Dee Wallace is one of the genre’s premier Scream Queens and always adds a level of grace to any project she’s in. From performances in films like The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, E.T., Cujo, and The Frighteners, Wallace has always brought a deeper level to any character she’s given.
This makes her one of the elite actresses of her or any other generation.
Wallace appears in the recent independent zombie flick Exit Humanity written and directed by John Geddes, which explores the world of post-Civil War America and just how bad things could get if zombie were running amok. The iconic actress co-stars in the film alongside Bill Moseley, Mark Gibson, Stephen McHattie, Jordan Hayes and Brian Cox.
With Exit Humanity (review) recently released on DVD shelves everywhere, Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Wallace about what attracted her to the part, her thoughts on what makes for a compelling horror project, as well as more on her role in Rob Zombie’s latest The Lords of Salem.
And since E.T. is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, Dread also asked Wallace to reflect on the project in honor of the occasion.
Dread Central: Let’s start off at the beginning and talk more about what attracted you to Exit Humanity?
Dee Wallace: I just loved the script, and I loved the idea of the original artwork being used as a storytelling device throughout the movie; it was just so stunning. And in the end, I just fell in love with John and Matt (producer Wiele) after our first meeting. But I knew the artwork would really make this movie something special, and when I saw some of the concept art, I was just blown away. I knew this was going to be a class project.
The story also represented to me what a true horror movie should be- A STORY! It’s not just about the kills; it’s about the characters and their relationships and the obstacles they have to overcome, and Exit Humanity had that ten times over. This movie intimately follows one man’s journey, and I think that’s incredibly powerful. That, and the fact that it had some social commentary in there, too, was a huge draw for me as an actress.
Dread Central: Well, let’s talk a little bit about Eve; she’s got a very interesting facet to her character that I don’t think we’ve ever seen in a zombie film before.
Dee Wallace: That’s so true; she is different, but I think that’s because it is only recently that audiences have started to care about where zombies come from; before, we used to just be okay with being scared by the zombies without any sort of answers- it was about the fear. But Eve represents that part in all of us that means to do good but ends up hurting everyone in the end. Her actions come from a place of love, but she does something so catastrophically bad, it’s hard to come back. Basically, it’s energy gone wrong.
Dread Central: Did you stick to the script mostly for your performance, or did you and John flesh things out while shooting in Canada?
Dee Wallace: You know, most of what you see in the movie is what was in the script, but of course when you get on set, everything is a collaboration so there are always discussions. It is interesting- people always think that actors and directors come from different point of views, but really, they’re very similar point of views in the long run because if you’re working on the right project, all anyone wants is what’s best for the movie. That was certainly the case on this- everything just worked.
Dread Central: I know you probably can’t tell us much, but can you talk at all about the time you recently spent working on Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem?
Dee Wallace: Well, if you’re a horror fan and a Rob Zombie fan, then you’ll love this movie. It’s very different cinematically than all of his last movies, and the last shot of the movie is worth the price of admission alone. Rob was so down-to-earth and easy to work with; he wrote the part for me. I play Sonny, a bubbly, self-help guru who finds herself in some trouble. It was a lot of fun.
Dread Central: One last question- with the 30th anniversary of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial this month, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind reflecting on the film and the huge milestone it achieved earlier this month with the anniversary of its release date.
Dee Wallace: You know, it really doesn’t feel like it’s been 30 years since it first came out, but I think that’s because the movie is kept alive because it’s constantly kept in our awareness; we’re always talking about it. It’s really our generation’s Wizard of Oz; there seems to be new generations of fans that continue to discover it that the movie has transcended time. It’s certainly the movie I get asked about most often at conventions. I’ll probably be hearing that song until the very end of my days in fact; I can’t escape it (laughs).
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