In a brand new segment for Slasher Studios, we will taking a look at various up-and-coming horror filmmakers as they chat about their horror experiences as well as why they love the genre. Today we take a look at Jason Harlow and his upcoming horror film ANOTHER EVIL NIGHT, which is currently slashing up Kickstarter.
History With Horror
“I’ve been watching horror films literally since I could ever remember. I grew up watching the Child’s Play and Scream movies. I’ve always been interested in the classic monsters such as Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Gill-Man, but slasher films are what I’m most interested in.”
Making the Horror Happen
Low-budget films are more interesting than me than the Hollywood stuff, so when I was in middle school, I started researching online to find some of the lesser-known slasher films. Todd Cook’s Screamtime Films label had a few particular titles that I wanted to see, and those were Night of the Clown, The Dummy, Demon Dolls, and lastly – Evil Night, which I managed to get the sequel rights to in the summer of 2015. The film began production in 2016 and is scheduled for release at the end of this year.
Having worked with some of Memphis’ most well-known film filmmakers as well as indie horror folks such as MJ Dixon, Dustin Ferguson, Tyler Hall, and Matt Cloude, I’ve gotten a good amount of experience in my 22 years of life. Tackling this feature with mostly just myself and a rather inexperienced yet very promising film student known as Jacob Gordon, however, has easily been the biggest challenge so far. What we have created is by no means a masterpiece of any sort, but horror fans will hopefully agree that it’s very fun film with lots of great Halloween imagery.
Killing it With Kickstarter
With only a few key scenes left, including one that features rising horror star Tommie Vegas, and us using an edit-as-you-go approach, the film is close to being finished but is looking for additional funds to cover the cost of festival fees as well as the manufacturing of 250 hand-numbered Blu-rays. In exchange for people’s generous donations, we are offering producer and special thanks credits, DVDs Blu-rays, and VHS’s as well as posters signed by Ben Purvis, Tommie Vegas, Jacob Gordon, and myself.
To become an Another Evil Night backer & support indie horror, check out the official film’s Kickstarter and help Harlow make a horrifically fun final film!
Slasher Studios recently had the chance to chat with director Brandon Tobatto about his upcoming slasher flick “Loon.” The film follows a brother and sister on their journey to uncover the mystery of an old abandoned carnival attraction and the maniac that supposedly thrives within. Sounds like lots of fun indeed and looks like Brandon has a great slasher on his hands.
How did you become interested in the horror genre and what made you decide to become a horror filmmaker?
I became interested in the genre simply by exposure to it at a very young age. When I was around 3 or 4, I began watching horror films and, in not time, was hooked. This became an obsession that would run the course of my entire life and continues today. Then one day being a voyeur of the horror genre was no longer enough. I had too many ideas and too many characters that needed to be brought into existence. I guess you could say it just rose out of an artistic need. And here we are.
Tell us a little bit about Loon…
Loon is, in a nutshell, tells the story of a brother and sister who, along with their friends, journey to explore the decades-old ruins of an abandoned carnival haunt and uncover the mystery of the supposed masked maniac that lurks within. Little do they know the mystery soon turns to reality in a very disturbing and violent way.
Making a slasher film today is difficult and many believe the genre is dead. What are your thoughts on the state of slasher films today? How does Loon stand out from the norm?
The state of slasher films themselves does seem to be a bit bleak at the moment. I mean, we have horror films and thrillers and what not, but slashers? I don’t know what happened, but we don’t really have any current mainstream slasher icons wreaking havoc in the genre nowadays. Sure we’ve had a few remakes here and there, but nothing has kick started the slasher franchises of old. The new Texas Chainsaw didn’t meet expectations and sort of crippled the timeline. Scream 4, depressingly, didn’t pave the way for future sequels or make any kind of difference in the genre. It’s sad. Instead we have found footage films and cheap pop-out-and-scare-you movies; throwaway films. However, I can say that there is ONE series that stands out from this boring absence of real horror, and its name is HATCHET. The Hatchet franchise, albeit underground and straight-to-DVD, is a terrific return to the slasher days of old and brings us a completely original killer to go along with it. It’s also perfectly laced with nods to previous 80’s horror films. I love it and I can’t wait to see part 3. But as far as ‘LOON’ is concerned, I think the horror audience can expect a return to the slasher genre, but with the solidity of a fluid story that feeds off of little factors throughout the film and then back into itself. This is not a cut and dry, black and white series of events where a girl gets killed and then a guy gets killed and so on and so forth. No. This is a very deep and expansive story that happens to have, in my opinion, one of the most violent and creepy killers ever to grace the genre. I can’t wait to show it to an audience.
