Barbara Crampton (ex-Leanna, The Young and the Restless; ex-Mindy, Guiding Light; ex-Maggie, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-Trista, Days of Our Lives; ex-Paula, Santa Barbara) has been a mainstay in the soap opera and horror film genres for decades.
In a chat with Consequence of Sound during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crampton discussed horror after lockdown, gross special effects, and genre representation.
She just wrapped a project before COVID lockdown ensued. She opened up:
I also just wrapped production on a movie that I produced called Jakob’s Wife. It’s something I’ve had in development for years, and we finally got the financing for it and got a director. We were able to secure a location in Mississippi, and we shot it in February.
I came down with the virus — or what I think was the virus — on January 10th, and then I was sick for three weeks, so I couldn’t be there for pre production. But I flew in about six days before we started filming. We filmed the whole month of February and then we wrapped on February 29th. On March 3rd, we all flew home, and by March 8th, we had the lockdown in California.
We got that movie in under the wire. Now, we’re in post and I’m looking at the footage. The director’s making a preliminary assembly and cut of the movie before we bring an editor in, and so we’re looking at all of that and talking to different people about different aspects of post production.
So, I have a lot to work on that’s gonna keep me busy.
How will the pandemic affect horror creators? She mused:
I do think that people are starting to make little content at home right. I’m even doing little Facebook and Instagram videos that I hadn’t really done before. So, I’m getting a little bit more creative, but Mike Mendez actually wrote a little thing for himself. He directed it, designed it, and brought in Guillermo del Toro as a character. His mouth is moving from a picture on this little robot, and it was hilarious and so great and so creative. I also saw another filmmaker say he was going to make a whole movie from his house. Maybe have one or two friends come over and stand far part. [Laughs.]
She loves special effects like the best of us, dishing on icky stuff in From Beyond:
But there was a lot of gelatinous fake flesh from the notorious monster being thrown around — and it was disgusting, and I was next to it all the time. But, you know, I saw the latex, I saw the pain, I saw the methyl cellulose that we used as the gelatin over the actual special effects makeup to make it look even more juicy. And I knew what that was. Methyl cellulose is a food thickener. They used to use it in McDonald’s milkshakes back then. I don’t know if they still use it today. They probably don’t. But it’s a clear, cold jelly, and it was on everything. It was on the monster. It was on my clothes. It was on my face. It was on objects when we went into the beyond. It was everywhere. But I saw it for what it was: It was makeup.
So, my own films don’t give me pause and make me disgusted to a certain degree because I’m fascinated by the process and I love special effects makeup. When I’m watching it, though, I’m a good audience and I get as scared as the next person, and turned off, and disgusted, and titillated by it, too — you know, just like the best horror fans!
Discussing female representation in horror, Crampton shared:
The more things get better, the more they stay the same. Cliches are cliches for a reason. I do think that there’s more of an emphasis put on the fact that women are missing these potentially iconic villain roles. [In Fangoria], I talked about Jennifer Tilly as the character of Tiffany. She’s held in high regard and has continued on in that franchise. But, you know, we don’t have that many women that we can look back on. [In the article], I talked about the inner workings of women and how they’re different than men and how you could see a male figure acting more out of violence and power. But women have a lot to be angry about and, you know, we could be villains. We see them on Fox News. Every night.
But, at the same time, we were always going to have to fight the battle — and we’re never going to give up. I’m doing my part on my end to try to bring women to the forefront in those kinds of roles in my producing roles. For instance, there are some villains coming up in a couple of movies that I’m involved in that have very strong, villainous female roles. I can’t really say what they are right now because I’d be spoiling things for you, but you’ll see this coming up very soon. Because I was given an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, I’ve helped create a couple of those recently.