Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis is a very familiar face to horror fans. Over the past fifteen years, she's appeared in nearly 100 features, and, if our recent chat with her is any indication, there's plenty more where that came from! One of her films, Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula was recently released on DVD, so she took some time to discuss that film, plus plenty more.
Interview by: Brett G.
Oh, The Horror!: Thanks for taking some time out to talk to us today; I appreciate it a lot. I know you do a lot for your fans--I was just looking at your website last night and there are a lot of things they can do to interact with you.
Tiffany Shepis: Itís kind of unfortunate with the website these days--itís kind of fallen apart because of Facebook. You can reach out to so many more people through Facebook than you can on your website if people arenít registered. But websites get quite neglected.
OTH: Yeah, we kind of know the feeling with our website--we started it kind of on the cusp of the whole blog phenomenon, so we were the only ones starting a new site when everyone else seemed to be starting blogs. So we know what you mean about interactivity. I was also looking at your upcoming projects and you have a lot in the pipeline--do you want to tell us about what youíve got coming up?
TS: Sure, yeah. Weíve got lots of stuff coming out this year. Weíve got Frankenstein Syndrome coming up which has ďstem-cell research gone wrongĒ--itís very different from my usual stuff, where I walk through the movie naked. Itís a smart horror film, loosely based on Mary Shelleyís Frankenstein. Itís also got Ed Lauter, who was in every movie from the 80s and Louis Mandylor from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Itís pretty dope.
And Iíve got another movie coming out called The Violent Kind directed by the Butcher Brothers and executive produced by the guy who produced the Texas Chainsaw remakes and Rob Zombieís Halloween. Itís a really weird sort of sci-fi horror that I think comes out next month.
And also, Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula!
OTH: Yeah, Iíve seen Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula. Itís very interesting, I think itís coming out soon, finally?
TS: Yeah, it comes out in about a week, I think!
OTH: I guess speaking of that one--when I talked to Trent about it, we were talking about his inspiration for playing Clyde and he obviously didnít go by any previous or historical portrayals, so Iím guessing it was probably the same for you with Bonnie?
TS: Oh yeah, I mean, you donít really go into those kind of movies expecting much out of it; therefore not putting much work into it. Honesty, I was so surprised when I got there. They really had their shit together for a low-budget production. I mean, especially trying to pull off a period piece; certainly I thought our Bonnie and Clyde stuff was pretty flawless. SO hindsight, maybe I wish I would have put some work into it. But I did not; I didnít do much research.
OTH:It was still fun seeing you and Trent in the same movie; kind of like an independent horror dream team, in a way because youíve both shown up in so many different things.
TS: Yeah, itís funny--weíve never really worked together. He hosted the East Coast version of Tromaís Edge TV while I hosted the West Coast versions . And it would always be ďback to you Trent,Ē ďback to you Tiffany,Ē but yet we were never together or on set together, so it was fun to be on a movie together. Heís a great actor--heís fantastic.
OTH: And you were both actually involved in a couple other Troma movies, like Citizen Toxie--you were in it and he wrote it.
TS: Oh, totally. Itís always great to have Troma alumni come back and work together again.
OTH: I actually spoke to Lloyd Kaufman about two weeks ago and as always, heís a pleasure to talk with.
TS: Heís a great guy, real funny.
OTH: Do you still have a lot of contact with him?
TS: We see each other a lot when weíre at conventions and stuff. I just saw him in Indiana like two weeks ago. So yeah, I see him a lot at film festivals for our random, once a year catch-up. Heís always so busy--you know, youíll call his office and itís like ďoh, heís in China, oh no, heís in Arizona.Ē You never know where that guy is. You just hope to run into him and catch up.
OTH: When I was speaking to him, he was going through the list of things that he had been working on, and it was about 4 different movies and a book, so heís a very busy guy.
TS: Yeah, and like comic books, and a new line of toys, heís a fucking crazy person.
OTH: Speaking of Troma alums that kind of hit it big, what about James Gunn?
TS: I know James quite well! I did an episode of his web series he was doing called PG Porn, it was porn for people who love everything in porn but the sex. I did the Peanuts episode where I played part of the Peanuts gang and Charlie Brown goes crazy and kills everyone. It was kind of a fun spoof we did with Michael Rosenbaum. So I did that for him and sometimes I run into him, but yet he has yet to cast me in any of his big movies, so, whatís up with that?
