Rebecca Romijn gets to play a very delicious kind of evil in Satanic Panic, a new survival horror movie from director Chelsea Stardust that feels like, if you ignored the technological advancements, it could have been a direct-to-VHS movie you found at your local video store years ago.
In the film, which stars Hayley Griffith and Ruby Modine, Sam’s first day as a pizza delivery driver is not going according to plan. At the end of a long day and not enough tips, her last delivery turns out to be for a group of Satanists (led by Romijn) looking for someone to sacrifice. Now in a fight for her life, Sam must fend off witches, evil spells and demonic creatures, all while trying to keep her body – and soul – intact.
Romijn joined ComicBook.com to discuss her role in Satanic Panic, which is out on demand and in select theaters tomorrow, as well as the role the X-Men films have played in her life, and how she feels about their legacy.
There is something a little larger than life about this part. How much fun was it for you, getting to deliver some of the more truly over the top lines in this movie?
So much fun! Everything about it was so much fun. There's nothing more fun than doing relentless evil. Then, also, they had all this -- I mean, it looked like gibberish on the page; they actually wrote it out phonetically -- but all the parts where I'm speaking in tongues, I thought I could get away with just making it up as I went along, but I'm glad I asked. I said, "Is this a real dialect? Because if it's a real dialect then I need to learn it."
They said, "No, it's an ancient dialect." I had to learn it word for word, and it was hilarious. Like, rehearsing all that dialect was so funny, but it was worth it. There was so much good dialogue in the movie.
I can't imagine there wasn't at least one time when the group prayer was happening, and it just broke down into total chaos with everybody trying to do all those dialects at the same time.
It was crazy. It was so crazy. All the big crowd scenes were kind of overwhelming. It was really fun.
The audience spends 80 to 85 percent of the time with Hayley, and your character actually has relatively little screen time with her, because you're kind of in the other camp so to speak.
Yeah. When I was with the coven I felt like we were often on a completely different movie than Ruthie and Hayley. Even through scheduling, they were scheduled on completely different nights than we were scheduled. We shot all nights, by the way.
That was just our reliance on Chelsea Stardust and her vision. We had no choice but to trust that she knew exactly what she wanted from everybody and knew how she was going to cut it together, and I thought it cut together very well. Of course, the coven provides some of the comic relief. I was so happy to have Arden Myrin there and the rest of the coven. They were so funny. It ended up just being like a bunch of bumbling fools.
I have a little bit of a rule when it comes to playing stakes, you always play the stakes before the comedy. Because if you're not playing the stakes then the audience stops caring. You want to work in the comedy wherever you can, but the stakes come first.
I think it's great to infuse dark comedy in with horror, because of course, the experience of fear and laughter are actually super close. I mean, when you get really scared you end up laughing at yourself. So comedy and horror go together very, very, very well, but it's important how it's infused. I thought Chelsea did a great job.
Obviously you've been working with Jerry for a very long time, on a lot of projects. What's it like to have to pull something out of his neck?
It was so fun. I was sad that we only had one scene together, because he's so fun to work with. It was such a good scene. Of course, if you ask Jerry, he would say, "I've been trying to get my wife to throat fist me for 12 years." Finally we get to do it on camera.
No, it was so hilarious....It was also like four in the morning. I was like, "I really hope this is working." Again, you just have to put all your faith into Chelsea, that she's got the camera angles right and it's all going to cut together just fine.
But, it was so funny. They had to do a life cast of Jerry -- they had to do a life cast of all of us, because I think we all end up getting our throats slit at some point -- but his dummy was sitting in the garage of the house we were working in for most of the time we were shooting. So, we'd all be passing Jerry's dead dummy all the time. It was pretty funny.
It's really fun working with practical effects. Obviously, I've got so much experience working with special effects, usually CGI. Working this much with practical effects is such a throwback. It ends up making the movie feel kind of retro in a really cool way.
On that note, do you have a favorite direct-to-VHS 80's or 90's horror movie?
I am a lifelong horror and gore fan. I went to the video store every weekend with my best friend when we were teenagers. We rented every single movie on the wall, all the way down to Toxic Avenger, Faces of Death. I get more scared with psychological horror more than anything else. I loved the original Vanishing, the Dutch version of The Vanishing. That really scared me, that did a number on me. That stayed with me for years. The end, the very last shot in that movie...oh my God. So scary.
We had the 80's nostalgia, now I feel like we're having films that feel kind of like that but aren't fueled by nostalgia. I feel like that's almost more fun.
Yeah, it is. I really couldn't believe the energy that working with practical effects brought to the set. I think Stranger Things helped whet everybody's appetite again for 80's nostalgia. Chelsea Stardust, I know, is a huge John Hughes fan; she loves 80's movies. So, yeah, I think there is an appetite for this type of movie, and just for practical effects.
I think people are a little bit sick of CGI in a lot of ways. We've got so many superhero movies now, they're fun, but it's fun to see practical effects again. It's fun to work with practical effects.
You were part of the original wave of these movies. What's your take on the rise of the super hero movie?
I think it's great. Obviously, audiences are still flocking to see them. I think there's a need for them right now, due to the climate of the world. People love watching super heroes save the day, it's escapist. I'm incredibly proud to have been part of the inception of that. It feels like maybe, sometimes, there are too many right now; I feel like they're not as [special] as they were when they first started 15 years ago. But I think it's a trend that's not going away. I think it's great. I love going to them myself, I love them. It's fantastic.
Growing up, those were labeled "adolescent male power fantasies." Is it nice to see a new generation of filmmakers, and I will put Satanic Panic in with this, doing adolescent female power fantasies where you're having a lot fewer damsels in distress and a lot more women kind of blasting through an army of lunatics?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Again, I'm so happy to have gotten to play so many of those types of roles. Also, because I have daughters, I mean, they're at an age now where if I leave for a month here or a month there for work, they want to see what I'm creating. It's important for me that I'm proud of the kinds of characters that my daughters are seeing me play.0comments
I'm not sure that I'm going to let my 10 year old see Satanic Panic for awhile. I don't think they want to see it. They read a lot of the warrior princess, the rebel princess, very, very strong female empowered graphic novels. That's their thing, so I am all for it. If they had had those when I was growing up I would have totally read them.
I watched X-Men when I was a kid. I read the comics and watched the cartoon when I was a kid. I loved Wonder Woman, I loved all the female super heroes, so it was very exciting to get to be a part of the beginning of that whole wave of comic book movies.