An Easter Special Interview with Melanie Robel by Dean Sills

mrint1An Easter Special Interview with Melanie Robel by Dean Sills

Here is another interview which I am very egg-cited about! Please welcome Melanie Robel to UKHS.

UKHS – Happy Easter, Melanie. Thank you for your time and welcome to UKHS. How did you get into acting and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

MR – It was literally being in the right place at the right time. I was almost done training at Paul Mitchell the School to become a hairdressers. I emailed a director, J.L Blothello, to see if they needed a hair stylist on the set of his production. He said I needed to be in front of the camera, but I kept refusing him. I just wasn’t
interested. It took three times before he wore me down to it. He told me to do whatever projects I could get for experience and also to get into acting classes. So, I did a short film called, Grieve and here I am. I have been working with some great people. The cool thing is, that every time you go on a new set and work with new people, you always feel I am meant to be a actor. If you are paying attention that is. I feel I am meant to be a actor.

Grieve was considered horror and since I did well in that and I looked good with blood splatter on me. I took off in that genre. Actually, doing horror is a lot of fun and the fans are amazing and very loyal. I am doing other genres too, but I will always stick with my roots and continue doing horror.

mrint5UKHS – You play Gabrielle in ‘Disciples’. What can you tell us about this film, your role and did you do any scenes with Scream Queen icon Linnea Quigley?

MR – As Gabrielle, I was one of the servant girls for the people that lived in the castle, where Disciples takes place. I don’t want to give too much away, but it is about a demon that is going to come to earth. That God himself would fear his return. I didn’t have scenes with Linnea Quigley in this project. I am so thankful that she was able to get me involved in this project. I didn’t have any lines, but I really didn’t care. It was a honor to see these great actors work, Tony Todd, Tom Lodewyck, Angus Scrimm, Debra Lamb and of course Linnea Quigley. I also finally got to meet Elissa Dowling, which was great because we got along really well. It was a blast to do. Such a great group of actors and crew. Disciples has been released internationally as The Watcher.

The Imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2006719/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Disciplesfilm
Official Site: http://www.disciplesthefilm.com/

mrint3UKHS – I know you worked with Linnea Quigley in ‘Post Mortem, America 2021’ what can you tell us about your role as Rattle Snake Sally and as an actress what did you learn the most from working with someone like Linnea?

MR – Post Mortem, America 2021 was my first full length movie and it was a good lesson on being humble and flexible. To be ready for anything. At this point, I hadn’t auditioned for anything! I was booking jobs off my photos and with conversation online. That’s how Cameron Scott found me, he saw my photo’s on Myspace and took the chance to message me. Of course, I said Hell yes. So, I had a few acting lessons under my belt, but when I saw the script, I realized I couldn’t break it down or figure it out. So I looked for an acting coach and found Rus Blackwell. He helped me come up with my characters background and taught me how to break down the script so I could do my job.

Post Mortem America, 2021, is about a woman name Lucillie, Linnea Quigley, who wants to get revenge on Severin, Jim O’Rear. While its Armageddon and everyone has to pay a price at this time. My character Rattle Snake Sally has some secrets, but she is a trained killer who works for Severin. Sally is very religious and every time she kills someone, part of her soul dies. She wants to have some light, some good and do something different. The problem is she doesn’t know how to do anything else, so she is very conflicted. I loved being Sally and actually got to drive an antique hearse with the gear shift on the steering column. That was an adventure!!!

Working with Linnea was amazing. I look up to her and see her as family. She taught me what it was like to be so into a scene that you forget the camera’s there, you forget everyone is watching and you are so in tune with each other that it seems real for that moment. She has so many strengths and an amazing presence. To be able to work with someone like her was like being in a week long, hands on seminar. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than her, for a first time screen partner.. She makes you want to step up your game.

mrint4UKHS – You play the role of Anna Nadasdy in ‘A Blood Story’. The film is directed by Joe Hollow, who also directed ‘Disciples’. What can you tell us about your role in ‘A Blood Story’ and do you feel more confident as an actress when you work with someone you have worked with before due to knowing each other’s strengths?

