Tag Archives: Interview

The “Queen” of Horror – An Interview with Brinke Stevens

Edgar Allan Poe wrote, “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.”

How true this is, especially in the film industry. Would the horror film even exist without a damsel in distress? Predators and their prey are a constant theme throughout horror novels and movies. Would King Kong have been so tragic without Fay Wray? Would Psycho have been so nerve-racking without Janet Leigh? Femme fatales are an essential part of the horror genre. As the home video market gained strength in the 1980s, small studios frantically produced scores of lower budget films, or B-Movies, to satisfy the ravenous fan base. The actresses who pioneered this new age of horror and comedy in the home video entertainment became known as “Scream Queens”. At the peak of the B-movie revolution, Director Donald Farmer interviewed many of the hottest scream queens in the industry for his documentary Invasion of The Scream Queens. Fans of Brinke Stevens and B-movie fanatics can now see these rarely seen interviews thanks to Wild Eye Releasing’s new 20th Anniversary DVD release of this sought-after documentary.

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, eager young horror fans rented scores of direct-to-video movies and stayed up all night watching cable TV to catch the latest offerings by their favorite actresses and directors. With titles like Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Slumber Party Massacre and Teenage Exorcist, a cult movie craze had exploded. One of the most admired stars of the genre is Brinke Stevens, a petite, raven-haired beauty with an uncanny ability to portray predator, prey and girl next door with ease. Not limited to acting, Brinke has also worked behind the scenes as a producer and director, with several screenplays to her credit. She has even written and appeared in her own comic book series, “Brinke of Eternity” and “Brinke of Destruction”, as well as modeling for everything from magazines to trading cards to art prints. We asked Brinke about her start in the movie industry and find out what’s been keeping her busy lately. Join me on this Brinke of discovery

JOHN HUMPHREY: Considering you have a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology from Scripps Institute and are a member of Mensa, my first question would have to be: Brinke, when did you begin your film career, and what was your motivation for working in the film industry?

BRINKE STEVENS: It was a total accident. I just wanted a quiet little lab in Hawaii where I could work with dolphins. In 1980, I married my childhood sweetheart [“Rocketeer” creator and artist] Dave Stevens and moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, California. While looking for a scientist job, I wandered past the open door of a casting office – and was immediately hired as an extra in All the Marbles. Soon, I was cast in my first major speaking role, Slumber Party Massacre (1981). I quickly landed many more film jobs, and magazines were suddenly calling me a “Scream Queen”. I always say, “My career chose me, I didn’t choose it.”

HUMPHREY: Why do you think the 1980s was such an important decade for independent horror films?

STEVENS: When the revolutionary home-video boom created a huge demand for new product, young filmmakers like Fred Olen Ray, David DeCoteau, Charles Band and Roger Corman set up their own independent studios to churn out dozens and dozens of films that went straight to video. I also think the 1980s were better known for horror comedies. Many of the films I did back then were rather innocent and fun-loving. Later, horror got much gorier and mean-spirited.

HUMPHREY: Did you take “Brinke” as your stage name after starting in the film industry, or was it a nickname prior to that?

STEVENS: My maiden name was Charlene Elisabeth Brinkman, and all my childhood friends called me “Brink”. When I married Dave Stevens in 1980, I adopted “Brinke Stevens” as my stage-name.

HUMPHREY: Of all of your films, what was your favorite movie and role, and why?

STEVENS: Haunting Fear (1990) was the biggest part I’d had so far. When director Fred Olen Ray sent me the script, I thought he had me in mind for the sexy secretary. But no! The lead, a woman whose cheating husband drives her crazy to collect her inheritance. A very complex role. On any given day, I had to ask myself, “How crazy am I today?” By the end, I played it totally insane. It was an amazing opportunity to stretch my range as an actress.

HUMPHREY: Where would you like to see the future of your career heading?

STEVENS: More of the same: acting, writing, directing, producing.

