A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #7 – Walker Stalker and an Exclusive Interview with Elvira
As I approached the location of the New Jersey Walker Stalker Convention I was a bit taken aback by the the line of cars down the road anxiously waiting to get inside. I knew horror fans all over the world loved The Walking Dead, but I didn’t realize quite how much evidently. After parking a long walk away from the convention center I then noticed the line to get in and was thankful The Digital Dead got me a press pass.
Inside fans were waiting on long lines for hours to meet Walking Dead star Norman Reedas. Last year while in New Jersey Reedas was bitten by an eager or perhaps hungry female fan. It amazes me that women happily wait on line 6 or 8 hours to meet him as though they will climax once they are face to face with him.
All press was forbidden to interview any current members of the cast due to The Walking Dead’s fear of any spoilers accidentally going to print so my interviews with cast mostly focused on those that has died on the show. I found that every actor felt very differently about their character being killed. Walker Stalker was a fun filled weekend for fans of The Walking Dead and zombie enthusiasts. It was a great event.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and horror icon (aka. Cassandra Peterson). I just want to say as a horror actress and genre fan, Elvira has always been a true inspiration for me; a unique and amazing woman in horror.
Genoveva: Great meeting you and thank you for your time. Elvira or Cassandra Peterson? What do you prefer to be called?
Elvira: Well yesterday Elvira and today Cassandra. It depends on what color my hair is.
Genoveva: Depending on how you are dressed. Do you ever get tired of dressing as Elvira? Do you wish you could be yourself more?
Elvira: I like being Elvira because it makes people happy. They love the character. The only bad part is the two hours of make-up, clothes and wig and that can get a little old.
Genoveva: How long have you been Elvira?
Elvira: This year it’s 35 years.
Genoveva: Where do you see Elvira going in the future?
Elvira: I see her going home to bed and eating dinner. (haha) I don’t mean to brag, but I see Elvira has reached this iconic status. That Elvira is a strong image that can carry on without me with merchandising and such.
Genoveva: So what are the plans for Cassandra?
Elvira: Oh me! Like I said sleeping and eating; all those things. Going on lots of vacations. I imagine I will be doing this for a few more years. As long as I can fit in my dress.
Genoveva: Would you ever want to do a movie about your life or autobiography?
Elvira: I am in the middle of my autobiography. I have been writing it forever. It’s going to be as thick as the bible. Just to mention I have a coffee table book coming out Oct 1st of 35 years of all my photographs. From the first day to present. Awesome book; like an autobiography in photos. That will be this Oct and my biography who knows; when I get time to finish writing it.
Genoveva: I am a big fan of your films both Elvira Mistress of the Dark and Haunted Hills. Any plans to do more films?
Elvira: Plans for an Elvira animated television show. Animation is the way to go; I don’t have to look good. Don’t have to dress up and I read the dialogue; I love it!
Genoveva: Any final thoughts to leave us with?
Elvira: Well yeah go to Elvira.com and check out everything I am up to. And I have a lot of merchandising. You can find out where I am, what I’m doing, be my friend on Facebook. Be awesome; at The Real Elvira. Also on Twitter and Instagram. That would be awesome.
A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special
Shock and sadness ran threw the horror community in November 2015 when Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer. Horror fans all over the world mourned the passing of Leatherface, but Hansen was able to leave loyal fans with a parting gift: Death House.
What is Death House? It is an incredibly ambitious horror film written by Gunnar Hansen and director Harrison Smith. This film has been called “The Expendables of Horror” due to it’s spectacular casting choices: Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, Bill Oberst Jr and more. Directed by Harrison Smith.
I am truly honored to have a cameo among such a talented cast and crew. It was great to spend some time on set with horror icon Kane Hodder. We have both been guests at the same cons a few times, but Death House is our first film together. While on set, Hodder said, “It is truly an honor to be in Death House. This is an amazing film.”
Michael Berryman and I previously worked together on a Sci-Fi thriller called Apocalypse Kiss and it was great to be in a film with him again.
“I was very proud to be a part of this film. Gunner was a good friend and the story is solid with a cast that includes many friends and the best actors in our genre. Harrison is a keen director with an editor’s eye as the scenes are composed. I know that this film will be well received.” -Michael Berryman
“Harrison Smith is an actor’s director with affection for our genre’s past and a real vision for its future. Gunnar Hansen would be very, very proud of what Harrison has done with DEATH HOUSE, and speaking as a life-long fan of classic horror, so am I.”
-Bill Oberst Jr.
A big thank you to “Scary” Sheri Fairchild and her husband Frank Nicosia. I have worked with both actors on a few film projects in the Buffalo area and Sheri reached out to tell me Death House was looking for more actors.
