Suzi Lorraine is a multi-talented lady hailing from New York. An actress, writer and model she has appeared in over 40 independent films as well a box office hits such as Music And Lyrics. Suzi's acting career has given her the opportunity to work all over the world, often in the horror genre which she adores. She has worked on movies such as Claang: The Game, Destined To Be Ingested, Won Ton Baby! and Bikini Girls On Ice which is showing at the moment on the Horror Channel. Here we chat to this charming all rounder and discover exactly why she loves horror so much. Please be aware Suzi mentions certain plotlines about Bikini Girls On Ice so if you've not seen it yet proceed with caution as you have another chance to view on December 15th at 00:45.
HC: How did you get started in the movie industry?
SL: I started taking acting classes at the suggestion of my modelling agent. I was modelling during college to make some extra money. She told me she would be able to send me out on more varied auditions, such as commercials and films, if I had some experience. So I took her advice, and signed up. Mind you, I had done zero acting all thru high school and college, unless you count a 5 line role as the "Messenger" in Cinderella. Yes, yours truly played the messenger. Not Cinderella or even one of the sisters, but the Messenger. Very glamorous. You know, "Here ye, here ye, the Queen has requested the honour of your presence at the annual ball..." As a 7 year old with stage fright, the only think I liked was the fact that I got to blow a trumpet. Every time I did it, it was totally out of tune, and the audience would start sniggering.
Flash forward 15 years, and I found myself in a proper acting class. And I fell in love with it. I couldn't get over the fact that I could "become" someone else. It is such a surreal and wild experience! Then I started thinking, "Hey, I could be in a horror movie. I could do that!" So I started sending out my headshot and resume to about 20 different horror production companies. I got some auditions, and one thing led to another, and here I am, about 40 films later!
HC: Have you always been a big fan of horror movies?
SL: I've been a horror junkie since I was a wee small Suzi, around the age of 6. I have an older brother, who introduced me to horror and also to Alice Cooper, who is my biggest inspiration and favourite performer and musical artist ever. My brother and I would watch movies like Halloween, When a Stranger Calls, Pieces, Dead And Buried, and other tasty horror treats. He used to play Alice's Welcome to My Nightmare album to freak me out, and initially it worked - especially the song Steven. However, I would run out scared, but then come back an hour later and ask him to play the album again. I think with horror in general, we love the vicarious thrill we get from watching crazy stuff happen onscreen. It's just like a roller coaster - it's a thrill of sorts, and it makes you feel alive. And it's addictive! I would say about 80% of the movies in my Netflix queue right now are horror films.
HC: What draws you to the genre from an acting point of view?
SL: I've always been a bit obsessed with horror, death, and all the things that can go wrong with the human body. Call it a morbid fascination, he he! I think if we're honest with ourselves, a lot of people feel the same way. I'm also interested in psychology, and why people do the things they do. I've been doing some research on serial killers, and in fact have written a number of articles about them in GoreZone Magazine.
HC: We’re showing one of your more recent movies, Bikini Girls On Ice on the Horror Channel. How did you get involved in this movie?
SL: Geoff Klein contacted me via email and asked me if I'd like to play the role of Kelly, the "opening kill". What attracted me to the role was the way Geoff described her. He said he didn't want a brainless bimbo portrayal, but rather he wanted Kelly to be calm, strong, smart, and in control. He likened it to the scene in Scream with Drew Barrymore. Tons of intensity and suspense. He was so pleased with the impact of this scene that he threatened to make me the "opening kill" in all of his movies! He has since changed his mind, lucky for me, as I have a lead role in Bikini Girls On Ice 2, to be shot in the Montreal area next summer.
HC: The movie has quite a body count; is that the way you like your slasher movies to be?
SL: Speaking of body counts, I just saw Uwe Boll's Rampage. If I had to estimate, would say there were around 300 murders. So many, in fact, it was actually kind of comical. Very video game-esque. But to answer your question, yes, I think for the slasher genre, it certainly keeps things exciting if the body count is high! However, I think a movie can be just as suspenseful and impactful, even if no one dies. It's all how you tell the story, and how you draw the viewer in, you know?
