We chatted with one of horror cinema's most iconic stars.
Interview by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)
One of your earliest movies, Fairy Tales, is coming to DVD soon. What can you tell us about the movie and your role in it?
It’s an adult fairy tale and actually features Martha Reeves. It was one of my first movies that I actually had some lines in. I played Sleeping Beauty, so there wasn’t a lot to say, but I remember I wrote in my diary at the time that I thought I was going to be a star because to me it was this big part in a movie.
You had a role in 1984's Silent Night, Deadly Night, which famously was pulled from cinemas when torch wielding mobs protested at the depiction of Santa Claus as a killer (though of course, it's not actually Santa, which they would have known had they watched the movie). Did the controversy affect you at all?
I wasn’t in the states when it happened but if anything it’s helped me financially because people bring posters and they love that movie for Christmas. Since it was banned people love it more and it made more money then it would have if it would have just hit the theatres.
What would you like to say to those people who got the movie removed from cinemas?
The Return of the Living Dead is one of the finest examples of a horror comedy that combines both elements successfully. Famously, you spend most of the movie sans clothes. How was that experience?
It was cold, wet and very exposing. I had to trust Dan O’Bannon completely in his decisions and try not to fight him about doing the nudity because at the time it wasn’t a good thing to do.
By the late 1980s you were one of the biggest stars in the horror genre. At what point in your career did you realise your name had become inextricably linked with horror?
I think it was when I was in Premiere and People magazine and a lot of shows that were seen on regular channels. Also, when I went to my first Fangoria convention.
We've interviewed quite a few horror actresses; some embrace the Scream Queen label, while others find it somewhat offensive. Where do you stand?
I embrace it a lot because I love horror. People I know love horror. Horror and rock and roll are very intertwined and it’s better than just being a non-known actress.
Why do you think horror is dominated by female stars, much more so than other genres?
Because I think a woman being stalked or terrorised is a bit more believably frightening than a man.
There's a famous special effect in 1988's Night of the Demons in which you make a tube of lipstick disappear into your breast. Can you tell us how this was achieved.
My ex husband Steve Johnson made a gelatin mould of my chest and they strapped mine down and put the appliance over on top of my own breasts. Then they split a little hole in the nipple so I could make the lipstick disappear.
Of the many filmmakers you've worked with, are there any who particularly impressed you?
All of them impressed me in their own ways.
How do you think the current state of horror compares to when you were starting out in the midst of the slasher phenomenon?
I think its growing and females are getting stronger.
What's the best horror movie you've seen in recent years?
I’m not being biased, but the most recent best one I seen was The Barn.
You seem to always be working, and as such you have a bunch of movies due out in the future. Any you're particularly excited about?
Once again, The Barn. I was really impressed with how Justin Seaman did the film and how the DP shot it. The director came up with it when he was nine years old. I can’t wait for everybody to see it. It’s a total throwback to old school horror.
Also, I’m really excited to announce that I'm working on my directorial debut. It's a dream project of mine that is going to be a documentary based on movie extras. I’m interviewing all types of people who do this for a living or started out as extras and graduated to bigger roles. I find that whole thing fascinating. Jason Paul Collum (Screaming in High Heels: The Rise and Fall of the Scream Queen Era) will be producing it. We just started a kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com/projects/1607148730/linnea-quigleys-extras-documentary-and-directorial) and if you donate you can get all sorts of cool surprises from me.
Thanks for speaking with us Linnea!