The lovely and talented Rachel Grubb was born in Ohio in 1976. As a girl her family moved to Minnesota and she's been calling the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" home ever since. Rather than being out of the circuit, things definitely seem to be thriving in the independent movie scene in Minnesota. In the past two years she's appeared in a number of indie horror flicks such as 'Doomed To Consume' in which she played a "featured zombie", 'Unholy Reunion', 'Horror House', and 'The Monster of Phantom Lake'. Rachel was the casting director and also played the double role of Nancy/Laura in 'Tales of the Dead', was the evil Harga in the campy titled 'Cave Women on Mars', and even did some atmosphere work in Robert Altman's 'A Prairie Home Companion'. In addition Rachel has also been busy selecting future proejcts for her new company, Silent But Deadly Productions, with cohort and sometime costar Brooke Lemke.

Prior to stepping in front of the camera Rachel had some experience behind the scenes. Her work won the coveted Best Breakthrough Screenplay Award at The New York Indepedent Film and Video Festival. Most recently the multi-talented Rachel is giving post production touches to her pet project Why Am I In a Box which she directed, produced, wrote, cast, and stars in as Ellen. As if that weren't enough she was also a Scream Queen of the Month at the popular website! What more can be said except that "things definitely seem to be heating up in Minnesota".

Recently the charming Rachel Grubb took time from her busy schedule for this exclusive www.racksandrazors.com interview.

  First off Rachel, can you give us a visual and describe the room where you are answering these questions?

I'm in my living room! I've got several racks full of CDs and DVDs. And I have a whole collection of Alice In Wonderland figurines.

How did your production company Silent But Deadly Productions come to be?

I first met Brooke Lemke on the set of an independent feature film. She recognized me from another film I had done called "The Monster Of Phantom Lake." (http://imdb.com/title/tt0801344/) She had auditioned for the female lead in the sequel. She didn't get that part, but the director wrote another movie for her called "Cave Women On Mars," (http://imdb.com/title/tt1043719/) and we ended up playing the leaders of the two warring tribes of cave women. We had the world premiere screening recently, and Brooke and I had a blast! We have worked together on quite a few projects. I got cast in a horror film called "Tales Of The Dead." (http://imdb.com/title/tt1192626/) from Haunted Autumn Productions. (http://www.hauntedautumn.com) The filmmakers were still looking for some other actors, and I recommended Brooke. It was our first night filming "Tales Of The Dead" that we first discussed making our own movies and starting our own production company, Silent-But-Deadly Productions. (http://www.silent-but-deadly-productions.com) I had a bunch of writings that were beginning to form a script, so I wrote what became the screenplay for "Why Am I in a Box?" (http://imdb.com/title/tt1204984/) Then Brooke wrote a short screenplay, "A Broken Family," and contracted another short script, "Young Eyes," by a writer named Heather Beck. We'll be filming that one in June. It is great working with Brooke. We both have lots of ideas for what we want to do as filmmakers, and we both support each other as producers. As much as I love to act and direct, it's also great to hang back and say, "Okay, Brooke, what do you need? This is your movie, here." And Brooke is willing to do the same for me.

Do you have some sort of business statement for the company? What is/are your objective(s)?

We are an all female production company, and we focus on that. We want to create opportunities for women and girls in film. There are a lot of actresses who really want to act, who aren't just in it to be seen and look pretty, and we want to create some interesting and challenging roles for them. We have opportunities for young girls interested in film to come and visit our sets and see what it's like. And when they're there, we want them to see women directing, acting, and on crew positions. We've gotten a good response so far. When we put out our first casting notice, we got emails from two women who wanted to be on the crew, because they thought it was so cool that we were an all female production company.

Can you give me a little teaser or something about your role as Monica in 'Unholy Reunion'?

Well, I'm naked in it! Ha! My character, Monica, is the wife of the killer, Adkov Telmig. My story takes place in the past, before Adkov became who he is. The cast featured all these other actors whom I knew from other projects, like Stuart Murphy, and Nicole Blessing, and Shannon McDonough, and Crystal Hipple, but I didn't get to work with any of them, because their scenes were all took place several years later. I only worked with Donovan Walker and Dan Quaile, who were great. You can watch the opening scene at http://www.bloodymessygirls.com , a cool website featuring horror models.

