An Interview With Brinke Stevens – By Heidi Martinuzzi

Brinke Stevens is an enigma wrapped in fake blood that screams a lot. She’s also a strong female character that has transcended the traditional images of women in horror. Without Brinke, there would be no such thing as a woman being taken seriously in the b-movie horror scene. Brinke, always down to earth, is always ready to talk about everything…

What’s the First horror movie you ever made, and your opinion of it now?

“SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE” (1981) was my first horror movie. I played
the second victim of a crazy driller killer. Falling into the popular
slasher trend of the early ’80s, it stands out as being written by
noted feminist Rita Mae Brown and directed by another young woman, Amy
Jones, who went on to do bigger budget fare. Also, the main
protagonists and survivors were females. It was way ahead of its time,
by virtue of having such strong female characters and filmmakers behind
it.

Last horror film you enjoyed watching?

I really liked “CABIN FEVER”, because it was a small indy production
that dared to push the dreaded PG-13 envelope. Too many horror films
have been watered down by the ratings board in recent times. That
movie showed you things that you couldn’t believe you were actually
seeing, like the woman shaving off her skin, or the guy who’s
inadvertently digging a hole in his girlfriend’s thigh. Gross and
icky, yes, but I applaud their guts to show it.

How are you different from other actresses? I mean, what is it about you that leads people to respect you in the genre. It’s so hard for women to get respect in this business…

Besides my dark exotic features, I have set myself apart by perfecting
a Jekyll & Hyde switch in films. I often start out normal — an
apparent victim — and then something happens to transform me into a
villain. Like, I get possessed by demons, or go insane and become a
homicidal maniac, or I get bitten and turn into a blood-sucking
vampire. (Examples of that are “HAUNTING FEAR”, “SPIRITS”,
“GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE”, and “TRANSYLVANIA TWIST”.) I’ve also played a
lot of strong female characters, despite my petite size (like “HYBRID”,
“CORPSES ARE FOREVER”) — and I’ve fondly been dubbed “The thinking
man’s Scream Queen” because of my college degrees.

What is your definition of an icon, and are you one?

An icon is a timeless image of someone unique, not quite like anyone
else. I regard women like Betty Page, Elvira, and Sigourney Weaver as
icons. And yes, I would consider myself one, as well. After 25 years
in this business, I have filled a niche in the horror genre that is
completely unique to me.
The abundance of work I have done will live on long after I have gone:
120 film roles, plus my model kits, comic books, trading cards,
posters, magazines, etc.

What makes a good actress/director/writer?

Experience, training, integrity, a solid work ethic, and attention to
detail.

Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?

I will continue to be an actor and writer. I soon intend to add
directing and producing to my resume. And in 15 or so years, I would
like to be semi-retired from the film industry to focus on my hobbies,
such as painting, mosaic tile, and stained glass.

Of all the projects you’ve worked on, what was the one you liked the most and are most proud of?

I’ve had a great time on almost all my projects. Many are shot on
location, so I get a chance to travel around the world and see new
sights. I loved working in Vancouver, Canada, on “CARMILLA” (now
available under the title “VAMPIRES vs. ZOMBIES”) — it’s a fabulous
little city, and the countryside is so gorgeous. I just returned from
filming “XELINE” in Kansas City, MO, where their hospitality was
awesome. I had my own fully stocked, luxury apartment and was totally
catered to during the shoot. I always enjoy it when filmmakers become
your new “family” for awhile.

You must have some horror stories for me about the ”business” as it were….

Long hours, especially all-night shoots, are the absolute worst!
After 18 hours in front of the camera, I become virtually useless. I
think it’s ridiculously counter-productive to work your actors and crew
to death… nobody does their best under those trying conditions.

Does one have to be sexy to make it in horror? Especially a woman? Not fair really, is it….

It doesn’t hurt. We live in a very visual, youth-oriented, sex-appeal
type of culture. A sexy body or a pretty face will capture the
audience’s attention right away. What you then do with it depends on
what else you’ve got inside you… a successful actress is always more
than just good-looking. She has to have an inner beauty or charisma,
as well.

What are you currently working on and what are you doing next!

This summer I’m working on “NIGHTWALKERS 2: Dead Things” for Gallows
Hill Productions. I play a woman who turns to witchcraft for revenge
when her daughter is murdered.
I just finished shooting “XELINE”, wherein I start out as a soccer mom
who’s secretly a black-ops government agent. I had some wonderful
“macho” scenes, such as chasing a mutant creature through
snake-infested woods while lugging a big honking gun. Last month, I
was in Virginia for “APOCALYPSE”, playing a female priest who battles
the forces of darkness on a college campus.
New releases include “DEAD CLOWNS” (a scary tale shot during a
hurricane in Biloxi, Mississippi), “EXPENDABLE”, and “CORPSES ARE
FOREVER” (co-starring Linnea Quigley and Debbie Rochon). I also
hostess an entertaining horror documentary called “SOMETHING TO SCREAM
ABOUT”. Plus there’s a new sci-fi audio book out, titled “The
Adventures of Red Cloud” (co-starring Traci Lords). [Some of these
titles are available on my website.]

What women in horror do you look up to?

I admired Linda Hamilton’s physical transformation for “TERMINATOR 2”,
and Sigourney Weaver’s maternal strength in the ALIEN films. I love
watching Christopher Walken in anything he does. And I think Johnny
Depp is a national treasure!

Betty Page or Vampira?

Definitely Betty. She brought us a sense of fun, whereas Vampira
always seemed so serious.

What’s the best scene you’ve ever done?

One of my most favorite, balls-to-the-wall scenes came from “HYBRID”
(written by Sean O’Bannon, 1998). Unfortunately, it ended up on the
cutting room floor. In it, my character, Dr. Leslie Morgan, and her
nemesis (played by Peter Spellos) have guns trained on one another,
while they indulge in a screaming argument. It was pretty over the
top, but it really showed off my range as a performer.

What do you think of the term “Scream Queen”?

Technically, I’d say it really only refers to a handful of actresses
(including myself, Linnea Quigley, and Michelle Bauer). And it relates
mainly to a certain time in independent horror film history, like the
late 1980’s and early ’90s.

Scream Kings?

Naw, I don’t think guys should be screamers. It’s just not very sexy!

You can find out more about Brinke at the Brinke Stevens Fan Club, PO Box 7112, Van Nuys CA 91409-7112 (Send SASE for free catalog and trading card.)