Any homages we can expect to other classic slashers?
In my mind, subliminally, I’m sure there’s many traits in this film that echo to horror pics of the past but I can’t think of anything we’ll be adding that directly throws back to anything. When we were in the early development stages I thought about adding this and that but it very quickly became clear that I needed to develop something completely original, both story and character wise, and then, if nods happened, they happened. So if there IS anything in this film that COULD be considered an homage, it most likely wasn’t intentional. I felt horror needed a clean plate and hopefully this one dishes it up on a nice, new platter.
You have a wonderfully creepy promo poster for the film. Who created it and what went into the concept of the artwork?
I actually created the poster myself. I knew I needed an early promotional teaser poster to help spread the word on the film so I thought what a better way than a big in-your-face image of the mask itself. Add some creepy lettering to get the message across and some strange texture and boom- you got yourself a pretty nifty, pretty terrifying promo poster. Photoshop is a great tool for filmmakers and practically anybody working in the art field.
With the carnival setting and oh so many ways to kill, what can slasher fans hope to expect from deaths in the film? Practical vs. CGI?
The deaths in this film will NOT be the main focus, unlike most slashers. Instead, the focus will be on the characters themselves and the story, with the creepy undertones of the setting fueling the gloom of the film. I want the deaths to accent the story, not compose it. However, on the other hand, that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of death in this film. No. Quite a few people will meet their end by the end of this movie. And not a good end at that. When dealing with the kills in LOON, I wanted them to feel very violent, very painful, and I wanted the death scenes to carry a lot of weight. These are characters that, hopefully, the audience has come to know and care about. And for these characters, their realities have been forcibly destroyed by this maniac. I don’t want the deaths to be funny or celebrated. This is not a good situation. This killer is not a hero or a role model. These characters had lives and, for simply stepping into the ‘wrong part of town’, so to speak, had their lives stamped out. I want the audience to feel that loss, to feel the life slipping away and to feel the anger of the killer as he takes that life without hesitation. Don’t expect a lot of gore and gross-out. Expect real, painful, and disturbingly violent depictions of death.
What is the status for the film production wise and when do you hope to have a release date set?
The film is currently shooting principle photography, with promo, editing and musical scoring of the film happening concurrently. We hope to have everything in the can by late June with the film completed by late July. We have no set release date at this point.
What is the plan for the film once post has wrapped? DVD, VOD, Film Fests, etc?
The film will be submitted to Screamfest L.A. 2013 and also to Sundance for their 2014 festival. Hopefully the film, if accepted to both or one of the festivals, will garner enough of a fan base to at least make a splash when the film releases on DVD, or better yet, get picked up by a distributor and become something bigger than any of us could have ever hoped for. That would be the prime outcome of this film, but all in all, there will be a home video release of the film on DVD that will be available online. Cross your fingers.
Without giving too much away, is there a chance for a sequel? Is this the start of a new franchise?
I have this story setup in a way that it can expand and continue on in many, many future films. I love the idea of horror franchises and sequels seem to do the best within the horror genre. So, here’s hoping that LOON turns into something more than just a stand-alone film. I don’t want to give anything away but if a sequel opportunity ever presents itself, the story is already in place.
Last but not least, what is your favorite slasher of all time?
My favorite slasher of all time is Jason Voorhees. He’s the ultimate for me. My favorite slasher movie of all time also belongs to Jason- Friday the 13th part VI: Jason Lives.
Thanks Brandon for the interview and make sure to like Loon on Facebook for all the slasher updates on the feature.
