Someone's in the house. He's watching. He's creeping round, only you can't see him. He's watching you from the walls. He's right behind you now. Looking over your shoulder. He wants the remote control. He's a bad boy. He wants to watch bad movies. Bad bad Ronald...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BadRonald Celebrates Demi Baumann for Women in Horror Month

The first thing I need to say about My Name is A by Anonymous is that this movie needs a distributor -- now!!  I can't say enough good things about it.  It's powerful and moving and disturbing.  Credit goes to director Shane Ryan for creating a poetic view of troubled youth that doesn't incite fear or distrust, but rather moves the audience more towards contemplation and debate.

The other credit goes to the ensemble of young actresses who all delivered subtle but penetrating performances. Each of the talented young ladies developed their own unique image of misspent youth. Earlier I got to speak with Alex Damiano about the brutal honesty she delivered in her performance.  This time I got to speak with Demi Baumann, who plays The Sidekick to Katie Marsh as Alyssa (based on Alyssa Bustamante, the 15 year-old who strangled and stabbed her 9 year-old neighbor to death). It was Demi's performance as the aimless sidekick that demonstrated the disconnect that many teenagers have when their is no guidance or inspiration in their lives.  She's the good girl who meets up with the wrong friend.  It's Baumann's hardened, emotionless expression that quickly became most unsettling. She shows a lack of concern for her BFF's rebellious and dangerous behavior, but then suddenly a wide, Chesire grin would break across her face. It happened only rarely, but when it did, her pretty smile clearly showed the audience just who these kids really were... kids.  Innocent, naive, lost, desperate... kids. 

How did you first hear about this project, and about Shane?
I first heard about it through my friend Katie Marsh. She was auditioning for it, and was working with my mom who is an acting coach. Katie was cast and asked to film some candid scenes running around and I happened to be in one of them and Shane saw the footage and asked if I would be interested in being part of the project.

Were you at all familiar with the story of Alyssa Bustamante?
I wasn't until Katie started studying the videos. Since my role was not that essence of her, I didn't watch many.

It was a courageous performance -- by you and all the girls. How did you (with Shane) develop your character, and was it difficult to try and relate to the character and her acts?
Thank you. Shane gave me the freedom to be this alternate personality as I felt it. Of course be part of murder is unfathomable and my personality had a disconnect. His made it more comfortable. The cutting was easier as I know a few people that do this and I have heard them talk about the mental pain.

How did this role compare to other acting jobs you've been involved in?
It is strange that I tend to play really dark characters. I seem to have this fierce mean look that I attribute to my Russian and Mongolian features. But I love these types of characters – I am more comfortable with these types of characters compared to bubble gum perky Disney type roles. This role was the toughest as it was a lot of improv. It was the most natural and raw feeling role for sure to date.

I see My Name is "A" as a true life crime story much less than it is a riveting coming of age story.  The end result (of murder) is the extreme of childhood troubles, but the other acts of cutting, eating disorders, depression... do you find these things more common or not.  Do you know or know of girls who act out like Alyssa did?
Here in Los Angeles you see so much. I have been exposed to all of those issues. Fortunately I haven't dealt with them personally. I think watching it around you, it can make you realize that bad path and helps you stay off of it.

What was most challenging for you in this role?  And how did you overcome the challenges to deliver such a great performance?
Again I would have to say the improv and not breaking character in scenes with Katie when she gets a bit out of control because it was so against her true self.

I have to applaud you and the rest of the cast and crew for making such a difficult and powerful film.  Was the impact of this story evident when you read for it?  I mean, was it clear that this would not be just an exploitation of a true crime, but something more resonant?
I never saw a script. Each scene was attacked as an idea and we used our thoughts and ideas as those characters. We knew after the first scene, that this was going to be raw and edgy.

You're fairly young, and some of the emotions and acts in this film may be beyond your years -- how do you explain this film to others, when they ask about it?
I grew up around older actors and nothing really shocks or surprises me. People think I am much older than I am. I did not grow up sheltered from reality. I haven't seen the film yet – just scenes and trailers. After I watch it I will have clearer thoughts on it as a whole.

The film was shot in a style of a documentary -- this is probably much different than you were used to.  How was it working like this, and how was it like working with Shane?
Shane is a really nice guy and an actors director. He lets you explore and try. The style of filming as a documentary seemed in some ways easier and much quicker.

Your IMDB page shows you've been doing a good deal of acting.  Will you be going after bigger roles, with this on your resume?  What's next for you?
Well, pilot season is about to start so I will be back in the 'game'. I hit a growth spurt, which is never good for female actors, so it may be slow until I am 18 and I can play older roles. No one wants to hire a 15 year old to play 18 which is what I would play now. But I am okay with that, because I am doing a lot of ballet and modeling now too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BadRonald Celebrates Nicole Kruex for Women in Horror Month

Continuing in my WiHM celebration, I hooked up with Nicole Kruex and got her take on what it's like to be a woman in the horror scene.  I was pleased to find out that we had so much in common... Like I had, she grew up worshipping the genre idols of the day, while also enjoying the more goody goody child friendly fare  Her juxtaposing tastes would later guide her through her burgeoning career in front of the camera... and now behind the camera.