Tell me about your recent foray behind the camera writing, directing, starring in, and producing 'Why Am I In a Box?" What was the toughest part of doing all that?

By far, the toughest part was acting and directing at the same time. I think that all experienced actors direct themselves in the sense that they dissect the script and and analyze the character and work out how to deliver each line. But the director ultimately accepts or rejects it. When I was directing myself, I had no one to let me know I was doing a good job. I was asking the AD, JP Wenner, who is a good friend of mine, and he told me, "I can tell you if it's good. I can't tell you if it's what you want." One thing that I love about film acting as opposed to theatre is that you can see your performance the same way the audience sees it and be objective. But when I'm directing and acting at the same time, I can't see the monitor, and I don't have anyone who watch me the way I watch the other actors. As challenging as this was, I'm glad I played the lead in my own film. I learned a lot by doing that, and I will be better prepared for when I have to do it again.

Love the title, what does it refer to?

There used to be this really funny show on MTV called "Sifl & Ollie." It played much like a standard cable access show, except that it was hosted by sock puppets. They had this "Calls From The Public" segment they used to do that was kind of like Loveline, only they had sock puppets calling up on a video phone. They kind of parodied the ridiculously dumb questions they get on Loveline. One day, this cardboard box called up and asked, "Why am I in a box?" I found the show very funny in its absurdity, and I used that phrase as my user title on my email account. I had written another script, and I was having a hard time finding a title. My friend asked me to email it to her so she could give me some feedback on it. I was surprised and confused when she left me a voicemail message saying how much she liked the title, because it didn't have one. I called her and asked, "What do you mean? What title?" and she said, "Why Am I in a Box?" I liked it so much that I decided to use it. I never did produce the full length version of that script, but it won the Best Breakthrough Screenplay Award at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. When I wrote this new script for Silent-But-Deadly, I used the same title, because it fit the story even better. Because the award is listed on my imdb page with that title, some have assumed that this feature I made is an award winning screenplay--it's not. But in all honesty, I do think it's better than the one that got the award. I did rewrite the first scene of the original "Why Am I in a Box?" into a short film. A local filmmaker named Eric Ortiz directed it, and I acted in it along side actor Derek Dirlam. The working title for it is "The Made and The Mess," but while it's in post-production, I'm trying to find the perfect title. I've been watching Monkees reruns on youtube, and I'm sure the perfect random phrase will present itself in due time.

Would you please give the racks and razors readers a synopsis that will make the movie irresistable?

It's about a woman (me) who always wanted to be a writer, but she never really sat down and made herself do it. Then one day, she gets kidnapped by Paige, played by Brooke Lemke, who tells her she either has to write a novel, and a good one, or be killed. She tells her the story of Scheherazade, who saved herself from execution by telling the king a story so fascinating that he just couldn't let her die until he learned what happened next. Paige is the exact opposite of Ellen--she has a lot of drive, but no talent. She has written several novels, and none of them have been any good. It's a dark comedy. I think a lot of people have ideas and projects they'd like to work on, but they don't always follow through. Is it fear of failure, or laziness? Who knows?

Do you have any other projects coming up you'd like to let us know about?

I just finished my final scene from "Tales Of The Dead" (http://imdb.com/title/tt1192626/). I worked on that with Haunted Autumn Productions (http://www.hauntedautumn.com), and they are wonderful. I am going to be working with them more in the future, because they are so much fun. "Tales" is a feature film made up of five short stories, and I acted in two of them. It should be finished in the next few months. "Why Am I in a Box?" the film I directed, is currently in post-production. The amazing JP Wenner is editing. I am very excited for it to be finished, and a little nervous, too! I was so nervous about directing, and now comes the really scary part...putting out out and showing it to people! But I had a great time working on it, and I like what we have so far. Silent-But-Deadly Productions also has the two short films by Brooke Lemke, "A Broken Family," in post-production, and "Young Eyes," in preproduction, and schedule to film in June. "13 Hours In A Warehouse" is coming to DVD in the fall. "Cave Women On Mars," the movie where I got to fight Brooke, is now available from the Shadow Creek Studios website (http://www.shadowcreekstudios.com). The DVD for "The Horror Vault," which contains the short film "Retina," will be available soon from the official website (http://www.thehorrorvault.net).