HC: Was it a hard shoot for you and the crew?
SL: It was a fun shoot more than anything. I was really impressed with everyone's professionalism. When you work on Indie films, you don't always know what you're going to get when you arrive on set. These guys had their stuff together, and everything ran smoothly, and on schedule. I guess the hardest part was being in a bikini at night outdoors in the freezing cold, and trying not to shiver during takes. Top that off with sticky blood being poured all over my head, and that was a bit of a test of fortitude! All in the name of art. I would immerse myself in a vat of blood and cockroaches for a film. I don't care. Bring on the blood, guts, and body parts!
HC: You have worked alongside some very notable genre actors and actresses; can you tell us your favourites?
SL: Debbie Rochon is definitely one of my favourites, and I'm honoured to have worked with her on several movies, including my Won Ton Baby! When I first started out, I remember saying, "If I achieve half the success she has, I will be happy". I love the fact that she's so talented, versatile, hard working, and funny. She's a true professional and gives 110% in anything she does. I remember reading an interview she did years ago, and she said something to the effect of this: "Whatever you're working on now is the most important project in the world. It doesn't matter if it's a $20 million dollar film, or a bare bones budget. Give 100% and then some. Because THIS is the project that will get you to the next project". I still think about that often, and it is so true! She is a riot too - we have had so many laughs, on and off set.
We did a shoot in South Jersey a few months ago, and we were staying in a really sleazy hotel. It wasn't the production team's fault - somehow the website pics were completely misleading! The website indicates Ritz Carlton, and the reality was Motel Six, minus a couple stars. Anyway, she and one of the other actors came with me to help me check in late one night after we had wrapped filming. There were crackheads lurking around, looking crazy eyed and sweaty. There was a sand pit where the pool used to be. There were strange bodily fluids on the ground. Debbie opens the door to my room, and goes directly to the blinds, closing them immediately. Informing me, "Very important!" Then she said, "I'm right next door, so if anything happens, just give one good bang on the wall and I will hear you and get help". So "One Good Bang" has become our motto every since (!)
HC: You’ve also began to work in more mainstream productions, is this the acting directing you want to head in?
SL: I am definitely focusing on quality over quantity. I really scrutinize scripts before I accept parts, and I don't sign onto anything unless I really believe in the film, and can identify with the character in some way. So yes, I'd love to continue doing more mainstream productions. It's always good to set goals and strive for more, rather than stagnate.
HC: You’re a writer, actress and model; is there a role you prefer to do to all the others?
SL: That's a tough one. I think each has their merits. If I could only choose one, I would choose acting. There's no time limit to it as there is with most modelling gigs, meaning you can act regardless of age or appearance, and it's very rewarding in a creative and personal sense.
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
SL: I just wrapped a fantasy film called Gladiators Of Hell, which was directed by Stefano Mill and was shot on location in Italy. I was cast as Hel, the Queen of Darkness. As you can imagine, I had great fun playing a mischievous and diabolical character. We shot in a number of absolutely breathtaking settings, including castles and caves. The cave had about 800 steps to climb to get to the shooting area. I give the production team and crew so much credit for being able to carry all the equipment safely up and down the slippery stairs of the cave. Talk about a labour of love! It was amazing though - inside the cave there were grottos, waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites.
I also just wrapped a role in Michael Merino's The Haunting Of Pearson Place, which was shot in the Washington DC and Maryland area. Joe Estevez is also in the film. I played the ghost of a nurse who did bad, bad things when she was alive. Again I had great fun haunting and spooking the new inhabitants of the home in which I used to dwell when my character was among the land of the living. The house that we filmed in was beautiful. It was built in the 1800's, and had quite a history. The owner of the house was telling me that there were 3 or 4 suicides and one murder over the years. She also mentioned that it was a base for the Underground Railroad.
HC: Suzi Lorraine, thank you very much.
SL: Thanks so much James for interviewing me! It was a blast talking with you. Keep up the great work at the Horror Channel. Horror forever!
You can catch Suzi Lorraine in Bikini Girls On Ice on 15th December at 00:45.