term “Scream Queen” brings any number of actresses to mind
when you say it to horror fans. Whether it's Janet Lee in
Psycho, her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in the
original Halloween, or
Rochon from one of her innumerable roles; they all share
a place in the collective hearts of movie goers. One Scream
Queen that has definitely earned her royal title is actress
Brinke Stevens. She's been delighting horror fans as both
heroine and villain in countless films since the early
eighties. However, if you think her talent ends when she's
not in front of the camera, you'd be mistaken. Brinke is an
accomplished screen writer, columnist, and filmmaker. She's
even had her own comic book series. Her Masters of Science
in Oceanography, and love of languages (she's studied at
least seven including Esperanto) aside, Brinke is also
unique because of the diversity of her talent and her
ability to adapt as the genre of horror has changed since
her career began.
Frequently found at horror film conventions and festivals,
Brinke is known to be a fan favorite because of her
friendly, approachable, nature as well as her enduring
beauty. I had the chance to sit down with Brinke at the
Fangoria Weekend of Horrors and talk with her about some of
the numerous projects she's working on for the screen, her
writing, and the differences she sees between today's
filmmaking and what it's like making films today.
Nic—Brinke, I understand that you've
come to Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors to promote a couple of
your recent projects. Can you tell us a little about them?
Brinke—I'm here with the producer and director of a film
called Psychosomatika. We did a panel
about the film yesterday and it was well attended. Today
we're showing a trailer. We've finished principal
photography on the movie and we expect to have a limited
theatrical release for it later this year.
Nic—What are some of the markets you'll be shooting
for with your limited theatrical release for
Brinke—It's definitely an art house film. It's reminiscent
of Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. It's about a
young man who wakes up naked and beaten in the forest. He's
lost his memory and he has psychosomatic blindness. So the
movie is about him trying to figure out who did this to him,
and everyone looks guilty.
Nic—That sounds like an interesting film. Brinke, I
hear you are also set to direct a film shortly, is that
attached to one film as the director called Alias Doctor
Ghoul. We're seeking our funding for that film right
now. It's a brilliant script about a little known Hungarian
movie star, sort of a Bela Lagosi, who was actually very
evil. He's managed to infuse his evil nature into the
celluloid of his movies.
Nic—So are you still working in front of the camera?
Or are you focusing more on directing?
Brinke—Oh, I'm still doing a lot of acting. In fact I did
eight films in 2007 and eleven movies in 2006. But I am
moving more into the writing arena now. I've already sold
five scripts. I sold the last one right before the writer's
strike started and it's called Devil's Highway.
It's sort of a Duel meets The Hitcher.
It's a road chase movie set in New Mexico. The producers
plan to start shooting it this March. And I wrote a part in
it for myself as a sheriff's deputy, so I'm sure hoping that
they hire me for the part I wrote! (Laughs)
Nic—I hope you get it. It’d be a shame to see
someone else play a role that was made for you.
Brinke—Right! (Laughs again) I also wrote two
other new scripts last year. They're both thrillers. One is
called Delusional it's a very Hitchcockian kind of
story. The other is called The House on Rachel Lane.
It's about how the kidnapping of a child galvanizes a small
town in Canada and reveals some dark secrets about the
Nic—I have to ask this Brinke, you've been in the
horror/thriller industry for quite a while. How has it
changed since you started in the business?
Brinke—Well, when I first started doing movies in Hollywood
we'd shoot on studio lots. I'd have my own trailer. You
would have a wardrobe person and you often got to keep your
wardrobe. There would be fabulous catering and the budgets
were incredibly decent. $300,000 was considered an extremely
low-budget film back then.
Now you have movies being made for $40,000. All the
amenities are gone of course. I often have to provide my own
wardrobe. It's certainly not as luxurious as it used to be.
Also the video revolution changed everything. Now anyone can
be a filmmaker. Just as anyone can be a writer with all the
bloggers that are out there now. So it has democratized it,
but in a way it has glutted the market.
Nic—Talking about the blogging, do you find that is
also the case for your writing?
Brinke—Definitely. For many years I had a very active career
as a journalist for “Femme Fatales” magazine. I'd have three
or four articles in it every month. Now people are reluctant
to pay journalists when bloggers will do it for free.
Nic—That is regrettable, but it seems like a part of
the changing technology.
Brinke—Indeed. Everything changes, nothing stays the same.
Just like VHS gave way to DVDs and soon DVDs will be
obsolete. It will be interesting to see where everything
levels out and how it all comes to a balance.
Nic—Were there any other films you wanted to talk
Brinke—I was in Jason Paul Collum's film called October
Moon which was released last year. We shot a sequel
called November Sun in which I have a bigger and
far more interesting part. I get kidnapped by a killer and I
have to try and fight my way out of it.
I also shot another movie for Jason Collum called Shy of
Normal where I play an author with writer's
who goes out into the world to try and get her mojo back.
Nic—There's one film you haven't mentioned yet that
I wanted to ask you about. Can you tell us a little about
Brinke—Dead Clowns was released last year by
Lionsgate. Although we actually shot the film about three
years ago in Biloxi Mississippi. After hurricane Katrina,
most of the locations we used were destroyed, like the hotel
I stayed in and a bridge that we shot on.
The film is a wonderful story about a circus car that had
gone off the trestle. The car was filled with clowns and
they all died. Now on the anniversary of their death, there
is a hurricane. The clowns come out of the water and start
killing everyone who is responsible for not rescuing them. I
have a great part, I'm kind of the historian where I tell
the tale of the clown car and the ill-fated clowns. Debbie
Rochon also has a lovely part in that and Jeff Dylan Graham
who starred in and directed Psychosomatika is also
in the film.