Nicole put her time in on low budget horror and genre gigs, where her body may have been more prominent than her other, developing talents.  She had her own understanding that she would pay her dues to get a foothold in the biz... and then, with the knowledge she'd acquired on the job, and the relationships she built in the Minnesota horror and film scene, she started developing projects under Triwar Films and Deadtime Productions.

BadRonald:   You've been featured in a number of films, as an actress, but now you're also producing and writing?

Nicole Kruex:   Certainly!!  Acting is my first love and will always be my goal, but stability in acting is fleeting and often unless you have great contacts or are born into the craft, you have to make your own future.  One of the best ways to do that is to become a producer/writer.  In some ways it seems very narcissistic to be the facilitator to your own future. But then how else are you as a creative able to work your way into bigger and better projects?  I love producing, though.  I love being on set and standing behind the camera just as much as in front of it.  It a great opportunity to learn things from all angles and gives me greater understanding of things I need to do as an actor.  Currently I've produced several projects, one I can link to is a 3 min short entitled, 'The Initiation' directed by Mitchel A. Jones (see below).  That film was fun.. It unfortunately had to be 3 mins, and feels too fast paced to me?  But we are working on a longer cut in our down time. As you can see in the credits, I also edit and run camera, and soon --  Direct!

BadRonald:  The role of women in horror is ever changing. What are your views on the role of women in horror? And how do you envision women excelling in the field?

Nicole Kruex:  I hope more women take a business savvy course and more production roles.  Acting is the great platform for ego and narcissism and as of late seems less about the craft then about how many films one can pile under their belts and how many half nude pictures they can pile onto facebook. There is nothing wrong with that!  But I'd love to see women change the portrayal of what we are in context of a story.  Leave the porn to the porn stars and really learn how to act.  Demand quality from the productions they attach themselves to and help to raise the bar on what gets produced.

But some are so desperate to just "get a role" we agree to anything from anyone...  Instead, enter a $200 flip phone, iMovie editing, and a script written by a boob obsessed 12 year old.

BadRonald:  Who are your influences, and what films inspire in you in your work?

Nicole Kruex:  Oh gosh, Guy Ritchie, Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, J.A. Bayona, Guillermo del Toro, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, and Neil Marshall are some of my favorite directors.  Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Cate Blanchett, Audrey Hepburn, Alan Rickman, Geoffrey Rush... I love horror desperately!  But I'm influenced by the incredible careers of those I consider some of the best in the acting business.  I've found it difficult to find an influence in acting that is strictly horror... but maybe there is a reason for that.  I think the best shoot higher then just horror, but hundreds of them got their start there... look at Jamie Lee Curtis!

As for films, in the horror genre I am most inspired by films with a clever edge or a rawness that translates into something more then "Five teenagers go into the woods".  28 Days Later, The Orphanage, The Descent, The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, Poltergeist.  Movies with incredible stories and incredible cinematography.  Movies that create a world for you to disappear into with details you may not catch on the first or second watch.  A lot of films don't reach that pinnacle today because they are too interested in body count, twist endings, found footage, boobs, blood, and gimmicks.  Give me Hitchcock and real people over GQ drunken frat boys "actors" and loose porn star "actresses" any day.

BadRonald:  You had started your acting career taking parts where your body was exploited more than your creative talents.  But then you made the decision to take a vested interest in the business and art of the genre, with writing and producing. How did you balance the two, presenting an image that will attract, while taking control and producing and creating?

Nicole Kruex:  Well, the first step for me was picking and choosing roles and films that made sense for who I want to become. I've made mistakes just to get in the game and quickly realized that wasn't who I wanted to be or how I wanted women to be viewed. I have great respect for doing what it takes... but being smart about it. A lot of girls fall into stripping naked for films with no future. The guy with camera, and zero budget, and no plan beyond getting a pile of girls naked and covered in blood idea... problem is if you really want to be Jamie Lee Curtis, you have to look further then that,.  You have to work, fight for better roles, and do your research on what is going to push you forward vs. hold you back. For me, that meant seeking out things bigger then myself and learning what I needed to do to get there. The balance comes in deciding what was really sexy and what was just slutty.

BadRonald:  I liked the humor and commentary of the "Arrested After a Girl Fight" pics on your FB page. What was that all about?

Nicole Kruex:  Honestly? I was having a bad day... but I turned it into a positive thing by finding some humor in my sadness. It became a fun photo shoot.. but in truth, those were real tears.

BadRonald:  Like me, you grew up with horror stars as your idols.  Stars like Robert Englund and Doug Bradley.  And you loved films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But also, you were equally fascinated with the sweeter side of film, enjoying the films of Shirley Temple, Audry Hepburn and Great Garbo. I'm the same way in that I really love performers with sort of duel personalities -- balancing darkness and light. I love Johnny Cash for his soul, but also his demons. I loved Burl Ives and Andy Griffith for their child friendly work, but also the twisted turns they gave in movies. Also Jimmy Stewart.  Do you also enjoy those dark shadow you see in the "goody" entertainers?

 Nicole Kruex:  Absolutely! As an entertainer you can't be just one thing... All actors have just as much light as they do demons, it's those demons that cause the changes in attitude needed to give a realistic performance on camera.

