Indie Horror Month: Brooke Lewis Talks Producing and the World of an Indie Horror Scream Queen
When I first met actress and producer Brooke Lewis in 2009, she struck me as someone who has an unmatched passion and enthusiasm for the horror genre. It was her passion for both acting and producing that made it easy for her to be embraced very quickly by the genre community, which has even dubbed her with the beloved title of “Scream Queen.”
Recently, in honor of Dread Central’s Indie Horror Month celebration, we caught up with Lewis to get a look into the life of a “Scream Queen” who has made quite a name for herself both in front of the camera and behind the scenes in just a few short years.
There is no doubt about it; Lewis was born to entertain. As the actress explained, “I feel like I was one of those lucky ones that always knew from an early age that I wanted to be creative, especially acting. That was the one thing I always loved doing the most. I moved to New York to follow my heart and began working in an Off-Broadway show called “Tony & Tina’s Wedding”, which is this crazy comedy show.”
“I loved it, but it was exhausting. I did seven shows a week for three years straight, and then I hit a point where I realized it was time to move on. I started pursuing sitcom work in Los Angeles, but since I was still living in New York, I spent a lot of time flying back and forth. That’s when I decided it was time to head to the West Coast and try my luck out there because flying coast to coast all the time was just too hard,” Lewis added.
Even though Lewis was still landing acting jobs when she moved to Los Angeles, she had bigger dreams for her career in the entertainment industry. In 2002 Lewis formed Philly Chick Pictures (she’s a Philly native) and hit the ground running producing the short film Code Blue. It was a few years later when Lewis started pursuing making a name for herself in the horror world.
“In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to end up doing horror, but I just didn’t know the right people to talk to,” explained Lewis. “Then I was at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and was there for all the Saw madness, which got my gears turning. I saw how you could make a psychological horror film with a very small budget so I told my producing partner back in New York I wanted to make a movie like Saw. Obviously nothing that brilliant but something in the same filmmaking style.”
“That’s how Kinky Killers originated. We wanted to make a bloody and brutal movie set in one location so we could keep the budget manageable. And even with our budget, we still got some amazing cast members like Charles Durning and Michael Pare. We were even lucky enough to get picked up for distribution by Universal, which was a fantastic achievement for me as a producer. I’m still proud of that movie- it wasn’t the best movie ever, but we had a really great cast and did a lot with the resources we had. Because of Kinky Killers, my career from there took on a life of its own,” Lewis added.
After Kinky Killers, Lewis’ next producing project in horror was the 2008 thriller iMurders that paired the actress up onscreen with the legendary Tony Todd. The film was a dream project for Lewis. “iMurders was definitely another huge stepping stone in my career because I was able to act alongside so many actors I admired like William Forsythe, Billy Dee Williams, and I even got to work with Candyman himself, who truly terrified me as a child. It was beyond awesome.”