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December 19, 2010

FMWL's 12 Midnights of Christmas: 7 Indie Dames-A-Slaying! (By Dead End Drive-In's R.D. Penning!)

The only horror similarly afflicted horror-freak I know in the real world, Mr. R.D. Penning, is also one heck of a champion of independent horror and a fine blogger over at his site, Dead End Drive-In.  I couldn't have had FMWL's 12 Midnights of Christmas without him, that's for sure.

Russ (as he's known to me) is a lot like New Zealand based duo Flight of the Conchords, as he just wants to do something special for all the ladies of the world - and tonight he's brought together seven stars of the Indie Horror realm to spread a little bit of their own brand of Christmas FEAR!  Let's check out what he, and these fine ladies, have up their sleeves!

FMWL's 12 Midnights of Christmas presents: 7 Indie Dames-A-Slaying!
By R.D. Penning of Dead End Drive-In

When I was first approached by The Mike for this particular piece I was extremely excited immediately. I knew what I wanted to do right off the bat, and while I didn't get to use Day 5 like I had originally wanted, Day 7 only allowed me to share more of what I was planning. Sharing is a big part of Christmas, is it not? With this said, I can think of no people in the independent horror world than these wonderful kind and giving women.

Women have been an essential part of horror for a good 30 years now, and they continue to hold strong as heroines, and occasionally killers. Mainstream horror has drifted a bit throughout the last few years, and that has led me right into the loving arms of independent horror. I have met some wonderful people, and had the chance to review some wonderful movies, including ones a few of these ladies have been in. For little to no money at all they put on wonderful performances time and time again, and you can really tell they enjoy what they are doing. I view them as the modern day Shelley Duvalls, Sissy Spaceks, Jamie Lee Curtis, and even Margot Kidders! So I put together a little bit of a Christmas Interview to help the rest of the blog world catch wind of their never ending achievements in the horror.

I won't spend alot of time introducing them, but rather list them, then let them do the interviews.
Monique Dupree (Satan Hates You)

Deneen Melody (Slices of Life)

Kitsie Duncan (Lethal Obsession)

Jessica Cameron (Death of the Dead)

Kelsey Zukowski (Psycho Street)

Tara Cardinal (Song of the Shattered)

Devanny Pinn (15 Til Midnight)

............and here they are!

Question #1 - What is your favorite part about Christmas? Traditions?
Monique - Well, I have a basketball team of children (my cute little way of saying lots of kids) I love watching my kids make cookies & leave a shot of brandy out for "SANTA" knowing that its me and laughing at the fact that I'm going to get drunk and wrap gifts! lmao. But seriously, I love watching them tear open their gifts and then put on some horror, drink some hot cocoa and have a little fun. Its our tradition.

Deneen - To be honest, I'm really not that big into the Holidays. I do, however, love all the classic Christmas movies! That is probably my favorite thing. I love A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, Home Alone (the 2nd one is the best!), Trapped in Paradise, and so many others. Oh, and I cannot forget all the animated films from Rankin/Bass! Nestor, The Long Eared Donkey has always been a favorite of is so sweet and even a little sad! The Year Without a Santa Claus is also pretty epic, I have to watch it at least once every year.

And, while it isn't exactly Christmas, I absolutely adore and fan girl over The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It came out while I was working at The Disney Store a few years back, which was during the Christmas season, so ever since...I just associate it with the holidays.

Tara - Christmas is (usually) the one day a year I get to take off. Those that know me, know I'm a workaholic. Last year I spent Xmas prepping for the Red Reaper shoot. We shot 4 days before, and 3 days after Christmas. I got to spend the special day in Orlando, with Patty Dunn (who played Quan Yin in Legend of the Red Reaper), and several of my cast and crew. I always hit the new year heavy and hard, so I'm usually on some hard core diet - but I always save room for Xmas pie. I love pie. :)

Jessica - My favorite part of Christmas is getting to spend time with my family.  My father is an endless source of knowledge and inspiration - and around Christmas is when I see the most of him.  MY aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma all get together and spend quality time together.  Its the one time a year that I put my laptop down : )

Devanny - What if I was Jewish huh? I'm not..actually so we're still cool. My favorite part about Christmas is that its like The Twilight Zone. Suddenly everyone gets cheery and pretends to want to hang with in-laws. People come together and all play nice simply because the calendar said so. Hell, even the New Yorkers are friendly. Weird.
Traditions used to be that I wake up early for the first time all year and sneak down with my little brothers to check out the presents under the tree. Now that I am a bit older and Santa n I don't hang as much, my tradition is to gain 5lbs via holiday snacking and spend the new year insisting that my ass isn't bigger.

