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
Ahead 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 Horror Channel launches assault of premieres for June plus further seasons of Farscape
Posted in Features, Thursday 12th May 2022
Ryan Simon's British supernatural chiller Demon Eye, starring Darren Day, and Liam Fox, and Brad Baruh's Coen-sequel mystery thriller Night Drive, starring AJ Bowen and Sophie Dalah, both receive Friday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel.
There are also channel premieres for John Carpenter's cult classic Assault On Precinct 13 and Finnish-German sci-fi Nazi horror spoof Iron Sky: The Coming Race, directed by Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) and starring Udo Kier, reprising his role as Adolf Hitler.
Plus, cult classic Farscape returns with the channel premieres of Season 3 and 4. This Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series, created by Rockne S. O'Bannon, has proved a big hit with Horror...SHARE: READ MORE Wyrmwood: Apocalypse - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 30th April 2022 Wyrmwood: Apocalypse 101 Films Certificate 18 ***
Zombie cinema is a genre that's literally dying on its feet. Restrained by its own concept strong or original movies of the undead are few and very far between. The TV series The Walking Dead and all its spin-offs has ensured that every possible avenue of interest or uniqueness has been followed. Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is a brutal and bloody entry and attempts to deliver a more violent and relevant to today's de-sensitised audience.
In a zombie infested Australian wasteland, hard-edged soldier Rhys (Luke McKenzie) - who uses zombies as fuel for his barbie - dedicates his days to tracking down and capturing s...SHARE: READ MORE From Rob Savage comes Dashcam
Posted in News, Saturday 30th April 2022
Rob Savage's provocative new horror Dashcam will be released in selected UK cinemas on Friday June 3, by eOne and will be available for digital download from Monday June 6. Savage, who was the genius behind Host in 2020 seems to have tapped into what makes found-footage such a chilling genre and this time has turned the tension up to 11!
Dashcam follows Annie Hardy on a crazy horror road trip. Viewed through her livestream, this abrasive musician's night takes a dangerous turn after she agrees to help transport a frail elderly woman out of town. As you can guess, things don't go to plan and a surreal road-trip begins to unfold...Written by Gemma Hurley, Rob Savage and Jed Shepherd ... SHARE: READ MORE The Boy Behind the Door - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Friday 29th April 2022 The Boy Behind the Door Acorn Media Certificate 15 ****
This title crept up on me, I knew little about it so went in blind, came out the other end disturbed, challenged and I have to admit, a bit emotional. The Boy Behind the Door takes a very sensitive subject, that of child abduction and the evils which go along with it, and ramps it to an extreme and intense level.
Twelve-year-old Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and best friend, Kevin (Ezra Dewey) are abducted on their way home from school and taken to a house surrounded by miles of bleak, dark country in every direction. Bobby manages to escape his confines and quietly navigates the dark h...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted in Interviews, Friday 29th April 2022
A birthday bash becomes a bloodbath when monsters escape from a supernatural storybook, leaving a group of teenagers to fight for their lives and shut the party down in the UK TV premiere of Book of Monsters on May 16th on Horror. We chatted to its director, Stewart Sparke about this fun, retro-filled fright-fest.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a film director?
SS: I remember first realising that I wanted to make films during one of many viewings of The Mummy (1999) on VHS in my bedroom on an old 15" TV. I became quite obsessed with the film and tried to make all my friends come over to watch it ...SHARE: READ MORE Dare you see The Boy Behind The Door?
Posted in News, Tuesday 26th April 2022
The Boy Behind The Door is the dramatic and evocative feature film debut from writing-directing duo David Charbonier and Justin Powell. This Shudder Original from the talented team - who went on to create the critically acclaimed horror The Djinn - has been described by the NME as 'practically flawless' and is now set for its UK Blu-ray, DVD and digital release, from Acorn Media International.
