For our last interview of Women in Horror Month, Craig Thayer and Shannon McGrew had the pleasure of interviewing multi-talented actress Alex Essoe, who is best known to horror fans from her roles in STARRY EYES (2014) and TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015). Being a rising star in Hollywood, we figured now would be an ideal time to sit down with Ms. Essoe and discuss Women in Horror Month, being a woman in the industry, and, of course, her views on GREMLINS 2.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Alex! Thanks so much for speaking with us today and for being our closing interview for Women in Horror Month! To start things off, what does being a woman in horror mean to you?
Alex Essoe: It means a lot. When I think of the women that I really admire that are in horror films, I feel like in a lot of ways the work that they do is more demanding in some ways. There is something about it that you have to not hold anything back. There’s something very alluring about that to me. It’s like exploring uncharted territories of human possibilities.
NC: Have you always been a fan of horror and did you always know you wanted to act within the horror genre?
AE: Oh yeah, even from when I was a kid I loved movies like THE DARK CRYSTAL that aren’t necessarily horror but have horror elements in them. In regards to acting in horror films, I definitely wanted to do that. I mean to me the genre of horror is so expansive. There is something about being rocked in so many different ways that really drew me into horror.
NC: When it comes to horror films, what type do you find yourself being more gravitated towards and do you have a top list of horror films that you love?
AE: I love existential horror and shows like “True Detective” – the first season (laughs). I’m very much a fan of films like THE WITCH, where there’s no real jump scares, it’s just truly terrifying. As for horror films I love, definitely POSSESSION, I love Isabelle Adjani. Also, THE THING truly terrified me the first time I watched it, it’s a brilliant film in all aspects, as well as THE EXORCIST, the face of that demon is burned into my memory forever.
NC: STARRY EYES is one of the films that you are most known for and it exhibits an element of body horror throughout. What was your experience like filming that?
AE: It was really thrilling and really fun. Like I said, there are so many different things to explore in horror and I really felt like I got a chance to exorcise all of those things that I had been trained to do. It was really fun. I also loved the imagery in the film and we had an excellent DP who made the look of the film so cool.
NC: In past interviews you have professed that you are a cinephile, are there any directors or actors you would love the chance to work with?
AE: The Coen Brothers, I think they are just geniuses. Their caliber of writing is so excellent and unique to them. I can watch any Coen Brothers movie over and over again and I’ll see new things and new Easter eggs and background jokes. P.T. Anderson is another person I would love to work, I don’t even think twice about that one. He’s someone who should have won an award for everything he’s ever made, he just gets the art of filmmaking. Wes Anderson I think is a master of imagination and David Lynch. I would kill someone I love to work with David Lynch, he’s a genius.
NC: In interviews you have mentioned that you love GREMLINS II more than GREMLINS. Is there a reason why?
AE: There are a few reasons (laughs). One because I was a kid when GREMLINS IIcame out but when GREMLINS came out I wasn’t at that movie-going age yet, so GREMLINS II was the first one I saw. I love GREMLINS, the movie theater scene is one of my favorite scenes in a movie but GREMLINS II is just so funny. It’s comically superior to the first one which wins for me. The comedy writing is so good, the jokes are great, and it perfectly embodies that 90s style of somewhere between vaudeville and witty jokes. It fluctuates between Hulk Hogan appearing halfway through the movie to the Gremlins that are fucking with the movie. I will admit there is a nostalgic attachment to GREMLINS II.
NC: Now that I’ve gotten us off course, let me steer the ship back to Women in Horror Month (laughs). What advice would you give to females interested in acting or being part of the horror genre?
AE: Know what you want, know who you are. When venturing into anything, don’t listen to naysayers, don’t even care about them. I can’t say that that’s universally what you should do but that’s what I do and that’s all that I plan on doing. I think it’s important to not be afraid to be messy, go out there and make huge messes.
NC: Last, but certainly not least, what can fans of yours expect from you in the future?
AE: I just filmed Jordan Rubin’s (ZOMBEAVERS) new film which is a horror/comedy that’s parodying a different horror genre outside of ZOMBEAVERS. I also just came back from Mississippi where I filmed a horror-esque movie that has a similar vibe reminiscent of films like THE SHINING.
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