ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Horror Icon Barbara Crampton chats about her role in We Are Still Here.
By James Whittington, Monday 9th January 2017

Barbara CramptonAhead of Horror Channel's UK premiere broadcast of We Are Still Here on Saturday January 14th, legendry actress Barbara Crampton talks exclusively on the revival of her career, her approach to challenging roles and why she loves the genre, but not the over-used label 'Scream Queen'!

HC: Suddenly you are back in the genre spotlight after many people thinking you had retired. What happened between your 80s heyday in movies like Re-Animator and From Beyond and the more recent You're Next?

BC: I had retired. But it wasn't really intentional. I was in my late 30's and hadn't been offered anything significant in quite a while. Roles in my age bracket for women were slim. Around the same time I met my husband Bob, got married and became pregnant. He had a career in a more stable business and was offered a great opportunity in San Francisco. I suppose I was ready for a change and a chance to build a family life with him, so off we went. Soon after our first son was born, I was consumed with motherhood and then was also expecting my second child - a girl. I embraced this new chapter in my life and was not thinking about acting or movies, except as a spectator, for a long time. I'm glad though that I had the break to focus on my kids and be there to help out at their school and build a life I had dreamed about but seemed to elude me for many years. The offer for You're Next came literally out of the blue and I was grateful my agent hadn't lost my number as we hadn't even spoken in something like six years. I believe I was really lucky to return in a film that was really successful and seemed to receive a lot of attention for the film makers involved. So once people knew I hadn't keeled over, I began to get a few more inquires for work. I think being older has helped me also. I'm playing mothers, caretakers, doctors and soon a woman running for Governor.

HC: We Are Still Here receives its UK premiere on UK's Horror Channel on January 14th. What attracted you to the project?

BC: Firstly, I'm thrilled the Horror Channel is broadcasting the film. They really are dedicated to the genre in a passionate and intelligent way. What attracted me to the project was that I responded to the depth of misery Anne was experiencing. She lost her only child in an auto accident. How does someone recover from that? The challenges interested me as a performer and I wanted to bring as much truth to the role as possible. It also felt very 80's to me with a Lucio Fulci vibe. How could I possibly turn a gift like this down? That's what this part felt like to me - a gift.

HC: You met We Are Still Here director Ted Geoghegan because he was the publicist on You're Next. Were you flattered he wrote the part of Anne for you?

BC: Of course! Although he didn't tell me initially he HAD written it for me. I think he was nervous about that, for whatever reason. When I first read it I was immediately drawn to the character and felt a connection to Anne. So after a time I was thrilled he had secured the financing and knew we'd be on our way.

HC: To prepare for the role of grieving mother Anne, you talked to two women who had lost their sons in car accidents. What were the most important things you learned during this research process?

BC: Interviewing these two women was pretty difficult, yet thankfully they both were more than willing. It was important for me to understand their grief as much as possible and do them justice in portraying their pain. Both ladies are very strong and not surprisingly this loss is the most devastating and significant thing that has ever happened to them. They told me how their relationships with their husbands suffered. How they themselves wanted to die. How tired they were all the time. Grief is really exhausting. They each talked about moments when they felt OK and could even share a light or fun moment with someone and then would feel immediately guilty for having done so. The pain was always there and is always there. It becomes absorbed in your DNA forever. I carried their answers with me every day on pieces of paper. I would read them each morning before filming and talk to Ted about these feelings on set as if they were my own to put myself in their head space. Ted would sit with me and he was such a calm and gentle presence and he would sometimes hold my hand. I think we created a space not unlike what those two women may have experienced when they would speak to a confidant about their sorrow.

HC: Many critics have pointed out the Lucio Fulci inspirations in We Are Still Here. Did you know who he was? Were you, and have you remained, genre savvy?

BC: I had seen Fulci's The Beyond and House By The Cemetary and re-watched HBTC a number of times when Ted told me it was one of his favourite films and wanted a similar feeling for our movie. I think I've become more genre savvy since my return to acting with You're Next. I realised that I wanted to rededicate myself to my career and specifically to the horror genre so I'll confess I've become more educated of late, watching movies I may have missed along the way. I try now to watch a few old and new movies each week to keep up with what's happening, trends and influences. Even so there are movies I've missed. Green Room has been queued up about five times only to be interrupted by another movie or a family crisis. I've become more of a genre fan recently. I've always liked horror movies but now I love them. You can tell any story in a genre movie.

HC: We Are Still Here is a supernatural ghost story. Do you prefer that type of horror film than the all-out splatter fest?