Kelsey - Guess just that holiday joy. It was obviously stronger when I was younger, but no matter how things are in your life, typically for one day your troubles can be put aside and everyone just seems to be happy, making it kind of contagious. My favorite holiday traditions are definitely making (and eating) cookies with my sister and watching Christmas movies.

Kitsie - FAMILY FAMILY FAMILY! My life is so busy right now, It's hard to find time to go back home and visit the family. It's a long trip, but it is so worth it, to sit and relax with my sisters and mom. The absolute best part is watching the nieces, nephews and my kids have such a great time.

Question #2 - What is your favorite horror movie that takes place on Christmas?
Kitsie - A Christmas Carol..... Only because I think it's HORRIBLE! In all seriousness though I would have to say Gremlins, that movie still gives me the heebie jeebies.

Kelsey - I know it's not really a horror movie, but I have to say A Nightmare Before Christmas. It's one of my favorite films period and it's one I have to watch every Christmas. Well over a decade since it's release and I still love that movie more and more every time I watch it. As far as genre films go, I would have to say Silent Night, Deadly Night. It really takes the innocence and joy of Santa and turns it in to a life long torturous memory that triggers an uprising of evil. It perfectly twists the holiday :) Santa's Slay is always a riot too.

Devanny - I really liked Gremlins and Silent Night Deadly Night...although I am going to go ahead and say Elf. Will Farrel in tights is flat out the most horrifying display I have seen regarding holiday cinema. I still shake and pale at the thought.

Jessica - That is a GREAT question!
I have two that I really enjoy: Gremlins and Child's Play.  Both 80's classics. They were some of the very first horror films that I was allowed to watch and they really influenced my movie tastes!  I love the Gremlins since I thought they were cute and kinda scary at the same time. I really liked how they turned with a drop of water...
I have always had an aversion to those life like dolls as a child. Barbie Dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids were fine - but some of those other ones just seemed too real.

Tara - It's A Wonderful Life

Deneen - Gremlins!!!!! Of course! I always wished I could have a mogwai, they are just super adorable. I think I probably asked Santa for one for a few years, but the closest thing I ever got to one was a pony. Well, and my niece did get one of those evil Furbies one year, but we had decided it wasn't as cute as Gizmo and far more horrifying than the Gremlins. It kept turning on and talking to us in the middle of the night...

Monique - I don't know about on Christmas, but Gremlins it my Christmas favorite!!! I like festive, fun kills! I also like furry things..Its a win win for me!

Question #3 - Current and future projects? Plug away!!!
Monique - I just finished a project called Shadowhunters: Lost Ones...Its premiering soon and then will be available to view online. It was done through Darkstone Entertainment. I also shot a teaser trailer recently for Red Shirt in Maine. Future projects include Epitaph: Bread and Salt, Dead Woman's Hallow, Plan 9, on top of modeling for comics such as Gingerstein and playing the voice for AstroNoir's The Fixers and 12 other projects as well!

Deneen - Western X, the highly anticipated web series I am involved in, has premiered the first three episodes along with an introduction by director Michael Flores and a coming soon trailer! (The trailer features a sneak peak at the upcoming episodes, including a little bit with my character.) You can watch the episodes on Koldcast TV or on the official Western X website:

Anthony G. Sumner's Slices of Life ( has also been completed and screened at a few festivals in the Midwest this fall. From what I have been told, we'll have some awesome news involving distribution soon, so keep your eyes open on that one!

In January, I am heading to Florida to film Joe Davison's Journey Into Hell (, which I am very excited about since I will be rejoining many of the cast/crew from As Night Falls ( I can't say much about it at this point, but I think people are going to love it.

I have many other projects I would like to talk about, but don't want to take too much space, so I'll just list a few coming up for next year: A Midsummer Nightmare, Bloodstruck, Don't Look in the Basement!, Astro Noir, Mother's Blood (with the lovely Kitsie Duncan!), Prey to God, Girl Scout Cookies, Witches Playground, Dark Light, and Rose White, a fantasy film based off the story Snow White & Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm.

