Dread Central’s Final Girls: Caroline Williams
Caroline Williams made her mark in the horror genre very early in her career. Her first notable role came in 1985 with a small part in The Legend of Billie Jean. The very next year Williams took on Leatherface and the whole crazy Sawyer family in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which would forever endear her to the horror masses with her portrayal of final girl Venita “Stretch” Brock.
Just a few years later, Williams stepped back into the horror genre as Matty Crimmins in The Stepfather 2 and reprised her role as Stretch for a brief cameo in TCM 3. In 1995 Williams braved the evilest little dude in horror not named Chucky when she appeared in Leprechaun 3 as Loretta, a greedy casino worker who gets more than she bargained for.
Now that it’s been almost 25 years since she was first introduced to horror fans, Dread Central thought this was a perfect time to catch up with Leatherface’s second final girl and hear her thoughts about the franchise that put her on the map, why she loves being a woman in the horror genre, and what’s she’s doing now that she’s back working in Hollywood.
Williams describes herself as a Western enthusiast so when it came time to be a part of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre sequel, she was pretty thrilled to get to work with Hooper. “The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre changed horror films forever,” said Williams. “It was like a modern Western with chainsaws. Because I love Westerns but haven’t really had the opportunity to work in that genre, I knew working with Tobe on that film would be the closest thing to it.”
As the final girl, Williams knew that her portrayal would be part of what would make or break the film. However, the actress talked about how much of what makes the movie memorable has little to do with her really, but her reactions to an insane cast of crazy characters.
Williams said, “I was really lucky that I got to work with the cast of characters that we had. I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game to the set, but when you are working alongside performances like Dennis (Hopper) or Bill (Moseley), what you end up with is mostly me reacting to whatever madness was going on around me. It was a wild-ass ride, that’s for sure!”
Williams relishes the roles for women in the horror genre. She dismisses the notion of women being the exploited gender in modern horror cinema, saying that genre films are a great outlet for women of all ages to find sometimes dark and interesting places to go with their performances.
“I love the image of a young woman in the prime of her life fighting and winning the battle against evil,” explained Williams. “That’s inspiring for me to watch. Genre films are almost like action films for women.”
Williams went on to explain her theory by saying, “Age isn’t a limiting factor for women in horror films. Look at classic films like The Omen or The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Those were women of a certain age who were on the move, struggling to survive. The genre is very hospitable to where I am now in my career, and I love that.”
Williams decided to shift gears around 2000, focusing more on her family life than her her acting career. She returned to the horror genre with a small part in Rob Zombie’s 2009 Halloween II (proving once again, she really is the ultimate “Sequels Scream Queen”) and since then filmed Sebastian with fellow final girls Dee Wallace Stone and Meg Foster.
While Williams didn’t want to give away too much on Sebastian, what she could tell us is that the psychological thriller promises to deliver “so many twists and turns that you won’t even know what to expect when you’re watching it.”
Now that Williams is back and thriving in the genre that she loves, the actress couldn’t be more excited for where the industry is at currently. “I think this is a very exciting time to be working in horror again. It has this aura of those 70s gritty horror films, where there’s this sort of wild attitude right now. It’s not about the studios anymore, and I love being a part of it. This is why I love being an actress,” Williams said.
To hear more on Williams’ experiences making The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and her thoughts on women in horror, check out the video interview below.
A very special thank you to Caroline Williams and Chris Roe for arranging the interview.
Make sure to check back with us on Monday as Dread Central presents our next final girl, Friday the 13th Part Four’s Kimberly Beck.
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