Danielle Harris talks Hatchet II, Stakeland, and her directorial feature horror debut.
Danielle Harris says, “My Marybeth has just gone through a lot. She’s a completely different person, trudging through the swamps with a bunch of ask-kickers looking for Victor Crowley. It was hard work.”
You know Harris. Her long line of films includes Halloween 4 and 5, Rob Zombie’s Halloween I and II, and dozens of others. As Marybeth, Harris gets to pick off where Green’s first Hatchet movie left off – with survivor Marybeth escaping the clutches of a serial killer and seeking to get revenge, and some peace of mind, by jutting back out into the swamps alongside Tony Todd, AJ Bowen, and a slew of other characters as they try to locate the deformed homage to slashers Victor Crowley. Though the film is already taken out of theaters due to some kind of weird mishap, you can check it out on DVD when it arrives shortly.
“I was constantly covered in blood and screaming the whole time,” confesses Harris. “It was exhausting.”
Harris also appears in the upcoming theatrical horror film Stakeland as “Bella”, one of the few survivors of a vampire infestation that try to make their way in a post-vampire-apocalyptic world. Harris describes Bella as “shy, vulnerable” and very pregnant.
“I’m so happy, every time I see it, I’m like, and I love it even more. I loved the script so much. It was an opportunity to play a role so different."
Harris found something challenging and interesting and in a plot that involved vampires; she’s quite sick of the Twilights and True Bloods and romantic non-threatening vampires in films these days.
That’s why she’s so happy about Stakeland.
“Where are the real vampires,” she asks. “What do they look like? Don’t you want to be scared? I want to be scared.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with romanticized, Twilight-y movies. It’s just that she wants to be scared and jump out of her seat. Stakeland really explores that, and she fell in love with what she thought was an amazing script.
“We showed it in Austin,” she laments, “and the person conducting the Q n A’s didn’t recognize who I was. They asked me if I had ever done a horror film before.” Instead of being insulted, Harris was pleased. “It was so refreshing to have someone watch what I’ve done and think it was a completely new-to-horror performance! I’m so scared that people will just see me as ‘that girl who does horror movies”. I’m afraid that it’s not good for my career or for my own personal confidence. To know that I can play a wide range of characters is really cool and to have someone take it so seriously and really believe in my character makes me love the movie that much more.”
And she got to explore her urge to direct by taking on Stakeland. She’s directed previously; a segment of the anthology horror film Prank and she’s gotten another chance. Five directors were invited to direct short films based on the back stories of the characters in Stake Land. Larry Fessenden and Ty West were among them, and so was Harris. These Stakeland short films will be out online hopefully soon – I hope they don’t make us wait for the DVD release.
“Mine doesn’t have any dialogue,” she says. “And I wanted to keep it in the same style as the feature, so it is very character-based.”
She’s currently working on a script to direct with two female friends that she describes as “Fight Club meets First Wives Club, “A movie about all the horrible women who lie to men and pretend they’re vulnerable, and I know so many awesome, gorgeous, in shape, successful women in their 30’s and 40’s who can’t find a man because men always want to date a victim. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of all of those women? Just rid the Earth of them and get rid of them once and for all? If I could just kill all of these girls? Like, if I could just do this? That’s what my movie will be about.”
She promises that this as-yet-untitled feature directorial debut will be “Very dark and very funny, a movie for all my girls in the audience and a movie that will make them laugh.”
And laughter is very important to her (did you see her recent appearance on the TV series Psych? She’s fucking funny).
“I feel like we’ve lost that in horror in the past several decades,” she says of fun horror. “The fun sense of humor that comes from a good 80s slasher film has really been lost. That’s what I love about Hatchet II. It’s full of humor. That’s what’s fun about sitting down in a theater with friends to watch a horror movie; getting to scream and getting to laugh.”