BadRonald:  Thank you Nicole.  Best of luck on all your projects.

Nicole Kruex:  Thank you BadRonald!!  

Check out more on Discursion here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BadRonald Celebrates Women in Horror Month with Kayla Perkins

Kayla Perkins has yet to cover two decades on this earth, but already she's amassed a filmography that totals more film appearances (near 30 roles) than many actors three times her age.  Besides acting, Kayla fills up her time with modeling, festival appearances, school, and multiple part time jobs.  I wanna thank her for taking time out to cover some WiHM questions...

BadRonald:  You're 18 now (is that correct?) and you're already a veteran of over 25 films. How did you get your start in the business? And how did you come to be one of the newest scream queens?

Kayla:  I've done some plays in school growing up and have competed in Miss Kentucky Pageant system since I was little and won titles from Little Miss, Pre Teen and My Most recent Teen Miss Scott Co. I am also Former Junior Miss KY. I just have loved being on stage and Pageants keep me performing in front of people. There wasn't much to do in our small town so it was the one thing I loved and keep me busy. I have always loved being in front of the camera. Even when I was little I would go get my Moms camera and tell her to take a pic of me. I get told a lot that I was born to be on camera and that the camera loves me! People have been watching me and my work alot lately and asked me to do interviews for the websites and radio shows etc and most of my horror films I am in has a lot of me screaming in them and so my scream has got me a lot of attention and the title of Scream Queen.

BadRonald:  You've been juggling film work, school, modeling, and regiular jobs. Where did you learn this kind of great work ethic?

Kayla:  My Mother, she told me to always follow my dreams. To go after it and that it won't come to you and that you have to work hard at something and if you want it bad enough you can do anything that you set your mind too.

BadRonald:  Is horror a genre you've enjoyed outside of work?

Kayla: Yes, I love all genre. I just love acting, It's my passion and I will work on any kind of movie just to perfect my skill. Like the saying, the more practice you get the better you will be.

BadRonald: What are your influences in film and in work (people and movies that have inspired you)?

Kayla:  Omg! there are so many great actress out there that influences me like Dakota Fanning, Danielle Harris, Scout Compton, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts my list goes on and on but those are the ones who pop in my head at this moment.

 BadRonald:  Having started in this business at a young age, how has your view of the business changed (if indeed it has) from when you were a young girl, to now as a young woman?

Kayla:  Not alot has changed except for the fact that I can play alot more aged range in roles now where I can play 15-24 range.

 BadRonald:  Can you tell me what it's like, being a women in world of horror (what is your view on the role of women in horror)?

Kayla:  I really don't see that it is any different from other genre of movies except for the screaming and being a bloody mess at times but I wouldn't have it any other way!

BadRonald:  With all the experience you've gained in the film business, will you move into a role behind the camera?

Kayla:  I don't see me doing that anytime soon. I think their job is alot more stressful then being an Actress. There is a lot that goes into making a movie.

Thank you Kayla!

See more on Kayla at her website:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

BadRonald Celebrates Roxsy Tyler ~ Women in Horror Month

From the graveyard of horror hosts rises Roxsy Tyler and her Carnival of Horrors.  Wait!  Wait!!  Don't run.  She's cool.  Nothing to be scared of.

Roxsy has created a name for herself on the Interwebs as one of the most happening horror hostesses around.  Hosting her show somewhere in the dark and creepy outskirts of Philly, in a dilapidated circus tent, Roxsy and her gang of misfits watch and comment on old scary movies, and crack the funny bone with their comedy skits.  When  Ms. Tyler isn't haunting the carnival, she's busy acting and producing.  She also distributes genre films at Mr. Potent Media.  Busy busy!  So glad she was able to take a few moments out to speak with me.

BadRonald:  I wanted to take you for a little trip in my Wayback Machine so I could see the origin and emergence of the Horror Hostess superstar Roxsy Tyler... but sadly I don't have one. So, could you tell me the brief history of Roxsy, please?

Roxsy Tyler:  I guess we should go back to 2006 when "Roxsy Tyler" the character was first introduced in the book 'Big Boots and Black Hair Dye" a collective of short stories and poetry. Roxsy was the star of three short stories in which she left a drug-ridden Philadelphia neighborhood to work at a carnival but her history followed closely behind her and had to be confronted with the help of some eccentric friends. The stories were quite violent and dark in comparison to who you see hosting Roxsy Tyler's Carnival of Horrors. The Carnival of Horrors viewers are used to a light-hearted free spirited Roxsy Tyler who just wants to have fun. For a book put together in a hurry it was more successful than I could imagine and Roxsy Tyler's stories were reader's choice.

In 2009, Roxsy Tyler made her first on-screen performance on Midnite Mausoleum. The director, Blake Powell, was very familiar with the Roxsy Tyler character and he and Marlena Midnite agreed Roxsy could be a special guest on the show. I expected nothing out of this. I only to have fun but after the show there was a demand for a Roxsy Tyler show. Being that I work for a movie production company (Potent Media) I decided to use the resources available to me and "Roxsy Tyler's Carnival of Horrors" debuted in the Spring of 2010.

