We interview one of our favorite women in horror, icon and indie scream queen Felissa Rose, a beloved staple of the genre since she was a young girl.
If you haven’t seen Sleepaway Camp by now, then I don’t really know what to say. It’s a classic, and one of the first films to shock the audience with such a twist at the end! However, at the heart of movie that has become such a beloved cult classic is Felissa Rose. Felissa made her acting debut in the 1983 slasher flick, and she has since become a fan favorite and prolific indie horror actress.
If you’ve been lucky enough to meet Felissa Rose at a convention, then you are familiar with her infectious laugh and bubbly personality. I had the incredible interview this horror icon for Women in Horror Month. We discussed her successful career — from Sleepaway Camp to Victor Crowley and beyond, what it’s like being a woman in the industry, and of course, horror movies.
INTERVIEW WITH FELISSA ROSE
1. You had your first film role at age 14 in the cult horror hit, Sleepaway Camp. Why did you choose a horror film for your first role?
I was actually 12 when I auditioned and turned 13 when we filmed! It was my first audition. I met with Robert Hiltzik (writer, director) and then had a call back. Once I was offered the role, I was so ecstatic and became a huge fan of the genre.
2. You took a long hiatus after Sleepaway Camp to attend college, making your return to acting in the sequel. What made you want to come back?
I loved going to school, and I wanted to make sure that acting and making movies was my absolute passion. I had made a few films before Return, and I was definitely hooked once I came back to film acting in 2001. I had been doing a lot of theater in NYC, but film became my focus after I had worked on several projects in the early 2000s.
3. You have an impressive resume full of horror favorites, both in front of the camera and behind it as a producer. What do you find most fulfilling about each role?
It’s funny because each character almost becomes like your child. You create it from the ground up and nurture it, even if it’s someone who’s despised. I love creating characters and implementing their own personalities. I’m fascinated by acting and just love reading scripts to find out what makes each role tick. Producing became a passion once I realized I could help put the whole puzzle together. It’s so rewarding and certainly challenging, and I love being on set watching everything happen from that perspective as well.
4. What are some of the challenges women face in the genre?
I haven’t found any challenges as a female but rather as someone trying to make everything work. I haven’t had to deal with any adversities. The challenge is about making the best product you possibly can, and in some cases with the budget you’re working with. There are many personalities and each script has its own voice, so I always like to tackle the individual film and do the very best I can for the team and ultimately, the audience.
5. What does having a Women in Horror Month mean to you?
It’s a wonderful sentiment to cheer on all the women who work hard to make incredible movies. I love seeing all the love being given to the amazing females who’ve made a difference in this genre.
6. What would you to those who say a Women in Horror Month isn’t necessary.
I think it’s very cool to see a month of love bestowed on fierce women in this genre. It’s always fantastic to say thank you and show love to those who’ve done something special in a genre we all love.
7. Do you have any fun anecdotes from Victor Crowley and owning the best kill scene in the movie?
I had the best time working on that film. The cast and crew were exceptional. Thank you. I do love that kill scene. I just felt really fortunate to be cast in that movie by Adam Green. I had been a fan of the franchise through the years, so it was mind blowing to be there. We liked playing pranks on Q, lol. Tiffany Shepis, Laura Ortiz, Krystal Joy Brown and I would hide his candy that Parry Shen gave him. We had many laughs and really clicked as an ensemble. One of my favorite times being on set.
8. Can you tell us a little about what you’re currently working on?
I’m always doing the convention circuit. I have several movies coming out this year, and I’m producing a lot for Vernon Wells, who will be in the director’s seat.
9. What’s your favorite scary movie?
I have so many, but I truly love Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original film.