I was going through my own spiritual upheaval at the time. I had found my poor mother passed away of a sudden heart attack on Easter Sunday. That huge loss had left me shaken, but not beaten. My mother always said, “My daughter is tough” and lately I have been challenged to continue to prove her words right no matter the obstacle; even losing her so tragically. But God only gives us what he knows we can bear.
So I got in touch with the casting director of Death House and ended up on set in Philadelphia at the beautifully grotesque and haunting Holmesburg Prison. I had the good fortune of being in a scene with screen legends Barbara Crampton and Dee Wallace.
While on the set of Death House I was able to sit down and talk with producer Rick Finkelstein. He explained, “This film was started by Gunnar Hansen. It has really come together better than we ever imagined. We have the best locations, best cast, horror icons, and an amazing script.”
Even the location was perfect, Holmesburg Prison, which is part of the Philadelphia prison system. It’s history already sounds like a horror movie. For thirty years chemical companies tested on inmates with sometimes horrific results. Also the prison warden and assistant were murdered mere steps from where we conducted our interview.
Watch for Death House for it’s amazing cast, horrific special effects, and to see Gunnar Hansen’s last blood splattering performance. This film was Leatherface’s baby, it was Gunnar’s dying wish that Death House be finished, and made into a huge success in the genre. Horror fans are sure to enjoy this truly epic film. Finkelstein promises, “When you leave this film you will be questioning your own thought processes and concepts of good and evil.”
This article is dedicated to the memory of Gunnar Hansen and my mother.
Welcome ghouls and boys to the first tantalizing instalment of A Life in Blood: Tales of a Horror Queen. This horror queen is truly honored to be writing for UK Horror Scene. Things have been very busy in my dark world! Horror truly is more than a genre, it is a lifestyle. Going from film shoots to public appearances at conventions to film festivals! I recently took a stab at writing and directing my own film and that was a scream! It’s enough to make your head spin all the way around!
On the Women of Horror Panel at Macabre Faire Film Festival ((pic by Robert Jackson)
I was recently honored to attend the Macabre Faire Film Festival in New York where I represented Ukhorrorscene! http://www.macabrefairefilmfest.com/ It was fun watching all the amazing films and being on The Women of Horror Panel! The panel consisted of wide variety of women occupying various roles in the horror genre: Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist), Heather Drew (actress and acting teacher), Christina Raia (director of Summit), and Jodi Draigie (The House on Sorority Row). Some of the high points of the festival included special effects lectures from Beatrice Sniper and GutRot Effects, which both worked on a number of the films I appear in.
Some of my favorite films from the weekend were director John Portanova’s feature The Valley of the Sasquatch starring Jason Vail and Bill Oberst Jr. and Jeremiah Kipp’s short The Minions.
With Jeremiah Kipp, director of The Minions (pic by Robert Jackson)
Jason Vail and I both worked closely together in Adam Ahlbrandt’s Hunters so I was really excited to see his performance in Valley of the Sasquatch. Vail recalls working on the film, “Talented, hardest working crew I’ve met and they all had a great sense of humor. They kept it light even during the most stressful times. I appreciated that as an actor. John Portanova directed his first feature and knocked it out of the park. No east feat. And I have to thank my good friend Elias, director of Gut for being the link.” The film is currently circulating at film festivals and is not yet available to the general public.
The Minions is a beautifully haunting art-house horror short that transports the viewer into a visually stunning yet frightening world that is all too familiar. Kipp is an accomplished director of the genre; I have acted in a few of his films in the past including Theresa and Allison, Black Wake, and Fear of Blindness. He explains, “The Minions is based on a true story. We like telling people its about witches. The main character is on his way home and then two drunk girls appear to lure him in. We wanted to capture that vulnerable late at night urban encounter, which can turn bad really fast.” Watch The Minions on VOD here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/theminions
At Four States Slasher Con with actors Matt Burns and Edward X. Young
In my life recently I had a lot of traveling to conventions and filming. I traveled to Four State Slasher Con in Winchester, Virginia to be an official guest at this horror convention that focused both on films and music. It was an honor to be an official guest with so many talented people in the horror genre including the cast of The Lost Boys and Creepshow 2! I am so thankful for the opportunity to EAT all the fans. Whoops I mean MEET the fans. I was honored to be part of a Scream Queen Panel hosted by Amy Humphries and with other scream queens: Mel Heflin, Jessica Felice, Jenny Jannetty, and Renee Gambrel.
“You need to make more chicken films”, one group of horror fans exclaimed. My film, Attack of the Killer Chickens, which I directed, wrote, produced and starred in, screened as part of the shorts block. This film also stars a great cast: Edward X. Young, Rocco George, Nick Petito, Pamela Martin, and K. J. Hopkins. The screening room was full and the audience really enjoyed the film. I am thankful to the cast and crew who did an amazing job on this film.
