*Return of the Living Dead – a highly regarded cult classic that took the #4 spot at the box office during its opening week in August of 1985. While only somewhat canonical to George A. Romero’s “Living Dead” series, Return of the Living Dead was the kickstart of its own franchise which originally ran from 1985 to 1993 and was reanimated again in 2005 with two direct-to-DVD sequels. As with most series with more than two entries, the first installment always stacks up as the best and when examining Return of the Living Dead there’s a ton of fond memories for horror fans recalling their previous viewings. The skinless and scalpy zombie, that explosive ending and, of course, the beauty that is Beverly Randolph.
Playing the role of Tina, Beverly Randolph’s character experiences a series of horrifying events and personal growth and turmoil as she and her friends flee the zombie outbreak in a small town as the result of a toxic gas leak. Randolph perfectly plays the quasi-damsel in distress with her good looks, vibrant personality and formidable acting chops. To say she won the hearts of horror fans worldwide is an understatement and then she broke those hearts by leaving the entertainment industry behind for two decades! Thankfully, Beverly returned in 2011 with a slew of new projects, most of which we discuss in my interview with her.
Find it below!
H: You kind of came out of the womb with a script in your hand, seeing how you appeared as a baby in the Oscar Nominated western Shenandoah when you were less than a year old. How has growing up around the film and television industry shaped the woman you are today?
B: I think it’s made me less impressed by celebrities and perhaps given me more respect for some. Growing up with family in the film industry, you hear everything about everyone, the real stories. It has shown me that you’d better be nice to everyone, too. I know that the receptionist in the casting office has the ear of the casting director and producers – that one person can make or break your career. The woman helping you at the perfume counter could quite possibly be married to a producer – you think you are better than her? Wait until you audition for a role of his and his wife is watching the casting tapes. The road rage you get with a particular driver? The director on the commercial you just arrived to do. Be nice, you aren’t better than everyone else! Most people in this town think they are…better than everyone else!
H: Most people will instantly recognize you for your co-starring role as Tina in Return of the Living Dead. How do you feel now, over thirty years later, with this being your biggest claim to fame?
B: Works for me! I love having that to talk about every now and then. My life has been really, really great. I have been fortunate enough to marry a great guy (28 years this month). I have been able to travel with him and our child and be a stay at home mother which I feel is so important. I see the nannies watching the kids or watch my neighbors leaving to take their kids to daycare to go to work and I just can’t fathom it, it breaks my heart. So to answer your question, I’ll take that as my biggest claim to fame because the rest has been far more important.
H: With remakes being the unfortunate trend in horror these days, how would you feel if Return of the Living Dead were to ever receive a remake and who would you want to play you?
B: My husband and I have been working on the rights for a sequel to Return of the Living Dead. The rights are a mess. He has spoken to MGM Legal and they have stated that they would never allow a remake. Hypothetically speaking, if there was a remake, I would hope that she be an unknown actress that could really cry. I just don’t know enough young actresses today to choose one.
H: Right after Return of the Living Dead hit theaters, you took a long break from acting to pursue other interests, from what I heard piloting being one of them. Tell me about some of those interests and hobbies that you enjoy so much.
B: I love flying my own plane, I have control issues! Getting on a commercial flight usually makes me nervous. I would never say I am a better pilot than them, it would simply be untrue…just a control issue. Other than that, I don’t have any hardcore hobbies. I do the normal things like cooking, reading and having dinner parties, I love having dinner parties, but we are under construction right now so that is difficult! So much dirt everywhere… lol. I do love construction, too.
H: You returned to horror as an executive producer in 2011 with More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead, a highly cherished and critically acclaimed retrospective documentary on the franchise that made you a star. How did it feel revisiting these memories and old friends so many years later?
B: Well, we actually have been in touch with each other for quite awhile. Most of us live in the same town so we bump into each other. We’ve been doing conventions and appearances for about 10 years or more now so, we travel a lot together. Our Q & A’s can be quite interesting! Don [Calfra] likes to call me and talk about movies and cooking. It’s fun to relive and reminisce. It’s also interesting how we all have a different perspective of what we did and what happened. I do love the documentary, it really sums us and the film up very well.
H: What have you been up to since returning to the horror genre as a producer and picking up with your acting career, too?
B: I have actually done a few projects [since then]. I co-starred in a film called No Visitors that hasn’t been released yet. I played Eric Roberts wife and his nurse. We are a not-so-nice family that does bad things to visitors! Brian (Scuz) Peck and I had zombie parent roles in Freaks of Nature. Tony Gardner, master of make-up, was working on that film and knew the director was a big Return of the Living Dead fan and asked if he’d like us to play the zombie parents! That was a lot of fun. I just had a small part in Death House, directed by Harrison Smith and produced by Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp. And, I am hopefully going to get to be in The Survivors, written by William Butler.
H: In August you’ll be one of the featured guests at Monster Mania Con in New Jersey. How excited are you to get out there and meet & greet with your fans again? What are you looking forward to the most from this event?
B: I’ve been to Monster Mania before and it is a great convention! Dave Hagen has a terrific show. I LOVE meeting our fan/friends! I already know so many of them through Facebook and it’s kind of like home week(end) when I go. I am very excited to go and see everyone. I am looking forward to the parties they have! I am off the clock then so I can relax and have fun. I must say, I do love the people watching and the costumes that people show up in!
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Beverly! See you at Monster Mania Con!
*Mrs. Randolph has also recently played a supporting role in Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween. You can purchase that and see her in action by clicking here. Tickets to Monster Mania are available in advance online, get yours here. Come on out and show her some love! And, Beverly is very active on social media; make sure you follow her on Facebook and Twitter for personal insights, career updates and information on her next appearances!