A Life in Blood – Horror Queen Genoveva Rossi Sits Down With Horror Icon Sid Haig

genrossibannerrsz_sh1Horror Queen Genoveva Rossi Sits Down With Horror Icon Sid Haig

I was truly honored to be a guest with Sid Haig at Monsters and Robots in New Jersey, Scare-a-con in New York State, Scare-a-con in New England, and at Mad Monster Party in South Carolina. In South Carolina it was an epic treat to see him a marry some horror fans dressed up as Captain Spaulding. Oh yeah, in addition to being an actor he is an ordained minister.

Genoveva: Amazing meeting with the great Sid Haig today. We are both in Death House, which is a film developed by Gunnar Hansen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Were you friends with Gunnar Hansen?

rsz_sh2Haig: Yes we were friends and had known each other at least ten years. He was a good guy. I am excited about it actually.

Genoveva: Everyone that is anyone in horror seems to be in it: you, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Barbara Crampton, Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Oberst Jr, . . .the list goes on and on. I am honored to have a cameo.

Haig: And Vernon Wells. Yes everyone is in Death House.

Genoveva: So Sid I think everyone would be curious to know what your first acting role was and when?

rsz_sh3Haig: When I was about 12 years old I played the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Genoveva: Very cute

Haig: That’s how I am. I just do things. I see something and I do it.

Genoveva: A fascinating part of your film career is your work in black exploitation films especially working with Pam Grier.

Haig: That’s not work haha. We did six films together. The director found her working as a secretary and came up to her. He actually talked her into becoming an actress.

Genoveva: Amazing here you are an actor since childhood and Pam Grier had to be convinced to go into acting. And then you ended up in six films together. It’s interesting how everyone gets into acting for different reasons.

rsz_sh4Haig: I actually got into acting as a kid because I was growing so fast I had no coordination so I couldn’t do sports so I got involved in the theater! Then my parents wanted me to take dance classes. I know ballet, tap, jazz, and more stuff. I have danced in a number of films.

Genoveva: Tell me a bit about how you came to meet Rob Zombie and get cast in House off A Thousand Corpses?

Haig: Rob Zombie was a big fan of Jason of Star Command a TV series that aired 1978-1981 and I scared him in the show. Rob said to himself if I ever make a movie I am putting that guy in it and when he was casting his film he reached out and offered me a role.

rsz_sh5Genoveva: What was it like working with Rob Zombie?

Haig: He was great; really laid back and lets you do what you want, gets out of the way, and lets you do your job.

Genoveva: He puts a lot of trust in his actors.

Haig: And that’s how a director should work. You can the right people and then let them do their job.

Genoveva: Tell our readers a bit about what it was like working on House of a 1000 Corpses? And playing Captain Spaulding?

Haig: I met Karen Black at the premiere. Unfortunately, we had no scenes together and shot on different days. The clown character has become the role I am most known for. People think it was my first role, but it was probably my 100th. Now all these years later I go to conventions and see people dressed up as Captain Spaulding, with t-shirts, hats, and even tattoos. It’s amazing. There must be 100,000 people with Captain Spaulding tattoos. I go to Spain they’re there, Germany they’re there; all over the world.

rsz_sh6credit_-_todd_staruchGenoveva: What was being on set like?

Haig; Well the companion disk for House of 1000 Corpses is called 30 Days in Hell because for 30 days we worked in 103 degree heat. I developed an appreciation for women that waxed. With all the dried blood on my chest and body I was ripping out my body hair every time I took off my shirt. My nipples were hard and painful. It took 45 minutes to brush the crap off my teeth.

Genoveva: What was is like working with Ginger Lynn? I was on her radio show once about a year ago and I have to admit you came up when we were discussing our experiences doing sex scenes in films.

Haig: Again, that’s not work. I have the most pre-eminent porn stars of the 1980s riding me like it was the Kentucky Derby. I remember telling Rob Zombie that I have to wear my underwear for this because if I go skin to skin with her it’s going to be a whole different type of movie. Haha. I told Rob I wanted to do something in my sex scene that would piss off every woman watching; leave my socks on during sex. Sex is kind of ridiculous if you think about it. You help another person undress and when it’s over you dress yourself.

rsz_sh7credit_-_todd_staruchGenoveva: That’s a good point Sid. Everyone’s on their good side until they’ve gotten what they’ve wanted. Haha

Genoveva: Looking back at your long career and everything you’ve done what is the one thing you’d want to be the most remembered for?