HUMPHREY: You said in an interview in Invasion of the Scream Queens that you hoped to one day “graduate” from B movies. Do you feel you achieved that goal?

STEVENS: Not at all! I was so typecast in B-movies that I was never able to break through that glass ceiling. However, there’s been a real advantage to being an indie horror star, i.e., a big fish in a small pond, like getting hired for my name-value without having to audition.

HUMPHREY: What is your definition of a “Scream Queen” and do you think there are current day “Scream Queens”?

STEVENS: By happy accident, I was in the right place at the right time. I was given that label in the late 1980s, after screaming (and usually dying) in so many horror films. It’s often said that me, Linnea Quigley, and Michelle Bauer were the three original Scream Queens. A decade later, I was also very impressed with Debbie Rochon and Tiffany Shepis. I doubt it’s even possible to follow in our footsteps anymore, because the indie studio system no longer exists. It’s a catchy title, and I don’t mind being called that. At least it’s got the word “Queen” in it. Makes me feel like horror film royalty.

John Humphrey and Brinke Stevens at Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Georgia.
John Humphrey and Brinke Stevens at Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Georgia.

HUMPHREY: Which of your films do your fans most often inquire about?

STEVENS: My favorite film Haunting Fear (1990) was never released on DVD (except bootlegged), so it’s the one movie that everyone wants to see.

HUMPHREY: What’s the one project you’ve always wanted to do but have yet to be able to?

STEVENS: A while back, I was cast in a vampire movie to be shot in the Philippines. I’d have big black wings, and flying wire-work would definitely be involved. I’ve never done that before, and it seems so very exciting! The film shoot hasn’t happened yet, due to financial setbacks… but I sure hope to play that winged Vampire Queen someday.

HUMPHREY: What do you feel has been your most important professional accomplishment?

STEVENS: All of it, really – the sum of the parts. To some people, it may not seem like a proud accomplishment to become a B-movie star. But hey, I DID it… to the absolute BEST that I could… and a lot of people were entertained. I’ve acted in almost 200 films, sold a half-dozen scripts and published my own comic book, co-produced several documentaries (like Shock Cinema), and I just directed Personal Demons, a film I also wrote and starred in. For me, it’s been a very fulfilling life so far.

HUMPHREY: What is your favorite book, and why?

STEVENS: I’ve had many favorite books over the years. One that’s remained on my shelf is “Bridge of Birds” by Barry Hughart. It’s a magical-realism novel of an ancient China that never was. He’s a wonderful writer, very evocative.

HUMPHREY: What is your favorite film, and why?

STEVENS: I enjoy many of the old classics like Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney, and Portrait of Jennie (1948) with Jennifer Jones. Those actresses were so luminously beautiful; they really stole the screen.

HUMPHREY: In your life, who has been the greatest positive influence on your career?

STEVENS: When I was a young girl, seeing Maleficent (in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty) made me gasp, “I want to BE her!” Since then, I’ve channeled that evil queen in many of my films.

HUMPHREY: What is your next project?

STEVENS: Directing The Halloween Party in Orlando, Florida for producer Rick Danford.

HUMPHREY: Who is Brinke Stevens today?

STEVENS: Older, wiser, and happier in general because I don’t stress over the little things anymore.

Brinke’s official web site: http://www.brinke.com

 

 

Our Interview with Actress/Singer Selena Gomez (MONTE CARLO)

Director/co-writer Thomas Bezucha reviews a scene with Selena Gomez on the set of 'Monte Carlo.'

Recently in Boston, John participated in a roundtable interview with actress/singer Selena Gomez, whose new film Monte Carlo is now playing nationwide.

Our apologies for the quality of the audio. I tried to improve it as best I could, but at least it’s presentable. I mean, one can still actually hear their voices, right?

Click on the links below and enjoy!

IFFBoston 2011 – Ep. #4 – Our interview with Director Jim Mickle (‘Stake Land’)

Director, and vampire victim, Jim Mickle in 'Stake Land.'

