*With my latest interview, I give you all a special treat. Although, I must say I was flattered that this vixen would let me email her some questions being that I have a “thing” for horror hostesses. Many Philadelphia natives may remember Karen Scioli from her days as Stella on the KYW-TV show “Saturday Night Dead.” The series ran from 1984 to 1990 and featured Karen and her…erm…friends…as she hosted some of the best worst horror films out there.
After the show went off the air, Ms. Scioli enjoyed a wonderful life while engaging in new hobbies and new business prospects. Lately, however, she’s made horror headlines again with her cameo in the upcoming Potent Media picture Apocalypse Kiss. With this announcement and subsequent role having been filmed already, I knew many Tri-Staters would be waiting to hear from this lovely lady again.
So without further ado, here’s my interview with Karen Scioli!
H: Can you introduce yourself to readers?
K: In “real” life I’m just another character. Right now I see myself as “The New Jersey Housewife” without all the glamour and money from the Bravo franchise. But I’ve always considered myself a Philly Girl. Grew up on the streets of Philly and I have always loved the city. But I have to say, I’m lovin’ me some JOISEY! My husband, Rick, of 36 years, is a Philly guy too (Northeast Phillly) and we have embraced the exotic world of Haddon Heights, NJ. I like it. I was able to plant my fig tree, we have a permanent parking spot, life is good.
H: What career would you have pursued had show business not worked out?
K: I can’t imagine not being in show business. I’ve been performing since I was a kid. My sister and I payed our accordions on the Tony Grant Stars of Tomorrow show on Steel Pier in Atlantic City for a couple of summers. But believe it or not, I was an Art History major in college (Temple University). I had romantic dreams of being an Art Restoration Expert. You know, lying on scaffolds in Venice spending years repairing masterpieces – losing my eyesight and living a narrow yet productive life. But then I found out I’d have to become proficient in the German language, so I realized I’d rather be Marlene Dietrich than actually learn the German.
H: How did you get into horror hosting? Were you approached to do “Saturday Night Dead?”
K: I never pictured myself as a Horror Movie Hostess. I was an actress looking for work. I was never approached to do “Saturday Night Dead,” I auditioned. I was living in NYC and doing stand up comedy at the clubs in the city. My BFF from South Philly, Alfina, sent me an article about auditions for a late night horror movie hostess job for a big Philly TV station. So I went! And, lo and behold, out of 150 actors, I got the part. I felt like Vivien Leigh when she won the mass cattle call for the role of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With The Wind.
H: Do you have a favorite episode that you hosted?
K: There were so many amazing moments, it’s really hard to pin point one. Definitely when John Zacherley was a guest on the show. He was a Horror Hosting legend!!! We were all thrilled and humbled to have him as a guest. And he was hilarious. And sexy. I know, I’m still disturbed by that. But I think the whole “mini series” of when Stella did “Lonesome Div” (as in “Diva”), a take-off on the then network airing of the “Lonesome Dove” western. The art department at KYW-TV (Stella’s home network) had as much fun as we did creating a cheap, tacky western set and story line. Can you imagine? A horror host in a crazy, haunted, western setting. I and my incredibly talented cast, Robert Billbrough as my butler “Hives”, Glenn Davish as “Mario AlDente,” the Italian movie director, and the rest of the hilarious actors whom I was fortunate enough to work with (Donna Ryan, Kathy Robinson, Alan Fitzpatrick) had more fun than was probably acceptable and legal. We were insane, had total creative freedom, and were making a little bit of money. Life was good.
H: Now you’re back, with Apocalypse Kiss! How did you get involved with this film?
K: It’s all Roxsy Tyler’s fault, that vixen. I met Roxsy/Carmela at the Cherry Hill horror convention a few years back. I was Stella and she was Roxsy, and she found me at my table and it was love at first sight. Roxsy Tyler is the modern digital version of what I was, the old school horror host on TV. I fell in love with her right away and she became sort of Stella’s adopted horror daughter. At least in my mind. Anyway, after that, history horror was made. Roxsy and Stella became family. Then Karen and Carmela became family. And then we allowed Chris Grillo into the mix (he was there the whole time anyway).
H: Can you tell me about your role in Apocalypse Kiss?
K: I was honored to be asked by the esteemed and talented Christian Jude Grillo, to play a cameo in his movie Apocalypse Kiss. Of course I said yes because Carmela is my adopted daughter. How could I refuse? Besides, I was THRILLED to be part of Chris’ latest project. He’s talented, creative, and I so admire his energy and work ethic. I adore my Director, Mr. Grillo. Let me just state that right off the (vampire) bat. My role? I play the colorful, rich, entitled, obnoxious, mother of a serial killer. I was born for this cameo. I’m hoping to kiss-up to Chris so I can be part of more of his future productions.
H: Do you have a favorite memory from set?
K: Yes I do. Thank you for asking. Chris and his crew came to my house to film my scene. I was treated like a diva, we discussed makeup and wardrobe, lights, line interpretation, and shot the fucker. But my favorite memory from the set was serving Chris and crew lox and bagels. Apparently Chris had never had lox. I told him it was Sushi. And let me say once again, I adore my director, Christian Jude Grillo. Side note – we had so much fun. I miss Carmela and Chris as I type. And that handsome, young techie and editor and genius they brought with them. Oh dear. His name eludes me at the moment. But I love him.
H: Where can fans look for your next? Any more projects on the horizon?
K: I go back and forth between my favorite characters. This seems to be the season for “Rere DiNUcci”, the South Philly hairdresser. I love them all (my characters) and go with the flow. I’m also working on a second episode of “Gothmothers of Transylvania”. So go ahead and visit “Gothmothers of Transylvania” on youtube, and visit and maybe “like” Rere DiNucci on facebook. Life is an on-going project of spreading the fun.
H: Favorite horror film?
K: The film that scared the most shit out of me was The Exorcist. Hands down. BUT!!! I am a huge fan of all the old Universal films, especially The Werewolf. Something so scary and sexy it hit all those odd chords in me as a kid. Please don’t ask me to explain.
*Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Karen! I look forward to meeting you at the premiere of Apocalypse Kiss on October 5!
Here are some links where you can stay up to date on all the happenings of this Horror Host Hall of Famer:
Karen on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0778482/?ref_=tt_cl_t2
Karen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.scioli.7?fref=ts&ref=br_tf
Apocalypse Kiss on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KissTheApocalypse?ref=br_tf
Gothmother’s of Transylvania: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goth-Mothers-of-Transylvania/258233144223071
Rere Dinucci on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RereDinucci
Clip of “Saturday Night Dead”