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Interview with Debbie Rochon, Star of American Nightmare

Interview conducted via e-mail by Michael Scrutchin

For some, Debbie Rochon needs no introduction. She has attained quite a fan base up this point in her career, appearing in over 70 movies, most of which are of the B-movie and low-budget horror variety. This month will see the release of two very different films starring Debbie Rochon: Witchouse 3: Demon Fire, from director J.R. Bookwalter, and American Nightmare from first-time filmmaker Jon Keeyes. The latter film finds her in a role that inspired popular B-movie critic Joe Bob Briggs to rave that Rochon may be "the first convincing female psycho."

What led you to become an actress?

I was an extra for three months on Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains at age 11 and got the bug then. I have been studying and working ever since!

Aside from Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre, what are some of your favorites among the films you've been in?

ROFL. Well, Sandy Hook was a highlight but after that film I would have to say hands down American Nightmare because I had lotsa prep time and the shoot was not very rushed. It was a role I had wanted to play for a very long time and Jon Keeyes made it possible for me. I just loved living as Jane for three weeks in Texas! I also enjoyed making Witchouse 3 with J.R. Bookwalter even though the shooting schedule was very short: eight days. Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots allowed me to really test my comedic abilities and Paul Scrabo was a wonderful director. I really enjoyed getting into my ape role for Play-Mate of the Apes too; it's a silly spoof but I played my role pretty straight and really wanted to do it. The Bog People was cool too, I got to play a villain again in that flick. I love villains!

As one of the most popular and prolific actresses currently working in B-movies and micro-budget cinema, would you like to cross over into bigger budget Hollywood films at some point?

Sure I would. The money is the biggest incentive. I think the roles are better in the small budget world but if I could get a cool role I would love it immensely! There are some really amazing directors out there and to work on a movie that isn't rushed I think I could do much better work.

How do you pick your roles? Are there films you do just to get a paycheck, or do you look for something specific in each project?

Both. I work as an actress for a living but I try to do things that challenge me on some level. I have done my best to play each character totally differently because that's the joy I get from being in this business. My dream would be to be totally unrecognizable from role to role. I try my best to do that.

You're in the additional footage shot for Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition. This modifying of a classic inspires a lot of negative reactions from fans of the film. How do you feel about it?

I think they have every right to their opinion. But if asked to do it again tomorrow knowing what I know I would still say yes. It's one of my fave films and it was very cool to be cut into it. I had a lot of fun on set! Folks who get really bent out of shape over this sort of thing should ask themselves this: If you were asked to be cut into your fave film, would you say no? Personally, I'm gearing up for The Road Warrior: 30th Anniversary Edition!

Your performance in American Nightmare blew me away. I heard that you remained in character even when you weren't shooting. How did director Jon Keeyes and the other actors react to this?

They respected my space and I will always be grateful for that. It enabled me to do my job to my best ability. It freaked a couple of the cast members out but I was there to do a job and to do the movie justice and if I didn't make friendships at the same time I wasn't concerned. I thought in the long run they would be happier if the film came off the best it could as opposed to me being super friendly during the three weeks I was there.

Why do you think there are so few female serial killers in movies? Is it because audiences might have trouble taking them seriously?

Well, there are very few in real life. It is also very unglamorous to play a true psycho. Some Hollywood actresses wouldn't want that type of role. A lot of women in real life are not in touch with their rage I think, we're told to hide our aggressive behavior. Male writers just may not know how to write convincing female killer roles. They feel more comfortable if we are sexy while we're killing men and Jon and I felt Jane should be very unsexy. It's far more disturbing that way. Seeing you know who the killer is during the whole film, the film had to rely on her believability and that's what I focused on.

You also recently appeared in J.R. Bookwalter's Witchouse 3: Demon Fire alongside Tina Krause, Tanya Dempsey, and Brinke Stevens. Did seeing J.R. Bookwalter's masterpiece Robot Ninja have any influence on your decision to star in the film? If not, what drew you to that one?

Without a doubt. Seeing Robot Ninja I knew this was the only filmmaker who could make Witchouse 3! I think my character in this movie was very cool, tough but with a dark side, many layers. That's what I love. I enjoyed the script and thought it would be fun to work with these folks and I did have a very good time!

At one point, rumors were running rampant that you and director J.R. Bookwalter were going to team up again on Sandy Hook Robot Ninja Lingerie Party Massacre. What's the deal?

Actually New Line Cinema optioned the title and script so I'm out of the loop. But rest assured I will be sending them a summons to appear in court! Can you say Intellectual Property?

And, finally, what's up next for Debbie Rochon?

Many various film projects! Which include They're Here to Help co-starring Brinke Stevens, Death Island directed by Tom Savini, and Dry Rot, among other cool flicks! David Barton's Dead & Rotting will be coming out soon, as will The Bog People. Folks should keep abreast of things at of course! Could there be an American Nightmare Part 2 in the future? My lips are sealed.

Article published 01.22.2002.

Read our interviews with Jon Keeyes and J.R. Bookwalter.



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