Flashback: Uncle Ani interviews Felissa Rose
ANI: It’s an honor to get this chance to speak to you, Felissa Rose; I’ve been a fan for a long time.
FELISSA: Awww….thank you!
ANI: Let me start by asking a question I’ve had since I first saw Sleepaway Camp. The Face you make at the end of the film…
FELISSA: The infamous face I made? ::Laughs::
ANI: That would be the one. I mean it’s all over the place, on shirts, stickers, album covers. Who came up with the look; you or was it someone in production?
FELISSA: That is a great question! It’s funny, not too many people have asked me how that came about. The truth is it was all Robert, because initially when I read the script, obviously they had to figure out how to film the end and he decided that he and Ed French, the special effects person, would make a mold of my face. So he had to figure out what that face would be, because I had to make it under the latex when they made the mask. So Robert was with me at Ed French’s apartment in New York City and he said “This is the face I want you to make.” And he made it for me. There were variations made, you know, like make it a little stronger, a little scarier, make your eyes more intense. Eventually, it got to that final face. So yeah, it was Robert. He really guided me along on how to play the character and what face to make at the end.
ANI: Well then he knew what he was doing because it’s very effective and pretty scary.
FELISSA: ::Laughs:: Is it? Obviously because it’s my face I can’t really see it, but apparently it is because that’s what people always say. Is it because she’s so young to garner such anger? Is it the actual face, like the expression?
ANI: Yeah it’s…well it’s not that your face is scary, believe me it’s not, you have a very beautiful face.
FELISSA: Aww, you’re very sweet, thank you.
ANI: ::Blushes:: Um…I think it a bit of everything you said; her being 13 and full of such emotion, it’s disturbing. To see that reflected on her face it’s just…so….
FELISSA: Primal. Like “Ahhhh!”
ANI: That’s the perfect word for it!
FELISSA: Yeah, the eyes are to the side right?
ANI: Yes they are something I always found unnerving. Speaking of such a young person making such a scary face, I read you have three beautiful children. Do you ever make that face when they are misbehaving to get them to listen to you?
FELISSA: ::Laughs:: That is hilarious! No, I have never used that face. Though they’ve seen it, they have never seen Sleepaway Camp due to the ending because I’m concerned with them seeing their mom in that capacity.
ANI: Very understandable, not a fun image to have of mom.
FELISSA: Right. But they love horror and the funny thing is, they make the face. They run around making it more than I make it.
ANI: ::Laughs:: THAT’S AWESOME! Little Angela’s!
ANI: You know I have a funny Sleepaway Camp story; it involves my site partner, Hellter Skellter. When we were kids and had first watched Sleepaway Camp, when the end scene hit and the camera pan’s back showing us Angela, is in fact, a boy, Hellter screams out, “OH MY GOD! She killed the kid and is wearing his penis!”
FELISSA: ::Laughs:: That is so funny, I never heard someone think about it like that. No…um…it’s not…::Cracks up::
It’s the boy twin, Peter, that didn’t die in the boating accident. Up until then you don’t know which one lived. You assume it’s the girl because eight years later she’s with Aunt Martha and Cousin Ricky, never realizing that Aunt Martha is a bit looney and turned Peter into the daughter she always wanted…Angela. It’s really so crazy. You have to wonder what Robert was thinking when he came up with it.
ANI: Whatever he was thinking, it was genius. That ending is regarded as one of the best not just in horror but in cinematic history.
FELISSA: Yeah, it was great. You know he wrote the beginning and the end first?
ANI: I did not.
FELISSA: Yeah, then he filled in the middle. I always say he filled in the middle with the baseball scene because it took up, like, two-thirds of the film.
ANI: Come to think of it, that scene was pretty damn long.
ANI: You know, I want to ask you a question about the business. In horror, the role of the killer usually is played by a male. Females usually play the heroine or Final girl. Have you ever found it a challenge to get certain roles due to your gender?
FELISSA: Fortunately I‘ve never felt the stain of “Well you’re a chick so you can’t do this.” I’ve pretty much played many monsters and many victims and have rarely felt competition amongst my dear friends who are actresses in the genre as well. I love all the men I work with and deal with in terms of being on the convention circuit. We’re such a supportive family and we cheerlead each other so much. So yeah, it’s been a really great experience and I’ve never felt anything negative as far as being female in the genre. It’s amazing and you know, although a lot of times there’s T and A, or the chick will be the Final girl or victimized, it’s just the same in terms of the men. Men are chased, killed, and victimized just as much in so many films all the way up till now.
But yeah, I love it. I think it’s an equally shared genre in all respects. You have female directors, producers. It’s such an equal playing ground all the way. It’s why I love working in this area because it’s like I said, really very, very supportive.
ANI: That’s pretty cool to hear. I always knew horror fans were a tight-knit family, but to hear that it’s that way amongst the veterans is awesome! I guess we’re all one big demented family.