Haig: Wow! (pause) Spider Baby. When I was a kid I would wake up Saturday morning and watch Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman then all of a sudden there I am working with him. For the first couple days I couldn’t even speak. He loosened me up and became my mentor actually. He taught me a lot and gave me some good advice I appreciated at the time. I was a huge fan of Universal Studio Monster Movies and would rush out to see them when they came out. That is my best moment in film and what I’d like to be remembered for.

Thanks for reading this month’s A Life In Blood: Tales of a Horror Queen! See you ghouls next month for more tales of horror.

Yours in screams,
Genoveva Rossi

Pictures 6 & 7 credited to Todd Staruch

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A Life In Blood: Tales Of A Horror Queen Death House Exclusive: an interview with Writer and Director Harrison Smith

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Death House Exclusive: an interview with Writer and Director Harrison Smith.

This horror queen recently had the honor to have a great cameo as an evil nurse in the soon to be legendary Death House. In last month’s instalment of A Life In Blood: Tales Of A Horror Queen I discussed my role, and spoke to stars Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman, and Bill Oberst Jr. This month I give you an exclusive interview with writer and director of Death House: Harrison Smith.

Hi Harrison, Thank you so much for letting me send you a few questions. I am sure our readers want to hear more about Death House.

dhgen5Genoveva: 1. How did you get started in horror? And how did you come to direct and write Death House?

Harrison: *My grandmother watched a lot of horror. When I was a kid I grew up watching Dr. Shock and Creature Feature and Chiller Theater and the CBS Late Night Movie with her. So between the old Universal Monsters and Hammer and then 70s horror like Shockwaves, I got right into it. By the time I was 8 years old I knew who Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi were. I saw “Jaws” when I was 8 as well and I knew leaving the theater that’s what I wanted to do: make movies. “Jaws” is the movie that made me want to make movies. These PC, over protective helicopter parent times draw shock when I say this. How could my mother take me to see “Jaws” when I was just 8 years old. Aside from the fact that “Jaws” was X-rated for anyone over 30 at that time, my reply is how do you let your kids watch Disney which allows the body shaming sale of sex to pre teens on much of its content disguised as “family” programming.*

*”Death House” was brought to me by Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory. They were brought to a sceening of my film “Zombie Killers” in Los Angeles. From there we discussed the project. They introduced me to Gunnar Hansen and here we are.*

dhgen3Genoveva: 2. What will horror fans love about Death House? Where did the idea for the story of Death House come from?

Harrison: *Real fans will appreciate the Easter Egg hunt in the film. There are so many visual and verbal references to horror. I am very proud of one involving Cody Longo, Barbara Crampton and Sean Whalen. They will also appreciate that we really did something fresh. This isn’t taking all the horror icons and putting them in cameos and slashing up a bunch of college kids. They will appreciate we gave a fresh story, no reboot, remake or regurgitation. We gave them a smart story too. They’ll appreciate the GREAT practical effects: plenty of blood and gore in this. Plenty. There is also a lot of action. This has the pace of a roller coaster. It builds up to the drop and then it rides up and down straight to the end. On top of it, I think fans are gonna have a slew more to talk about to their icons at the cons. It’s a great film.*

*Gunnar had the original story which involved a documentary film crew going into the bowels of a supposedly abandoned asylum. As you guessed, the place isn’t empty and hijinks ensue. He had this around 2010 and tried to get
into production. He felt the story needed work and someone else did a rewrite that took it in the opposite direction and basically made it torture porn. Gunnar wasn’t happy with that and the project dragged on. When it came to me, Gunnar said he wanted the concept of the “Four Horsemen” to remain and the title had to stay. I used zero from the rewrite that came before me. However Gunnar’s original script had this whole concept of what exactly is good and evil. I took that thread and weaved it into the present film. I was out working on the treatment one afternoon and
the preview for Jurassic World came on and then it hit me. Why does it have to be an asylum? We’ve been there and done that. What if Death House was a prison? Like an Area 51 of prisons? The place where the worst of the worst
were kept. What if some young cadets were on a tour and the ride broke down? So instead of “The Expendables of Horror” (a term we did not coin and one I think is inaccurate) we had “Jurassic Park Without the Dinosaurs?”*

dhgen1Genoveva: 3. What inspired you to bring together the biggest names in horror?

Harrison: *I did not bring them together. That was Gunnar who did all of that. It was simply handed off to me.*

Genoveva: 4. When can fans expect to see Death House and where? What are your plans after finishing this film?

Harrison: *The release date will depend on the distributor. I won’t give any firm date however I can tell you the film is in post production and moving ahead of schedule. My plans? Keep making movies, but I can say that 5 sequels are planned for this film.*

dhgen2Genoveva: 5. Are there any great moments on set you’d like to share with our readers?