BadRonald:  The phenomenon of the horror host flourished in the heydays of television, but you're a fairly young gal. How did you discover the old creepy hosts?

Roxsy Tyler:  I actually knew very little about horror hosting. I knew who Vampira was. I adored Elvira. That's as far as my knowledge went. I missed a lot of good entertainment when I was just a girl!  I only knew of the veterans of horror hosting through friends and acquaintances who were doing their own horror shows. I even learned that my own home of Philadelphia was enriched in horror hosting history.  From there I did my research-- mostly on Zacherley (Rolland) and Stella. I can't say I'm embarrassed that I didn't know much about horror hosting history before I started my show because upon all the research I've done on other hosts it would seem quite a few of them didn't know much either. Some were actors hired to do this as a job and others fell backwards into it. Then there was the sum of hosts who knew the history
of horror hosting, loved it, and wanted to do it themselves. I don't think it matters how you get into it but whether you know nothing or know everything about horror hosting it's something well worth our respect.

BadRonald:  What are your major influences -- not just on your hostess persona, but in horror in general?

Roxsy Tyler:  It's hard to say. Most things I am heavily influenced by have nada to do with horror. I'm a Marx Brothers fan which is a major influence to the comedy in my show. Hostess-wise Stella has become a big, positive influence on me. Her butler Hives as well. They've both been very encouraging about what I'm doing and the fact that they still work their butts off is very inspiring. But horror in general-- it's still a mystery to me. I've often said that I want my show to look like a Rob Zombie music video but it doesn't. So, that hasn't influenced me just yet .

BadRonald:  You are not just a horror hostess, but an actor and a producer. What are your thoughts about the emergence of women in horror as a creative force?

Rozsy Tyler:  Women's creative force in horror has always been there just not often as recognized. I don't know why it is this way. I won't presume it's at fault of men. There's a lot of men out there who don't get their due either. Perhaps it's the fault of assumption. Though my show has end credits people still had no idea that I write, edit, and direct my own show. Hell, there's tons of things I do in the film industry that I'm sure no one knows about. As for creative force, I don't care who is in charge of it. Man or woman, I don't care as long as they put out something exciting. If these are men releasing one horrible remake after another I think they should sit in the back for awhile and let their wives drive.

BadRonald:  What are some of the female-centric films you've found empowering?

Roxsy Tyler:  There aren't enough female-centric films. Could you recommend me some? I happen to enjoy Serial Mom! We need more female serial killer movies! I'm hoping to make that my contribution to horror someday. Let me play your lady serial killer!

BadRonald:  Your persona of Roxsy Tyler is a strong female presence, a woman who fends for herself, and is not defined by the men around her. How important was that strength, when you developed the character? What motivated the origins of Roxsy?

Roxsy Tyler:  It was always important to me to have strong female presences to look up to. It'll always be important to me. It's so important to me that I try to embody that as much as possible. She has a male dominance about her that makes it ironic because she is a woman. I think sometimes she isn't defined by men because take away the female attributes she practically is one. It hasn't quite dawned on Roxsy Tyler that she's a girl. She doesn't define herself as a gender, or an age, or even a stereotype. She just is what she is and whether anyone can accept it or not she doesn't care. We can learn through her that you are you're ultimately your own boss and you shouldn't be defined by other people's expectations.

BadRonald:  Recently, you did something that sent your fans into a tailspin -- a lingerie shoot. What inspired that idea? And what was the reaction from fans? Many liked it, and some didn't...

Roxsy Tyler:  I promised to do a lingerie shoot if I won "Gore Hunny of the Year". I didn't quite win and I didn't quite lose. I was named co-winner. The winner was determined by votes. Hundreds of people committed themselves to voting for me everyday and I wanted to do something to show my appreciation. I didn't think I'd win beings tat some of those ladies were either i their panties are known for being in their panties. I can be sexy if I want to be! Truth be told, I usually never want to be... so this boudoir shoot presented the opportunity to do something different.

I was very nervous about it at first but it was actually quite fun! I think every woman should do a boudoir shoot at least once in their life even if it's for their own eyes only. It felt empowering. Most people seemed to like it. A couple of my guy friends were against it but it was painless for them when they saw the photos. They were tasteful, not pornographic and alas those guy friends of mine were relieved. Even women were patting me on the back because even though it wasn't my "thing" I still conjured the courage to do it. I'm proud of it. Special thanks to Melissa at for doing the photos!

BadRonald:  Roxsy Tyler is certainly a sexy character. But sex does not define her, like it defines so many other women/girls in horror. How do you strike that balance of wit, intelligence and femininity?

Roxsy Tyler:  Effortlessly is my guess. I'm certainly not trying. I think the sexiest part of a person is their personality. If someone has an interesting personality you tend to want to be around them, talk to them, have fun with them. I'm very lucky if I have that kind of personality. My looks (if any) won't last forever but I want to keep acting and doing my show for as long as I can. If I have the personality I might actually survive long after my looks fade. I don't think women think about that. What are you going to do when you don't look good in a bikini anymore? You can either retire or be Betty White.

Even your boudoir pics found the great balance between sexy and sensible. What are your thoughts on sex and the horror hostess persona?