Justin has operated one of the best online slasher resources, the epic Hysteria Lives, for the last 15 years, he is a trove of slasher knowledge and memorabilia, a published author with Teenage Wasteland:: The Slasher Movie Uncut and one quarter of the hugely successful Hysteria Continues podcast team. I was incredibly lucky to sit down with him and quiz him on all his endeavors.
Justin, you are quite a heavyweight in the slasher circle, being a published author on the subject, a webmaster and an all-around trove of slasher knowledge and connections. But we want to know, what was your very first experience with the films?
Probably seeing trailers for films back in the early 80s, or the brief mentions – often disparagingly – on TV review shows, such as Film ’81(on the BBC). That and seeing posters at the cinema as the school bus passed,but being frustrated that I couldn’t watch them. Truly forbidden fruits.
Was there a defining moment, or a defining film for you, that made you sure or certain that Slasherdom was going to be a big part of your life?
Easy. It was watching HALLOWEEN II (1981) on a school friend’s Betamax as his Mum cooked us tea. Must have been around 1982 or 1983. It was everything I hoped for and more. It felt like coming home!
Strictly as a viewer,looking back now, being a teenager during the peak of the slasher boom, did you know this was something special, that these movies were going to have such a life?
Not really, to be honest. I think it’s rare to realise that you’re living through a special time whilst you’re living it. Having said that,these films were hated then and were seen as just one small step up frompornography. It’s easy to look back now with rose-tinted glasses, but back in the early 80s critics loathed the slasher movie and blamed them from everything from collapsing cinema attendance to being the blame for all of society’s ills.Even genre magazines such as Starburst and sometimes even Fangoria were sniffy– or even downright hostile – to them. The video nasty debacle certainly didn’t help, either. Although, ironically, many slashers got passed over at that time– but probably because they were so heavily pre-cut.
Moving on to slasherdom and the part it began to play in your professional life. What made you decide to create a website on the subject?
Pre-1996 and the resurgence of the slasher movie with SCREAM it was pretty lonely being a slasher movie fan. The subgenre was really in the doldrums and the classics from the early 80s certainly didn’t have the following they do now. Of course, this was all just before the web really took off. I wanted to share my love of the subgenre with others. I was surprised how much a slasher movie site resonated with people around the world.
Something I’ve been wondering for years, where did the title Hysteria Lives come from?
I don’t recall exactly. I know I didn’t want anything too generic. Hysteria was meant to symbolise the slasher craze of the early 80s –the sense of overkill and madness. At the time I didn’t know it was a Def Lepperd album title! That made finding a suitable domain name a little difficult. After about five years I thought I’d had enough, so I pulled the site for a while – but I couldn’t resist returning. So, that’s why it’s Hysteria LIVES! It came back from the dead, as all good slasher villains do.
How was the initial response to the website when it first went online some 15 years ago?
Not sure if I remember! I think I was both shocked and flattered that people were reading it.
How do you feel about the site now? How does it feel knowing that over the years Hysteria Lives has become THE go-to resource for slasher fans all around the world?
Again, I’m flattered. However, I have so little time to update the site now. I’m pleased that it’s a resource for fans, even though some of the earlier reviews now make me cringe a little.
How did the whole idea for Teenage Wasteland come about, had you been planning to write a book on a subject so dear to you for a long time?
I’d always wanted to write a book on slashers, but I just got lucky. A friend of mine got a job as commissioning editor for a publishinghouse and it all fell into place – albeit very, very slowly.
Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process of the book? How did you choose which films you were gonna include or which memorabilia you were going to include in the book?
It was a lot of fun writing the book, but also very challenging. I had envisioned a much larger book – along the lines of Stephen Thrower’s Nightmare USA – where I’d really go into the films in in-depth with interviews, background and more. However, fairly early on it was decided to make the book as much about the visuals as the writing. Then it became more so,and around 40,000 words of the final manuscript was cut! I had to fight to keep certain films in there, as I knew that I would be taken to task for not including them – and rightly so. I’ve collected slasher memorabilia for years,so it was gratifying to see so much of it in the book.
In general how do you feel about the book as a whole once you saw the final product? My two cents are that it is perhaps the best commentary on the sub-genre. It’s in-depth,incredibly informative and draws attention to some real hidden gems. My favourite aspect though has to be that the book is so colourful and eyecatching. What are your thoughts?
