With the highly anticipated ‘Death House’ premiering its official trailer at the recent Days of the Dead convention, I sat down with one of the film’s executive-producers and stars, the ever amazing Felissa Rose, to discuss the actress’ past, her present work, and the future of horror.
If you’re a horror-loving fanatic such as I, you’re probably carrying many memories focusing on many different horror pictures in history. Whether it’s a slasher sequel, a zombie epic, or ghost tale, looking back can be a great time for any horror fan.
Personally, I have amazing memories seeing the 1983 classic, Robert Hiltzik‘s Sleepaway Camp. A twisted campfire tale of family peril, powerful revelations, and the longest baseball game ever played, Sleepaway Camp is one of my favorite films of all-time.
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So, when I found out Felissa Rose, Angela Baker herself and star of Harrison Smith’s upcoming Death House, was making her way to Days of the Dead Louisville, a convention 1428 Elm was on the scene covering, I knew I had to get a word. It wasn’t an option, I was going to interview the beautifully talented actress.
Also, it helped getting an intro from Death House’s director, who’s truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the business. Taking place at Days of the Dead Louisville, the following is an account of professionalism and fandom about one of horror’s best talents.
1428 presents, Editor Joey Click’s candid conversation with a timeless beauty, the amazingly talented Felissa Rose (Part I):
Felissa Rose in as Dr. Angela Freeman in Harrison Smith’s ‘Death House’-Courtesy of Entertainment Factory
Joey Click: It’s often said one gets “bitten by the acting bug.” What’s your earliest memory acting and how you became involved with it?
Felissa Rose: I would have to say you know, from the time I was three years old, you know I would say, “I WANNA SING AND DANCE.” They enrolled me in school, in singing and dancing lessons from that. At nine years old, at the local dancing school, I was that committed. Like from three to nine, I was really studying. And they sent me out on a commercial, and there were thousands of girls there. And they went down to six, and I was one of the six. They told my mom ‘You should really pursue this.’ She was like, Ok! And then my next real professional audition, when I was like 12 was for ‘Sleepaway Camp’.
JC: That’s awesome! So you got into horror and haven’t gotten out! I want to ask you a few more questions about ‘Sleepaway Camp’ before we move into the ‘Death House’. So, you were so young, but do you remember you first reaction to Robert Hiltzik‘s ‘Sleepaway Camp’ script and all the things you were going to have to do?
FR: You know, even though I was really young, I remember every bit of it. I remember being in the agent’s office who got me the audition and sitting in the corner reading with my cousin. My cousin Kristen was there, and she was my best friend. The two of us read it together, and I remember giggling and thinking it was really fun! Like, oh my gosh, I get to kiss a boy in this. Then, when I got to the end and I thought “Holy shit! That’s scary and weird.” But I thought it was so original, I thought It would be shocking and different.
JC: So that’s the way the film was intended? Was it that way in the script?
FR: Everything. I think I was the only actor who got the entire script. So I saw page one to like page ninety myself.
JC: So the final product, the way it is on film today, was on the page?
FR: Every single page. I have my original script. It’s in a red binder, with a little Ziggy sticker. And you know, I wrote on it and drew all over it, made notes. The whole thing is intact.
Sleepaway Camp Sleepaway Camp (United Film Distribution)
JC: You know, it’s interesting. The first audition you went on, you landed ‘Sleepaway Camp’. Usually kids will go on to, say a Pampers commercial, and then you land a role like Angela Baker. Will you talk about how the film has changed your life, in your own words. I mean obviously it’s hard to say but…
FR: Do we have a week!? hahahah. The film has GIVEN me a life. And I know I’m on record saying that over and over again, but it’s not often you make a film as a kid. That alone is interesting, and then it follows you the rest of your life. My husband was a huge fan, and decided to find me because of ‘Sleepaway Camp’. He saw the movie when he was young and said I’m ganna marry that girl. And started a band, CKY and had Angela on like everything. On their first CD cover, on his guitar. He was on Jackass wearing my face on his shirt. So it gave me a husband, and it gave me a career. I’m in horror because of that first movie. So it’s been like the fabric throughout my whole life. I’m very grateful.
Next: We Enter The Death House