Quantcast Felissa Rose interview - "Angela" from SLEEPAWAY CAMP

Felissa Rose - Angela
from Sleepaway Camp!!!
Felissa Rose portrayed the first version of Angela, aka the Angel of Death in SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Ever since a reunion with her fellow sleepaway camp alumni, she's back to working on a slew of independent horror projects & she's been spotted around the set of the upcoming 'RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP'. Could this mean the return of the original Angela? We tried our best to find out. Here's the scoop on all the films she's worked on and is set to appear in. Visit: www.Felissa-Rose.com. - by Robg. 8/04
What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre?

I remember seeing the trailers for "MAGIC," and "THE SHINING," and they terrified me.  They scared me so much that it wasn't until years later that I'd be able to sit through these films.  Now, I love them and I've seen practically everything.  I'm officially a horror-aholic.
You started out acting at a fairly young age. How'd you get involved in acting & what were your early experiences like?

I can't remember wanting to do anything else. From when I was about 3 I told my parents that I wanted to sing and dance. They took it seriously and by nine they got me a children's manager. I think it's really hard for a kid because rejection isn't fun, especially when your under the age of ten.  I loved performing so the shows I'd do were a lot of fun, but the professional part was difficult.  I remember crying when I didn't get a part in the movie "Annie."
What were your initial reactions to the script for 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP'?

Cool, I couldn't wait to get to the set and have fun!!  I was thirteen. I wanted to meet boys and get out of school for 2 months.
What do you remember about seeing 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP' for the first time? Was it in a theater with a full audience or a small screening with the cast & crew?

I saw it in a theater with my eighth grade class. The movie theater was packed in my hometown and I think everyone was pretty shocked. I remember closing my eyes as the last shot appeared. I had never seen a penis!
After college, didn't you run a theater produtcion company?  What can you tell us about that?  Were you always interested in acting on stage as well as screen?

I was part of a theater company in NYC which my ex-husband ran and directed.  That was great fun.  We'd perform all over the tri-state area and I loved being on the stage.  There's nothing like the immediate reaction you get from a live audience. 
Jeff from Sleepaway Camp Movies.com was the first person to track you down & interview you since the original 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP' movie came out.  Were you surprised to learn of the films cult following?  What was meeting him like at the beginning?

He blew me away when he told me to check out his website.  I could not believe the interest this little horror movie had generated all these years later.  Jeff became a very dear friend of mine and when I first met him I was like a schoolgirl.  He came to my house with some of his friends and it was the first time in, about 15 years, that I had even given "Sleepaway Camp"  a second thought.  Jeff surprised me with stories about fans he met on the internet and he really gave me a chance to start a film career again.  I owe Jeff a lot of of gratitude and to this day, I feel like he's an angel...or my agent.
You were then brought in for the commentary session for the Anchor Bay DVD release.  What was it like for you, rewatching the film with director Robert Hiltzik and Jeff Hayes?

Pretty surreal. I hadn't watched it in years and it was the first time I was in a room with Robert Hiltzik in 17 years. It was like watching the film for the first time. I just wish I could have remembered more about the filming, but we got through the commentary as best we knew how and the reunion, with Robert, became the highlight for me. That day was really the beginning of my wanting to work on film and in the horror genre especially.  Jeff's enthusiasm sparked my excitment and luckily I got a second chance.

You had mentioned previously that you didn't see the sequels until recently, but you were offered the chance to reprise the role of Angela. Did you ever get to see the scripts from back then? We're curious how much the sequels might have changed since their initial inception.

I never saw the scripts but  the sequels were perfect for the way the genre had changed.  By 1989, the horror genre was more campy and fun so I think parts two and three were done perfectly.  I love the way Angela is portrayed.  I was very curious to see what had happened to the character.  Even though she got rid of her "extra part"  she had the balls I always knew she'd have under that quiet exterior.

Actress Pamela Springstein obviously approached the charcater of Angela completely differently then you did.  How did you feel about her interpretation?  And do you think you would've played Angela differently had you reprised the role for the sequels?

You can't really compare the two Angelas.  They're two totally different scripts.  An actor takes what's on the page and interprets the words as best they can.  Angela was written as an outgoing smart ass.  Pamela was terrific.  I'm sure all those years later it would have been fun for me to finally speak in that role!  I was directed to just sit there with an intense stare so I did the best I could.
You took part in the 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP' reunion at the Fangoria's Weekend Of Horrors convention a few years back. What was it like to be reunited with your cast & crew from 20 years back?

