Gasoline, Shotguns and Death: Debbie Rochon Lifts the Crinoline Veil On Tommy Faircloth’s Dollface (AKA Crinoline Head 2: Dorchester’s Revenge)
“Almost 20 years after the original Crinoline Head was released, writer and director Tommy Faircloth has brought you a new chapter in the Crinoline Head saga! This new film is a prequel and sequel to the cult classic film, Crinoline Head. Never saw the first one? No prob. You can still watch this new chapter of Dorchester Stewart and get the full story. But after you see it, you will more than likely want to check out the original. Since its world premiere in Austin, Texas in September, Dorchester’s Revenge has been touring the country at various film festivals and will continue to play festivals and horror conventions into late 2015.”*
Paul Donner (Jason Vail), a history professor at the university he once attended, assigns a research project on local legends to his students as part of a mid-term assignment. When they discover he was once almost killed by the infamous serial killer Dorchester Stewart, aka Crinoline Head, the students decide to embark out on a weekend to find the killer’s old house. They were looking for answers but discover something more terrifying. Also starring Scream Queen horror legend Debbie Rochon, Dorchester’s Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head is the prequel/sequel to the cult classic Crinoline Head written and directed by Tommy Faircloth.
1. Almost 20 years after he made and released the horror/comedy cult classic Crinoline Head (1995), Tommy Faircloth brings Dorchester Stewart back to the screen in Dollface (aka Crinoline Head 2: Dorchester’s Revenge). The original is thought of in many circles as a parody of the 80’s slasher genre with high elements of horror and comedy and the sequel certain follows in its footsteps. What are your thoughts on the original film and how do you think that Dollface adds to the original cannon that Tommy came up with all of those years ago?
DR: I just recently watched the original movie although I had heard about it when it originally came out. I think it’s one of the most fun 90’s horror-comedies in the indie scene. Great kills, fun characters, good premise. The sequel Dollface will not disappoint as a sequel because Tommy didn’t rehash the same jokes or theme. We have the same killer but it really does take place 20 years later with the survivor of the original now a teacher of the students who go and ‘dig up’ Dollface from his stomping grounds. The characters once again are memorable and the kills are original. That’s what makes a movie like this so much fun. It’s not simply the killer who tortures and wastes teens but a slew of memorable characters that make it a rewatchable movie. This is the true essence of an 80’s throwback film. People often forget to add the crazy characters to slasher films thinking that simply graphically killing folks is entertainment enough. We want to see freaky, off-beat, humorous people get caught up in the blood shed!
2. With over 240 screen credits to your name as an actress and widely being recognized as Scream Queen royalty, you have set the standard for toughness and grace when it comes to women in horror films and you certainly have your choice of projects in the genre. At what point were you approached by Tommy about playing the role of Betsy and what did you find to be the the most appealing aspect about the script/project that drew you to it?
DR: Tommy contacted me early on in the pre-production process. He had worked on a couple films I did in the 90’s in South Carolina; Hellbock 13 and Head Cheerleader, Dead Cheerleader. He offered me the part of Betsy, the crazy redneck groundskeeper which was fantastic. I love doing different characters and this was one hell of a fun one to play. He let me go all out and create a pretty messed up gas-huffing, over- sexed older broad in the woods. I am very glad he contacted me for it because it was just too much fun and I loved the people I was working with. I went ape-shit with my improvisation. I imagine he has hours of footage of me doing and saying things that were just to bizarre to use in the film. I appreciate him letting me play though, I love when the reigns are off.
3. Your role of Betsy is a colorful character to say the least. With a wide spectrum of elements that comprise your character that includes being a foul mouthed, gun toting, gas huffing, coke sniffing and overly sexualized groundskeeper, you certainly hit on several emotional levels in the film. Was the character originally written that way specifically, did Tommy allow for you to make the character more your own and what was your favorite aspect of bringing the character of to life on the screen?
DR: Tommy had Betsy written as a pretty wild trailer trash broad. I took this great character he had written and just took off the judgments and self-editing and went for it in a big way. I know it was over-the-top but I also know who she was within the script and that’s what it called for. You have to let it ALL hang out in a role like this! Otherwise it doesn’t work, they will do the tweaking in the edit room, my job was to be as outrageous, with a certain amount of grounding, as I could be. When I do roles that are anything like this I call it “Doing the Spinell” as in Joe Spinell. That says to me, no judgements about what you look like, act like, you let it all hang out baby! The only way to serve the film properly.
4. One of the many things people hone in on in horror films is the acting, in particular the acting of the actresses. Leah Wiseman, Elizabeth Mears, Kirsten Ray, Morgan Monnig and Suzie Haines all gave amazing performances and made you feel what you were supposed to about each of their characters. Over the years, you have certainly worked with a who’s who in terms of actresses, but can you tell us what it was like working with this amazing group of women and what (if any) knowledge do you try and share with new actresses that you work with?
DR: They were amazing. And what makes them even more amazing than they seem in the movie is that when you meet them off the set and see just how not like their characters they really are. True actresses! I never tell anyone what to do as that’s the director’s job and vision. But what can happen when people see you work they can become inspired, just as people inspire me on set, and they let go and dig in even deeper. Inspiration goes both ways and I think we had that going on a lot on set. Very satisfying.