BC: There are so many sub genres in horror. The ones that appeal to me are ones with an interesting or unique story and dynamic characters. I like to see people challenged by something and rise up to overcome obstacles, either outside forces or something within themselves. Splatter and gore are great fun but just to show a cool SFX gag that isn't supported by a greater foundation in story doesn't really move me. I want to feel something.

HC: You say the house in We Are Still Here is its own character. Can you explain a little more?

BC: The house was the site of some terrible happenings and it had absorbed the horror and terror. The feeling of the movie was on great display through the remarkable work of our DP Karim Hussain. It's moodiness, pain and suffering was felt in the angles and lighting used. "Place" is an important element for an actor in a movie and no time ever for me as much as in this film in this character. I thought my deceased son had followed us there. He was present to me when the baseball drops down the stairs and I heard his voice speak to me when the townspeople were descending upon us. I felt him in the walls. At the end of the movie I make a choice that involves staying in the house forever. Did I mention how cold it was? The temperature outside was -27 and the heat inside did not work very well. I was either bracing myself against its chill or leaning in to feel the warmth of a dear departed loved one who appeared to inhabit its space.

HC: Just like Stuart Gordon with Re-Animator, Ted Geoghegan was making his feature debut with We Are Still Here. And you produced and starred in Beyond The Gates, the feature debut of Jackson Stewart too. Is it more exciting working with up and coming new talent?

BC: It's exciting to work period. Most actors who have a career do a handful of movies a year if they're lucky. Most of your time is spent not working and doing regular everyday things. Fortunately, the film festival circuit is quite robust and I've spent the last few years promoting movies I'm in and traveling the states and abroad. It's very satisfying to be around like-minded people who love movies and really get what we do. Also I enjoy meeting other film makers and actors and fans. As far as working with up and coming directors is concerned, these guys were so on it in terms of telling a story and already had vast and deep knowledge of the genre. Ted and Jack had worked in the film biz in various capacities before directing their first films and were completely comfortable with what they were doing. Re-Animator was the first film experience for Stuart but he had honed a lot of skills in the theatre and any moving picture technology he didn't understand was greatly helped by our DP, Mac Ahlberg. I find today that the industry is a lot more collaborative and especially in Los Angeles where directors screen rough cuts for other directors and they all give each other notes before any additional shooting or re-shoots. That really helps a young director.

HC: Judging by all the movies you're starring in at that moment either completed or in post-production, you are back with a vengeance! What's the difference between making movies then and now?

BC: I'm older and wiser and know when to speak my mind. I love the complicated parts I'm being offered now too. Everything is faster because of digital and most people on a set are capable of doing various jobs. It's also harder to get a movie financed at the level you'd like and to sell the movie to a company that will give you the funds to make your money back. You have to be really tenacious and have a strong attitude and be willing to lose money and still do such a bang up job that people notice you so that you can move up a level. Also people watching movies illegally and not realising how much this hurts the industry is a real problem. Not everyone is successful, some leave the business and do other things. I'm talking directors but it's really competitive for performers as well. There are so many people in Hollywood. How do you distinguish yourself? Why or how are you unique? Embrace that. Starting as young as possible is a good idea, creating your own content, making movies with your friends, networking...

HC: You've recently stated you don't like the term 'Scream Queen' even though you once embraced it. What's changed? You are now a Horror Icon, do you prefer that description?

BC: The term didn't used to bother me as much before. But as time has gone by I feel it's really reductive, overused and not reflective of the kinds of deep and more interesting stories we seem to be telling in this generation. It's a cliched moniker given to ladies who are doing amazing work and have had long careers with varying roles. It's a term that has had its time and is now being used by actresses who have been in one or two movies and who self-proclaim themselves to be a 'Scream Queen'. It just doesn't feel special anymore, if it ever was. For additional thoughts on this by myself and other film makers click here.

We Are Still Here is broadcast on Horror Channel, Saturday 14th January at 10.50pm.


Related show tags: WE ARE STILL HERE
MORE ARTICLES
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Posted in Reviews, Friday 18th October 2019
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Georges Boukoff, Anthony d'Amario and Ed Rig
The Omega Productions Records

Pascal Laugier's Ghostland (known in the UK as Incident in a Ghostland) was one of the highlights of FrightFest 2018 and proved once and for all that this director was a master of the sinister and murky.

Produced ten years after Martyrs, the movie was more considered in its tension building and was in its strange way a contained a classic fairy tale structure.

The movie concerns the aftermath of a brutal home invasion experienced by Beth along with mother and sister Vera. Forward a few years and Beth is now a horror novelist and has found solace in her w...

