Countdown To Fantastic Fest: Interview With Barbara Crampton Of YOU’RE NEXT

Horror icon Barbara Crampton talks YOU’RE NEXT, Fantastic Fest and her favorite horror films.


Sometimes I legitimately cannot believe how cool this gig is. This week I got to chat with one of my favorite actors, the absolutely wonderful Barbara Crampton. Crampton has been Stuart Gordon’s muse for many years, starring in RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND and CASTLE FREAK, as well as having roles in CHOPPING MALL, BODY DOUBLE and a whole bunch of other great stuff. This year, Crampton stars in Adam Wingard’s YOU’RE NEXT, and she’s attending Fantastic Fest with Wingard, producer Keith Calder and co-stars AJ Bowen and Ti West.

1. Talk to me a little about YOU’RE NEXT. What made you decide that this is the role, this is the movie you wanted to do?

I’ve actually been in semi-retirement for the last few years – having gotten married 11 years ago and moving to San Francisco. I really had changed my priorities—happily raising my children ages 8 and 10. I hadn’t been auditioning for anything in quite some time and no projects really caught my eye. That changed one day when I received a call from my agent saying I had been offered the part of Aubrey in YOU’RE NEXT. I was dumbfounded. “Really?” I said, “They don’t even want to meet with me?” Mike, my guy, said, “They want you in Missouri in 10 days. You play the mom.” I figured they wanted someone with somewhat of a horror name for the role. Anyway, as soon as I read the script I absolutely fell in love with it! It had many dark moments with just enough humor to complement it. The characters were all very different and written fully. And the ending of the story? Well, you’re just gonna have to see that for yourself. The role of Aubrey is a much more grown up role and really closer to where I am in my life right now (except that I would have been 18 years old when I had AJ Bowen’s character…but who’s counting?) I love horror movies. It was like coming home for me, so I said yes.

2. You’ve had so many iconic roles in horror films. Do you have a favorite?

My favorite role is definitely Katherine McMichaels in FROM BEYOND. She’s smart and goes through so many transformations, emotionally, mentally and wardrobe-wise! That, for an actor, is very satisfying.

3. Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs were at Fantastic Fest last year for NEVERMORE. Did they have anything to do with your decision to attend this year?

They both told me how amazing and voracious the fans were, which I’ve come to see myself in the past few months. Since doing this movie, I began doing my homework, checking out all the horror websites, following the bloggers and reporters on Twitter. The amount of knowledge and information that comes out of the Texas people is worship-worthy. You guys know your stuff, much more then I could ever hope to. I’m very impressed. I am also very excited about THE ABCS OF DEATH project and have been following that closely.

4. Do you have favorite horror movie you don’t star in?

My favorites are TEXAS CHAINSAW, THE SHINING, DAWN OF THE DEAD, and ROSEMARY’S BABY. Nothing new there! Yet my new favorite is COLD FISH. What a great role for the lead gal. She had to pull from the depths for that one. My Japanese is shaky but that’s the kind of role I dream of!

5. What are you looking forward to seeing or doing at Fantastic Fest this year?

Well, I’m looking forward to seeing YOU’RE NEXT with this audience! Numerous people have told me, you guys are the best when it comes to this type of film. And I’ll be able to see a few movies. LIVID is one I’m really looking forward to. I hear the theatres are really cool. Food is served and gluten-free beer, which suits me. I’m also looking forward to meeting a lot of the folks who I’ve been following on social networks…the experts! I hope I get a feel for the city. This will be my first time in Austin.

6. You took a little break from acting before YOU’RE NEXT. We’ve missed you! Can we hope to see lots more of you in the future?

I had such fun on YOU’RE NEXT. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett are both incredibly talented with an abundance of energy. The actors were all very strong. Keith Calder and Jessica Wu created a focused and calm set on which to work. The collaborative effort on this film was so amazing—and best of all there was so much good, bloody gore! It seemed a bit charmed as we were making it. As much fun as I had, I really did feel that old acting bug creeping back into my body. (How’s that for a visual, horror fans!)