11 QUESTIONS FOR
MILL VALLE Y
In Marin / CURRENTS
1What’s the first horror movie you ever saw? The Exorcist. That movie is so scary!
2Do you ever get scared watching a horror movie? I do. The Shining still scares me. That’s one of my favorite
movies and I watch it today. The scene with Jack Nicholson
and the girl in the bathtub in that room? It’s the freakiest
scene to me and I still get scared when I watch it.
3How do you still manage to be scared even though you know all the tricks of the trade? I like to be a good
audience and I like to be scared, so I want the filmmaker to
scare me. I want to enjoy that. I don’t want to sit there and
analyze it. I want to go along for the ride because I really
believe that horror movies are a thrill ride. They’re fun.
They’re an adventure.
4Are there types of images that you think are inher- ently frightening to most people? There’s something
about an expressionless or a frozen expression or not being
able to see someone’s face that’s scary. Like in Friday the
13th, the fact that you can’t see Jason’s face and it’s just a
mask — that image is so creepy.
5What about your children? Are they allowed to watch your movies? I have three: a bonus child — my
stepson, Ben — who is 20, and my own two kids, Olivia
and Luke who, at 12 and 13 respectively, are not allowed to
watch most of my movies, because I’m either scantily clad
or they’re too scary, but they did both watch We Are Still
Here. I thought my daughter would be too scared but I was
in the room with her and she was OK.
6What do your kids think about your career? They like the fact I did and still do movies. I think it’s because most
little boys and girls think, at some point, “I want to be an actor.”
So they think what I do is fun, and cool, and make-believe.
7Any other interests? I worked hard during the past seven years reinventing the Garden Faire
at Edna Maguire Elementary [in Mill Valley].
8Why Marin? I love it here. It’s been a great place to raise kids. Mill Valley’s such a fantastic community — so supportive of children’s
education. My kids go to public school. They’re so
supportive of all the sports teams, and everybody
cares about one another, and I just love Mill Valley.
9Do you have any favorite hangs in Marin? I like the Sequoia theater, just because it’s cool
and old-fashioned. And I like going to the comedy
nights at the Throckmorton when I get a chance.
10Do you help your kids with their Halloween costumes? Oh, yeah. Always.
Normally, we buy like 10 different costumes for each
kid because we get so excited about it. So we have 20
costumes in our living room and, depending what party
they’re going to, as the run-up to Halloween, they get to
wear different costumes. I’ll do their makeup for them —
scars, blood eyes, fake blood.
11 You’ve made a number of top 10 Scream Queen lists through the years. And you’ve done a
lot of onscreen screaming. What does it take to be a
queen of the screams? In horror movies, any scream
is a good scream. Still managing to look good while
you’re doing it, that’s the secret of a good editor.
Hopefully, they’re taking the best angles they have and
cut around a weird wrinkle in your forehead or a grimace
on your face. This is something I’ve thought about while
screaming, because I’ve done quite a bit of it. You don’t
want to look bad, but you want to make it look as natural as
possible and as real as possible. M
The autumn nights grow dark and blustery as the month of October rolls its way
through to Halloween. What better time to chat it up with Barbara Crampton, one
of the preeminent Scream Queens of the past 30 years? The star of
such classic horror films as Re-Animator and From Beyond in the mid-
’80s, with stints on TV soap operas The Young and the Restless, Guiding
Light and The Bold and the Beautiful, and back in the horror genre this year with We
Are Still Here, Crampton finally fled Hollywood with her husband, financial executive Robert
Bleckman, 15 years ago to raise her three children in Mill Valley. We caught up with her in
broad daylight, feeding on a spinach salad at The Depot. MARC HERSHON