SHARE: READ MORE
Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 17th October 2019

Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Sacred Bones
Double Vinyl

Halloween 2018 was a box-office hit and gave the franchise a much-needed tension injection. It saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and that of original director John Carpenter though he wasn't in the driving seat for this one. Instead he, alongside his son and godson, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies created the score and delivered an atmospheric piece which retained whispers to the past without drowning in them.

The soundtrack album was a hit as much as the movie was debuting at #12 on the Billboard Albums chart and #2 on the vinyl chart, o...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

SHARE: READ MORE
Dare you experience Kraken Screamfest: The Director's Cut?
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

This Halloween, London braces itself for The Kraken Rum to deliver a unique bar and horror experience like no other, commissioning legendary horror mastermind Neil Marshall to direct every detail of the night. The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is joining forces with the esteemed Hollywood Director to present 'Kraken Screamfest: Director's Cut' - promising to bestow fresh new nightmares on even the most devoted fans of the horror genre.

Neil Marshall, famed for classics The Descent, Dog Soldiers and Game of Thrones, will be terrifying those brave enough to step inside the real-world creation of his darkest imaginings. Everything from the decor and the staff to the Kraken Rum cockt...

SHARE: READ MORE
Superb supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to have UK cinema release on 25th October
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

Wildcard Distribution is bringing the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to UK cinemas on 25th October. The film will play exclusively in key cities around the UK with Odeon Cinemas.

Extra Ordinary stars comedian/writer/actress Maeve Higgins (Naked Camera, Inside Amy Schumer), Barry Ward (Jimmy's Hall, MAZE), Will Forte (Nebraska, McGruber, Last Man on Earth), and Claudia O'Doherty (Trainwreck, Love, Inside Amy Schumer, Long Shot) and tells the story of Rose, a sweet and lonely small town driving instructor who must use her supernatural 'talent' to save the daughter of a local man from a washed up rock-star looking to use her in a satanic pact that will reignite his fame.

The film wh...

SHARE: READ MORE
"It's the most zombified time of the year!" Anna and the Apocalypse is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019
Anna and the Apocalypse Bluray cover

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a zombie apocalypse Christmas musical?

Anna and the Apocalypse is set for its UK Blu-ray debut on 2 December in a feature packed double-disc edition, courtesy of Second Sight.

It's Christmas time and the sleepy Scottish town of Little Haven is under threat from a zombie apocalypse, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But even zombies can't stop the teen drama: will Anna's best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) reveal his true feelings for her, or will her smu...

SHARE: READ MORE
Terry Pratchett's Discworld comes to vinyl for the first time this November
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019

Terry Pratchett's Vinyl Discworld is a 15LP vinyl audiobook box set featuring seven classic stories, which will be released on Friday 29th November.

Following the very successful Good Omens, Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy releases on vinyl, Demon Music Group presents Discworld featuring the following stories:
Mort
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Eric
Small Gods
Night Watch
Bonus non-Discworld story Only You Can Save Mankind

41 Discworld novels were written, set on a fictional flat planet, balanced on the backs of four elephants, which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. It is estimated that more than 80 milli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season
Posted in Features, Tuesday 8th October 2019

For thirteen nights, from Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31st October at 9pm, Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season, a supernaturally spooky selection of the scariest movies, including the UK premiere of the ghostly chiller The Unspoken and the channel premiere of the terrifying thriller Pay The Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage.

Other highlights include Damiano Damiani's diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - Amityville II: The Possession. James Watkins' spine-chilling remake The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ti West's The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, The Innkeepers. the 2008 US remake of The Eye, starring Jessica Alba and box-offi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted in Interviews, Sunday 6th October 2019
ChrisBavota_DeadDicks

Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.

HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?

CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robi Michael, writer and director of Every Time I Die
Posted in Interviews, Saturday 5th October 2019
Robi Michael

Grimmfest 2019 is well underway and one of the stand out movies so far has been Every Time I Die from director Robi Michael. Here he chats about this gripping movie.

HC: Was there one person or movie that you saw that made you want to be a director?

RM: Hard to think of one person or movie, because as long as I remember, it was clear to me that all I want to do is make movies - I was in love with films and decided to pursue it from a very early age. I was too young to realized what it takes to make movies or what is the job of a director. I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like "Watchmen" and "V for...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted in Frightfest, News, Thursday 3rd October 2019
FF19-Halloween logoArrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.

The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.

The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Flight 7500
FLIGHT 7500
Thursday 24th October
9.00 PM
The Messengers
THE MESSENGERS
Wednesday 23rd October
9.00 PM
Stir Of Echoes
STIR OF ECHOES
Tuesday 22nd October
9.00 PM