owen: When did it first strike you that making horror flicks was what you wanted to do?

Ruben: In High School I was in several plays, they were dramas... My coaches always told me I was pretty good playing serious roles. Back then I really didn't care much, then years later after college, I had the opportunity to be in two short-horror films and it was a blast, that's when I knew. 'Good-Bye tear-jerkers', 'Hello Psychos', 'Zombies and Monsters'.

Owen: 'Death House Massacre', 'Creatures of the Night', 'Revenge of the Happy Campers', 'The Parking Lot Killer', 'Night of 1000 Screams Part 2', 'Nightmare Island', 'The House By The Graveyard', 'Twitch', 'Twisted Souls'...You've made so many horror films.  Do you have aspirations about wanting to branch out or do you like working within the genre?

Ruben: I love working in this Genre. If I had to choose between an intense drama and a slasher, I would totally pick the slasher film.

Owen: You mention loving the "unrestrained gore and gratuitous nudity" of horror...does that mean you would strip down and take a nude shower scene for no apparent reason other than so your character can be naked when killed - like is so often the case for women in horror flicks?

Ruben: I have actually done nudity (buttocks) and have no problem with it.  Now I'm not as skinny as I was a couple of years before, but if anyone were to ask me to do it, hell yeah!

Owen: Ghosts, Vampires, Zombies, Psychos, Victims --- Which do you have the most fun playing?

Ruben: Victims.

Owen: Which of the above do you feel the biggest connection to and what characteristics do you share?

Ruben: Unfortunately victim... In the past, in real life, I have been attacked and chased by low-lifes. Fortunately I was never hurt, just scared... Also, when I'm at a party or camping, I tend to separate myself from the group to go make out in the woods, play hide and seek and behave in the unnormal way victims-to-be do in films.

Owen: Okay, you say you most identify and most frequently play what in your opinion is the ultimate horror movie victim role that you would have given anything to play?

Ruben: Teri McMinn's role in the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (the girl leatherface hangs up on the meathook).

Owen: What's the key to being a convincing killer?

Ruben: If I remember correctly, I've only played a killer once (usually I play the victim, don't know why, but it seems people like killing me). I think you just have to take it seriously and think of the person(s) you hate the most and imagine you are killing THEM.

Owen: Do you have a best and a worst film acting experience to date?

Ruben: My worst has to be when I was working in Twisted Souls, I had to run down the side of a very steep cliff, next to the cliff is this big river, I was running down, couldn't stop, had to throw myself to the side and landed on some bushes scratching and cutting my hands and arms... Next has to be 'The Parking Lot Killer', I was supposed to play the lead, but the producers decided they wanted a girl, the script was changed and I ended up playing the first victim. I was extremely pissed off because I spent a lot of time looking for locations, raising money, convincing actors to work for free, etc… My best experience so far has been in 'Revenge of The Unhappy Campers', I got to play my first lead, got to go on location, got paid, the actors and crew were awesome and this has been the only film to premiere theatrically.

Owen: So from a casting perspective.  You have been in about 10 horror flicks or so --- Do you still audition or is it more networking and people saying things like, "Hey, why not be in our horror movie" does the casting work for you at this established stage in your career?

Ruben: I haven't auditioned for any roles during the last 2 years. I wouldn't mind doing it again, it was a lot of fun for me...Nowadays people email/call me and invite/ask me to be part of their projects. I feel extremely lucky. 

Owen: So from your perspective has the indie horror scene been pretty accepting of you as a gay man/actor?

Ruben: Yes. Although not all of the people I have worked with knew. Maybe after reading this some individuals won't be as accepting, but I don't care.

Owen: What's something that makes you scream in real life?

Ruben: Ignorance, racism and when I find out those I trust backstab me.

Owen: What is something that makes you want to KILL?

Ruben: I don't know, maybe in a situation were those I care about were gonna get hurt... My head hurts, you're making me think. LOL.

Owen: If someone were to come to you for advice about getting into the indie horror business what would you tell him?

Ruben: Just to go for it.

Owen: When I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to be _________________.

Ruben: A doctor.

Owen: What is the ideal horror triple feature?

Ruben: The original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'The Evil Dead' and 'Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O'Rama'.

Owen: Do you have any new projects in the work you would like to mention?

Ruben: Right now due to the Holidays I'm not working in any films, but am re-writing a project I wrote a couple of years ago called "Bloodbath in Happy Woods". If everything goes well, it will be filmed spring 2005.

Owen: Where do you see yourself career wise five years from now? 

Ruben: Hopefully still working in this business, or back in the Health Care field.

Owen: Thanks Ruben.

Ruben: If I may, I would like to thank you for this interview. The questions were different and fun to answer...

Owen: That’s sweet, you’re welcome Ruben and all the best to you both in life and career.