I’m very proud of it – and I think it’s a great little book.However, I do accept the criticism that some of the book only skims the surface of certain films. I would have loved to have gone into more detail – and the first drafts did – but I had to stick to strict word-count and keep cutting and cutting some more. Having said that, I think the trade off with the visuals is worth it. It’s probably the most colourful book on slasher movies out there –and given that it is such a visceral subgenre I was really pleased that so much memorabilia was used. … Just one word of advice to budding genre writers: don’t think it’ll make you rich!
Congratulations on getting the book published in the United States. How did that come about? And how do you feel about the title change?
That was through my UK publishers, who sold the rights for the book to be published in the United States. To be honest, I prefer the original title, but the book has sold very well there and on the plus side it can’t be mistaken for anything it’s not under the new title!
Can you tell us a little about how the podcast The Hysteria Continues came about? How did you become acquainted with your three co-hosts?
I just thought it would be fun to try a podcast after listening to the late great Cinema Diabolica and Outside the Cinema. Dedicating it to slashers would give it a unique twist to differentiate it from the myriad of other genre podcasts out there. I’ve known Joseph for almost as long as I’ve run Hysteria Lives! and we first met on the old alt.horror newsgroup. Erik must have also got in touch about my website back in the day. We met Nathan though Joseph and his slasher forum The Bodycount Continues. Hence the name: The Hysteria Continues!
How do you feel in regards to the loyal following that the podcast has? Did you imagine that you’d still be doing it two years down the line?
It’s funny, we didn’t really imagine it’d last this long –or touch such a chord with people. The show has grown organically into its unique flavour – which I imagine puts off as many people as like the show. But it is what it is and we do it for fun and the love of the subgenre.
As well as your book,the show and your website you’ve had the pleasure of doing commentaries, liner notes and forwards for some fabulous recent releases. Do you have any exciting slasher related projects lined up?
Yes, that’s been fun! I recently had the pleasure of doing a commentary for the upcoming slasher documentary SLICE AND DICE: THE SLASHERMOVIE FOREVER, as well as doing a commentary for an extra disc of slasher trailers (I also provided much of the memorabilia shown in the documentary).It’s a fantastic documentary put together on love for the subgenre alone by the good people at High Rising Productions – who do amazing extras for companies such as Arrow and the like.
Since you have such a large knowledge of the slasher film and what makes a slasher movie, would you have any plans to branch in film at all?
No plans at present. Sometimes I think fans make the worst directors!
Some quick fire questions, if you don’t mind:
With such a large repertoire of slasher films to choose from, do you have an overall favourite?
Still has to be the original HALLOWEEN for me.
Is there a particular quote from a slasher movie that you have a fondness for?
“You gotta see the dress I got. Cut down to there,split up to here….I may not get out alive!” – MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)
What is the movie that you consider your guilty pleasure?
What film can you just not stand?
TERROR AT TENKILLER (1986).
Is there any film in particular you would like to see remade?
I know I’d regret it, but I’d quite like to see a new take on THE BURNING (1981).
And lastly, thank you wholeheartedly for agreeing to answer some questions for us, I appreciate it…And Siouxsie Sioux is awesome!
Today, the awesome The Slasher Stop is back as they chat with the very talented Lori Lethin (The Prey, Bloody Birthday, and Return to Horror High).
Can you tell me a little about your early life? Was acting something you always wanted to do?
I grew up in Long Beach in California . I was a beach baby. I loved to be outside and play act! I would go to all the neighbors houses on my own and perform for them… Usually bad singing but they got a kick out of it… And, by the way, I was usually in my bathing suit. I can’t remember wanting to act, I just loved to pretend.
How did you first get into acting?
We have a summer home over on Catalina island. I was working at my parents burger joint and one day I decided as the summer was coming to a close to go to Hollywood … There was no well thought out plan, no training or high School plays. I was basically flying by the seat of my pants. I picked up, joined an acting class and got a manager. Everything just fell into place.
Just simply because I’m a Charlie’s Angels nerd, can you talk a little about the episode you guest starred in in 1978?