Sex appeal is important for a horror hostess to have. You need the men to want you and the women to want to be you. Sex sells. There's no doubt about that. If I had huge boobs people would want to look at me more but who's to say for how long? What would make me different from any other woman with huge cans? Well, if there was anything that would decipher me from the rest not many would notice because they're too busy looking at my cleavage! So, I'm glad I don't have big bulging breasts. I need more attention than my chest does. I mean, come on, Elvira has huge cans and a huge personality... but even I can't stop staring at her chest. Having sex appeal when you're a horror hostess is essential. I find it ironic because we represent horror. For a genre so full of monsters and macabre there certainly are some good looking creatures walking around.

BadRonald:  So, what's next for you? Go ahead and plug!

Roxsy Tyler:  Right now we're working on getting our film "Deer Crossing" out there. I recently won Best Supporting Actress for the D'Ment"d Cinema Reader's Choice awards for my role in the film "Booley" (on sale on and Our first Carnival of Horrors DVD is available everywhere now on the internet. I'm currently in talks about some more film projects (fingers crossed) and as always we are releasing new episodes of Carnival of Horrors for free viewing online at

BadRonald:  Roxsy, yer great!  Thanks for the chat.

Roxsy Tyler:  Thanks so much for having me!

Go visit her blog, too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BadRonald Celebrates Polly Frost ~ Women in Horror Month

Polly Frost is a humorist and an accomplished writer of fiction, radio and plays. Her work has been published in major places like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and she has had collections of stories published in book format.  I celebrate Polly Frost as an artist of words for all the great work she's done, but this being Women in Horror Recognition Month, I wanted to bring her to your attention for her amazing work she's done in horror.  Her book "Deep Inside," a collection of short erotic horror, has been a much buzzed about sensation amongst genre fans, not only for Frost's tremendous wit and satire, but for the depths she goes to challenge and flirt with your mind.

I had the opportunity to chat with Polly about her love of horror, and about the role and portrayal of women in genre films.  Please enjoy!

BadRonald: For me, horror blipped on my radar when I was very young. I was maybe six years old when I first watched Dark Shadows on TV. Then it was a long string of Vincent Price movies. When did you have the first inkling that you liked horror?

Polly Frost: You were six years old! -- very similar to my experience. I was a little younger than that when I first got hooked on horror movies. I was four. Part of my early love of horror comes, I think, from being a Scorpio. I don't mean this in any astrological way, but having my birthday so near to Halloween made me feel a kinship to the horror genre.

The 1941 version of The Wolfman with Lon Chaney, Jr. was the first horror movie I saw. Of course, Chaney was one of the greatest horror actors, because he could elicit your sympathy and terrify you all at the same time. And he really got to me! I would squeal and jump up, hide behind the sofa, and then just have to peek around it and watch some more. Chaney was the perfect actor to lure me into horror.

BadRonald: When I became interested in horror, I have to admit that the attraction was slightly fueled by sex. I was clearly too young to understand much of what was going on, but I remember that horror movies and books were where the racy topics were. Where did you first tie horror and erotica together?

Polly Frost: I came from a Catholic background. So when I got interested in horror, the attraction was VERY fueled by sex. You can't spend time in the Catholic Church without seeing the connection between horror and sex! I mean, if you even think about masturbation you're going to go to Hell. So how can you not think about masturbation and about being in Hell at the same time? How can you not picture demons swirling around you the moment you become aroused for the first time? Plus, if you even think about sex and that means you're damned, why not just party with those demons?

Also, I was raised during a period (the 1960's) when sex was touted as free and good for everyone to do with everyone else, preferably at the same time while doing drugs. However, what most of us came to realize in the 1960's was that if you took the lid off the id of people, you also might be unleashing their dark side. Charles Manson, anyone?

I wrote a collection of erotic horror stories, "DeepInside" that was published by Tor in 2007. When I wrote those stories, I told myself I had to feel two very honest things: arousal and terror. I promised myself I wouldn't write them unless I was honest about the powerful conflict of those two feelings.

BadRonald: I'm very excited to see that women have gained a voice in horror and other genre films. American horror had gotten very typical, until fresh voices -- some of them women -- started reinventing and twisting the genre around. How do you see the role of women in horror today?

Polly Frost: First, I have to say that I love seeing women get involved with horror on any level! Whether it's as an actress or a director, whether on stage, in movies or in books. We talk about the importance of having female directors doing horror now, but let's not forget the horror actresses who lent their spirits, their bodies and their souls to the horror movies of the past: Edwige Fenech, Isabelle Adjani, Camille Keaton, Catherine Deneuve, Felissa Rose, Jessica Harper, Julie Strain, Zoe Tamerlis -- to name but a few.

These actresses were fearless in the extreme ways they got into their characters. Why could they do that? Was it because they were fighting against the macho male directors of that time? Was Susan George's extraordinary performance in Straw Dogs better because she was dealing with Sam Peckinpah? (To me, Straw Dogs is one of those thrillers that overlaps with horror.) Would she have given that same performance had she been working with an understanding and feminist female director?

Here’s how I see what the role of women in horror today should be: continuing that tradition, being proud of it. Not to negate it or to say that these actresses were being objectified by the male directors of the 1970's, but to say, yeah! Those actresses rocked. Now that women are directing more horror movies, they should be taking that tradition and making it even more powerful. I hope women won't be taking horror movies in too sex-positive a direction!

