Thanks to Kevin Collins and Peter J. Evanko of One Shot Productions the completion funding is in place and the crew is ready for my arrival (they're gleefully calling it "Brinke Week").
Most of the movie has already been finished. As the Angel of Death, Jay says they might CGI big black feathered wings on me in post-production - cool! Reminds me of my recent "Dark Angel" photo shoot in Hollywood. Glad I don't have to fit those lovely raven wings into my over packed suitcase! -Brinke Stevens
THURSDAY June 15 - I left Los Angeles this morning expecting a short lay over in Salt Lake City before flying to Philadelphia. But Mother Nature had other plans. Arriving in Salt Lake, I found all East Coast flights were canceled due to a looming tornado front. Unfortunately, my suitcase was accidentally loaded on a plane to Cleveland. Delta Airlines kindly gave me a free hotel room and $10 meal voucher, plus a tiny overnight kit. It was so weird, to be stripped bare of all comforts with only the clothes on my back.
Very unsettling and kind a Lonely. I washed my clothes and laid them on the heater to dry, flipping 'em like pancakes so they wouldn't burn. Naked and depressed, I watched mammal shows on TV to cheer myself up. Meanwhile, Jay Lind and producer Andy Nunez hadn't gotten my call in time and were already on their way to Philadelphia airport to greet me. I'm sure they were as depressed as I was, since their rain-soaked drive took about three hours each way. -Brinke Stevens
FRIDAY June 16 - By sheer luck, I caught a plane to Philadelphia. There, hundreds of lost suitcases were huddled together like pitiful refugees. I was never so happy to be reunited with my luggage. My good pal and comic book co-writer Todd A. Kaylor met me at the gate that evening. He'd planned a weekend getaway from PA to join me.
Jay approved and was eager to put him to work as "boom operator". I was already two shooting days late. After our long drive to Millsboro, Delaware, I got immediately into make-up. We began work at 9 PM and shot into the wee hours. Nothing like hitting the ground running! . -Brinke Stevens
SATURDAY June 17 - Since my co-star Amy was unavailable, I had the day off. I'd slept badly and was very tired; it sounded like somebody was pacing my floor all night long. I stayed in a spare bedroom of our "location" house, a magnificent old home built in 1795. Smelling morning coffee, I crawled down the steep "slave stairs" and asked the owner Kim Parker if she knew her place was haunted. She glowed " Congratulations, you've met our ghost!"
Later, Todd and I drove to the ocean. We spent the day playing in the cold Atlantic and ate good seafood at Rehoboth Beach. Jay threw a party that night to welcome me, where I met other members of the cast and crew. It's an impressive group of talented actors and theater folks. Clearly, everyone loves this type of hard work! -Brinke Stevens
SUNDAY June 18 - I had the morning off, so Todd and I went to a Local cinema to see GONE IN 60 SECONDS. (Makes you want to drive real fast afterwards.) I saw a huge flock of baby Canadian geese and made Todd stop for cute photos. This is such a neat old town, unlike any place in California. There's sure a Lot of history here. We started shooting outdoors at sundown. Three pretty gals a blonde (Amy), brunette (me), and redhead (Victoria). We wore matching lacy gowns of different colors, which Jay had built from scratch on our bodies. We all looked quite angelic.
horrendous thunderstorm cut short our shoot near midnight, as fat drops of warm rain began to fall. I stood on Kim's porch and gaped in awe as bright jagged streaks split open the dark night. You don't see much Lightning in California, either. I'm really starting to like this place! -Brinke Stevens
MONDAY June 19 - Lightning struck the house! Or at Least a nearby electrical pole. It fried the air conditioning circuit board, not to mention cable TV, answering machine, and so on. Repairmen have been traipsing in and out all day. It's 98 degrees here and about 98% humidity. I feel like I'm downing. It's stifling inside the "location house", yet we go on. Victoria (who plays "Becca") fights me for the soul of young Amy. Apart from being a skilled performer, Victoria also helps out as crew when she's not on camera.
She's a veteran of John Waters' movies in Baltimore andhas fascinating stories to tell. Kim got permission from her elderly next-door neighbor to shoot amidst her leafy trees. (Although, I don't think she expected me to be totally naked.) Out on the highway, the same red pick-up truck drove back and forth about six times as we were shooting... Ooh, I was so ready to get medieval on his ass! Obviously, he hasn't seen many of my movies. -Brinke Stevens
TUESDAY June 20 - We began our new day by shooting publicity photos. In the living room, Jay arranged a coffin, candles, and funeral flowers. Amy and I took turns posing as glamorous vamps. A straight-laced neighbor knocked on the front door and was a bit stunned to see a coffin on the floor.
