Interview : Karen Black


She may have starred in a wide variety of movies including "Easy Rider" and "Capricorn One", but to a legion of Horror Fans out there, actress Karen Black is simply the queen of anything slash and dash. CLINT MORRIS talks to her about her latest addition to the genre, "House of 1000 Corpses".

Karen, what attracted you to "House of 1000 Corpses"?
When I first received the script, I was honored that Rob Zombie had thought of me. There’s no question that a lot of what you hear now is Zombie imitation; he revived and invented some of the sound of music for all of us. But I didn’t really read the script, I scanned it. And since I had pretty much dropped doing the genre, didn’t pay much attention to it. Then my agent Gabrielle Alabashi, convinced me to give it a thorough read. Once done I was rethinking the script, when the Academy Awards ,three years ago, Rob saw me on tv on the red carpet and thought me beautiful. He changed the character from a happy go lucky Oakie with a large family, but a happy go lucky nymphomaniac Oakie with a large family. Well, I couldn’t resist. It was a wonderful character and the movie was so one of a kind on thorough read, that I had to do the part.

How was Rob as a Director?
Rob is a terrific director. It is a tremendous gift that he has and an enduring talent in this area of the arts. No one will let him stop once they have seen the amazing talent expressed in this, his first film.

How does one psyche themselves up for such a part?
I don’t know but that "psyche oneself up" is yet another idiotic psych term such as "workaholic" for people who have the brilliant attributes of some of us humans and love what they do, or "disorder" which can be attached to absolutely any kind of behaviour known to man and then the person can be drugged and billed for those drugs.

Anything that was cut? that might appear on the DVD?

And any talk ofa sequel?
I think there is some talk of that, Clint. However, as an actress I don’t feel its my prerogative to get into that subject much. That’s more a producer’s area.

Have you been offered any other horror movies as a result of this movie?
Yes, plenty. I just have to turn them down.

One of your biggest moments is "Easy Rider". They’ve always talked about a sequel to that – what do you think?
I think "Easy Rider" was a brilliant and faithful recording of a moment in time. The movie stands as not only an arresting entertainment, but more importantly, Dennis Hopper, genius that he is, let the country know what was going on and produced a tremendous and accurate mirror of those times. "Easy Rider" belongs in the early seventies. I can’t see it as something that can be separated from its own era.

Are there any of your films you wish you ‘hadn’t done?
I wish with all my heart that I had never done "Day of the Locust". Consider the title.

Can you tell me a bit about your new movie "Firecracker"?
I am quite excited to be working with Steve Balderson, an amazingly committed and energized director/writer.
The movie is a true story about a small town in Kansas, so it is right "up my alley" because it is slice of life, my favorite genre. I am also proud of the fact that I play two very different women in the piece: a beautiful freak in the circus that comes to town (who sings enchanting French songs in her part of the Circus show) and a townsperson, not in the least glamorous nor unusual.

And what’s next?
I am playing Mrs. Young in an updated version of Dosteyevski’s "The Idiot". I love the part, a comfortable upper class woman of warmth and inclusiveness. I am producing "Ex Miss Copper Queen on a Set of Pills", obie award winning author Terry Megan’s wonderful play about homeless women. I have gotten Amanda Plummer to play my homeless cohort. The play will be made into a movie later this year. "Max and Grace" is coming out – I play Natasha Lyonne’s mother in the winsome screenplay. It also stars Roseanna Arquette. I am doing my one woman show at MassMocha December twelfth, and intend to do it as well upstate New York at the River Theatre

Read Our Review of "House of 1000 Corpses"