Charlie’s Angels was my first acting gig. It was a real eye opener. It was one of the first interviews I went on and I had barely been in acting class a couple of months. Now mind you, I was a bit of a tomboy… So being on the set with 3 women who were divas in their own right.. Was , well lets say, a real introduction to Hollywood. Thank god I was working with three other young actresses like myself. I learned a lot ! The Angel’s were glamorous but distant. I was grateful for the opportunity to see how things operated behind the scenes.
Can you tell us how you got the substantial role in The Prey? Did you audition?
I did audition for The Prey. Again, I was new in the business. The producers body of work was in the porn industry so this was their first venture into horror films. I simply went on the audition … Had a callback and was cast. I guess I was convincing at looking scared..lol!
What was shooting The Prey like, was it a difficult shoot being on location?
The great thing about shooting the prey was it was like being at summer camp. The film was shot in 12 days and we were up in the mountains. I had a blast. The cast members were fun and I got to run around and look scared…. And I got paid! The film was an enjoyable experience .
What was your relationship with your co-stars like? Are you still in touch with them?
My relationships with my co stars was great. We are no longer in touch but I hope all of them are doing well.
Can you tell us when the film was shot and clear up the mystery, as I’m sure you know the film wasn’t released until 1984.
Gosh… I have to be honest… I don’t remember the timeline of when the film was made and when it was released.
Lastly, what was your final impression of the film?
My impression of the film is that it was one of those fabulous low budget 80’s horror films that found an audience. It was before all the high tech special effects… Which makes it more fun.
How did you get the starring role in Bloody Birthday?
I auditioned for the role in Bloody Birthday.
Can you tell us a little about the shoot in general?
Again, Bloody Birthday was a low budget film and was shot in about a month. The hours were long but it was fun and time passed quickly.
I’m sure some fans would kill me if I didn’t ask, what was it like working with Julie Brown?
Julie Brown was great. She was a real sport. You have to remember .. This was before she became famous. We were all thrilled to be working.
What are your recollections of working with the kids in the film?
I loved working with the kids… Especially Casey who played my younger brother. I think we laughed through the whole shoot. The kids were fun and down to earth. It was all fantasy for them… Kinda like play acting because after they killed someone ,after the take the person got up
Lastly, what were your thoughts on the finished film?
I liked the finished Product….Again another low budget classic with bad special effects, so bad that it actually made the film good.
How did Return To Horror High come about for you?
My manager at the time was producing the film. I think I went along with the package.
Fans really want to know, what was George Clooney like pre-fame?
George Clooney was a doll… Funny and sweet. Absolutely no ego. Not bad to look at either!
In general how was shooting Return to Horror High?
Shooting Return To Horror High was fun. I laughed more during that film then I think I did any other. Alex Rocco who played the producer was particularly entertaining.
Do you look back on this movie fondly? Personally I think your comedic skills are brilliant.
I do look back on this movie fondly… I loved playing my character . There was a lot if me in there.. Feisty comes to mind and I have a wicked sense of humor. Hopefully that all came through.
How do you feel knowing you have this scream queen legacy and hordes of fans?
I love being known as a scream queen. It’s so much fun and the fans are the best.
Fans are dying to know, will you ever make a return to acting?
You never know about me returning to the screen only this time I would like to be the hunter instead of the hunted… What do you think?
We definitely think she should! Another big thank you to both The Slasher Stop as well as the ever talented Lori Lethin for the fantastic interview.
The Slasher Stop sat down recently with Lesleh Donaldson and she fielded a few questions about her slasher legacy!
SS: Start with the obvious; growing up did you always want to be an actress or a performer? Or was it something that came later?
LD: No I wanted to be a teacher like my mother. It wasn’t until I saw her modelling pics that I wanted to be a model. I think all girls want to be their mother and mine was kinda spectacular, haven’t lived up to her yet!
SS: I know your mother and I can see why you’d want to be like her, awesome woman! So how did acting come about? Did you model for a while first?
LD: Yes I took modelling lessons and I was good at it. i posed in the Sears catalogue etc but then commercials came my way so I went in that direction!
SS: I know you were very young when feature film came your way, but just before we get into your slasher legacy, I have to ask, was Funeral Home your first experience with features?