Joining us on the podcast is Jim Mickle, director of the apocalyptic vampire flick Stake Land – which has its New England premiere tonight at midnight at the Somerville Theater, as part of the Independent Film Festival Boston.

In this 25-minute interview, we discuss the making of Stake Land. And, most importantly, how Stake Land isn’t anything like Twilight or True Blood. Raw, rabid, gutsy action is good.

Click on the links below and enjoy!

#69 – Preview of the Independent Film Festival Boston 2011

Miranda July listens for the yell of her illicit, cross-town lover in 'The Future.'

Joining John and me this week is Brian Tamm, Managing Director of The Independent Film Festival Boston. The 9th annual festival runs April 27th through May 4th, with films playing at The Somerville Theater, The Brattle Theater, The Stuart Street Theater and Coolidge Corner.

In this episode, we preview a number of films including Troll Hunter, The Future, 13 Assassins, Bellflower, The Catechism Cataclysm, Trigger, The City Dark, Being Elmo: A Puppeteers’ Journey, Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story, Tatooine, Superheroes, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (which closes the festival on May 4th at the Coolidge) and many more.

Please visit IFFBoston.org for a complete list of films, events and to purchase tickets.

We recorded this episode at Panera Bread in Brookline, Ma, across the street from the Coolidge. Our apologies for any obtrusive background noise.

Click on the links below and enjoy the show!

Our Interview with Director Tom McCarthy (‘Win Win’)

John Black and I interview Tom McCarthy, writer and director of Win Win. We discuss McCarthy’s inspiration for Win Win, Harold Becker’s 1985 film Vision Quest (Believe it or not, Win Win and Vision Quest are directly related); as well as the representative meanings of Win Win‘s characters, played by Paul Giamatti, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Ryan, Alex Shaffer and the irreplaceable Burt Young, co-star of the Rocky films.

The intro and outro was recorded at Panera Bread next to the Regal Fenway 13 theater in Boston.

The interview runs approximately 23 minutes.

Click on the links below and enjoy!

Our Interview with Actress Mia Wasikowska and Director Cary Fukunaga (‘Jane Eyre’)

Mia Wasikowska stars with Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench in Focus Feature's 'Jane Eyre.'
Director Cary Fukunaga on the set of 'Jane Eyre.'

John and I recently participated in a roundtable interview with actress Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right) and director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre).

In the interview, which runs approximately 25 minutes, we discuss their careers and the making of their new film Jane Eyre, which opens nationwide today.

The interview was recorded in Boston, with the intro and outro recorded at Panera Bread, located next to the Regal Fenway 13 in Boston.

We hope you enjoy it!

Click on the links below.

Our Interview with Director Neil Marshall and Actress Axelle Carolyn (‘Centurion’)

In this special episode, John and I are joined by director Neil Marshall, the man responsible for Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday, and actor/author Axelle Carolyn (It Lives Again!: Horror Movies in the New Millennium). We cover their careers, their inspirations, and the making of their latest film, Centurion, which is now playing in limited release.

You can download the show or play now in your browser.
Total running time: 29:59

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#37 – SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD

In this special episode, John and I discuss Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Plus, here in Boston, John participates in a roundtable interview with director Edgar Wright and stars Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick.

You can download the show or play now in your browser.
Total running time: 29:31

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Our Interview with Director George Romero (‘Survival of the Dead’)

John recently participated in a round-table discussion with George Romero, iconic director of zombie movies. This conversations centers around the new release, Survival of the Dead, and provides insights into Romero”s approach to making movies.

You can download the show or play now in your browser.
Total running time: 24:47

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Our Interview with Actress and Director Amber Benson (’Drones’)

Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was in Boston a few weeks ago promoting her new film Drones at the Independent Film Festival. In this show, John Black and Steve Head discuss her experiences producing and directing the film.

You can download the show or play now in your browser.

Total running time: 43:02

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