Dead Men Tell No Tales, directed by Dusty W. Fleischman
While in West Virginia and just a few weeks after Gunnar Hansen’s tragic death I was asked to take on the role of a chainsaw wielding killer in Dead Men Tell No Tales, a horror/comedy by Creepy Crawl Entertainment. It was my first time working with director Dusty W. Fleischman and actor Matt Burns, but we had lots of fun on set. It was my first time handling a chainsaw, but I was a quick learner. I put on my animal print bra and panty set, grabbed the chainsaw and I was ready to put the hot in psychotic. After the shoot I had a strange graving for a nice bloody steak! http://creepycrawlcce.wix.com/creepycrawl
With Larry Rosen at Northeast Film Festival Horrorfest
Speaking of chickens, my short film Attack of the Killer Chickens was an official selection for the Northeast Film Festival Horrorfest in New Jersey. It was a great honor to be selected for the film fest and to walk away with a nomination for best screenplay. I had two films in the fest: my film Attack of the Killer Chickens and a short called The Abducted directed by Larry Rosen. I attended the film festival with my actors AND our infamous chicken puppets. http://www.neffhorrorfest.com/
I recently did a photoshoot with Swav Jusis photography. The theme was blood and I spent the day covered in blood and having a gory time. http://swavjusis.com/blog/
Thank you my ghoulish horror friends and tune in on the 1st of each month for more tales from my life in horror! Blood and glory awaits!
UKHS – Hello Genoveva, thank you for your time and welcome to UK Horror Scene. How did you get into acting and what is it about the Horror genre that you enjoy so much?
GR – Good question. I had always had an interest in acting since I was a child. I was in my first play at nursery school. I did some other plays in primary school and high School. In college I got involved (New York) in doing some dramatic short films. Then it had been a while after I graduated from college, I had the opportunity to do an horror film called ‘Jack ‘O’ Slasher’ directed by Jennifer Valdes. I play a sexy Satanist. I had always wanted to get involved in acting in horror movies and that was my first opportunity. I kind of took the bull and ran with it at that point and did ‘I Spill Your Guts’ and ‘Zombie Hunters’. I then decided to throw myself into it 100% to see where I would end up. That was a few years ago and things have been pretty steadily busy since then. Horror has always been my favourite genre as a fan, so I think it makes a lot of sense it would be my genre as an actor.*
Genoveva – A Dark Place Inside
UKHS – Can you please tell us about some of your recent work including ‘Not Another Bad Horror Flick’, ‘Bite School’, ‘Hunters’ and ‘Burn in Hell’?
GR – Sure, ‘Hunters’ was a really exciting one, I play Edna, a very murderous character and it was directed by Adam Ahlbrandt and I just actually shot another film with him called ‘The Sadist’, in which I play a really crazy character. We shot that in a real haunted house in Pennsylvania. So, Adam is a great director to work with because he also
gives me these really challenging crazy kind of roles, that are really over the top and things that challenge me as an actor creatively.
Then ‘Bite School’ directed by James Balsamo is very different. I play Suck-A-Rella and it’s more like a campy kind of horror, like a horror comedy kind of character. I get to use my comedy chops and my comedic timing and that and be kind of campy and silly and over the top, so it’s completely different but fun. It shows you the range in the horror genre, we have dramatic horror, psychological horror and also comedy horror.
‘Burn in Hell’ I play a reporter in that, it’s kind of a little bit funny, over the top kind of horror movie. We had a young director for that, I think he’s only like a teenager so that’s kind of interesting.
We have just had a screening for ‘Not Another Bad Horror Flick’ directed by Bridget Machete. I play a Fortune Teller/Witch kind of character and that’s actually a kind of funny horror movie as well because horror comedies are very popular. My character is kind of serious because I am like this Witch character and I am throwing curses and I am very angry and things like that but the movie itself is pretty tongue-in-cheek and kind of like a horror comedy kind of campy kind movie as well, So horror movies are fun because you have the comedy, you have the psychological and you have the dramatic.
Genoveva – Agraphobia Fear of Sexual Harassment
UKHS – What do you do when you are not acting? How do you relax?
GR – Well, when I am not acting I am also a professional tarot card reader, so I do a lot of events all over the country where I read tarot cards. I have a whole bunch coming up for Halloween in fact. I also like to go to Art shows, I like to go dancing, I like to watch movies, go to the museum, things like that. I guess a lot of cultural things. I like to travel from time to time. I like to go on paranormal kind of investigations, I like to go on ghost tours and Haunted houses. All things like that!
UKHS – Have you done any travelling in the UK?
GR – I have been to London once a few years ago.
UKHS – Did you like it?