LD: No I did running first.
SS: I didn’t know that! I’m a bad fan! I’ve been dying to ask, how did you land the lead in Funeral Home? And just in general, cuz I don’t want to take up too much of your time, what was it like working on your first lead?
LD: I landed the role because of running I think and because I had the right look at the time. It was incredible working on Funeral Home, everyone made me feel very comfortable I think they were instructed to but nevertheless it was phenomenal!
SS: How did you feel when you saw the film? Did people treat you differently, your family or such?
LD: I saw it at a drive inn, no, no one treated me differently it was all normal!
SS: And wrapping up Funeral Home, were you happy with your performance?
LD: Well no one is ever happy with their performance but it was so long ago who can complain!
SS: Awesome, of course next you were cast in the classic Happy Birthday to Me. How did that come about?
LD: I got an audition!
SS:And what was that set like? Was it different now that you were working with stars? Like Glen Ford, Melissa Sue Anderson and J. Lee Thompson?
LD: I never met Glen, but Melissa was real nice and the other actors I knew from the audition scene. J. Lee was great! And cute
SS:And we all wanna know about your Janet Leigh style death scene.
LD: It was fun as recall. I wish I had a more descriptive recall for you but it was as you see.
SS: How do you feel about Happy Birthday to me as a final product, and its lasting legacy?
LD: I Saw Happy Birthday To Me not to long ago and I have to say I thought it held up well. It was a good little film for that time and you can’t deny the chemistry between the cast, you can’t force that it has to be organic and it was because we all knew each other and had mutual respect!
SS: Curtains, your final slasher of the trio, can you tell us how you got that role?
LD: I auditioned for Peter Simpson I believe and he knew me from previous auditions. He liked me and not in a sleazy way in a professional way I think he just thought I’d be the best Christie so I was offered the part!
SS: Can you give us ANY insight you have on Curtains troubled production and how long you worked on the film?
LD: The production was plagued with professional disagreements between Peter and Richard, Richard wanted art house and Peter knew what was selling strictly slasher, he had a hit with Prom Night and he knew the medium. Not sure why there were delays in production perhaps they really were trying to work it out or Peter was looking for another director before taking over the helm. Nonetheless it went on for a while and has the rep to boot!
SS: How did you find your Curtains co-stars? I.e. the gorgeous Lynne Griffin and Samantha Eggar.
LD: Everyone was fantastic, as I’ve said before Lynne Griffin I idolize she is a true professional in every way. Samantha was a bit more aloof but that was to be expected as her character warranted such. I got along really well with Sandee Currie and Ann Ditchburn!
SS: How do you feel about Curtains as a whole? It has to be my favourite out of the three you’ve done
LD: It’s very disjointed but perhaps that’s the charm of the film. I never thought anyone would ever see it so it having the Cult status it does blows me away and I’m grateful for that!
A huge thank you to both The Slasher Stop as well as one of our favorite underrated Scream Queens, Lesleh Donaldson, for the fantastic interview.
There is a brand new stop for slasher films on Facebook and that stop is The Slasher Stop. The creator of The Slasher Stop, Reece Donnell, shares with Slasher Studios an interview with the beautiful and extremely talented Rutanya Alda.
Can you tell us a little bit about your early life and how you got into acting? Was it something you always wanted to do?
My early life was spent in displaced persons camps – or DP camps as they were called for the people that fled the soviets after the war. There were millions of us, mostly starving, without anything but the clothes on our backs. i was in the camps for about 8 years. Luckily for me i was in the American zone, because people in the soviet zone got sent back and sent to the gulags – which were death camps really. But still it was very hard to get into a country legally and we had to wait for 8 years. We lived in conditions that were primitive. It was 4 to a small room the size of a big closet and a communal bath in the basement. I write about the is a play I am working on now, my one woman show, that I hope to next year bring to the Edinburgh fringe festival – forgive the spelling- I know I didn’t get it right. i wanted to get into acting at age 5 when I saw a play in the camps and then about a year later I saw my first film. I decided right then and there that this was a special world that i wanted to be part of. And it was a lot better than the world I was living in.
You’re first credited horror is in When A Stranger Calls, can you tell us about how you got that role and your experience working on the film?