Owner Kim obviously had some quick explaining to do! After dark, we started shooting a long dialog scene outdoors. It's a dream sequence where innocent Amy is manipulated between me (angel) and Victoria (demon).
Unbeknownst to us, that old maple tree was chock full of huge spiders. While I was filming, I felt something horrible crawling on my bare shoulder. The worst thing you can do is blow a take, so I tried hard not to look. Later, Victoria screamed bloody murder when she walked face-first into a dangling arachnid. God, we suffer so much for our art. -Brinke Stevens
WEDNESDAY June 21 - A long day. We started filming early at a local university. It's the beginning of the script, after Amy's character has attempted suicide. She begins to catch glimpses of me, variously clad in black or white, apparently stalking her. Little does she know that I am the Angel of Death, just waiting to claim her soul.
I was so impressed with young blonde Amy - she's a college studentwho does social work, helps run a family restaurant, fronts a rock & roll band, and is a tremendous stage actress. I felt like a slacker next to her! At sunset, we moved to an old, overgrown, abandoned cemetery.
Since Jay didn't have a film permit, we left the keys in the ignition and the trunk wide open - in case we needed to flee quickly. There, we shot the last scene of the movie, a poignant moment when Amy's character finally reaches a true understanding of her life and actions. It went very well, and we were wrapped ! -Brinke Stevens
THURSDAY June 22 - Despite my late arrival in Delaware, we had already completed our mission. Jay showed me some video playback on TV, and I was floored - he's so very talented, yet eccentric and bizarrely creative. It's truly a beautiful film - not so much a horror flick as it is just plain artistic". Because of bad sound Levels at the cemetery, Amy and I dubbed our dialogue again at Kim's house. As I watched the playback and joy fully got back into my character, I was equally sad that I must return home tomorrow. -Brinke Stevens
FRIDAY June 23 - Jay drove me back to Philadelphia airport this morning. It was a sad goodbye... with the burning hope that we might work together again. I do believe in him and his cinematic visions - he's truly a great artist. I'd like to think this is the best movie Jay Lind has ever made... and that I may see him soon for another cinematic adventure.
Written by Brinke Stevens, Originally Published in Draculina Magazine. For Brinke Fan Club Info Send a SASE to PO Box 8900 Universal City, CA 91618. Visit her website Brinke.com
DRACULINA: How did you get involved in TO DANCE WITH DEATH?
BRINKE STEVENS: I've known Jay Lind for many years - and we frequently run into each other at East Coast conventions, like Chiller Theatre. Seems we've for ever been talking about doing a movie together, but the right project just hadn't come along until TO DANCE WITH DEATH. Jay immediately thought of me for the Angel of Death role, and it was something I really wanted to do from the moment I read his script.
D: What did you think of the script?
BS: It was very poetic, very evocative. I don't know how he did it, but Jay somehow got in side a teenage girl's psyche, quite effectively.I could see how it might be a little confusing for the viewer, with allthe twisted reality and dream stuff. But I trust it's all clear in the film, since I saw Jay using some interesting visual techniques to clarify his intentions.
D: Tell us a Little more about your character?
BS: My role is merely called "the Angel of Death". In the script, Ifirst show up in a black business suit, rather sinister, as I watch the main character on a college campus. She later sees me out side her house in a white flowing gown, and later inside her own bedroom. I start to appear in her dreams, as well, taking her to strange places and odd situations. Turns out I'm an angel, waiting to take her soul away. It's deliberately a bit mysterious, whether I'm good or bad. At least until the very end...
D: What's the story about?
BS: A teenage girl attempts suicide. Her parents send her away for a year of rehabilitation. When she returns home, every thing is slightly off, like a parallel universe. Nobody is quite normal, and she can't figure out why. She is soon stalkedby a mysterious woman (me), and has bizarre dreams about her boy friendand her best gal pal, Becca. Her Life gets progressively crazier, until she finally figures it allout. I really don't want to give away the ending it's such a good surprise!
D: Violence and nudity galore?
BS: There's probably enough of both to keep the audience interested,but it's truly not the selling point of the story. I was never violent in the film, personally. Yeah, I do appear naked once or twice, but it makes perfect sense formy character. By now, everyone should know that I don't have a problem with nudity. I work very hard to stay in shape, and I Love the fact that people still want to see me do it!
D: How was it to work with Jay Lind?
BS: I was surprised how easy the shoot went... it was a very pleasant week. Jay is completely dedicated, yet so low-key. It was a relaxed set, because everyone pulled together and was so enthusiastic. We got the job done quickly and efficiently, without feeling pressured by time constraints. Jay is a good director, making clear what he envisioned yet giving me artistic freedom at the same time. I'd work with him again anytime.