GR – Oh yes, I had a nice time. I remember, I went to London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.
UKHS – Would you like to do any filming in the UK?
GR – I would definitely be open to it. I would certainly come out to the UK to film, absolutely. I get a lot of people from the UK contacting me and I was featured in the UK magazine, ‘The Digital Dead’, I believe in June. They called me one of the most well known scream queens in the world. So, if I had the opportunity to come out to the UK to shoot a film I definitely would do it.
Genoveva – Apocalypse Kiss
UKHS – Right, good. OK, next question. Is it true you once danced naked in a hurricane and if so why? Don’t you know hurricanes can be dangerous?
GR – Haha! It’s true hurricanes can be dangerous, that’s a good point. Well, I once danced naked in a hurricane. Did you find that on my Facebook?
UKHS – No, I was just doing some research and read it on a website, so I don’t know if it’s true or not, haha!
GR – Well, it was a few years ago. Some friends of mine decided to stay in an area that had mostly been evacuated because of a hurricane. We decided to stay and see the hurricane through and kind of meet it. Then we ended up
dancing naked in the hurricane because our whole neighbourhood was evacuated and nobody was there to see us. Haha! So you don’t get to do that very often.
UKHS – No! Haha!
GR – I guess it was potentially dangerous but we wasn’t out in the neighbourhood, we were out on the front lawn dancing to the hurricane. We thought we should do something interesting to embrace the storm. It was raining very heavy at that time, so it was almost like taking a shower. I think it was a celebration of life in the moment. I don’t think it was particularly dangerous because it wasn’t like we were running round through the hurricane. Haha! Yeah, I guess the tree had fallen on us, haha! but that didn’t happen so it all worked out.
Genoveva – Bite School
UKHS – Haha! Good. What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic horror film?
GR – OK, all right, three main ingredients to make a classic horror film. One, you need a good story. Two, you need some really good actors, strong actors. Those are the two most important things, so what else do we need after that? Well, we need a great production team. Yes, those are the three things you need because* *production is so important. You need a great cinematographer, a great sound person, a great light person and great people to edit this in post production. If you have all those things you can do it. You don’t necessary need super impressive effects, you don’t because sometimes the greatest film are psychological.
UKHS – That’s a good answer because some people say blood and guts and not the story.
GR – Yeah, the story is the most vital thing and the acting and the production. Some people in the independent scene don’t realise how important that is because bad acting you can tell right away, bad production quality you can tell that right away and a story is really important because that’s what holds everything together. If you don’t have a great story you don’t have anything. Look at something like ‘Night of the Living Dead’, George A. Romero didn’t have too much going on with that but it became a classic film because we had these actors that were pretty strong and did a great job and we had this really unique story, which had never really been done before and obviously the production quality was there.
Genoveva – Jack ‘o’ Slasher
UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?
GR – That’s a good question. Ok, my three items.One, would probably be a vibrator that doesn’t require batteries.
UKHS – Haha!
GR – Haha! Yeah because if it doesn’t require batteries, I wouldn’t be able to get batteries on an island, so I am going to say that!
UKHS – Haha! Am I OK to publish that?
GR – Haha! I guess we’ll put that in there! Yes. I would probably want a dictionary, you know something for me to read. And a swiss army knife because those are useful, there’s a lot of tools. Haha! if I was on a desert island I think I would be pretty screwed. Haha! I would probably get pretty bored.
UKHS – Haha! Ok I won’t keep you too long, this is going to be the last question. What’s been your favourite roles so far?
GR – Some of my favourite roles have been ‘Apocalypse Kiss’, I play Clara, this pregnant hippy character because that was a real challenge, giving birth, being a pregnant character, that was different for me. I am going to say Mike O’Mahony’s ‘A Dark Place Inside’, playing the mother of a little boy who is going to grow up to become a serial killer. This was a really challenging role for me, dramatic. I am going to say ‘Hunters’ playing Edna, with a southern accent and really just being this bloody, psychotic murderous character was a real challenge for me. I am going to say Adam Ahlbrandt’s ‘The Sadist’, playing the character in that was a real challenge for me, with some really intense scenes.
Genoveva – The Enchantress
I love roles that require me to do things that are very different, step out of my comfort zone. I think sometimes as an actor the best roles are the ones you never thought you could play. The ones that really challenge you. So those are the roles that probably stand out for me the most. You know in the horror genre sometimes you can end up getting kind of stuck in certain roles, so it’s wonderful to branch into other areas. I’ve also love playing strong characters like a soldier, a murderer, a witch, something that’s kind of out there a little bit, that’s engaging, that’s exciting.
UKHS – Thanks again for your time. Keep up the great work, Genoveva.
GR – Thank you so much.
*Picture one courtesy of Stas Pix.*
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