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Horror movies &stuff: Mary Winstead - "Black Christmas" Interview

Rising star Mary Winstead has become a household name overnight. From her starring role in February's "Final Destination 3", to her role in the upcoming slasher remake "Black Christmas" which opens December 25th..and her role in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez pic "Grindhouse". In this interview, she talks the "Black Christmas" experience

MR. H:So "Black Christmas" is your second horror film to come out in 2006...the other of course being "Final Destination 3". Which movie would you say you got the messiest during shooting as far as being covered in fake blood, "FD 3" or "Black Christmas"??

MW:I think I definitely got the messiest during "Final Destination 3" because I was usually the one getting the brunt of the violence and blood splatter. In "Black Christmas" I had six other girls to share it with, it wasn't just one person or me the whole time, so it was nice to get a break.

MR. H:So I read you took on a role in this remake because you were a fan of the 1974 Bob Clark Original. When people talk about their favorite classic horror movies they usually mention stuff like "Halloween", "Nightmare On Elm Street", or "The Shining". Do you feel that "Black Christmas" is underappreciated as far as classic horror movies are concerned?? Or do you think it's just a case of the film being really obscure so not that many people have seen it??

MW:I think the fact that it's mostly obscure it what makes it all the more attractive, I can appreciate a lesser known film but I don't think it gets alot of the credit it deserves because it was the innovator of the slasher genre you know? I just really think it's a great piece of work.

MR. H:Who are some of your favorite scream queens??

MW:My favorite scream queens? Um...Jamie Lee Curtis she's the best, anyone in a Hithcock movie, Janet Leigh her mother, Janet Leigh was the originator of horror in a way, she's had alot of great scenes over the years.

MR. H:Is Christmas your favorite time of year like it is for many other people??

MW:Absolutely I'm a big fan of Christmas. It's a time to be with your family, and just the warmest fun time of the year. So it's kind of odd that we're releasing a horror film.

MR. H:In "Black Christmas" you play a character named Heather Lee, a sorority girl..one of the many sorority girls in the movie. Tell us about the character of Heather Lee..what's she like, and what did you try to bring to the role?

MW:Heather is somewhat the outcast. She doesn't fit in, she's sort of a snob, the southern debutant from a rich family. She's spoiled, and the other girls resent her for that and because she doesn't fit in...and throughout the film she's mostly out for herself, and just wants to get the hell out of there and doesn't care about the other girls even though the other girls keep saying they should stick together. So in a way she's kind of the smart one because she looks out for herself and tries to get away from danger.

MR. H:Give me some characteristics that set Heather apart from the other girls in the film Kelli, Melissa, Leigh, Lauren, Dana, and Megan.

MW:Well like I said she's from a very different background, very conservative. The majority of the other girls are cynical but she's the one who wants to keep the Christmas tradition in tact. And like when they decide to put a present under the tree for Billy this infamous serial killer, it's something she feels is wrong and goes against Christmas tradition.

MR. H:When Heather finally has her run in with Billy in the movie, does she give him a good fight, maybe outsmart him a bit??

MW:Um....I can't really say too much, I sadly dont get as much of a struggle as the other girls, but I will say that she's smart and tries to do what she can

MR. H:Billy of course is the antagonist in the film, what do you think set's him apart from other horror movie slashers like Michael Myers, Freddy, and Jason?? Other than the fact that he's human?

MW:Hmm...well you feel bad for him because he's had such a bad childhood, he's witnessed some things in his childhood that made him what he is and he's killing these people because he wants to show his love, because that's the only kind of love that was ever shown to him. And he wants his family to be together and even though they're dead bodies...it's like a show of affection to him.

MR. H:Have you seen the finished film yet??

MW:I just did...a couple of nights ago. There's a couple different edits out there, I know there's a couple different edits out in the UK right now.

MR. H:Glen Morgan, great writer by the way..wrote the script for "Black Christmas" and also 'FD 3" which you also starred in. What are some of the vital elements of a Glen Morgan horror script? Like let's say you get handed a brand new horror script by Glen Morgan, what are some of the things you know right off the bat to expect from that script??

