Hello again, ghosts and ghouls! As part of Women in Horror Month, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with horror actress, director and producer Jessica Cameron. She’s a doll, and with her experiences in the industry, has some awesome insight as to what it’s like to be a woman in horror.
TT: What was the first horror film you ever saw, and how did it influence you in your horror career?
JC: The first film I remember watching was Child’s Play. It scared me, but I wanted to see more. The idea that a children’s toy could be so evil fascinated me, and I eagerly watched every film in the series as soon as I could. To this day I still have a soft spot in my horror loving heart for 80’s films and Chucky since its what I watched mostly as a child.
Right around the same time I also saw Some Times They Come Back, and that film was so frightening to me, in a very different way than Childs Play was. It was a different type of fear; it caused my heart to race in a different way and I LOVED IT. Seeing the differences between the types of horror films and how they have the ability to take the viewer on very different experiences was enthralling to me even at a young age and has definitely influenced everything I do both behind the camera and in front.
TT: Who are your biggest inspirations within the horror community and why?
JC: As an actress its Jamie Lee Curtis. Her career has spanned so many generations and I have a tremendous amount of respect for her with regards to her maintaining a balance between her professional and personal life. This is something that I struggle with greatly.
As a film maker Jen Lynch is a woman I greatly admire, I love that she excels in both film and TV and really appreciate her ability to create her own career regardless of who her father is.
TT: Outside of the horror community, who are your favorite influences on you and your life as an actress/director/producer and why?
JC: My parents are a huge influence in everything I do and have ever done. They raised me to believe I could do anything and taught me the importance of hard work. My father believed that the key to success is to be the first person to arrive and the last person to leave. They have both passed away unfortunately, but not a day goes by in which I don’t use what they taught me. I am who I am because of them.
TT: What is your favorite part of working behind the camera? (Truth or Dare is AWESOME, as was Mania!)
JC: Aw, thank you for the kind words! I love the film making process so much its hard for me to pick just one part, but certainly the ability to bring stories to life that I as a horror fan want to see is very important to me, and brings me great joy. I also love assembling the team to bring it to life, working with those whom I greatly professionally respect and consider friends is always fun. I also love being in a position to give hard working people a shot, as corny as that sounds. I know what it’s like to work your ass off just waiting for someone to give you that great role, or that job and I love being in the position to take chances on people I believe in.
TT: In turn, what’s your favorite part of being in front of the camera? Being a scream queen sounds like an awesome experience to have under your belt!
JC: I love the whole process of bringing a character to life. Getting to play in another world that is often vastly different then my own is a lot of fun and also challenging. I get to have so many experiences through the characters that I play which is both fun and terrifying. So much of what I have gone through on screen I will never deal with in life and its very exciting. I have ran from zombies, I have died dozens of times, I have hurt and done horrible things to others, etc. all on film and each of these experiences are aspects of human nature that I would not get to explore in my own real life. It’s nice to leave the world behind for a few days, weeks or more and see everything through a different set of eyes.
TT: What made you want to try horror as opposed to other genres? I saw an interview about Truth or Dare where you mention that you’ve always been worried someone was going to dare you to stab yourself in the leg with a pencil…is there something about being scared that draws you to the genre?
JC: Honestly I never intended to become engulfed in the horror genre, it really just happened. I wanted to act, and I wanted to do it full time and pay my bills doing it. I was living in Ohio at the time (that’s another story) and started to audition for anything and everything that I could, and most of the features that I would audition for and that were filming in Ohio were horror films. Horror was always my favorite genre of films to watch, so it was more a happy accident then anything. I started booking more and more work an most of it was horror which I was very happy about.
Being scared never stops me from doing anything I want to do, playing truth or dare as a child included 🙂 I was raised to believe that if you are afraid of something you should probably do it and get over your fears. With the one exception to that being spiders… they should all be destroyed with fire.
For me what makes horror more fun then other genres is the ride that a good horror film will take you on, its more then just watching a movie… it’s an experience.
TT: What is your greatest piece of advice for aspiring women in horror?
JC: I think its important for women to understand that there are still many who view women as lesser then our male counter parts and that the best way to over come this is to prove them wrong. By working hard, being professional and not becoming a stereotype we win. Also what ever it is that you want to do, GO AND DO IT. Seriously, it’s 2016… technology and money are literally not stopping you so go make something you love, something you can learn from and hopefully get better at but just go MAKE IT.
TT: What is your dream film to make? No budget, no limits, just your pure imagination!
JC: A horror version of Cinderella. I always found this fairy tale to be particularly frightening. In my version the evil step sisters and step mother would be killing off their competition for the prince and bring the murdered maidens to Cinderella (who is chained up in the basement) and force her to cook the bodies into gourmet dishes for them to eat while they entertain the kingdom. And then it gets even darker but that’s all I will say for now. Its my ultimate dream film, I would need a large budget cause the scale of the kingdom would need to be vast and it would take a large cast and crew to sell the scope in my mind.
Jessica is truly a force to be reckoned with; she’s incredibly imaginative and has created projects among the likes of Mania, and Truth or Dare, and has acted in over 50 different titles.
Be sure to check out Jessica’s work during this Women in Horror Month!