BadRonald:  Many male directors use a false "empowerment" in revenge movies (like the I Spit on Your Grave remake) to further objectify women, while others (like the films of Gasper Noe and Adrian Garcia Bolgliano) do well at examining social issues through their "victims." How do you see sexuality as empowerment in today's horror movies?

Polly Frost: I hated the remake of I Spit on Your Grave. But I don't think that male directors today only err by using "false empowerment" for the arcs of their female characters -- I think they often do even worse by their male characters because they give them false DISempowerment.

I mean, come on -- none of the directors of movies like the remake of I Spit on Your Grave or Wolf Creek would behave the way their male characters do. If they did, they'd never get a film made! Do you believe the men OR the women if these movies? I certainly don't. And there's no real tension between the characters.

Besides, one thing that makes horror a great genre is that you can satirize so many things. One of the stories in my book "Deep Inside" is called "The Dominatrix Has a Career Crisis." I felt very free to write a story that satirized the entitled-to-the-point-of-sociopathology upbringing of many young women I've seen today. If a guy had written that story -- OMG, he would have been slaughtered! But I could write it and get away with it.

I think that's what women can -- and should bring -- to the genre today. They shouldn't engage in what you rightly call the "false" empowerment b.s. of today's male directors. They should delve into the truly dark side of women.

BadRonald: Overall, how do you see the role of women in horror changing, both behind the camera, and in front?

Polly Frost: One thing I'm thrilled to see is how many young women love horror. This was not the case when I was growing up. If I told my female classmates at college that I loved slasher movies, they acted as though I'd just said I was condoning, I don't know, some despicable act of violence. Whereas I saw these movies being honest about the tensions between the sexes at that time. Besides: hey people, it's fantasy.

Today? I love talking to SOME young women today -- the ones who've moved beyond the feminist stance of the 70's through 90's to embracing the power of the horror genre. And let me mention some guys I've worked with: the actor Jake Thomas, Geno McGahee, the director Matt Lambert (with whom I co-produced the horror-sex-sci-fi webseries The Fold), and the filmmaker Paul Busetti. They're part of a new generation of young guy creators who genuinely get off on exhibitions of female power while never losing touch with their own male rowdiness. I love that.

BadRonald Who are some of the female voices in the world of horror that you find interesting (past and present)?

Polly Frost: I absolutely adore Debbie Rochon. She's not just an amazing actress in Lloyd Kaufman movies like Tromeo and Juliet and in loads of low-budget horror movies, she writes on horror, she goes to conventions, she's a fun and generous presence on Facebook -- she's incredible. More artists should be as feisty and accessible as she is. There's an actress in New York City I adore: Jillaine Gill, who does these incredibly bizarre and yet very real horror-themed one woman shows (often in collaboration with her brother, Sean Gill). I love that actress in Takashi Miike's movie, Audition, Miyuki Matsuda, who gave us that terrifying portrayal of mousy love. And I will always revere Anne Rice for her Beauty books, which are essential horror erotica.

Thank you Polly!! 

To find Polly's books, go here.

And also check out her website:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

BadRonald Talks to Alex Damiano of My Name is A by Anonymous

As part of my ongoing Women in Horror Month celebration, I want to introduce a very talented young performer, who delivered a powerful and bold performance in the indie flick My Name is A by Anonymous.  As part of an ensemble cast Alex Damiano plays the role of The Angst, a teenager with an abusive father, and a troubled self image. 

The yet to be distributed My Name is A by Anonymous is shot with the immediacy of a documentary film, telling the story based on the true crimes of Alyssa Bustamante, a fifteen year old girl who confessed to the thrill kill murder of a 9 year old neighbor girl.  Director Shane Ryan turns the camera inward, onto the accused, focusing on the events that lead up to the murder, following a group of four teenage girls (Alyssa, the Sidekick, the Performer, and the Angst), all from different backgrounds, and with different interests, and whose paths will lead them to stand over the dead body of the little girl, holding the knife that killed her.  My Name is A is a raw and honest and poetic portrayal of life gone wrong, with performances from some great talented young women.  As part of a series of interviews for the film, Alex Damiano took some time out to talk about the work she id on My Name is A by Anonymous.

BadRonald:  First off, I have to say that I was greatly impressed with this film -- not just with Shane's filmmaking talents, but with all the young women in the film. All the performances were fascinating and genuine. How did you come to this project?

Alex:  Well, as far as how I came to find the project, it’s honestly foggy (what with the amount of submissions going back and forth in any given week), but I want to say Shane found me on Backstage West. Or vice versa. Either way, his people set up the audition and we just hit it off immediately. He explained, abstractly, the intended direction of the project and what I considered a fantastic opportunity for showcasing the furthest most extremes of human emotion, the addressing of the absolute unpredictability of human response to any array of factors; the commonalities and completely randomized, personal methods of “dealing” (mostly seeking some sort of control, be it pain, food, life or whatever else).

Was the element of anorexia a part of the script, or did this come about after you were cast?  And was it a subject that you worked into your performance with ease, or with difficulty?