OTH: I know, I was hoping to see you show up in one of them.
TS: You need to start a fucking campaign!
OTH: I was actually going to ask if youíre ever approached to do big things, like maybe a Friday the 13th sequel; would you be interested in something like that?
TS: Well absolutely, I would do it. Itís just I donít get offered those jobs, you know. But I also donít work that hard on my career to be perfectly honest with you. I donít like agents, I donít like managers, so I kind of rent myself, which is very bad. Itís good for the stuff that I do because Iím pretty accessible. You just kind of contact me yourself and we set things up through email; Iíve never been interested in agencies and stuff. However, it doesnít put me in front of the bigger people for the bigger horror films, so, you know. Dumb choice I made a long time ago, but Iím sticking to it, man!
OTH: Itís funny you say that because I was actually just reading Robert Rodriguezís book that he wrote way back when he first did El Mariachi, and I got to the part where heís talking about the agencies and the studios, and really, to be honest I think youíre probably doing it the right way because it all sound way too complicated and not too fun at all.
TS: Itís complicated, not funÖitís bullshitty. Everyone bullshits each other, and Iím getting too old and donít have time for it. I prefer low budget ones where everyone seems to get along or at least pretends to.
OTH: I think most of the ones Iíve seen you in seem to feel that way. Even something like Bloody Murder 2, which I think was one of the first movies I saw you in.
TS (angry): Is that right?
OTH: Yeah, it seems like it.
TS: I thought it was a fun movie!
OTH: Yeah, Bloody Murder, those are twoÖinteresting movies to say the least?
TS: Well the first one is absolutely terrible!
OTH: Yeah, I think I might have actually fallen asleep during the first one the first time I saw it.
TS: Oh yeah, it was awful. But because it was so awful, it made the sequel all that much better. It was brilliant! But yeah, Bloody Murder 2 was a great time! We just had so much fun making it up in the mountains of Idlewild, California. IT was fucking cold as hell, but we had a great time. Nobodyís agents were there complaining that it was too cold for their actors; actors werenít complaining that they didnít have trailers. People just went with it and had a good time making a movie. For the most part, thatís what it should be about.
OTH: Yeah, that sounds like the way to go, for a slasher movie especially. So, speaking of horror movies, how much do you really watch in your spare time, or is it something you try to stay away from?
TS: Itís funny because we have probably 7,000 DVDs in our house and probably 2,000 of them are ones that are waiting to be watched. I just donít have that much free time to watch anything. Like tonight, weíre going to see Insidious. Thatís rare for us because, let me put it to you this way, I just saw Frozen three weeks ago. You know, Iím just very behind on everything because when Iím not shooting Iím here doing family shit and usually by the time I have time to watch a film, I fucking go to bed or you know, have a cocktail.
OTH: Well, nobody can blame you as busy as you are. But enjoy Insidious, I thought it was very good. Itís kind of old school in a way, a lot of Poltergeist and Amityville in there, itís up that alley.
TS: Oh, nice! Yeah, yeah Iím looking forward to it. Thatís the plan for tonight. A very rare thing that weíre watching a new movie. Like, we just moved, and I was going through all of our DVDs, and throwing away a bunch of crap thatís really fucking dumb, like stuff that people have given me at conventions or that we watched and were like ďwow this is a piece of shit, we should throw it away.Ē And I found Fire in the Sky, have you ever seen that movie?
OTH: Yeah, Fire in the Sky. It terrified me when I was about 10 or 11--those alien scenes.
TS: Either Iíd never seen it or I just donít remember seeing it and I just watched it--and it took me five days to watch it because I only had 20 minutes in each day, but I just finish it, and I was kind of bummed. I was like, ďreally thatís the end, thatís it--he sees his friendsĒ and you know? But since I live in Arizona, I kind of want to go up and see if that dude is still alive. You know, find him.
OTH: Hey, it could possibly turn into a movie idea or something.
TS: Fuck that, I donít want to be probed by anything.
OTH:Yeah, I guess you kind of prefer to be stabbed and slashed and cut up, probing might be a little too much.
TS: Yeah, weíll keep all that on screen. I want no part of fucking with aliens man.
