This week ECHG writer Adam Holtzapfel had a chance to chat with actress/filmmaker Deborah Voorhees, best known for her role as Tina in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.
Adam Holtzapfel – Prior to your roles in Dallas, Innocent Prey, and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, you had worked for Playboy. Was it hard to transition to acting from being a bunny?
Deborah Voorhees – Going from being a Playboy Bunny to an actress was actually easy. Both required acting. No matter how bad you felt you had to play your part. The other aspect is both Friday the 13th and the bunny suit involve torture. The bunny suit was so tight that when you sneeze only a squeak comes out. To be comfortable at work, you had to eat AFTER the suit was on, otherwise the suit was too tight. So without the suit you might be able to eat a whole hamburger, but with it on only a quarter. It could be a great weight loss program. The heels were SOOOO uncomfortable. It was really hard to walk around in them all night. Your feet hurt so bad at the end of the night.
In Friday the 13th, the torture began with the blood in the eyes. The blood seeped through the eye lids and burned.
All joking aside, both experiences were amazing. I am so blessed to have been a part of two American iconic institutions, actually THREE! The TV show Dallas was another one. Larry Hagman always made me smile when I came on set. He’d sing the Peggy Sue song only with Debbie Sue instead.
AH – After Riptide, you had left the film industry and focused on journalism. In 2014 you returned as a director with Billy Shakespeare. What drove you back to the film industry?
DV – I actually began teaching after journalism. I had wanted to give back to students out of respect and love for my professors and teachers along the way. My speciality was British Literature and journalism, but I also taught American literature and writing. But the school boards at two high schools in Texas and New Mexico threw me out because of my nude scene in Friday the 13th. At first, it was very painful to leave teaching. It was one of the most under-appreciated jobs and incredibly difficult. The administration, the government, the parents, the students were often a HUGE pain, but I still LOVED teaching my kids. Each child that has ever been in my classroom, I still view as my kids. LOVE THEM ALL. But as difficult as it was, it was the BEST thing that could have happened to me because I decided to go back into the film industry.
Why? I am very creative. I am a natural born storyteller, and I wanted to go back to an industry that isn’t so filled with judgmental people. I never have and never will apologize for being in Friday the 13th. I loved every minute of it. I love my fans. The bastards who have suggested that I made a “mistake” can eat my dust. I actually had ministers on the pulpit calling for my removal and accusing me of being a Satanist for being in the film. One of my students brought me a card to help “save” my soul. I wasn’t mad at him about it. I thought it was sweet. He really liked me and was worried about my soul. I don’t personally believe in damnation, but I knew his actions were based on being kind; whereas, some of the adults were based on being ugly and judgmental.
AH – For your new film The List, you’re running a best kill campaign. How creative have some of the submissions been?
DV – Yes, we are having a Best Kill competition and A Chance to Be Murdered In My Horror Movie drawing. The winner will be flown out and put up and spend the day with us on set before our wonderful Sally offs him/her. Promise to send them home semi safely, except for the addition of a few nightmares…
The Best Kill competition is a blind submission, meaning that I and my judges will chose the winners without knowing who submitted the work. So right now, I haven’t seen any. My assistant is organizing them, so I can see them without names attached. BUT YES, my assistant says we have some super good ones. I am so excited to see them.
I have three amazing judges that I am super excited to announce:
Victor Miller, writer of the original Friday the 13th
Sonya Thompson from The Walking Dead
Tamara Glynn from Halloween V
AH – Speaking of appearances, will you be appearing at any conventions during the rest of 2017 going into 2018?
DV – I am tentatively scheduled in November, but it hasn’t been announced so I can’t say yet.
AH – Will you be doing crowdfunding for The List? Has a release date been set for the film?
DV – Yes! I still have a few more pieces of the puzzle before I announce production dates, so release dates are yet to come. I am raising funding at the moment. Anyone wanting to invest can contact me at email@example.com.
The List is a horror comedy that focuses on an anti-hero Sally, a serial-killing socialite. The idea sprang from a dark comedy that I filmed called Catching Up, written by a brilliant New York playwright Tom Sime. His dialogue is wickedly dark. Still Sally wasn’t fully formed until my lead female Molly Wickwire-Sante took the character to an entirely new place, creating a dark, twisted Sally that just begged to continue on as a serial killer.
I didn’t see it initially, that is until after I played the film at Texas Frightmare. The horror fans really embraced Sally’s dark side. That’s when I knew she had to move into an entirely different direction and become a full-blown serial killer. That’s where the idea for The List was born.
AH – After The List, what can fans expect to see as your next project?
DV – Good question. I have several on my roster: a slasher film, a ghost story, a western, a drama, a family sci-fi, two romantic comedies …
AH – Recently, you participated in a Facebook Q & A in Club Voorhees, what was that experience like for you?
DV – It was a blast to visit and chat with horror fans. They are always so nice and generous with their time. My fingers were exhausted, though!
AH – Do you have any stories from your time on the set of Friday The 13th: A New Beginning?
DV – Working on Friday The 13th, V was a wonderful experience. There were so many experiences to share. I guess I will share the one about the kill itself. It took about 3 hours to put the mask over the eyes. It takes a lot of time to make it look real when you’re shooting a close up for film. In film you can see every detail. On stage, the process can be so much faster because the audience can’t see as much detail.
The hardest part was once they put the blood in the eyes. It seeped through the lids and burned. Shooting the scene wasn’t quick either, so the burning kept going for a long time. It really hurt. It was also intimidating being nude and blind, but Danny (Steinmann) was very kind and made sure I knew what was going on around me. He also was careful to take my hand and lead me where I needed to go rather than to just have a random person on set moving me from place to place. He was careful to talk to me to make sure I didn’t trip or anything, too.
The VERY best part of Friday the 13th is the fans. Please join me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/OfficialDeborahVoorheesFanPage/.