Friday, March 25, 2016

Movie mom and scream queen Dee Wallace talks Mad Monster and more

Actress Dee Wallace is one of the many celebrity guests at this weekend’s Mad Monster Party. The horror-themed convention kicks off its fifth year at the Sheraton downtown tonight at 6:30 p.m. and runs through Easter Sunday. It features panels and Q&As with screen stars Malcolm McDowell, "Star Trek’s" Nichelle Nichols, Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from "Star Wars"), "Night of the Living Dead" writer John Russo and director George Romero, as well as the cast members of "What We Do in the Shadows," "Friday the 13th" and "Halloween."

Wallace – star of "E.T.," "Cujo," "The Frighteners," "The Howling" and "Lords of Salem" and an author who has written five books on the subject of healing and self creation – will have her own panel on Sunday, but she answered a few questions prior to the show. 

Q: When did you start doing convention appearances?
A: Oh my god. I’ve got to have been doing these for twenty years. I don’t do a lot of them. I just do the special ones.

Q: Do some actors find it a chore?
A: Some people do it for the money and like anything in life, you can choose to really like what you’re doing or choose to complain about it and make it harder. I figure life’s too long. I might as well just create a lot of joy and happiness as much as I can for myself.

Q: Have you made connections or formed friendships with some of the other regulars on the circuit?
A: A lot of friendships. I just signed to do a film called "Death House." It's filled with horror icons. The contracts aren’t done yet, so I can’t say who but it’s a lot of people on the circuit that I see and work with quite a bit. It’s a freaking amazing script.

Q" "Critters" was one I watched over and over. These little fuzzballs with teeth rolling around in retrospect seems like a kind of crazy idea. When you’re filming something like that does it seem absurd?

A: Oh yes. There were one or two critters that were well made but the other…we’re in this serious, hairy scene and the guys would roll them on to the set. We couldn’t stop laughing. 

Q: You made a lot of scary movies. Are you a fan of those kinds of movies yourself?

A: It was a really iconic period for the horror genre - the `80s films. We have slasher films, which aren’t horror films. I haven’t seen this "Cloverfield Lane." I’m hoping it’s a really good, well done horror film. We just don’t have many of them. They redo them `90s style and it’s see how many people we can kill and the audience doesn’t care about the characters because there’s no character development. I would say yes if it’s a true horror film, no for the slasher films.
Q: You’ve played so many heroines, do you get a kick out of playing the villain? 

A: Heck yes. I love killing people. I loved that part in "The Frighteners" and "Lords of Salem." I got to play a character where you think they’re sweet and the victim and they turn out to be the murderer. That was a great arc in "The Frighteners." (Director) Peter Jackson and I came up with this idea that she actually got younger when she went back to that world because she got excited so much. I’m an actor. I like to do a lot of emotional stuff, different challenges, and have fun. In "Halloween" I finished filming and they called me a week later and said, “Rob wants you back." I said, "I’ve already died." They said "Yes, he wants to kill you better." So it didn’t end with the bookcase. I went back and he throws me through the table and all that stuff. (Rob Zombie’s) a hoot to work with. His stuff is always bizarre you have to really review a Rob Zombie movie (on its own). It’s so unique to Rob. He always makes a statement of some kind about society, religion and mankind amidst all the gore.

Q: We were surprised when you popped up on "General Hospital" (playing soap icon Luke Spender’s dying long lost sister) last year. How did that come about?

A: I had never done a soap. Before he died m husband Christopher did a soap at the end of his career. He said, "If I’d known it was this much fun I would’ve done one earlier in my career." When they called I thought, “It’s five days and it’s a new experience." Then I got the script and called my agent: "Holy hell there are so many lines here." It was a lot of lines. I rose to the occasion. I have such a respect for soap actors after that. Such a huge respect for what they do and the gun they’re under and the professionalism. It was a great experience. You don’t get much time to rehearse.

Q: Is there one film that you find the most disturbing of all your films?

A: "The Hills Have Eyes" is probably the roughest I’ve done so far. "Death House" is going to be right up there. It’s a disturbingly horrifying film. All these icons that are doing it, we're just going to have a great time.

Q: But it doesn’t make you uncomfortable to watch any of them?
A: No, by the time you’ve shot it you’re detached really. You knew how it was all done. Now I do start to remember, oh that’s the night I was freezing to death.
Q: We lost a lot of folks in horror last year. Mentioning "Hills Have Eyes," what was it like working with Wes Craven that early on?
A: He was just starting out. We were all just starting out. It was a bunch of newbies. Everybody stayed in one trailer and had to drive hours to the location. It was a rough shoot. What I remember about Wes is that he was a quiet gentleman.