D: How did you like Delaware?
BS: It's always such fun to do "Location" shoots. In the past, I've spent many long weeks on out-of-town films like MOMMY 1 & 2 (Iowa), EYES ARE UPON YOU (Pittsburgh, PA), and SORORITY BABES (San Diego, CA). It forces you to leave behind all familiar comforts and thus to have a greater reliance on your surrogate family of cast and crew members.It also gives you enough time to explore the local sights and culture. I immediately felt at home sharing Kim Parker s lovely old house withher Jay Lind and occasional sleep-over guests (when shooting ended very late at night).
I enjoyed seeing lush greenery abundant wildlife historic places and heavy weather - all the things you can;t find in California. And the beach towns and country antique fairs were fantastic!
D: What was it like shooting at a haunted house?
BS: I know that ghosts are not a part of everyone's belief system. But I accept them as real and occasionally I admit see dead people I noticed Kim s ghost the first night I was staying there... it seemed like someone opened my bedroom door and paced the floor all night. I had a vivid encounter on the last day of shooting too. We d finished many hours of work on the college campus and came home for a brief rest before our sunset graveyard scenes.
I laid down for a nap deliberately pushing a brick against my bedroomdoor to keep the ghost out.I woke up when I heard the door creak open then I heard footsteps crossing the floor. I opened my eyes expecting to see Amy in my room to gather her wardrobe I figured. No one was there and my door was still closed with the brick snugly behind it. I redundantly asked if anyone had come in my room while I was sleeping but they were also asleep at that time. It seemed like a friendly enough ghost so I just let it pass.
D: So we 've heard you don t like spiders?
BS: Oh God, no! They're just so ugly, and they move funny. Once, a fan tried to give me a pet tarantula. I begged off, saying my cat would probably eat it. Knowing my cat, she'd actually run in terror! I think a spider was crawling on my bare shoulder while we were shooting outside. It's one of the bravest things I ever did, to not freak out and run screaming off the set. Spiders are probably the scariest thing I can imagine.
D: As an actress, have you been busy this year?
BS: In 2000 alone, I shot ELEVEN new movies - that's such a record forme, even in the video hey day of the Late-'80s. It's so true that THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT has democratized film-making... most of my projects were shot on digital video, even some of the new Full Moon stuff.
And my Last director (Danny Draven on HORROR VISION) was 22years old... he's been a big fan since he first saw SORORITY BABES at the tender age of nine. There's a whole new generation of talented young filmmakers out there, and I think B-movies are suddenly back with a vengeance.
D: What sort of roles are we talking about?
BS: I've played a cop (REAL TIME), a victim (THE REAPER),a mother (JULIA WEPT), a news caster (TIERRA DEL DIABLO),a gypsy fortune teller (SIDESHOW), a 1940's movie star (BLOOD ON THE BACK LOT), a cyber-hacker (HORROR VISION), a vampirehooker (WEB OF DARKNESS), myself in a TV infomercial (THE VAMPIRE HUNTER'S CLUB), Evira in a Halloween-type movie (AMERICAN NIGHTMARE), and now the Angel of Death... it's been an awesome year. Never a dull moment!
D: Have you kept up with your writing career?
BS: Yes, absolutely. I don't know how I've found the time, since I'm only off-work a couple days each month. But I've managed to co-write three new scripts with Ted (ATTACK OF THE B MOVIE MONSTER) Newsom. The trick is to write really fast - we wrote a whole screenplay in three days, a cute teen-ghost comedy. The other two are film noir detective thrillers, since Ted actually worked as a private investigator for a few years. We've got potential buyers interested in a couple of them already.
D: What does the future hold for you?
BS: Hopefully, I'll stay busy with acting work. Concorde has re released my SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE on video & DVD, with exciting results. They are negotiating a possible SPM-4 movie, starring me and Julie Strain. That might happen soon. I'm also eager to do more producing.I'm still trying to co produce my screenplay BURIED NIGHTMARES, Like securing the financing.
That's always the toughest part about making a movie, getting the necessary money to shoot it. And definitely a lot more writing. Last year, I wrote a children's book about my pet wild duck, called MISSY'S DUCKUMENTARY. It's with a top illustrator right now, getting laid out in storybook format. I have to find a publisher for that soon. At times, I don't think I can take much more of hectic Los Angeles... I long to escape to a serene,quiet place in the country, a little cozy home with a pleasant view. Until I can get away, I'll keep doing what I do best I absolutely love being an actress and a writer. (Originally Published in Draculina Magazine) Cover Page Index