Scream queen Raine Brown sat down with me at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis in March 2008 to chat about her horror past, her horror present and her horror future…
In this interview, you’ll read about her first film appearance, which she’d rather you not know about. You’ll find out who you want on set if you’re looking for grilled cheese sandwiches. You’ll learn her fear of Eric Stoltz. And, perhaps most of all, you’ll find out that when you interview someone about their co-stars, it’s important to make sure they were both on set the same day.
The director, producer and special effects artist for Raine’s next film, “Psycho Holocaust”, were also present.
Gavin Schmitt: I’m here at the Indianapolis HorrorHound convention with “scream queen” Raine Brown. Are you ready?
Raine Brown: Whenever you are.
GS: Alright. Your first horror appearance was in 2000 in a film called “Nightmare in Shallow Point”.
RB: Oh my god. I didn’t think we’d go that far back.
GS: I’m going there.
RB: Oh my god. Okay.
GS: The film is next to impossible to find —
GS: What are your fans missing out on?
RB: (laughs) Nothing. No, it’s really, really bad. I do low budget films, but it’s a really low-budget film. It’s like a comedy. It definitely makes fun of itself, it’s not serious. I play a Jersey girl, and I’m on the beach with my boyfriend. And then we get attacked by beach zombies. And then I turn into a zombie and kill people. So, yeah, you’re not missing anything. It starts with these beach surfer guys dubbed in Japanese, almost like the opposite of Japanese —
GS: Right, like a backwards “Godzilla”.
RB: Yeah. And with the… yeah. That’s just how it starts off and it goes downhill from there. So you’re not missing anything. And yes, it’s next to impossible to find. I have a VHS copy that I will not share.
GS: Okay, a few years later… “Satan’s Playground”, which is much easier to find. Dante Tomaselli and Ellen Sandweiss, who happens to be here (at HorrorHound) today. How were they to work with?
RB:Well, unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to work with Ellen. I had a small cameo in the beginning of the movie. I don’t even think she was on set that day. I met her at the cast party, I said hello and she’s a very sweet person but I didn’t really get a chance to work with her, really. Dante was wonderful, he’s great. I had actually worked with him a year or two earlier on the film “Horror” —
RB: — and we just kinda hit it off. He has a very cool visual style, and he’s very detailed, and he really loves his actors. He’s great. He’s an artist.
GS: We talked with Dante. He told us that while filming there were several “spooky” incidents on the set, including gunshots going off at all times of the night. Do you have any scary stories to share from the set?
RB: Unfortunately, like I said, for “Satan’s Playground” I was only on set for a few days. I didn’t get the full flavor of what the craziness was. But during shooting, it was like 15 degrees out and there was a wind chill of maybe minus whatever. We had this big crane shot, and I just remember the crane had to go up in the air and crash down inches away from my face. It was the last shot of the day, with me screaming up to the crane. For me, that was scary, because I didn’t know if that thing was going to smack me in the head. But unfortunately I didn’t get any ghost stories or the gunshots. None of the supernatural.
GS: Industry question. One of the perks of being an actress is you get to experience international travel, whereas all I get is a 7-hour drive to Indiana. Do you ever have time for sight-seeing or is it all business?
RB: That’s kinda funny. It’s hard to have time for sight-seeing, because usually you’re on set all day and no one has time to drive you anywhere and I usually don’t have a car. I try to do it as much as possible, but the other reality is that when you’re working by the time you’re done you’re usually tired, exhausted and you don’t want to stay another day or two to sight-see. You’re kinda like, “I just wanna go home. I worked, I’m done.” So, you know, I’m been to a lot of places — Germany, Italy, going back to Germany, I’m going to England this summer — and now I feel like I’ve been all over the country with conventions and filming. So I feel like I get somewhat of a sense, like between the airport and where I’m going, but not quite as vacation-y as it could sound.
GS: Have you ever met Eric Stoltz?
RB: No. Is there a reason you ask?
GS: Yes there is. I have read that when you were a child, the scariest movie you saw was “Mask”.
RB: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t want to meet him.
GS: You DON’T want to meet him?
RB: No. I think I would scream. (laughs) I didn’t know you… God, you did your research!
GS: I reviewed a copy of “Pinkeye” a few months back. I loved it.
RB: Okay, good. That was my next question — “what did you think?”
GS: And Melissa Bacelar from the film is like one of the family at Killer Reviews. She’s been very supportive of us, we’ve been very supportive of her. What is she and the Savage Roses staff — you’ve worked with them a few times — like to work with?
RB: Well, Savage Roses is Joshua Nelson’s company. He is an actor who got frustrated with his parts so he started writing them. He really writes for actors and he really has good characters and stories and he’s creative. Again, for that movie, I had a cameo. So I didn’t work with Melissa, I was only on set with her. But she was on set making grilled cheese for everyone. So, I mean, she’s awesome.
GS: She’s certainly the sort of person who goes out of her way.
RB: She definitely did. And as the lead actress, she didn’t have to. So that was really sweet.
(various off-topic conversation for a few minutes)
GS: “Pinkeye” has an Edgar Allen Poe aspect to it. Who are your favorite authors, and please don’t say Danielle Steel.