MW:Uh I definitely would say gore factor, very elaborate detailed death scenes like in "FD 3". Because his scripts are very detailed and distinct, and things play out in such a manner like you would visualize in your head, and I think he's really good at that.

MR. H:The original "Black Christmas" kept a little mystery to itself by not showing the killer and just showing very short death scenes. How does the remake differ?? Already looking at some clips that have come online, this one looks alot more in your face.

MW:Oh yes this one is very different from the original in fact I'd call it more of a reimaging than a remake. It's in your face, it's disturbing, it's gory and it's more for a new audience. It's different from the original because it's so over the top and you see more of Billy and more of his backstory and you see him as the man that he is. In the original you don't see much of him so it's definitely a much different piece.

MR. H:On a scale of 1-10...how bloody and graphic would you say "Black Christmas" is??

MW:Oh man well I guess I could say a 10 although it could be pushed further, but I'm not sure we'd want to push it any further. I'd say a 9 most people in the theater were screaming and covering their eyes and were shocked and I think that's a good thing because it's what you want, it's what you go to a horror movie for. To be scared, shocked and covering your eyes.

MR. H:How was the overall mood on set with you and the other actors during filming?? Did you guys have fun shooting this movie, or was the mood really serious for the most part??

MW:We actually had alot of fun, and when you get a bunch of girls together you worry about possible jealousy and cattiness but there was alot of giggling and we had a great time. We had to sort of believe the horrible things on set, and then after shooting we went to have fun and get it out of our minds.

MR. H:Give us one funny incident that happened during the filming of "Black Christmas".

MW:There was one, well a couple of funny things that happened. When we were improvising during a scene where we were opening presents, Andrea Martin..who plays Mrs. Mac unwrapped a giant dildo and that completely changed the entire scene because she just kept cracking jokes and it was hilarious. That was a funny moment I remember.

MR. H:Looking at some of the clips from the movie, this film seems to be slightly sprinkled with a little bit of twisted black humor. Is there a good amount of twisted humor mixed in with the horror elements of "Black Christmas"??

MW:Absolutely. It's almost a black comedy in certain aspects. I mean it really went for it..even in Billy's backstory it's so disturbing you just laugh, everyone has their mouth open and can't believe what's happening on screen, and that's the reaction we want from the audience.

MR. H:Of course when a movie like this is released on Christmas Day, the criticizers come out of the woodwork calling it anti-christian, wrong, blasphemous, etc. What's your take on all of that..and do you fear there will be a backlash towards the film because of the chosen release date of December 25th??

MW:Well you know I don't that the conservative audience is the target audience for this film or horror in general. The type of people against this movie wouldn't see horror films anyway so I don't think we will lose too much of an audience. I cna understand where they're coming from, but I think it's a fun movie it's not meant to be spiteful, and we're not saying anything about christianity. I mean Christmas is about Santa and opening presents and I think that's what this film is representing, the idea of Christmas in a dark & horrific sort of way.

MR. H:How much business do you see "BC" doing when it comes out on the 25th??

MW:You know I really don't know -- horror movies are doing really well, especially when they have shock value to them and are crazier than you've seen before. So it should do well..it will shock and disturb which is what audiences want something shocking, disturbing, and entertaining.

MR. H:You've got another film coming out next April Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's "Grindhouse". Now have you shot your scenes for that film yet and how excited are you about it??

MW:I've shot my scenes and it's been amazing the greatest experience, the greatest guys and just the most amazing set. It was fun and it really makes you take joy in filmmaking and that joy spreads out to everyone on set. It was an amazing experience being there.

MR. H:With Christmas coming up...what's Mary Winstead's Christmas wish for the world??

MW:For the world?? Oh wow that's a hard one. My one wish is that we can accept each other for our differences and not fight about religion and other things and put those things aside, and come together as one. That's always been my wish for the world actually.


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