Multi-talented Axelle Carolyn is one of the most talked about people in the horror industry today. She’s a writer, columnist, actress and model to name only a few of her qualities so we thought it was time to track her down and have a chat about all things horror.
ZH: Have you always had an interest in horror movies?
AC: Movies, no. But horror, absolutely. I’ve always been interested in the dark side of everything. As a kid I was fascinated by ghosts and skeletons…
ZH: You hail from Belgium; does the horror genre have a big following there?
AC: No. But Brussels, where I grew up, does have an amazing horror festival called the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film (BIFFF). I’ve been going for about twelve years to every single edition. It’s 12 to 15 days, dozens of premieres and all the coolest guests. Plus, that’s where I met my husband!
ZH: How did you get into horror journalism?
AC: I used to be on the Creature-Corner message boards back when Johnny Butane and Ryan Rotten, who are now on Dreadcentral.com and Shocktilyoudrop.com respectively, were still running the site. I told Ryan I was going to the BIFFF, and he got me a press pass to do some interviews. And Johnny asked me to write some reviews later on, so I kept writing. I’d always loved to write and I’d been looking for a way into the film industry, so when the opportunity came up, I just took it.
ZH: Did you ever have any embarrassing moments when interviewing celebrities?
AC: Er, no… Although I do remember interviewing a director at a festival and getting such a horrible and sudden coughing fit that I pretty much had to leave the room to go cough in peace and avoid making him worry I was gonna drop dead…
ZH: Beneath Still Waters is a popular movie here at Zone Horror, what was your involvement with that picture and what do you recall of the shoot?
AC: I’d met Brian Yuzna at FrightFest and kept in touch with him, and he invited me to visit the set in Madrid, just so I could see what a movie set looked like. Then when I left he knew I’d been doing that website writing and he said, if you want to write about the film for Fangoria, I’ll send you photo to illustrate the article. I got in touch with Fango, and they said yes. That was my first article for them. On set, I also got to be in front of the camera for a night, and although I was almost completely cut out of the final edit (you can still spot me in one shot before the dam breaks), it was my first experience “acting”. I mostly remember being very, very cold, in a tiny dress at 2am in the Spanish countryside in December…
ZH: Later this year your book, “It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium” is being published by Telos. Who is it aimed at, hardcore or casual horror fans?
AC: Both. There’s enough info and interviews to satisfy hardcore fans, but I think people who are not quite as familiar with the genre won’t be lost. I also try and analyze the reasons why so many horror films have been released recently, for instance. My goal before anything else was to show that it’s a genre worth studying, it’s never going to disappear, and there’s a whole lot of brilliant horror films out there.
ZH: Did it take long to put together?
AC: The writing phase took about nine months, but I’d already been collecting interviews for years…
ZH: Will you be doing a follow up to cover the rest of this decade?
AC: Possibly, if the genre stays as popular as it has been in the past few years. But my approach was more to look at the wave of popularity horror has known since about 2003, than to really study the decade.
ZH: Why do you think there seems to be more and more female horror fans each year?
AC: Are there? Haven’t really been paying attention, to be honest… Horror festivals, at least in Western Europe, are still mainly populated by guys…
ZH: Do you believe there’s a formula to horror movies?
AC: There’s definitely clichés and conventions, but the good thing about horror is that you can twist them and play around them, and it makes movies even better. Unlike romantic comedies for example, where you have to follow the rules, otherwise the audience won’t be satisfied. It doesn’t matter if the hero dies at the end of a horror film, or if evil isn’t stopped; but if the guy doesn’t get the girl at the end of the comedy, you know people will be disappointed… So in other words yes, there’s a formula, but you’re free to work around it.
ZH: So do you fancy putting your own horror script together?
AC: I have done once, and it was optioned but nothing happened to it. I might change my mind at some point, but right now I’m not enough of a team player when I’m writing. I like my freedom. I don’t like to think of fitting into a certain budget, or how it’ll be marketed or produced or rewritten. Which is why I’ll be focusing on writing novels or short stories in the future.
ZH: You’re a regular at FrightFest, are there any particular movies you’re looking forward to this year?
AC: Oh yes. Midnight Meat Train, Eden Lake, The Strangers, Let the Right One In… But very often, it’s the movies you expect less from that surprise you. Paul, Alan and Ian are brilliant at finding little gems. Just talking about it… I can’t wait!
ZH: What plans do you have for the next 12 months?
AC: Acting, mostly. At least I hope! I had a couple of cameos in Doomsday, and I really caught the acting bug. Since then I’ve been getting an agent, building up a showreel… I’ve got a small part in The Descent 2, and I’ve done a few really cool short films. One of them will be at FrightFest, actually! It’s called The Neon Killer…
ZH: Axelle Carolyn, thank you very much
For more information on Axelle’s book go to www.telos.co.uk