The prevalence of the eating disorder, melding that into the character was by my own election. It’s rare to have as much creative input into the inner workings, the actual soul of a character, and while not a purely method actor I saw my own familiarity and truth in relation to anorexia as a fit to the beginning strains of an even greater madness. A unique spin to one of the showcased personalities. It was “easy” only to the point of being, again, familiar. To actually address it was, at the start, suddenly daunting. The first “rule” as an anorexic (bulimic, or otherwise specifically disordered person) is secrecy, whether completely or just of the lesser glamorous points.

I’m not a classic bulimic, I should point out, however I think the dramatic points of that disorder are so immediately overwhelming, the feast and famine and fear and love relationship of it; I think most eating disordered people (and I generalize) do not so much “hate” food as they come to “resent” it. Sort of a mutually abusive relationship; I love the idea of you and I want all of you and with no uncertain simultaneity wish you were dead.  Something like that. It became, in third person, cathartic, and while I didn’t realize it at the time it led me to realize another point of purpose for my existence and eventual larger successions in this industry: to shine a light on all that darkness in a very real way. To just pull back the curtain and, as a functional, accomplished human being, explain in truth— deep, progressively more personal truths to humanize a subject largely unaddressed beyond Lifetime-movie-style films, commercials and definitions. The really ugly side, and then the light at the end of the tunnel.

There really isn’t a point of absolute “recovery”, mentally speaking; it’s always there. I apologize if I’m being vague; I truly dislike mass generalizations, as the greatest factor in the difficulty in treating disorders is the very personal manner in which each is planted, nurtured and allowed to essentially consume the grounds. That same very “ungeneral” quality is also that which makes a strict definition, even of my own experiences so.. inconsistent. I could compare it to the unpredictability of a storm, but metaphors are like cats, or lawn gnomes: one is enough (same goes for similes).  

BadRonald: One of the scenes that left a great impression on me was the one where you were examining your reflection in a window. Suddenly you pound yourself in the torso.  It made me jump, literally.  The pain you seemed to be inflicting on yourself was such a cathartic image, and showed, in no uncertain terms, the angst of your character.  Shane had told me that he came running after he heard the commotion you were making while filming this scene, off on your own.  The moment is brutally honest, but also very moving, at the same time. Can you tell me about this scene, and how you built it?

The reflection scene was both random and real in the sense of visually drawing out the strain of logic, the part of self that knows that the parasite, the disorder is something wrong, unnatural. The illogical act teaming up with sensibility in a brash act of revolt. Against what? Itself? Simply, constantly aware of my own reflection, and during these days of previously uncharacteristic honesty, allowance, request to speak and literally “act out” without consequence, I just allowed “The Madness”, the picture of disorder to take over, to just go into a full on battle with its assumed nemesis, its own shell which it purely distrusts as a thing that, left unchecked, would certainly become something awful and overgrown and sickening. So it’s two very contradictory ideas, two separate religions (feast, famine; mortal, ethereal; filth, purity) thrown into a temporary ring, a quick spotlight, provoked and allowed to have a full go at each other to no point or purpose but to stand their ground. Their unyielding, unmoving ground until death do they part, followed by the deafening silence the follows any real, epic battle. As for all of this, I think Shane has a great sense, desire to capture honesty in its best and worst lights, whether from experience or drawn to life from observation and an even more intense drive to allow his own vision to intertwine and develop rather than forcing a direction to the point of hollow emotional chords.

BadRonald: Watching the ritual of vomiting, and the scenes in the shower were strikingly honest, and the scene where your character is raped by her father – these scenes are bold and harrowing. Baring yourself to the camera, both inward and outward -- was that difficult?  Shane had commented to me that he nearly stopped shooting a scene at one point, because he was worried the "father" was going too far, and maybe upsetting you.  How did these scenes play out for you, and what went through your mind?

Alex: Now, for the scene between Mr. Arcangeli and I, that was equal part invention and method, going to that very dark, dark unknown place, feeling those feelings and carefully giving them leave to possess the scene. Definitely, on more than one occasion in the span of this production, I had the whole of the production team worried over the affect the subject matter might be taking on me. I have a strong hold on the line to pull me back to the surface (which I assured all those involved) and so I really have no qualms with exploring the darker, more treacherous waters of the human condition. I think, having really skipped a great lot of the bourgeois, petty, conformist rituals of teenagehood (between the dramatics inherit of being a young, aspiring theatre actress, model, and the more constantly present illness), self-appointed solitude gave me the basis for an incredible sense of self, and, in that, a bold willingness to lend myself to artistic analysis of all things outside of me (be they extremes of melancholy or absurd giddiness in any character outline, the space between the apparent, more Freudian layers is what turns me on.)

BadRonald:  I see this film as an important piece that shows, quite honestly and openly, the secret lives of particular girls in our society.  They may not end up doing the crimes that Alyssa Bustamante has been charged with, but still, that veil of truth is there.  The hokey Lifetime movies always show these tragic events from the pity end of the parents, but never delve into what makes the troubled girls unhappy, or unsettled, or bored or whatever they may be.  No one ever wants to see the story from this angle... and we should!  I have two little girls, and I, as a father, worry about how hard it is to be a girl today -- what with Disney and Hannah Montana and Bieber-spazzoids controlling the image market.  What were your influences?