Harrison: *There were a lot of great moments. I think one of the best was was watching Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman do a harmonizing Three Stooges “Hello….hello….hello…!” while on set. I turned to my AD and said, “we are seeing something pretty cool here.” Horror actors are some of the nicest people. They really are. There’s this kind of camaraderie and they are easy to work with. Felissa Rose who appears in the film as well as associate produced always is a fun time and brought along a number of names that were equally as fun and I am so glad were a part of this film. Lloyd Kaufman provided a lot of laughs and smiles on our last day of East Coast shooting. Such a gentleman and a legend. That word is thrown around a lot, but Lloyd is one of the last of his kind, a filmmaker who came from the ground up in the beginning of the guerilla film movement along with Carpenter, Arkoff and Corman. It was a great experience to have Lloyd make a came in this film for all he has done for the medium.*

dhgen4Genoveva: 6. Do you have any fond memories of Gunnar Hanson you’d like to share with his mourning fans?

Harrison: *Gunnar was a gentle giant. It’s odd that he’s iconic for Leatherface when in a parallel universe he could have been Santa Claus. An artist, thinker and a man who loved the genre that gave him a career. He told me so many
stories of being on set, the experiences that have shaped and changed horror filmmaking and most of all was just so accessible and open. I met with him in person several times for long story meetings and talked often by phone. Horror lost a good person last fall. *

Genoveva: 7. Any final thoughts on DeathHouse?

Harrison: *My “Cynema” series published here http://zombieapocalypse.net/author/harrison/ makes it clear horror fans need to step up their game. Horror is more than blood and gore. It’s more than tired franchises and their seemingly endless reboots. They need to think independently more. For example, back in 1978 Michael Myers appeared. While he was clearly a little boy, he could somehow take bullets to the chest, fall from second story balconies and somehow survive this and a number of other physical onslaughts through a number of sequels. Hell, he
even, somehow, survived two shots to the head and an inferno in the mediocre “Halloween II.” Yet the audience never had to have “why” explained. it just was. Pleasance offers the only explanation, the guy was evil. That’s it. There was no “Midichlorian” type explanation for this evil force. You accepted it, because evil is pretty open and liquid.

There may be rules but they’re broken all the time. Freddy didn’t need explanation for how he could enter dreams. Were there others who could do it too? Other killers entering dreams? Jason Vorhees was clearly a frail, mentally
incapacitated kid when he DROWNED to death at Camp Crystal Lake. Yet in the second film he returned as some giant, hulking guy that not only cheated death, but discovered a shitload of body building cheats to boot. We never
find out why the guy regenerates, why you can’t kill him. Didn’t Corey Feldman chop his head off in Part IV? How did it get back on his shoulders in Part VI? The AUDIENCE is supposed to fill in those gaps and suspend their disbelief and not be so literal. Space ships don’t explode in space, nor do they belch fire when they do or smoke for that matter. But we accept it.

dhgen6So now here is my point: Kane Hodder’s character, Sieg, in “Death House” can heal physical trauma quickly. He is able to heal his body. Our one 20 something editor watched the rough cut and said “How can he do that? Why don’t you explain it?” I asked him if he saw any of the “Friday the 13th” films. he replied yes, he’d seen them all and loved them. So I asked, “How does Jason keep coming back? How does he heal?” And he looked at me and said, “You know, I never really thought about it.” So in other words, because Kane is without a mask here, you question it. But not once in all those films did you ever question Jason’s healing and resurrection abilities? This is my point. We give plenty of information that Sieg studied the occult,. He found something. Do we have to spoon feed it and dumb it down for the audience? if so, then stop calling “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” classics. *

*Horror is more than “The Walking Dead” and zombie films. It’s more than the latest “Paranormal Activity” instalment. It means a lot of different things to people, but it shouldn’t be stupid and expect it’s audience to be morons and just blindly wait for the food to be forced down their throats. Expect more of your entertainment and you’ll see originality return to the screen.*

Genoveva: It was great meeting you on set in Philadelphia and thank you. As luck would have it I am now being managed by Matt Chassin, Bill Oberst Jr’s manager. I am a huge fan of Oberst so this is a huge honor.

Harrison: *Bill was a joy to work with. I am so happy to have had him in this film and his cameo is a stand out. I
would love to work with again. He’s brilliant.*

Stay tuned for next updates and news on Death House! Also tune in next month for another chilling instalment of A Life In Blood: Tales Of A Horror Queen and here more about my life in horror!

Yours in screams, Genoveva Rossi
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A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #1

genrossibannerWelcome 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!

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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.

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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

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.

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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

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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!

Yours in screams,
Genoveva Rossi x

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Swav Jusis Photography

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