It was so much fun. I really like the whole cast. We had a lot of catching up to do. The whole reunion took me by surprise, especially that there were people in the audience.
What's your fondest memory from that day at the reunion?

All the people who showed up and told us about their first experience watching the film.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and how they knew everything about it, more than I did.
Since that first convention apperance, you've made several more convention stops.  What's the convention experience like for you?

Amazing.  I absolutely love hanging out with everyone and talking about horror movies.  I become fan girl and drift off to get autographs!

Any odd or memorable experiences from the convention curcuit?  Either with a fan or another celebrity?

There are so many but I think it's all the excitment people have for the films.  I loved meeting Brinke Stevens, The Ladies of the Evil Dead, and David Hess.  They're so nice, it makes it a pleasure to work in this genre.
Back at Flashback Weekend convention in chicago, you hosted a screening of the original 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP'. What was it like to see it on the big screen again?  Didn't you bring a childhood friend with you whom had never seen the movie before?

I hate watching myself on screen.  You're right, my best friend John, from high school came with me and he got a kick out of the film. It was like he entered another part of my life. Now he gets excited to hear all the stories because he actually witnessed the convention world. It's pretty trippy.
Dante Tomaselli's 'HORROR' is one of our favorite recent films here at Icons Of Fright.  How'd you get involved in that film?

I got in touch with Dante several years ago and luckily he had heard of "SLEEPAWAY CAMP."  We decided to meet and he gave me the part of the Art Therapist. He's one of my dearest friends now and I want to work with him for as long as he'll have me. 
You've since formed a good friendship with Dante and you're appearing in his upcoming 'SATAN'S PLAYGROUND'. What's the working experience like with him from film to film?

He's intense.  The best director you could ever dream to work with. He's incredibly giving to the actors and makes the set really calming, which is hard to do since what we're filming is traumatic. Dante is so gifted and this film was by far one of the best experiences in my life. I really got to work on a character and give my all in every scene. He knows just how to drive an actor to the darkest places, with tons of compassion. This role is dedicated to my boyfriend that I lost last year, Trevor Goddard, so it was really emotional for me. I worked out a lot of personal issues on this set and I couldn't think of a better group of people to work with. An incredible cast and crew.
What can you tell us about your character in 'SATAN'S PLAYGROUND'? And how does this differ from what we've seen Dante do before?  How does this differ from the other projects you've done?

I could go on for hours with this question so I'll do my best to sum it up. My character, Donna Bruno, is a typical NJ suburbanite who's just going on a little vacation with her family...boy does disaster find them. It's so cold, and dark and torturous. The way this differs from Dante's other films, probably with the story being more fluid. He really tells a tale of fright and heartache for this family in a way that takes us back to the horror days of the late seventies and eighties. I love it because it has the feel of such classics like, Texas Chainsaw, Evil Dead and flicks of that era. He captures the trauma they go through and in his own way, it's stunning to look at. It doesn't have that glossy, CGI look.  It's raw and evil.

You've worked with the Hitchhiker himself, Edwin Neal (of the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE) on a number of pictures now. How'd you two become friends?  Is it true you recommended him for 'SATAN'S PLAYGROUND' when Michael Berryman had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts?

Ed Neal is a great friend of mine.  We met in Kansas while shooting "ZOMBIEGEDDON."  He's such a terrific man, with a hilarious personality.  When Dante found out about the conflict with Michael Berryman he asked what I thought and I didn't have to blink.  I said get Ed Neal if you can, he's fucking amazing.
You had a role in 'CORPSES ARE FOREVER', which also features Linnea Quigley, Brink Stevens and Don Calfa. What can you tell us about that project, and how was your working relationship like with those other fan-favorite actors?

Unfortunately I was only there for a day so I did my role and I left.  (Writer/ director) Jose (Prendes) was great to work with and the film is getting good response.  I think it's coming out soon so I'm excited to see a finished cut.  It's very original and the cast is amazing.
You were in NIKOS with Joe Zaso (whom by the way, was in 'Rage Of The Werewolf', a movie in which at the last minute, I ended up playing a bounty hunter). What can you tell us about Joe and your experience on that film?

Good for you! NIKOS was a bit of a disaster. The budget was low and there was too much to film in such a small amount of time. It's one of those experiences you go into with crossed fingers and hope for the best. I'm glad to have met Joe. He's fantastic to work with. Very sweet and very professional. All I can say is, Thank God for him, or nothing would have gotten done.