Alex:  The “spazzoids”-- as you put it – and their position of leadership and emulative qualities to American youth, it all comes down to exposure. We’re all collaborations of acquired knowledge, so in the instance of a girl growing up with absolutely no other outlet to culture beside Disney-MTV-Teen Vogue Magazine, then she has no choice. But that’s such an extreme idea; in this day and age, we have the entire world and its history and its artistry literally at our fingertips. The issue is, for all the focus on ideas like “different” and “unique”, there seems to be an underlying feel of mass conformity. “Gee, [Lady Gaga] sure is unique. Let’s all wear dresses of luncheon meat!” And so it goes down the line to the Miley-Cyrus-whoevers, which is just that much more regrettable given, again, the great, much more timeless characters available to take leads from. We all emulate; the goal is not to become a cheap copy of an already substandard document. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home in which culture, art and intelligent expression were things of consistency, with a brilliant father (himself an actor turned lawyer) who, to this day, I’m convinced knew absolutely everything worth knowing, engraining in me an equally unquenchable thirst for knowledge and great desire to leave infectious positivity, genuine peace and love as my toppermost lasting influences on the world.

The distractions will always, have always been there; it goes back a strong sense of self, the absence of fear in being a little bit alone in your own generation for sake of a greater purpose. Be Yourself; Work Hard; Be Nice to People. And balance. Balance is key, between Love, Career, Knowledge (Study) and Meditation. If you get those in order, everything else falls into place. Your best self becomes natural. Young people, especially, need to have knowledge of balance in theory. Specifically, as for my direct popular influences, my inspirations are equal parts Audrey Hepburn and John Lennon, with a hint of Marlon Brando for quirk and dry wit, and Harpo Marx as a reminder that powerful silence speaks incredible volumes.

BadRonald:  You’be been pretty busy since filming  My Name is A.  What's next for you? 

Alex:  The past six months for me, beside modeling as the constant aside, were spent exclusively in traditional, live theatrical performances with little desire for self-promotion (to the point of using a handful of different, invented stage names. Temporary removal from self and necessary reset.) I needed to remind myself of my roots, my first love and reason in this industry, to feed off the energy of a live audience. Lots of Shakespeare, a musical, a bunch a tiny independent pieces. Currently, I’m working on a handful of commercial endeavours and just beginning to step back into film, with newly invigorated, polished, passionate, less frantic energy. I’m always superstitious to speak of specific eggs before they hatch, but suffice to say the reasons for optimism and tangible fruits of labor are palpable. The best is yet to come.

BadRonald:  Thank you very much for talking with me, Alex.  I appreciate the time, and congratulate you on a great performance.  I'm hoping that Shane can get this film seen, because I think you al deserve to be recognized for the brilliant performances all of you put out.

Alex:  Thank you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

BadRonald: Date Night w/the Soskas (and breaking Dead Hooker news!!)

Thank goodness for Al Gore!  Seriously, what would we do without his Interwebs!!  How else, in this crazy skittyskat world, would I have been able to sit on my own couch, in my own home, and watch a killer hot movie like Dead Hooker in a Trunk with the very people who made the film, the killer hot Soska Sisters.  OMGD!  Why is Gore not President?  Or king of the world!!

Stand by for some Dead Hooker news!!

You may want to sit down for this
To kick off Women in Horror Month, Jen and Sylvia Soska, of Twisted Twins Production, invited their fans to join them for a viewing party of their film (just released on DVD by IFC Midnight), to be held on Twitter.  Participants started their DVDs at 8pm PST, and twattled their thoughts, while being treated to a unique, personalized directors commentary track.  Twitter had apparently blown up, at some point, and couldn't handle the pile up of #deadhooker hashtags, so everyone was invited over to Jen's FaceBook page to continue the party.

Throughout the cyber-party, Jen & Sylv laid down a continuous trail of twits -- and then FB posts -- commenting on what inspired particular scenes, lines of dialogue, casting choices, music tracks -- all as the movie played on the audiences own DVD player.  They even answered questions from the audience.  What a killer party.
Thriller!  A Cruel Cool Picture

But, the best was saved for after the movie was over...  Everyone hung around, as the Sisters fielded some Q&A, and gave some updates on their upcoming American Mary (now in post-production).  And then, the announcement came, that no one was really anticipating, but flipped out for... news of a sequel to Dead Hooker in a Trunk!!  What a killer idea.

I hadn't even considered the idea for a sequel, but hell -- the more I think about it, the more I like it!  The original was such a satisfying movie, and, with a second viewing at the party, I saw so many things I didn't see on the first looksee -- most notably, the genuine heart of the script.  I had been so wow'd! by the spectacular blood and well played action... and, of course, stunned by the twins themselves, that some things just slipped by me.  Not that it mattered much, because I loved the movie on first view, anyway.  Maybe it was the commentary that hinted to my brain to pay more attention.  It worked.  And I now enjoy DHIAT more than I did before.  And now I'm looking forward to more action from Geek, Badass, Goody, and Junkie.

So... thank you Jen & Sylvia.  Fekkin' brilliant night!!