Continuing on the celebration of Women in Horror Month, I had the opportunity to catch up with everyone’s favorite Female Cenobite from HELLRAISER: Hellbound, Barbie Wilde. We discussed all things horror from her iconic role, women in horror and if she would be getting back to movie making. So, it’s time to open the Leviathan with a visit with Barbie Wilde!
How did playing such an iconic cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II come about?
I was called in for an audition for the part by the Casting Director, Doreen Jones. I think the main reason that they were interested in me was because I was a classically trained mime artist. The received wisdom at the time was that mime artists were perhaps better at enduring the prosthetic makeup process than regular actors. Also, the emphasis on the roles of the Cenobites was possibly more on their presence and movements than the lines they were saying, so having some kind of physical training would be an advantage
By the way, I nearly didn’t go to the audition because the first Hellraiser film disturbed me so much! (Although I did find it very intriguing.) In the end, I did go, of course, and got the part.
As a writer to various horror anthologies such as The Mammoth Book of Body Horror and Hellbound Hearts, as well as your collection of short horror stories, Voices of the Damned, how was the transition from short stories to a full length novel?
Strangely enough, I’d finished the first draft of my debut novel, The Venus Complex, before I wrote my first short horror story. It just took me a while to find a publisher that understood me. (Thank you, Comet Press!)
However, in the end, the way everything came about was perfect. My first short horror stories such as “Sister Cilice” (for Hellbound Hearts), “Gaia” (AKA “Uranophobia” for Phobophobia) and “Polyp” (for The Mammoth Book of Body Horror) got published and received great reviews. A friend in the music business made the analogy that I was releasing “singles” before the “album” came out. The short stories upped my profile as a writer, which made it easier to get reviews once The Venus Complex was published.
Your book The Venus Complex is a twisted macabre story told through the mind of a serial killer. What influenced this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers, because I’m the exact opposite. I’m very empathic and sometimes I just care too much; worry too much. The idea of someone who has no empathy whatsoever for their fellow humans is a fascinating one. I read a lot of books on the subject, such as Order of the Assassins: The Psychology of Murder and The Criminal History of Mankind, both by Colin Wilson. Since I was interested in exploring the motivations and sexual mindscape of a serial killer, I interviewed a NY City homicide detective who had just finished investigating a serial killer case, as well as therapists and forensic psychologists.
Also, a friend of mine, who was a professional dominatrix, once confessed to me that her greatest sexual fantasy was to sleep with a serial killer — and survive, I presume! That statement started a train of thought that ended up with The Venus Complex.
Having worked in front and behind the camera do you have any plans of returning to either of them?
I don’t think any actor really likes the idea of retiring, however, sometimes acting does “leave you behind”, as thespians say. (This is a nice way of saying that one is too old for the game!) And Tina Fey has said that once an actress gets to the age of 40, she disappears, which is an unfortunate fact of life in the business. If the right part came along, then of course, I’d love to do it. However, the idea of writing and directing is more interesting for me now.
How have you seen the role of women in horror change throughout the years?
Absolutely! I’ve noticed that a lot more kick-ass women are moving into writing and directing, which is brilliant. Folks like the Soska Sisters, Jovanka Vuckovic, Izzy Lee, Jill Gevargizian, Jessica Cameron, Lisa Ovies, Chelsea Burdon, Katie Bonham, Gigi Saul Guerrero, and more are following in the footsteps of Mary Harron and Kathryn Bigelow.
If money were no object, what kind of dream horror project would you like to do?
I’d love to see my crazy roller coaster of a gore-drenched zombie movie, Zulu Zombies, produced by Hammer Horror.
You will be attending the Dublin Screamvention con in February so, what is up next for you?
I’m really looking forward to Screamvention and hooking up with my fellow Cenobites, Simon Bamford and Nicholas Vince. I’m finishing off the Zulu Zombies screenplay, as well as expanding my outrageous vampire short horror story, “Valeska”, into a novel.