INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Sybil Danning, Star of Howling II
By James Whittington, Wednesday 15th August 2007
Sybil Danning is one of the most respected genre artists working today. Many of her movies have gained cult status and one of her best, Howling II is being shown at the moment here on Zone Horror. We caught up with this busy lady to bring you this exclusive interview.

ZONE HORROR: You grew up on various Army bases, what was this nomadic style life like for you?

SYBIL DANNING: I actually enjoyed it. I loved seeing new places, meeting new people. Still today, I love travelling. I’ve been in many countries and while I love coming home to what I call my home now, Los Angeles, I always look forward to packing up and experiencing a new town, state or country. I think it has to do with being able to “adapt” which I learned early on. I see every “move” in life as an adventure. Maybe that’s why I call my company “Adventuress Productions.”

ZONE HORROR: You left school aged 14 to help support you family. How much stress did this put upon on you?

SYBIL DANNING: At the time I did not see this as stress. It was something that needed to be done and you just did it. I was raised to be responsible and this was something I felt I was responsible for. Maybe in hindsight I could say I might have missed some opportunities that most teens have at that age, but I was very mature and being there for my family came natural. I continued to work hard all my life and nothing ever came easy to me. I contribute that experience as a learning time to prepare for life.

ZONE HORROR: Is it true you wanted to open your own beauty parlour?

SYBIL DANNING: Yes, I went to Cosmetology School in Salzburg, Austria where I learned facial treatments, decorative makeup, body massage, manicure and pedicure and got my Diploma. I got an extra Diploma in Beauty Care for Germaine Monteil, a leading French Cosmetic Line of products because I planned to open my own Salon and with a Diploma from Germaine Monteil, I already had their support and products for such. I applied with the Government and was told, 5 leading Salons in the city were enough and I was denied a license. That’s Socialism! It was not for me and at that time I had already made up my mind, I was going to leave my beloved Austria!

ZONE HORROR: So when did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?

SYBIL DANNING: One year after the first movie I did, COME MY DEAR LITTLE BIRD, where I played the famous German Legend, “Loreley,” Stern one of the leading magazines in Germany, brought me across two pages sitting atop a cliff on the Rhine River, my body covered only in long blond locks. We shot in November, I got terribly sick, had a high fever and went back home on a train, not a plane! That spread got me so much publicity; I had Agents, Directors and Producers calling me. At that point I decided to take this business, you call show business, serious! I got another movie offer immediately, and the rest is History!

ZONE HORROR: What was it like being on a movie set for the first time?

SYBIL DANNING: I was a model in Europe and Asia before I did my first movie. The change over was not difficult at all. At the beginning, I made more money as a model so doing movies was another “adventure” for me! Being on a set came natural and certainly being before a camera was easy. The fact that I sat in front of all the crew and camera without clothes, only long hair covering me, did not bother me either. In Europe women are topless in almost every public swimming pool, lakes and the sea. On the Island of Sylt off of Hamburg, everyone goes totally nude. Europeans have a different relationship with “nudity” than Americans. I guess once you’ve acted in a movie, quasi nude, nothing is difficult after that.

ZONE HORROR: For your first few movies directors seemed to concentrate on your looks and figure rather than your acting ability, was this frustrating?

SYBIL DANNING: Not at the time I just took it for granted and accepted those roles. Many of the movies of that time were very sexy and I fit into that mold. I’m sure if you ask Brigitte Bardot or other actors of that time if they minded and they would say no. It was the time! Certainly there were serious movies too, but I was always considered too beautiful and too sexy and did not get the chance to prove otherwise.

ZONE HORROR: Eventually did being multi-lingual make you more appealing to directors?

SYBIL DANNING: Yes, definitely in Europe because financing a movie was usually necessary to be done between 2-3, sometimes 4 countries. It helped if you could speak Italian, French, or Spanish besides German. Though I remember shooting on a movie in Italy where the director told me I can say my lines in any language I want, so I did in German, the male lead in Italian, another in French and another in Spanish! That’s a challenge! The best way around that is you have to memorize not only your dialogue but everyone else’s too.

ZONE HORROR: We’re showing Howling II at the moment on Zone Horror, what was it like working on this movie?

SYBIL DANNING: THE HOWLING II was extremely successful worldwide at its original release and has another entire life now on DVD, which I understand has made huge sales for MGM worldwide. I loved working on this movie. We shot it in the Czech Republic, which at the time was still considered “behind the iron curtain!” It sure was! We shot outside of Prague and every night in the restaurant of our Hotel, in the same corner of the same table a little guy with glasses and what looked like a dead squirrel on his head, kept an eye out on us! We were sure he was KGB and found him hilarious! It was great working on location in that old castle and location shooting is always fun because it sets you immediately into the mood of your surroundings. Shooting with Philippe was great because he has such a wonderful sense of atmosphere and humor!

ZONE HORROR: The film has a great cast including Patrick Macnee, what was the atmosphere like on set and what attracted you to the script?