There is also this dramatic short film I did called Crestfallen that should be coming out soon. It was written by some guy named Russ Penning...maybe you've heard of him? Hehe. (Thank you for including me in this list with so many beautiful ladies, Russ!!)

Tara - Oh dear... the list.. I hate to plug future projects, because they can fall apart at anytime :)

Last year I shot leading roles in: Spreading Darkness (directed by the amazing Josh Eisenstadt, playing opposite Eric Roberts), Bite Nite (Vampire comedy), Song of the Shattered (I play a special needs girl opposite the beautiful Devanny Pinn and Brandon Slagle), Joe Hollow's Blood Struck (aka Diary of Death), Faux (currently playing festivals directed by Brenda Fies), Ripped Memories (opposite the legendary Debbie Rochon) and Legend of the Red Reaper, as the Red Reaper.

Next year, I'm attached to some amazing projects, in and out of the horror genre, including: Girl Scout Cookies (go Mark Cray!!!), Manos: Search for the Valley Lodge (opposite wrestler Gene Snisky), Sybil Danning's new untitled feature (it will be HUGE honor to work her!), and a wrestling movie (I do love my action films) called The Sessionist.

And.. I'm working on the Legend of the Red Reaper sequel, as well as a comic book. The amazing George Perez is consulting on the comic book, and the super talented Michael Schaefer did the writing on it. 2011 is going to be an amazing year. Although it sounds busy, I'm leaving lots of holes in my schedule for other projects, and a vacation to Hawaii :).

Here's wishing all of the super talented ladies, Russ Penning, and all of the fans out there very happy holidays, and a start to an amazing New Year.

Jessica - The Jersey Devil - For over 260 years, people living near New Jersey's Pine Barrens have been terrorized by a creature straight from the bowels of Hell. The Jersey Devil, said to be the offspring of a colonial witch and Satan himself. Though the creature has been reported by over 2000 people, there are still those who call it a legend, a fairy tale, a fake.  Samantha (my character), a young woman going through hard times after being laid off, takes a room at Mrs. Hammerstrom's boarding house, on the edge of the Pine Barrens. She soon begins to suspect that there is something out there, in the dark, watching her and the other women at the boarding house. Something monstrous. Something evil...

Prey To God - This is going to be an epic horror film. In my my character, Monica gets to kick some major butt! Four teenagers and a tag along little brother embark on a fun-filled camping trip, looking forward to a weekend of fun, adventure and, for four of them, a little beer-enhanced romance in the woods. While stopping at a diner, a waitress confirms the existence of a nearby graveyard, which is the source of several local legends and piques the curiosity of the young campers. The group sets out in search for this graveyard and the rumored loot buried there and set up camp somewhere near the graveyard and settle in for a night of fun and relaxation.  Soon, the teens become entangled in the local legend, realizing that the potential rewards were attached to terrifying risk from a twisted, backwoods family who want to cleanse the campers' souls through purification of their flesh.

Girl Scout Cookies (The Movie) - This is an action packed horror film that was written and will be directed by award winning film maker Bobby Jones about 6 couples that go on a weekend trip to the backwoods of MN for some fun, frolicking and good times. However, things turn out to not be as they appeared as the camping trip turns into a game of life and death when a group of women with animalistic natures decides to treat the group to the privilege of being their next big hunt.

The Hot Damn Cabaret - A comedy about a nice guy who's down on his luck and wins a property in a chance hand in a "friendly" poker game. This property comes with a bunch of funny characters, a pile of debt and its own challenges. He must work with his new friends to keep the property and prove to his parents that he has what it takes to survive in the "real world", while maintaining his sanity and falling for clumsy dancer with a heart of gold.

The Human Factor - This is an intense drama about a determined investigative Reporter and a renegade Detective who plan to uncover the mysterious disappearances of the Homeless population in Metro City... without risking their own lives.... This script blew me away when I read it, it was so intense, so fresh and so relevant. I can not wait to film it later next year!