RB: No, no, no, no. I would have to say… is it like a cop-out to say Shakespeare? In terms of literature, there’s so many words we use that came from Shakespeare. I’ve read philosophy where they’re quoting Jesus, the Buddha and Shakespeare. You know, there’s something so musical in his words (works?). I would say he would have to be. He may not be an author, but we take it as literature even though they’re plays. But we take it as books.
(people stop for photographs, a few more minutes of off-topic conversation)
GS: And now, the reason we’re here today — to promote “Psycho Holocaust”.
RB: That’s the best transition ever. From great literature to “Psycho Holocaust”.
(more off-topic conversation)
GS:”Psycho Holocaust” — what is the plot and what will the fans love about the movie?
RB: (laughs) Simple answer — the fans will love the gore. The way people are killed.
Krist Rufty, the director: But not the directing.
RB: (sarcastic) No, not the directing. They’ll love… hopefully they’ll love that I’m in it. In terms of the plot, it basically is six friends — you know, couples — and they’re going on their last hurrah. My character is pregnant, and they haven’t gone out together in a while so they go on vacation. They go into this woodsy area, of course, and things are just a little off and strange and they run into these guys who are ex-soldiers. These guys lost their minds and they have a really big grudge; Desert Storm kind of made them lose their heads, and they want to get back at America. So they go on a torture rampage.
GS: Ah yes, the “torture rampage”. Excellent.
RB: I love it.
GS: That’s what we want.
RB: I don’t know if you saw any of the clips…
GS: I saw what looked like a “dinner scene”. (The couples were seated around the table, the ex-soldiers were standing over them, and one of the kids has their guts ripped completely out of them.)
RB: Ah, yes.
GS: Herschell Gordon Lewis… wait, is this another one of those “I wasn’t on the set” deals?
RB: No, no. This is kind of like there’s rumor of an upcoming project he’s involved in and maybe I’ll be involved in it but we can’t talk about that right now.
GS: But you weren’t on set with him?
GS: Damn. Moving on… the burlap sack mask (somewhat visible behind Raine in the convention photo). I see the burlap sack mask and instantly I’m thinking two things: “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” and an early Jason Voorhees. Do you know if this was intentional?
RB: He is Pillowface. He was tortured, if I remember correctly… he was tortured in the war and his face fell off. So he doesn’t have a face. It’s his way of covering that all up. I don’t think it was intentional. The special effects guy is here, if you’d like to find out directly.
GS: Yes, please.
(Hank Carlson, special effects man and former KNB employee, approaches the microphone)
GS: The burlap sack mask — is it an homage to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” or early Jason Voorhees or do you just like burlap sacks?
Hank Carlson: Well, as an effects artist I contacted director-writer Krist Rufty. He wanted it to be originally just a pillow case, just something simple that he had pulled over his face. I was like “I don’t know.” But we talked a bit about it and came up with the burlap sack. The original story behind the character is that he was ex-military, he was abducted and he was very beautiful and admired his looks. So the Iraqis cut his face off and gave it back to his unit in a box. So he wears this mask over the top. I wanted the burlap to make it look like there was more form to it, so we can see the skull structure underneath. We never see him remove it. When we did it, it wasn’t really going back to any film, it was just that I like really simple looks and I think they’re more effective than elaborate makeup and monsters. It’s just like Michael Myers. Or Jason’s hockey mask. Simple things are more scary.
GS: And I would agree with you. Raine, any time someone checks the Internet Movie Database or they read Fangoria, you’ve always got something like a dozen projects in the works at the same time.
RB: (laughs) “In the works” is right, yep.
GS: We’re here for “Psycho Holocaust”, but is there anything upcoming we should be looking out for?
RB: I’m so glad you asked that. I’m going back to Germany, to film “Beast” with Timo Rose, the guy who did “Barricade”. I’m going to be doing “Sculpture” in July. That will be in north Jersey. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s an artist with a bad family history. I will be in England at the end of the summer for “Brain Cell”. And there’s another one, and again, there’s lots of things in the works. There’s “Deep in the Darkness” with Burning Grounds… and you know, I like to talk about these things, but some of these projects are still getting funding… so you never know. But you can always check out the website, RaineBrown.Com —
GS: RaineBrown.Com, or the MySpace —
RB: The MySpace is sometimes quicker, because I can immediately bulletin and send updates out that way. On the site I have to get a hold of the webmaster and get him to update it, so I don’t know. IMDB is good for that, too. But, yeah, I just feel really, really lucky that I get to work with so many people and it works out well so I get to do more projects with them.
GS: Any words of inspiration as I walk away?
RB: Have a beautiful day!
GS: (sarcastic) I meant for the fans, not me.
RB: (sarcastic) Oh, for the fans? Well, I GUESS they should have a beautiful day, huh? Just enjoy! Enjoy the fun and be cool!
A very special thank you to Raine for the interview and for just generally being such a sweet person to talk with. I look forward to running into her at future conventions. And a thank you also to Hank Carlson for his addition to this interview. (I would have prepared more questions for you, Hank, if I had known who was going to be at the convention.)