The film, set for its UK physical premiere on 2 May, is unrelentingly fast-paced and conjures up the nerve-jangling sense of dread of a childhood nightmare. A night of unimaginable terror awaits twelve-year-old Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and best friend, Kevin (Ezra Dewey) when they are abducte...SHARE: READ MORE Dominic Brunt's new horror movie, Wolf Manor, enters post-production.
Posted in News, Tuesday 26th April 2022
The werewolf horror thriller Wolf Manor has entered post-production.
Directed by Dominic Brunt, this full-throttle, gore-filled tale of a film crew caught in the claws of a manor house's resident werewolf, was shot in three weeks in locations in Shropshire.
Brunt's UK-produced film, which was written by Pete Wild and Joel Ferrari, stars James Fleet, (Bridgerton, Operation Mincemeat) Jay Taylor (Donkey Punch, Misfits), Thaila Zucchi (Evie, Attack of the Adult Babies), Rupert Procter (Luther, Ripper Street) and John Henshaw (The Keeper, Looking For Eric).
Wolf Manor's creature design was created by renowned special make-up effects artist Shaune Harrison (Star Wars, ...SHARE: READ MORE John Carpenter, Daniel Davies and Cody Carpenter announce original soundtrack for Firestarter
Posted in News, Thursday 21st April 2022
The horror master John Carpenter is back with his Halloween series collaborators Daniel Davies and Cody Carpenter for their infectious new soundtrack to the 2022 adaptation of Stephen King's Firestarter. The soundtrack is set for release digitally alongside the film's theatrical release on May 13th via Black Lot, with vinyl, CD and cassette tape due on October 14th on Sacred Bones.
The score marks the first official soundtrack that the team has composed together outside of the Halloween series and their inspiration and evolution as a creative team is on full display.
The film is a new take on the thriller examining a girl with extraordinary ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault
Posted in Features, Thursday 21st April 2022
Starting in May, Horror Channel journeys into the history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault, which will present double-bills of classic sci-fi and horror films every Sunday night.
The season premieres on Sunday May 1st with The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut. This is paired with Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the monster. Then on Sunday May 8th, we have Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand, followed by Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolf...SHARE: READ MORE Kim Newman dares to check out this weekend's Classic Sci-Fi event
Posted in Features, Thursday 14th April 2022
Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the celebrated B-movies joining Horror for our Classic Sci-Fi Weekend event running from 16th-17th of April.
The Horror Channel returns to a decade riven with fears of devastating climate change, imminent global war, mutating diseases and general paranoia... albeit in black and white, with miniature effects and make-up masks rather than CGI and the kind of urgency that means world-menacing phenomena can be invoked, allowed to run rampage and then dispelled in well under ninety minutes of crisp, sometimes poetic, sometimes bombastic melodrama.
The times weren't really simpler, and neither were the movies i...SHARE: READ MORE Scream - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Sunday 10th April 2022 Scream Paramount Certificate 18 ****
The last few years has seen a resurrection of genre favourites such as Halloween, Child's Play (and the Chucky TV series), Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters to name a few, and although Scream has already had a successful TV series the studio bosses decided that it was time for Ghostface to come back to the big screen.
Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a terrifying new killer resurrects the Ghostface mask. As the deaths mount, Woodsboro's new targets must seek help from the survivors of the original Ghostface attacks. Now, only Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), former sheriff Dewey...SHARE: READ MORE Wyrmwood: Apocalypse gets Blu-ray, DVD and digital release
Posted in News, Friday 8th April 2022
Having thrilled UK audiences - and sated horror fans' thirst for bloody-bedlam on its UK premiere at FrightFest Glasgow, now Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is set for its Blu-ray, DVD, and digital release on 16 May from 101 Films. Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and Wyrmwood: Apocalypse will also be available as a Blu-ray double set.
Australian brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner have penned another gut-splattering sensation with this fantastically frenzied feature, so get set for a hellish, high-octane return to the Aussie outback for some outlandish, blood-oozing rampaging zombie action.
In a zombie infested Australian wasteland, hard-edged soldier Rhys (Luke McKenzie) - who us...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 19th May
Saturday 28th May
Friday 27th May