AMY LYNN BEST: INSIDE THE WORLD OF OUTSIDER ART

How did you make the transition from acting to directing? ^ I’ve been acting most of my life one way or another. Performing on stage. And when we started doing our movies, I never even got to directing until I came up with “Were-Grrrl.” I came up with the idea and I came up with what I wanted it to be and I came up with a lot of the story and Mike (Watt) said, “You know this. Why don’t you direct it?” So, I did and it was fun. It was difficult, but it was fun. So, I decided to try my hand at a feature (Severe Injuries), also. Early on Mike and I kind of co-directed on Resurrection Game. He is more of a technical director and I, being an actress, know how how an actor wants to be directed.

When you look at “Were-Grrl” do you think that you could have went a little bit further thematically? ^ I think I could have done a heck of a lot better on that! I had never directed before. I was terrified to do it and at the last minute, the woman who was supposed to play the gypsy backed out. So, I had to be in it also. We had four days and we had a great lead actor and lead actress but I think I demanded a little too much from them. I wish we had had a little bit more time and a little more rehearsal. I had in my mind how I wanted it to look. It was very dialogue heavy and I pretty much wanted two pages of dialogue without any cuts. I didn’t want it to get “busy” with cutting back and forth. That was really too much to ask from people who had just met each other that morning. And we had rehearsed for just three or four hours before I said, “Okay, let’s go.”

What’s the reaction to your work been like so far? ^ We’ve had such a great reaction so far. Everyone’s been really supportive… Everybody in the industry and in the genre has been extremely supportive. We’ve gotten a few bad reviews here and there, mainly for “Were-Grrl”. But overall, the reaction and the support has been great. I’m really happy with it.

I really liked “Severe Injuries” . . . ^ “Severe Injuries” is a lot better! I liked it. It was fun to do. It was fun to go through and it was fun to actually see the finished product.

You live sort of a split life. On one hand you’re a horror convention celebrity and on the other you have a relatively normal home and work life. How do you balance those two aspects? ^ (Laughs) Lately, not too well! I think actually living out in the country in Pennsylvania helps . . . I have dogs and cats and a horse and we have our family and friends who aren’t in the genre at all . . . I think that all really keeps me grounded and keeps me going where a lot of my friends who are living in New York City or living in LA are completely immersed in this and go crazy and burn out real quick. I’m happy to have a place where I work all day. Sometimes, I come from a show where I’m signing hundreds of autographs and making all this money and then I go to work and I’m just me. It’s kind of a duality. It’s like I have to put on my Clark Kent and go to work! The first day back after the first Chiller we did I just sat at my desk and kind of looked at my boss and I’m like, “You should be paying me just to sign my name!” It really brings me down. It keeps my head from getting way too big! Because in this business that can happen real quickly! Especially for someone as attention-happy as I am. It really does help to have somewhere to go where you’re just you.

Is the era of the “Scream Queen” really dead? ^ I hope so! I honestly think we should retire it. I think it’s a wonderful title and it really did say a lot about the women who really paved the way in the genre. The only “Scream Queens” that I will acknowledge are Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer. Other than that, they are actresses. They might be great actresses, but they’re not “Scream Queens.” Like Debbie Rochon, I love the title Lloyd Kaufman (head of Troma Studios) gave her. He called her the “Goddess of Independent Cinema.” That’s just wonderful. But, calling every single woman out there who’s in a horror movie or, even now, just women who go to conventions – all of a sudden they’re “Scream Queens.” You can’t be a “Scream Queen,” which really is a pretty exalted title, if you haven’t done anything and you’re just in it for the attention. It’s not deserved unless you’ve put your time in like those three ladies have and actually worked to change something. But right now, it should be completely retired and we shouldn’t use that term anymore.

What is “Outsider Cinema”? ^ “Outsider Cinema” is my term for the movies that I want to do. It was me trying to get away from the “B” movie name because, again anyone who does a movie now calls it a “B” movie or an “indie” movie or a “low-budget” movie and there are so many of them that anytime you try to talk to someone that might not be in the business, like my parents or family or something, automatically people think porn because that’s what they see now. They see the kids running around with the video cameras trying to get girls to take their clothes off or the ones that make actual soft-core porn and they call that “B” movies so that’s what they think of. Also, we didn’t want to call what we’re doing “indie” movies. Because indie movies nowadays are just low-budget studio movies. What we’re doing is something in between. We don’t really have “indie” movies anymore. That term has been taken away from us.

What projects do you have coming up? ^ We’re in pre-production now on three different movies. We have “Doomtown” that we’ve been working on for a while. That’s going to be a big production. We’re waiting on funding for that. That’s the one that we have with Amber Benson (“Buffy”), Reggie Bannister (“Phantasm”), Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, Tom Savini (“Dawn of the Dead”), Jasi Lanier, Greg Nicotero …those are the “big” people . . . and of course, our normal Happy Cloud family. Then we have a really dark, black movie that Mike wrote called “Razor Days” that’s completely different from anything else we’ve ever done because everything else we’ve done has had some kind of humor in it.

That actually answers my next question. So far, you’ve stuck to the horror-comedy subgenre. This will be a real departure for you. ^ “Razor Days” is pretty much what happens to the victims after some terrible thing happens. It’s about the survivors of a cannibal family. Sort of what might have happened to the people who lived through “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” But, it really delves deep into their psyches and there’s a lot of questioning over if this thing really happened or if they’ve just gone insane. It’s very, very dark. It’s really raw compared to everything else we’ve done. We also have another comedy that we may be producing for Troma. We were talking about actually doing a good Troma movie again because there really hasn’t been a “real” Troma movie in the last few years. We’ve been talking with Lloyd (Kaufman) about getting together with him a doing a “good” Troma movie again. So, we’ll see what happens.

For more information about Amy and her upcoming projects and appearances, be sure to check out at her website and at Pretty-Scary.




Posted on May 24, 2005 in Interviews by
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