FELISSA: Right! I mean, that’s just my opinion. You could ask someone else and they might tell you something different, but I’ve always found everyone to be so supportive.
ANI: That’s really cool to hear. Now, as someone who has played both sides of the fence, Villain and Heroine, which do you prefer?
FELISSA: Oh my god that is hard! You know, I’ve always loved running and screaming because it’s so therapeutic. ::Laughs:: Being chased and tortured and getting bloodied, it’s so much fun, but I don’t know, I think I like playing the monster. It’s really an empowering feeling when you get to chase everyone.
I love them both for different reasons, but if I had to choose? I mean, playing Angela was my favorite part, I really enjoyed that role. Playing the monster is definitely the fabric of who I am and it gave me a career, so I’d have to go with monster just for that.
ANI: I can dig that. If I had a choice to play something, it def would be the monster.
FELISSA: It’s definitely a lot more fun.
ANI: yeah, I would think it’s a lot more freeing. It would seem you would have a lot more room to do what you want with a villain character than you would any other.
FELISSA: You really do, plus I’m really intense on set. I almost take on that lunatic behavior. ::Laughs::
I remember one time I was doing a scene with an actress who was my friend. She was the victim to my monster and her character had been cheating around with my character’s husband and I got to kill her at the end and I was REALLY pissed and came off like I was really taking it personally. ::laughs::
But yeah sometimes it can get crazy playing those monsters. I’m a method actress I guess.
ANI: That’s good! Your def a hard working actress and you have a lot of interesting projects coming up.
FELISSA: Yes, I have several getting ready to come out. Within These Walls, which is a supernatural film. Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween, which I was just able to see the final cut of the other night. It comes out this month and is really fantastic. I have small cameo in Tales of Halloween, which I’m just thrilled to be a part of. My daughter actually has a really good role in that. That comes to theaters October 16th.
I have a few on the back burner that’s in preproduction. Everything from Love Bites to a film we’re doing called Wretched which we’ll be filming soon. I’m also doing a movie called Sweet Hearts and another called William Froste.
ANI: William Froste, I’ve been hearing a lot of awesome things about that film.
FELISSA: It has a cast that is just extraordinary. It’s really great! I have several other projects that are sort of secretive right now that I can’t say too much about but I’m looking forward to filming those as well as producing. It’s really a good time.
ANI: Awesome! There’s definitely a lot to look forward to; plenty of Felicia to keep the fans happy. Well, you’ve been a blast to talk to, but I can’t let you go until I ask you this one last question. A question I know all my fellow horror fans want to know the answer to. Who would win in a fight, Angela or Mrs. Voorhees?
FELISSA: ::Laughs:: I love Betsy Palmer, may she rest in peace. That’s a great question! You know, I would really have to go with Mrs. Voorhees because you just can’t beat a Mama. ::Laughs:: Being a mother myself I know that there can be this primal anger that just supersedes anything felt by a bullied kid, although Angela is pretty tough. She’s pretty clever in her ways. But yeah, I’d have to go with Mrs. Voorhees and honestly I’d want her to win because I’m such a big fan of the Friday the 13th series. I’m proud to say I’m good friends with Kane Hodder and I’m part of a documentary that’s being filmed right now about him. So yes, I have to go with Mrs. Voorhees. I really loved her and I’m very sad she’s no longer with us.
ANI: Yeah, I remember feeling very emotional about hearing she had passed.
FELISSA: I cried that day. It’s a legend gone and when you see that it’s so heart breaking.
ANI: Yes, we lost quite a few in the last few years.
FELISSA: I remember when Marilyn burns passed away (Sally from the original TCM) because Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my all-time favorite horror movie. I was actually fortunate enough to get to interview the whole cast about ten years ago. In fact, I was just with a bunch of them last weekend; Gunner, Ed, and John at a convention in Connecticut. But yeah, when Marilyn passed I cried. She was always one of my favorites, I wanted to emulate her. To me, she portrayed the best victim.
ANI: She was actually one of the first true Final Girls in slashers. She def set the bar.
FELISSA: I love that. I love how she was so delicate and beautiful. Her portrayal is just amazing and almost too real.
ANI: Well, fortunately, we have great actresses like you working in the genre to carry the torch of those amazing people.
FELISSA: Awww, thank you! Hopefully I can.
ANI: Believe me; you’re doing a fantastic job.
FELISSA: I have so many good girl friends that are amazing like Tiffany Sheppard, Debbie Rochon, and Danielle Harris. There is just so many that are great. I have a friend named Tiffany Brookfest, look out for her; she’s a phenomenal actress coming up the ranks. She’s just terrific.
ANI: We will definitely keep a look out. It’s awesome to know that there are so many talented people like yourself who not only work in the genre but who are fans too. The future def looks good! I want to thank you for taking time to chat with me. You’re an amazing person and you deserve all the love horror fans give you.
FELISSA: Thank you!