Hi Jennifer, first off please tell us about yourself and how you got started?
Jennifer- I grew up in Danvers, a small town just north of Boston. It’s a historical area because Danvers was known as an Old Salem Village and was a part of the Salem Witch Trials. I also grew up down the street from Danvers State Hospital, the asylum location where “Session 9” was filmed (horror is in my blood!). Performing and being on stage in the theater has always been a part of my life since I was ten years old. Anyhow, anywhere I could find way to perform, I would. I did Community Theater and school plays (doing up to rehearsing/performing for four plays at once). I went to college at Niagara University in Lewiston, NY where I received my B.F.A. in theater studies and soon after, made the trek across country to Los Angeles. There isn’t anything else I’d want to be other than an actress.
You were crowned Northern Frights Festival’s first “Scream Queen.” Tell us what it was like for you to win?
Jennifer- My really good friend and director of Photography for a couple of my films stumbled upon it and said he couldn’t think of anyone else that should be a part of this. I thought, “Why not?” So I submitted a picture and made it into the top 17! Viewers, fans, friends, colleagues had to vote to help me make it into the top 10! And then, again, everyone had to vote for me to win! There were over 20,000 votes. I have some of the most amazing family members, friends, and fans to help me get where I am and they did not disappoint at all!
Tell us about the latest film projects you are working on?
Jennifer-Right now I have a couple of films I’m attached to in pre-production and a couple projects that are in post-production that will be coming out soon! Back in June I filmed “Irrational Fear” in Wisconsin where I play Kelly, a woman with atelophobia, or the fear of being imperfect. It’s about six therapy patience going to a cabin in the woods to seek guidance, but of course, chaos ensues!
I also have been filming new episodes of my web series “Malvolia: the Queen of Screams”. I’m a horror host that hosts horror short films, horror feature trailers, and skits for the YouTube world. It’s been a lot of fun because originally Malvolia was going to be a feature film, but I figured in the long run that it works better as a series.
You have producer, writer, director, editor, sound department, cinematographer, makeup department credits. Which one has been the most challenging and which one have you learned the most from?
Jennifer- All of them! Being an indie actress and indie filmmaker, I really have to know how everything works, because if there is no money/budget (which there usually isn’t) I have to pick up and do that job. So doing everything makes one respect, appreciate, and understand why every element is important and how valuable it is to have someone that knows what they are doing in that position! If I had to choose one position, I would choose editing. I never, ever thought I would edit or win an award for it (“Demonic Attachment”, where I assisted edited, took “Best Editing-Bronze” at the Los Angeles Horror Competition), but I learned quickly I could get my projects done and to tell the story I want to tell. Piecing everything together in a certain way can really make the story work or not work, so one also has to be opened minded, because not everything turns out perfectly or the way you want it.
Jennifer-Hitchcock. I was introduced to him at a young age and seeing how he created certain scenes at Universal Studios was incredibly fascinating to me. I always thought I would be doing theater, never film, so any time I have an opportunity to watch one of his films again or see a tutorial where someone breaks down his directing style – I do! I always learn SO much!
Actress Brooke Lewis. I briefly met her at Zed Film Festival last year and when she went up to receive her award, she talked about and thanked everyone but herself. That is so rare in Hollywood that I immediately knew I had to become her friend somehow! We connected on social media but I finally got to meet her in person at Action on Film Festival last month. Sweet, positive, caring, and just all around supportive. And talk about talented!!! I strive to be like her!
Director Nick Simon. Last summer there was a list of 10 horror directors everyone should know and I agreed that I should know them! So I “friended” all of them (the ones I could find) on Facebook. Whenever any of them accepted the friend request, I replied back with a witty comment. Out of everyone, he was the only one that responded. He’s now my writing mentor. Whenever I have a question, he always gets back to me quickly and efficiently. I’m appreciative of his knowledge and guidance.
What do you want to say to the fans that will be watching the movies you do?
Jennifer-I really strive to better myself with each film. I want to tell various stories in so many different ways. I also hope you know that I wouldn’t be where I am without you all! I am so thankful for your support, kindness, and attentiveness to everything I do and create. I hope you all know I always give 150% of my being into everything I do and will continue to!
What are some of your favorite horror film and do you have a Halloween tradition that you want to share?
Jennifer- “Psycho”, “Insidious”, “Blair Witch Project”, “Session 9”, “The Descent”, “Carrie”, “Halloween”, “Friday the 13th”.
For many years I would carve a pumpkin, toast the seeds, and watch John Carpenter’s “Halloween” on Halloween! Now, being LA, the whole month of October is pretty much Halloween! I always go to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, any type of haunted house or haunted gathering, and then every Halloween night I watch a horror movie. Happiness!
What do you usually do to prepare for a film?
Jennifer-If I am just acting, I read the script at least 10 times, if not more, and really break down the character as to why she would do this over that. How would this make her feel? I am Meisner trained so I will do emotional prep, research on everything, understand why the script is written the way it is, and then memorize, memorize, memorize! I’m a scientist that just LOVES dissecting my specimen, er, uh, script!
Will you ever go into directing films?
Jennifer-My passion and the love of my life is acting. I wish I could put into the words how I feel when I am in the moment really working off another actor with emotion just flowing, but I can’t. It’s just something I feel. It uncomfortable, it’s weird, it’s fun, it’s amazing, it’s intense, it’s…. Everything and anything I have wanted to do. I have directed some shorts and am attached to a feature to direct next year, but I really only do it so I can have the opportunity to act. There is nothing like the craft of acting.
If you could work with any horror movie star who would it be and why?
Jennifer-Hands down Richard Brake because, uh, did you see “31”????? Wow! James Wan and Leigh Whannell because I LOVE everything they do from “SAW” to “Insidious”. Just great ghost stories! Rob Zombie because he creates some hard core, crazy stories and is also a fellow Bostonian! Jennifer Kent because “Babadook” was incredibly terrifying and fascinating.
How do you define a Scream Queen?
Jennifer-A scream queen is an actress who is known in the horror genre to have a constant appearance as a victim and/or bad ass!
(All photos are done by G113 Photography)
Malvolia: the Queen of Screams