Tell me a little bit about the movie scene in Minnesota. Is it thriving? 'Trinity', 'The Horror Vault', 'Tales of the Dead', 'Doomed to Consume', 'A Prairie Home Companion', etc. It seems like you have found a lot of work in a short amount of time.

There is a very rich film scene here in Minnesota. There are two film schools here, we've got loads of people making independent features and shorts, and every so often, a bigger, Hollywood level movie gets made here, too. I'm really grateful to everyone who works in the film scene here in Minnesota. I started taking acting classes, just for something fun to do. Then, I started going to auditions, and I thought I would just do a few short films here and there, just as a hobby. But there is so much going on here. If it wasn't for all the experience I got working on all these films, I never would have learned enough to be able to write and direct my own movie. Brooke and I both work closely with a film website called Minnewood (http://www.minnewood.com) that promotes independent films from Minnesota. You mention "The Horror Vault." (http://imdb.com/title/tt0369424/) It should be noted that this film is a special case, because it is international, not local. It is an anthology collection of horror shorts from various places in Europe and the United States. The segment I'm in is called "Retina," which was actually made as a student film. The director's name is JP Wenner. I have worked with him on a variety of different projects, and I was more than happy to help him out with this. I don't know if he even expected to do anything with it. It was just supposed to be for school. But I was very pleased with the way it turned out. So when I found out that Kim Sonderholm was looking for a few more shorts to add to the "Horror Vault" DVD, I sent him a link to the film. He told me to have JP get in touch with him, and in a few days, we found out that "Retina" had made it on. I was very glad to have Minnesota represented!

So what was it like to work on a major budgeted Hollywood film like 'A Prairie Home Companion' vs. the indie horror scene?

"A Prairie Home Companion" was one of the bigger movies shot here in Minnesota. It was filmed here because this is where Garrison Keillor is from. I enjoyed it, because I was working with Debbie DeLisi. She had worked with me on "Factotum," when I was a stand-in for Lili Taylor. I really think that, with any film, no matter how big or small, you have potential to have a great experience, or a difficult one. There may be people who are fun to work with, and people who aren't. You just hope it's going to be more of the former.

Do you recall the first movie you saw that made you scream out loud?

"Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory." That scene with the boat in the tunnel really freaked me out! And I loved the very next scene, where Veruca Salt, the spoiled brat who expects her father to buy her everything she sees, says, "Daddy, I do NOT want a boat like this!"

Aliens, creatures, psychos, demons, witches, werewolves, vampires, reality show stars, etc. Which of these really does it for you horror-wise, and why?

If there's one thing I like to see in a horror movie, it's a malevolent child. That's why I like the "Ring" remake better than the original. In the first one, she was an adult, and she was much cooler as a creepy little girl. Toshio in "Juon" is another great one. Other than that, I think horror movies are scariest when they have a mysterious and surreal quality to them. Rather than monsters or knife weilding maniacs, I am more frightened by things that just don't make sense. Some people find David Lynch frustrating, because he doesn't show you all the pieces of the puzzle right away. In fact, sometimes, he never does. But as soon as someone explains why everything is happening, it becomes less scary. That's why BOB from "Twin Peaks" is one of the scariest antagonists of all time. To this day, people still debate who and what he is. David Cronenberg is good at this sort of stuff, too. His stuff is nightmarish, not because it has vampires or chainsaws, but because you aren't sure what is happening or why. Like in "Videodrome," where the videotape, and then the TV, starts breathing.

So We're pulling the car into the Rachel Grubb Drive In...What three horror flicks are on the triple bill for tonight?

Well, I was just talking about Cronenberg, and he is my favorite director, so "Videodrome" is the first one I'd choose. Dario Argento is another one of my favorite directors, so I'd have to go with "Deep Red" for my second choice. And last but not least, I always was a sucker for Asian horror, so I would pick the Korean flick, "A Tale Of Two Sisters."

What goodies are they going to be serving up at the concession stand?

Sushi. What? It's my Drive-In, I can serve what I want!

And what absolutely will not be tolerated from patrons?

No bra snapping, and no dissing Edward Furlong.

What scares you in real life?

The idea of not being able to breathe. Whether it's because of choking, or drowning, or smothering, the thought makes my heart beat too fast.