MR– That is a really good question and made me sit back and think. I felt like I was more of a wild card in this project. I wasn’t quite sure what Joe Hollow was expecting from me and I was sort of shocked he asked me to be part of Blood Story. Remember, I had no lines in Disciples, and I went to one of the female co-leads. I said yes, of course and then I read the script. I was going to refused it, to write Joe and say I can’t do this. All I could think was that, I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t good enough. That my coach had been telling me I wasn’t ready and that I needed a female coach to learn femininity. Boy, will he be surprised if he see’s this movie. Anyway Linnea and my Mom, said, “do it, it is one of your dream roles!” So I did it. I didn’t have an acting reel, so I sent Joe my short film, Stella Buio, which has played internationally at film fests, thank you Lori Bowen.

I did the character development on Anna by myself, which I am proud of that. She is the type of roles I like to play. I realized my strengths are, being physical, character development and I know how to use my words. Joe Hollow really brought the love of acting to me. Also,while on set Camden Toy coached me about Anna that really helped me portray her better. I also met and became friends with Robert Z’Dar who passed last week. He will be missed by us all.

mrint2Working with everyone on this set was blast. I got to have scenes with, Camden Toy, Robert Z’Dar, Mindy Robinson, Mark Hanson, Debra Lamb and my class mate from Rus Blackwell’s acting class Janie King. I wasn’t there the whole time and didn’t work with everyone, but the whole cast and crew were great. So helpful and we had a lot of fun. The day before we started shooting, I had gotten my braces off and was living on soft food breakfast drinks. It was a great experience and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I have my manager Matt Chassin, in Cali, because of this role..

Anna Nadasdy helps Francis run a B&B in their home. She is Francis’s right hand lady and will do anything, and I mean anything, he tells her too. She is very manipulative, famine, with a very feline like way of thinking, but has a real dark side. I had trouble tapping into the manipulative side of her, because that goes against my nature, so I read The Lucifer Effect, on why good people turn evil. It really brought a lot of things into the light. It was actually a very scary book about human nature. So the story is about a group of people who come to Francis and Anna’s home wanting the secrets to being young forever, but what is the price of it all? I can’t wait to see the finish film.

UKHS – What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic horror film?

MR – The three things that I think makes a good horror and classic film is very simple:
1. A good story, that means a beginning, a middle and an end. That has to have a hero, a bad guy and some sort of conflict that distracts the hero.
2. Good acting, look at demo reels, past projects, resumes.
3. Great writing, which is different than a good story, the best story with a bad script doesn’t do you any good.

UKHS – If you could be the Easter Bunny for the day which three famous people would you deliver chocolate eggs to and why?

MR – Oh gosh, that is a really different question. I hope I don’t come across as a stalker. My first delivery would have to be to Tim Curry. I was born deaf and after my first of many surgery’s at the age of three. Except for my dad, he was the first male voice I heard. Sometimes I will still watch Annie with no sound. Then Jessica Lange and hope she invites me in. I would love to ask her how she prepares for her roles and to listen to her talk about acting. Last, but not least, Morrissey. To see if he really is depressed all the time as he comes across. I saw his concert once and really like his music. His body guards had to drag a lady off stage, but he didn’t miss a beat.

mrint6UKHS – Other than acting what are you passionate about?

MR – I know some people don’t believe me, but I love quilting. It’s so much fun and relaxing. It’s a puzzle, you have to figure it out, with patterns, colours, fabrics and style. You can make anything you see into a pattern and then in a quilt. There are no mistakes. I love it.

I also take care of my special needs cats. They are all rescues with health issues. I love reading psychology, sociology and medical books. I feel they have helped me in my character breakdowns for acting. Otherwise, I am just a boring person on my down time. I watch movies, quilt, read and hug my cats. I am obsessed with Disney, so if you
follow my instagram and twitter, you will see what I mean.

UKHS – Finally, are you working on any current projects which you can tell UKHS about?

MR – I can say that I am part of, Scream Queen Campfire, Scavenger and Sasquatch vs.Yeti, by Jonathon Moody. A Sci-Fi series, Technopolis by Andre’ Dixon, Hosten, by Kim Sonderholm and Martin Sonntag, La Fleur de Mai by Durand St Hilare and Left Hand Lords, by Spencer Grey. I am also going to do a couple of photo shoots. One is kind of a pin up, elegant shoot. Long dresses, high heals, elegant makeup and hair. Ultra girly and feminine. I can’t wait to do it.

