Exclusive Interview: Actress Adrienne King Talks Psychic Experiment, Her Return to Acting, and More!
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Today, December 6th, Lionsgate unleashes writer/director Mel House’s Psychic Experiment on DVD shelves everywhere (the film is also currently available on VOD platforms). It features an all-star cast including Katie Featherston, Debbie Rochon, Reggie Bannister, Glenn Morshower, Kathy Lamkin and Shannon Lark as well as the subject of this interview, Friday the 13th‘s original final girl herself- Adrienne King.
Psychic Experiment is centered around an idyllic, small, self-sufficient community which seems like the perfect neighborhood on the surface. After all, everything you could possibly need is within walking distance. But eventually the pastoral exterior conceals a dark past and an even darker secret, and as a group of individuals – each with their own ties and agendas with the town and each other – converge on the enclave, strange things begin to happen. Very strange things. Strange enough to test – and then break – the very fabric of reality itself. The person who may be behind these strange happenings is Adrienne King.
In honor of Psychic Experiment‘s home release bow, Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with beloved Scream Queen King to talk about her return to acting after over 30 years away from the camera, her experiences working on Psychic Experiment, and what’s coming up next for her now that she’s back thrilling genre fans once again.
Dread Central: Talk a little bit about how you got involved with Psychic Experiment and what your first impressions of Mel’s script were.
Adrienne King: I met Mel House through a writer/producer friend, Ted Geoghegan, whom I met at a Fangoria convention in Chicago back in ‘08. I found out quickly that there’s quite a bit of networking at these conventions, which really adds to all the fun! So Ted informed me that his good friend, Mel House, was trying to get a script my way, and we made contact. The script was amazing! I had to read it twice in order get a real handle on it; so much is going on right away!! It’s original, outrageous, and a time-traveling roller-coaster that doesn’t let you get off! One of our reviews compared PSYCHIC EXPERIMENT to an LSD-soaked experience!!
Dread Central: With this being a return to the industry for you, what was that experience like being back in front of the camera again?
King: It was like being home again. After the first ten minutes on the set of Psychic Experiment, I realized that I had missed being in front of the camera and I’m so happy to be back. There is so much that as an actress that I’d suppressed that was now being allowed out ‘to play’ again.
My Friday the 13th ‘campers’ deserve credit for resurrecting me from the dead, so to speak. When I would attend a con, every other question was ‘When are you going to make another movie?’ and then they’d say ‘We’ve missed you!’ All the kids who grew up with my F13 movies in the 80’s are now the genre writers, directors and producers of today- who could turn down such a welcoming invitation?
So I started reading scripts again, and it took a while until I found something truly original and extraordinary in the horror/sci-fi arena. I really wanted a role that I could truly sink my teeth into, someone with loads of layers. I was also very aware that I did want not to disappoint my fans after being away for so long; I wanted to ‘come back’ in something phenomenal, which I think I have!
Dread Central: How was it working with Mel? I know your role was initially intended to be a male role- can you discuss how that change came about?
King: Mel is absolutely brilliant! He’s a powerhouse of enthusiasm and passion, and that proved to be contagious on set. Originally I was offered an alternate role in Psychic Experiment, but I explained to Mel that I needed something a little ‘more.’ Well, a bit later that day Mel offered me the role of the Facility Director; the role was originally written for a man and named Lou Strack. So when Mel offered me such a strong and challenging role, I asked him if he was going to change anything about the character. He said, ‘Just her name. You can handle the rest!’ He had faith in me and I in him, especially after viewing his previous indie Closet Space, which was quite a fine piece of work on no budget. I was truly looking forward to our working together. So I ended up playing Louise Strack, a strong woman who’s immensely dedicated to her scientific facility to better mankind but whose research has taken a few bizarre twists and turns.
Dread Central: What were your experiences like working on the set for Psychic Experiment?
King: It was a wonderful but extremely warm experience shooting during the Texas summer in Houston and Galveston. We all had this ‘dig-in deep & work hard’ independent attitude, and Mel has all this amazing energy where his creative juices bubble over and permeate throughout the entire cast and crew. Melanie Donihoo, besides being a talented actress in her own right, is Mel’s wife and ardent supporter that also acted like our Set Mother by keeping us all happy, fed and kept all those SAG papers in order. James La Marr, our uber-producer and supporting actor in Psychic Experiment, was also our photographer on set; everybody kicked in to get this movie made on time.
I had scenes with Debbie Rochon, who is brilliant, and Reggie Bannister was awesome. The special effects people were incredible- just wait until you see what they’ve created. It’ll haunt you for a very long time! But it was one of my best experiences on a film set, especially considering so many of these dedicated people had day jobs. There was true camaraderie among our wonderful ensemble of talented actors and the nicest and hardest working crew I’ve ever worked with in my life. This is another testament to Mel’s passion and devotion because he makes you want to do the best you can do. Everyone feels it, and I look forward to working with Mel again. We had a mantra on the set – ‘The House Always Wins!’ – and without a doubt I’m betting on the ‘House.’
Dread Central: How does it feel now that Psychic Experiment is about to be released after such a long journey to get it to this place?
King: It’ll be my first on-screen appearance in a movie since Friday the 13th Part 2 so I’m very anxious to see how the fans react to seeing me in a movie since I’m thirty-plus years older. Now that could be the scariest part of all!
Dread Central: I noticed you have another thriller that you wrapped on this year, The Butterfly Room. Can you talk a bit about that project as well?
King: I worked with a very sweet Italian writer/director Jonathon Zorantenello on the film, and I got to work with the legendary Barbara Steele as well on it. There’s quite a few of us ol’ scream queens playing cameos, which will be so much fun for the horror fans. But it’s kind of like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane meets The Bad Seed! Very trippy stuff, and I understand that he’s very close to finishing post production now.
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