I auditioned for When A Stranger Calls and got cast as Mrs Mandrakis. I had a wonderful experience working on the film even though it was a sad part. There was another scene in the film that got cut, which shows my character several months later, and zombie like with grief and unable to talk.
You’ve mentioned to me in the past that some of your material was cut from the final film, can you tell us about that?
I think a lot of things get cut in films. For one reason or another, the film may be too long and they have to cut somewhere, or they decide that the scene may not work or it takes away from the thrust of the story. It is always a disappointment to the actor.
Shortly after When a Stranger Calls you did a small role in a Christmas slasher movie called You Better Watch Out! Can you tell us anything about that?
I barely remember the Christmas slasher movie, it was cold and icy and I fell and hit my head on the ice and did my scene but really don’t remember it very well. I should have gone to the hospital. I know I had a concussion.
Can you tell us a little about how you got the role of the matriarch in Amityville II: The Possession? Did you audition?
On Amityville 2 the casting director Ricardo Bertoni had seen my work in some other films and a play I was doing on 42nd Street and had me in to meet Mr. De Laurentis. There were a lot of people being seen by him. When I walked in he spoke to Ricardo in Italian, looked at me, and I left. Ricardo called me afterwards and said they wanted to screen test me. I did and I was offered the part.
What was your experience like working on Amityville II?
I loved working on Amityville2. I loved the other actors and the director Damiano Damiani was Italian with an Italian crew. They were terrific.
Can you tell us a little about your cast mates, such as Burt Young, who was a huge star, and Diane Franklin who was on the rise?
Burt was fun, he always jokes around. Diane was the sweetest and still is.
I’m dying to know, do you believe in the paranormal or supernatural?
I think I do believe in the spirits or angels really. I think there are angels that watch over us and guide us. But I believe we have to ask them. I don’t think they do anything that we don’t want.
Tell us a little about Girls Nite Out, how did you get that role and what do recall from the set?
On Girls Nite Out, the producer and director had seen me in Mommie Dearest and loved me. So they had me in to meet them, and in spite of my work and resume, they still had me audition. The film was shot in one long weekend from Friday through Sunday. I think I got some sleep in between my shots. It was a one take experience. I am not thrilled that they promised to pay me $5000 and never did. That I think is not moral and it cheats the one person they can cheat – the actor.
There are rumors abound that Girls Nite Out was shot long before it was actually released in 1984, can you clear any of this up?
I think they released the film fairly soon. I don’t think they waited a long time, but I’m not sure.
How did it feel to play the villain in a slasher movie?
I liked my character. Revenge characters are always fun to do. I think I can relate – like wanting to get paid for my work – and fantasising the revenge.
Lastly, you were in the film The Dark Half which wasn’t released until 1993, can you tell us how you got that part?
The Dark Half – I met with George Romero, the casting director had me in as she was a strong supporter of my work, Terry Liebling, who is no longer alive unfortunately. She was a great casting director and person. I met George and just spoke with him and was offered the part.
I think we all want to know, what was George Romero like to work with?
George was great to work with, a real gentleman, kind and considerate. My scene with Timothy Hutton where he tortures me and slashes my throat and kills me was a lot longer that what is in the film. George told me that that scene really scared him so much and he just had to keep cutting it down. Isn’t that interesting? I would never have expected to hear that from George Romero of all people. But I think it is because the scene is so real.
Finally, what’s next for Rutanya Alda? Would you like to do more horror features in the future?
I just finished a comedy, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, at theatre row on 42nd Street. It was so much fun to do. We sold out the last two weeks. The audiences had a great time. Also i just finished 2 short films. One is headed for film festivals; the director is just finishing it up. I don’t know what they will call it yet. The other short is called Kid, and it was fun to do. Now I have to really finish my book The Mommie Dearest Diary. I don’t have much more to do, but I have to sit down next month and just spend that month writing and i think it will be done, how to publish it, I don’t know yet. But I think there is an audience out there that will enjoy the book.
A huge thank you to both Rutanya Alda and Reece Donnell for the terrific interview. Make sure to like The Slasher Stop on Facebook for all the slasher goodness you can handle.