Thank you UKHS for letting me be a part of this. I enjoyed your questions and maybe someday I can also be part of a convention in the UK.

UKHS – You are very welcome. That would be really awesome if someday you can be part of a convention in the UK. Keep up the great work and good luck with all your new projects!

John Dies At The End (2012) DVD Review

johndateJOHN DIES AT THE END (2012) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Chase Williamson, Clancy Brown, Rob Mayes

Written by: Don Coscarelli, David Wong (story)

UK Certification: 18

DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 99 minutes

Directed by: Don Coscarelli

The great Don Coscarelli created Phantasm, one of my favourite horror series of all time, and in recent years has been lauded for bringing Joe Lansdale’s novella to the screen in the cult-tastic Bubba Ho-Tep. His new film, John Dies at the End keeps him in Bubba’s territory of the trippy scenario as he adapts David Wong’s (Jason Pargin) book that was first published as a webserial in 2001, before hitting print in 2007.

Our two heroes of the story are Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) who are old high school buddies turned spiritual exorcists albeit with a quasi-psychic element. At the start of the film we find Dave separated from John as he begins to confide to a reporter, Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) the details of their special powers and the current perilous situation they find themselves in.

JOHN DIES 003The aforementioned situation regards the somewhat apocalyptic headache of the pending end of the world which may be the result of the sentient alien drug that has been dubbed ‘soy sauce’. This narcotic gives people psychic abilities such as being aware of events that are yet to take place – all well and good you may think, but alas ingestion of the drug actually turns you into a host for an alien monster with designs firmly on ruling the planet.

Dave tells Arnie how at a party one evening he received a phone call from John who seemed to be in quite a state. He ended his night out to attend to his friend, but when he found him it seemed obvious that he’d taken something, a something which transpired to be ‘soy sauce’. Dave relays to Arnie that he too managed to accidentally take a hit of the drug, which although initially disorientating, he soon realised that the only way to get to the bottom of his friends precarious situation was to stay on the substance.

This meeting between Dave and Arnie Blondestone provides the glue to holding the film together, as outside of this the movie is peppered with random events, surrealism and insane humour that could have easily lead it into disarray. Here though Coscarelli gets it spot on and manages to preserve a narrative that allows the film a level of unhinged craziness whilst retaining the backbone of a storyline.

JOHN DIES 002The film has so much to recommend about it, from the gonzo plot to the brilliant lead pairing of Williamson and Mayes – both of whom have little feature film experience yet turn in natural, confident performances with sparkling chemistry between the two of them. We’re also treated to a few cameos from the likes of Clancy Brown, Doug Jones and (of course) the inimitable Angus Scrimm.

John Dies at the End is an unconventional film amidst a sea of predictability in the movie world. It’s a genre bending mind melt which makes you double up with laughter one minute and cover your eyes in disgust the next. While most of our horror icons from the late 70s seem content in semi-retirement or trawling out the same old schlock, Don Coscarelli once again shows his ingenuity and provides us with an immensely enjoyable piece of cinema.

 

8.5 out of 10

 

Extras:

None

Slight bone of contention here – this film is released in the UK as an exclusive to the supermarket chain ASDA. I understand that this is a regular occurrence in today’s difficult retail environment with stores seeking to gain advantage over each other, but to be honest if there was a film most ill-suited for display alongside the mainstream dross of a supermarket top 40, it’s John Dies at the End.

Surprisingly the film is released in the UK by label par excellence Eureka, them of Masters of Cinema idolization – and rightly so. It came as a surprise then for it a) not to be released on blu-ray and b) to be a bare bones release. There may be more to it than that with regard to contractual stipulations, but sadly when asked about any future plans for a better edition of JDATE they didn’t comment.

So there you have it, a bona fide cult movie that lives up to its heady reputation given an uninspiringly vanilla release and consigned to the mediocrity of a supermarket shelf.

Ugh.