What can you tell us about 'ZOMBIEGEDDON', another film with Brink Stevens, Tom Savini, your 'SATAN'S PLAYGROUND' co-star Edwin Neal, Robert Z'Dar and Llyod Kaufman?

That was fun.  Again, I didn't get to work with anyone but Ed Neal but I was excited to hear everyone was in it.  I'll be working with the director, Chris Watson, in September on a film called "Slaughter Party," a real family film.

I know you're sworn to secrecy on the upcoming 'RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP', but as your co-star (I shot a cameo as a camp councler), I think I'm entitled to ask some questions!

This is true...ask away, I'll do my best!

First - When did you know that Robert would make this sequel?  Was it the night of the reunion?

It was Jeff Hayes' idea when he first came out to visit me. He's very ambitious and told Robert to get on it immediately. After several years, the script was done and on to camp we were.

Was it a surreal experience for you to be back at camp during filming for 'RTSC'?

Oh yeah. Totally weird. Even though it's shot at a different camp it felt exactly the same. Too strange for words. I think it's finally sinking in, a year later.

While I was there, I noticed you spending a lot of time watching the original 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP' with a lot of the kids.  What are these new camp kids like? Can "kids STILL be so cruel"?

They're worse. I think through the years the kids are smarter and torture each other much worse. I guess that's why the killings are more severe.
Overall, with Vincent Pastore and Issac Hayes, not to mention the new kids on camp, there's a good solid cast lined up for 'RTSC'. Being on set for most of the shoot, were you happy were the progression of the film & the actor's enthusiasm toward the project?

Yeah, I think the cast is great. Vinnie and Isaac really made the project a hundred times better. They're pros. We learned a lot from them. Everyone seemed enthusiastic, but I spent most of my time with the crew. All the actors were put up in hotels and I stayed on camp with the entire crew. I wanted to do that 22 years ago, so I finally got my chance.
You're involved in the "making-of" feature for 'RTSC' which Jeff from Sleepaway Camp Movies.com is putting together.  How'd that come about?

We wanted to film all the crazy shit that went on. He and I love filming people and taking pictures so it felt right for us to make this memory diary on film.

Although it's still a little while away from completion, how do u feel about 'RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP'? Do you think it turned out the way everyone involved would have hoped it would?

I haven't seen any of it so it's hard to tell. When we were filming it seemed like they got great stuff. Ken Kelsh is the cinematographer and he's a badass. He did The 'Bad Leutienant'.
You hopped onboard a project titled 'DESTINATION FAME', which was written/directed by Paul DeAngelo (Camp Councler Ronnie from 'SLEEPAWAY CAMP ' & 'RTSC').  What was it like to work with Paul again after all these years, and what can you tell us about his upcoming directorial debut?

I did Destination Fame right before RTSC. Paul is the sweetest man and this is a great coming of age story. This film will be released soon and he did an excellent job. 
You're slated to appear in a film called 'A MOTH TO THE FLAME', which sounds very interesting. Phantasm's Reggie Bannister & original Barbera, Judith O'Dea (of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD ) are in it, along with Edwin Neal & Joe Zaso. Anything you can tell us about it so far?

The cast is really great. I love the script so hopefully we'll have a cool film on our hands. I get to produce as well. I love wearing a lot of hats so wish me luck.

What else are you currently working on?  And what else do you have planned for the future?

I'm doing an interview show for a new network called Scream TV. It launches on October 31, 2004. I get to interview horror celebrities. So far we went to Austin, TX for the 30th reunion of Texas Chainsaw and I got to meet all those fans, hang out in the house where they shot it, and interview, Ed, Marilyn Burns, and Gunnar Hansen. I'm really looking forward to this show.  It's what I love, meeting these amazing people and asking them a million questions.
You admit to being a horror fan?  What are some movies you've seen recently that you enjoyed?  Both in the horror genre and in general?

I'm a huge horror fan. I've seen so much recently. Everyday I buy something new.  I just watched The Hitcher, I love C. Thomas Howell,  The Vanishing, Village of the Damned, Don't Go in The Woods, (cheesy but great) and Deliverance (craziness!)  I've mainly been watching horror.  Oh, and I just saw "Open Water,"  very good film but it got better for me at the end....I had no idea what was going to happen.

You played Angela, so technically you're officially a movie maniac.  What is it that scares you?

Water.  Dante's next film is called "THE OCEAN," and that scares me.

Thanks to our buddy Felissa Rose!
Check out Felissa-Rose.com
& Sleepaway Camp Movies.com!!!

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