5. Former pro wrestler turned actor John Kap is the man that has slipped into the mask as Dorchester Stewart for Dollface. A massive physical specimen, his physical stature certainly leads to an intimidating presence on the screen and it certainly translates well when seeing him have interaction with the other actors. What can you tell us about working on set with John and how would you compare his acting as Dorchester compared to some of the other actors that have played killers in some of your other films?
DR: The qualities of John that I loved and respected started with his patience. He sat around in unbearable heat in his costume without one single complaint. Another is that he is a very kind actor. He will compliment you on what worked in the scene you did together and not just have the “me, me, me” attitude. That’s very refreshing. He was a perfect choice for the role. So easy to work with and yes he is a humongous man! He was only interested in getting it right. He didn’t talk in- between every single take about another project or something unrelated to the scene which can really take you out of the moment.
6. The film has been making the rounds at film festivals and convention all around the country to much fanfare. Having been to many conventions over the years, you are always a draw no matter where you go, with people lining up for hours just to get a photo or an autograph from you. How much would you say showing films like Dollface is a critical component to getting distribution and press from the media (as compared to the earlier films in your career) and what has critical response from fans and convention goers been like?
DR: People are seriously digging the movie! I am so happy about that because it’s the kind of movie I like! Screening movies and trying to get a buzz going is pretty important now. Before low budget horror movies really had any festivals or were screened at conventions it was all about the distribution company getting the word out. But there were a lot more outlets to get the movies into; rental stores, sell-through stores etc. Now with everything ending up on Amazon and VOD, with a few getting limited theatrical or a brief stay on a Walmart shelf, the festivals and conventions are the only way for a filmmaker to really enjoy their movie with an audience, hopefully have some satisfaction from that and get the buzz going. Movies that don’t get that opportunity and just end up solely on Amazon are subject to the vast amount of anonymous haters that like to stomp their feet and cry about everything. There are some nice comments to be read there but I think people who live in negativity tend to have the energy to lash out and write something horrible hoping that it will hurt someone verses the person who gets the movie, enjoys it a lot but is not compelled to run to the internet to share it.
7. Being no stranger to winning awards yourself, Dollface has been racking up the nominations and wins at film festivals, including being nominated for Best Feature Film and winning Best Horror Film at the 2014 Austin Indie Flix Showcase, nominations for Best Soundtrack and Best Cinematography at the 2014 Macabre Film Festival and winning Best Villian (John Kap) and Best Indie Horror Film in the Best of 2014 Horror Society Awards. When you see films like this win so many awards, does it bother you that it has not picked up a wider distribution in theaters and how much do you think winning awards helps not only the films, but the cast and crew as they go on to work on other projects?
DR: I think awards are nice for the filmmakers because of the amount of work that goes into a film. A person can spend 3 years on a movie like I did with my directorial debut Model Hunger so it’s a very important, huge part of their life. An award is like someone is saying they really like your child. The most important thing though, is if you are happy with it but it’s pretty incredible if other people get it too. I think Dollface really deserves the accolades it has received because the care and work that was put into it and it’s a feel-good horror-comedy. I am not sure if it ends up affecting distribution unless it’s one of the top tier festivals but it’s encouragement for the filmmakers and actors. It’s near impossible to make money in the low budget indie world so it’s nice to have this type of acknowledgement for the people who work so hard in the genre.
8. Crowd funding has become a huge part of indie film making and Dollface was no exception. So many indie horror films are made with the love and contributions of genre fans that can receive some amazing perks ranging from props to roles in the film. What are your thoughts on how fund-raising has changed the face of indie horror films and what are your thoughts on bigger name directors and producers using it to make their films?
DR: I think crowd funding is a mixed bag. In the case of Dollface it worked very well because people knew Tommy was the real deal and they felt confident in giving some money to see something made that they will like. I think it also has been played out to a great extent because of the volume of people asking everyone for money. Especially when you factor in all the projects that have asked for money then the films were never made. With Kickstarter they get their money back if the goal isn’t reached but with other sites that’s not the case. With the bigger name directors asking for money to get their projects done it confirms that Hollywood doesn’t want to take a chance on different material or very original material. So it’s a good way to allow directors to make the kind of movie they want, and the type of films viewers want to see. I do think people are pretty tapped out and tired of being asked for money for the most part. At the end of the day the most successful campaigns are the ones that end up being funded by friends and relatives for the indie filmmaker.
9. I highly enjoyed Dollface and think that genre audiences will continue to do so as well. While audiences can continue to catch it at conventions and pick it up DVD and On Demand very shortly, the work continues for you. You have a wealth of projects coming up and films that are being released. Are there any projects that you would like to tell everyone about and is there still a dream project that you would want to act/direct/ produce in the future?
DR: Well I hope everyone checks out Dollface, I know they will enjoy it! I hope people also check out my directorial debut Model Hunger, I would love to see the movie find it’s audience. It’s playing at a lot of film festivals through the New Year and will be released in spring 2016. I have a couple of projects that I would like to direct so we’ll see if the financing comes through for one of those. Fingers crossed.