Night of The Witches: The Beginnings - This film chronicles the life of a young girl and how she becomes an enchantress of the dark ways. Damiana Novella, a sixteen-year-old child from Spain is forced to flee for her life. Stowed away aboard a ship heading for Hispaniola, Damiana is soon caged like an animal. Her aversion towards life begins. Befriended by a group of slaves,Damiana is introduced to the practice of Voodoo, which she will soon fashion into her magic. Now faced with certain death or the opportunity of eternal life, Damiana is about to perform the most important sacrifice of her life.

Devanny - My baby is VIViD...we are currently filming the last few days and its just beautiful. I act in the film in addition to my first time as producer, story writer, assistant director, makeup/wardrobe and...well a lot more. Brandon Slagle has helped me really develop my filmmaking skills and I am so proud of it- it stars Rachel Grubb, Keith Kraft, Deneen Melody, Bill Oberst Jr, Barry Ratcliffe, Tawny Amber Young, Brandon Slagle and myself. Check it out the trailer and add the fan page on facebook!

Cut just wrapped production and Song of the Shattered and 15 Till Midnight are just starting to make festival rounds so look for those as well. Set to debut soon are the art slasher The Los Angeles Ripper and my own holiday horror film, 12-24.

Kelsey - The first feature I acted in, The Melon Heads, wrapped this fall and is set for a spring release. It's about a cult of satanists and it was really cool to be involved since I'm originally from the area where the origin of the Melon Heads myth began.

The slasher/mystery webseries, Echo Lake, which I co-created with Jonathan Moody began filming last weekend and is to be released on April 12. I also co-wrote a number of the segments for both of Moody's anthology series, Scream Queen Campfire and Trick or Eat. I'm set to play the lead of April in Wrong Number, where a texting mix up pins a deranged killer after me, leading him straight to my doorstep. In Ritual of the Dead, the segment that ties everything together in Trick or Eat, I will be acting as well as making my directorial debut, which I am very excited about.

Another upcoming project of mine is What They Say, starring and based on the short story by Heather Dorff. It's a dark drama about a girl who seems to have the perfect life, but she's in constant pain on the inside; a prisoner in her own skin. I will be playing Heather's sister, oblivious to the torment she suffers. Justin R. Romine is directing it, who I've worked with a lot recently between Afraid of Sunrise, Acceptance (Directed by Keith Romine), and a feature we are currently working on the script for.

I'm really looking forward to working with Kevin Jamison on a few projects coming up, including Dead Light District (the first film I was actually cast in) and Serial: Girl's Night Out with Deneen Melody, Colleen Miller, and Christopher Howell, reprising his role as the deceptive and vicious serial killer, Trenton Bracks. Serial started out being a series of shorts, showcasing different stages in Bracks life, understanding the killer within. Girl's Night Out shows the second stage. We have recently gotten the funding for a feature, opening up so many more possibilities. It's going to be a brutal and intriguing character study of the unleashing of a mad man.

Kitsie - Lethal Obsession was released this year to rave reviews. This was my first feature film and is for sale at Projects I have worked on and are currently in post production: Crestfallen (written by the wonderful Russ Penning), Cthulhu Key: Legacy, and Good Night. Projects I am slated in for 2011: Mother's Blood (, Lycanthology, The Collective, Closed Casket, Reverie, Girl Scout Cookies, and Idiot Gore. Not to mention I am always looking for new projects you can contact me at

Thank you once again to these beautiful, amazing, talented ladies, and keep doing an amazing job, and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Holy tons of great information, Batman!  Thanks again to Mr. Penning for putting this together for FMWL, and thanks to all of these ladies for taking part.  If you ever need a genre-lovin' writer to take a look at your films, I might know a guy named The Mike who's more than willing.  Here's to a Merry Christmas in the indie horror world, and to Mr. Penning and Dead End Drive-In!


R.D. Penning said...

This "Fine" blogger has been slacking latetly. I need to watch more horror movies, and stop going to bed at 9:00 PM every night, haha. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help out Mike! It has been great so far, and I can't wait to see the rest of the days!

Jinx said...

Super cool! Just loving seeing all these wonderful ladies represented here. Wonderful. Hope you catch up on your sleep and get back to blogging soon, R.D.

The Mike said...

Thanks again, Russ! Excited to spread the word on the hardworkin' ladies of indieland!

R.D. Penning said...

I was just happy that they mentioned Crestfallen! I wasn't really expecting to see my own movie mentioned! haha That always makes me smile.