SYBIL DANNING: The fact that I could be the first blonde Werewolf ever, was intriguing to me. I loved the script; I thought it was very interesting and fun! I loved the opportunity to work with Christopher again and I loved the idea of going to a country I’d never been to before! I absolutely loved my costume designer, Peter Mitchell. He designed the wonderful outfits for the MAD MAX trilogy! He is the man behind my fabulous real leather and brass costumes, which I still have today!

ZONE HORROR: What was it like working alongside Christopher Lee again as you appeared with him a few years earlier in Whispering Death (also known as Albino) and The Four Musketeers?

SYBIL DANNING: I love Christopher. I also did the wonderful movie THE SALAMANDER, based on the book by Morris West (Shoes of the Fisherman,) that I starred in with Anthony Quinn, Franco Nero, etc with Christopher, which makes 4 or 5 movies if you count Musketeers as 2 movies. He is the epitome of professionalism and I’ve learned much from him. His multiple stories are intriguing and he is just getting better with age, a class act! Philippe and I with Gary Brander (HOWLING BOOKS author) are partnered in a new franchise and I want to call Christopher when we are ready!

ZONE HORROR: What was it like working on this project seeing as though it was a sequel to a very successful movie?

SYBIL DANNING: I saw The HOWLING and I love Joe Dante. I would love to work with him again. Our paths have crossed before; we also have AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON in common. It’s always hard to do justice in a sequel because you have to be better or bigger, or-or! Anyhow, despite the fact we did not have Rob Bottin on our movie, I think HII was a very fun, most popular and commercially successful movie and stood on it’s own merits.

ZONE HORROR: Is it difficult working on a movie that relies so heavily on Special Effects?

SYBIL DANNING: No. It appeals to my fantasy and sense of adventure. I’ve been a tomboy since I was very young, at 5 pretending to racecars in a junkyard with my little 6-year-old boy friend riding shotgun! Flying a space ship in BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, or climbing trees with the boys, which gave me a birds, eye view and another sense of escapism and adventure. It goes with the territory!

ZONE HORROR: Are you a big fan of horror movies?

SYBIL DANNING: I think when you are out there in an adult world as a child, doing adult work, that’s pretty scary thinking about it today with all that goes on! I was so down to earth and serious, as I had to be working for my Dentist Uncle where I started at 14, that I had no time and little money left over to go to the movies. They were never escapism for me like for many youngsters. The first movie I ever remember seeing was the musical “Oklahoma” and I loved it. It appealed to my love of nature and the land! I was not a fan of horror until I got to the US in the 80’s. I do love Rob Zombie’s movies and feel he has a very distinct style and enormous creativity. I’ll let him know that and it allowed me to be in his HALLOWEEN, coming out in the US on August 31.

ZONE HORROR: Does it bother you that some critics regard you as a B-Movie star? Does it seem derogatory at all?

SYBIL DANNING: Hell no! I am a pioneer in my own right with the “action”, “Sci-Fi” and even “Horror” movies I did wherein my roles were all strong women’s roles! In the 80’s when I came to Hollywood, Ronald Reagan was President and the movies reflected those politics. Hollywood was macho, making movies like RAMBO and COMMANDO and movies like GLORIA came out, as the last of it’s kind for a while, in 1980. The opportunity to stay true to my strong female characters was with the so called B movies or “lower budget” movies like with Corman in BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, for which I toured in Europe to promote for Warner Brothers! The ONLY difference between A and B movies is the budget. Today, the studios are doing B movies with an A budget! I’m happy to see women like Angelina Jolie and others continue in this path of strong females!

ZONE HORROR: Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions, acting or otherwise?

SYBIL DANNING: I still have time to go for an Oscar. That is the ultimate! I have the patience. It took time for Clint Eastwood to achieve that! Meanwhile, I have my loyal fans and I am very thankful for their loyalty! It is their inspiration that has caused me to make a comeback! As long as they want to see me on the screen I will do my damndest to make that happen, no matter how hard it is to fight a Hollywood that forgets fast, but I’ve always been a fighter!

ZONE HORROR: So what’s next for you?

SYBIL DANNING: I don’t like to talk too much about projects in the making because so much can go wrong before you succeed. I mentioned the “new franchise,” There is a horror movie in the planning where I would play a “Demon” for the first time. A few other projects in the Sci-Fi - Horror genre. I am also producing a movie called MAJESTY, “Elisabeth,” Empress of Austria with the director Joshua Sinclair with whom I did the movie JUMP with Patrick Swayze. I have an erotic-thriller I am working on. I will have a role in the movies I am producing. I also have a “Women in Prison” script I like very much that will be my movie directing debut and I will play the warden! After CHAINED HEAT and REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS, which have become cult classics, who, better to direct the next one but Sybil Danning! Danning’s back with a vengeance!

ZONE HORROR: Sybil Danning, thank you very much.

SYBIL DANNING: Thank you! I enjoyed your intelligent questions!

MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Soska sisiters-WEB-1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_PACK_ (1)

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
SHAYNE WARD NEW PROMO HEADSHOT 2020-6

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
CHARLIE STEEDS EDITED-23

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Skyline
SKYLINE
Thursday 12th August
9.00 PM
Impact Earth
IMPACT EARTH
Sunday 8th August
6.35 PM
The Vatican Tapes
THE VATICAN TAPES
Tuesday 10th August
9.00 PM