OTH: Same here. So letís talk about ďscream queens.Ē Thereís the show Scream Queens, Iíve never watched it, but I know it exists. What do you think about a show like that.
TS: Iíve never watched it, honestly. Iíve seen the commercials for it. Obviously thereís an audience for it. It wouldnít be on the air if there wasnít, you know? All of these reality shows and competition shows, if there wasnít a market for it, they wouldnít be playing. So I suppose theyíre fine, but Iíve never seen them, so I wish I had more info for you.
OTH: No problem. I was just throwing it out there because you are known as a Scream Queen, and I guess you have no problem being perceived as that from what youíve said. Youíve pretty much embraced it.
TS: Well, yeah, man, anytime you have fans enough that are going to label you something that isnít ďassholeĒ you have to be proud of it. I say it all the time but the fact that anyone wants to talk to me at a convention, let alone buy an autograph or a DVD, Iím thrilled. Any label like that that lumps me into the category of working actress, Iím fine with it. Plus, I mean, I was such a big fan of 80s Scream Queens, like Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens. Shit, even all the Elvira stuff, I was such a big fan that being included in that category is fine by me.
OTH: That actually answers my next question because I was going to ask you about the scream queens that really inspired you and I thought you might bring up Linnea Quigley. I actually just watched Graduation Day the other day and as usual spent more time out of her clothes than in them, I think.
TS: Oh, nice! Thank god for Linnea.
OTH: Oh yeah, weíre big fans. Weíve got a lot of screen caps of her.
TS: Nice. Linnea is cool; she had a sense of humor about everything, and I think thatís what made her really endearing to her fans. You know? She didnít take any of it too seriously. I mean fuck, she did--what was it, like the Zombie Workout? Stuff like that is awesome and so 80s and campy and great! Sheís not one of those who try to say ďIím a serious actress.Ē Sheís there to have fun and love the genre and her fans. And thatís kind of what I sought. Growing up doing the horror conventions, especially when I was so young, I would watch girls like her signing for fans and posing for fans, smiling and loving it, and it wasnít because they were getting 20 bucks. They were genuinely thrilled to be there. And the same thing with Brinke Stevens, sheís the same way. And Debbie Rochonís another one exactly like that who gave me something to look up to and say ďI want to be just like them!Ē
OTH: Yeah, Debbie Rochon is great. Sheís very personable on Twitter. I was kind of making fun of a movie she was in and she got a kick out of it. So she doesnít seem to take it too seriously.
TS: Well yeah, no matter what--Scream Queen, not Scream Queen, fucking Academy Award Winning actor--everybodyís had bad movies. So thereís very few actors that have had all winners. You know, itís impossible, especially in this genre, where everythingís been re-done and everythingís been remade, so you have to have a sense of humor about it. Shit, I know 95% of my movies are terrible, but I think thatís whatís fun about a lot of them as well. Theyíre just a fun popcorn movie, and if you can find something fun about them, even if itís just me to enjoy with it, then cool, we did a good job.
OTH: Thatís kind of our thing too--we know that weíre going to be seeing some bad movies, but we try our best to kind of give it the benefit of the doubt because thereís always something you hope to find in a movie that makes a movie worth seeing, and most of the time weíre proven right and thereís at least one or two things.
TS: Thereís a movie that somebody gave me recently at a convention and my husband and I watched it, and I realized, ďoh shit, weíve gotta write this guy back and weíve gotta tell him what we thought of his movie.Ē And I realized that I had to find something. So I watched the film and all I could find was that I liked the opening credits. And heís like, ďTiff, dude, youíve got to come up with something else,Ē and I couldnít.
OTH: Weíve been there before, where you get the stuff for free, and they want to hear back from you and you want to be honest, and itís always nice when it actually ends up being something pretty good or at least watchable.
TS: Right. And I didnít tell the dude that, I passed it on to my husband and told him to go ahead and lie to the kid. I couldnít do it.
OTH: I think this genre more than any other just inspires people to pick up a camera and start shooting, for better or worse.
TS: Totally, man, and itís hard to make a movie! People forget that. Itís fucking hard. Especially when youíre doing it by yourself and have no money. And youíre editing it yourself, and youíre using your momís basement and your best friend and your uncle. Itís hard! So anyone who can do one and get one finished, then more power to them. Shit, Iíve never directed anything.
OTH:I always try to keep that in mind. Even if itís possibly one of the worst things Iíve ever seen, I wonder to myself if I could even do that. So, speaking of making movies, I know youíve produced things--do you ever think about doing any writing or directing yourself, or are you just content to stay in front of camera?
TS: Well, I write stuff all the time; you know I used to write for a few different websites, and Iíve been writing a lot of treatments over here recently. Writing like a long script, I donít know--Iíve been collaborating with Sean (Tretta), heís a director. So I collaborate with him on stuff. But directing? I donít know. I think there was a movie a while back that I was going to do called The Devilís Eyes, and I was all gung-ho to do it when the time was right, but now itís passed and I donít have much interest anymore. Just being on all these sets over the years and watching what all these people go through and all the amount of time thatís put into directing something. I just donít know if I want to do it. Thereís a part of me that really does, but I would want like a back-up reinforcement--someone would have to co-direct with me. Itís so time consuming and exhausting and if you miss two pivotal scenes, youíve got to find the money so you can go back and re-shoot it so it makes sense. Seems like a lot of fucking pressure. I just quit smoking man, I donít need to start again.
OTH: I think a lot of people look at it and say ďIím going to direct a movieĒ before they start to think about what all that entails, and itís a whole lot more.
TS: Yeah, like we made this Frankenstein Syndrome movie two years ago, and itís just now coming out in July. Thatís a long fucking time!
OTH: I think Bonnie and Clyde is the same way; I think it was done 2 or 3 years ago?
TS: I think it was like almost four years ago--itís crazy how much time and effort are thrown into these things. Now, fortunately for Bonnie and Clyde and Frankenstein Syndrome, the wait was for the better--they got their distributor and got a better cut for the film, etc. But sometimes itís not--sometimes itís just the way the market is and you canít get these films out. And the blood, sweat, tears, money, and time get wasted and thereís nowhere to put it. You know? Or thereís no distributor worthwhile to put it out and itís really fucking sad. Itís the only industry in the world where you can be the best at your job and be amazing at your job and still have no job. Or your movie could be phenomenal but still not have a home.
OTH: Seems to be all about who you know or who you donít know.
TS: Yeah, exactly.
OTH: One last thing I want to ask you about before I let you go--weíre huge fans of Corey Haim at our website, and I was wondering if you had any positive things to say about him because it seems like thereís so much negativity surrounding him.
TS: Come on man, he was a great actor and he was great to his fans. And nobody can ever say that they met him at a convention and say that he was anything but fucking grateful and thrilled to meet the people there. You canít say that about so many people at the shows nowadays. You know? So many people are sitting there looking at their fucking iPhone and donít want to talk to you unless you have 40 bucks in your hand. And he was a guy that was definitely genuine in that respect and genuine in the fact that he was thrilled that the fans were the ones that kept him where he was when he was in his heyday. And he was a cool dude, just a cool dude with lots of problems. Thereís not that many people in the world that die of good health, you know?
OTH: We always really looked forward to seeing what he would do next. He just seemed to get the shaft because it seems like when most celebrities pass away, everyone sort of starts to like them again no matter what. But the same thing didnít happen for Haim, which was kind of weird.
TS: Yeah, you know, itís kind of that whole Hollywood thing. Itís forgiving in a lot of ways but I think Hollywood says, ďweíve given you so many chances and you havenít taken them.Ē I donít know about any of it to say. I just think people at certain points are like ďcome on man, we want to see you in bigger movies, we want to see you get better already.Ē But thatís just sort of being ignorant and not knowing whatís going on in somebodyís life, but thatís how it works. But then again, at conventions now, I have people that come up to us and talk about Haim all the time. And itís nothing but positive. So forget the TMZ bullshit, the true fans are still true.
OTH: I was actually on Twitter during the Academy Awards when they ran the In Memoriam segment that he was left out of, but I think he became a trending topic--or at least a lot of people noticed, so it was good to know that people remember him.
TS: Yeah, most definitely.
OTH:Well, thanks again for your time. We all look forward to seeing what youíve got coming out in the future, and hopefully we can do this again sometime.
TS: Yeah, thanks, man. Awesome. comments powered by Disqus Ratings: