She’s just too good to be true. A girl who is into heavy metal, horror movies, and a model? A girl like that only exists in our dreams…or is Suzi Lorraine. Straight out of New Jersey, Suzi has modeled all over the world in magazines like GQ and Esquire. Suzi is also an accomplished actress and writer, whose had articles published in magazines like Gorezone and Horrormania and just co-wrote her first feature, a horror comedy called Won Ton Baby. Want to know about it along with what brought Suzi to the “dark side” of entertainment. Click below.
How does a girl like you get into horror and Alice Cooper?
Primarily because of my older brother’s influence. When I was little, he was into rock and roll and scary movies and I remember hearing the “Welcome to my Nightmare” album by Alice Cooper and it freaked me out. I was little so I was so scared but so enthralled by it at the same time. I would run to my room and then come back and ask him “can you play Steven again?” So I think I was imprinted with all things horror very young. We used to watch scary movies like Halloween, Dead and Buried, Pieces, you name it. You know, the more I talk to horror fans, a lot of them started watching horror movies at a younge age, so I’m wondering if there’s something to that imprinting theory…
What’s your favorite horror movie? Favorite monster?
I think the most perfect horror movie is The Shining. There’s a gazillion horror movies and cult classics that I love but The Shining is a great example of a well-constructed movie that’s terrifying, has great characters, an amazing setting, and beautiful cinematography. So I think if I had to pick one all around it would have to be The Shining.
I remember we used to watch that at parties when I was in middle school. The scene with the woman in the shower freaked me out.
I know! It’s so freaky! She’s young and beautiful and then she just morphs into that old lady and her skin falls apart. In terms of gore, I think the more you watch the more you get desensitized to it, especially if you’re acting in it and you see exactly how the special effects are prepared. It’s so funny because somebody asked me the other day, ”how do you do that? How do you get on set and work like that? It’s just so gross.” And I explained, what I do is make believe. Compare that to say, a surgeon, who is performing serious business, cutting open real people and not passing out. Serious, real blood, guts and gore. That’s what I admire.
I had a professor who said it wasn’t the sight that grosses people out, it was the sound. He had us watch a scene where a finger was cut off with the sound on and everybody winced.
Exactly! It’s the whole sensory experience. I’m sure if you were there and something nasty was happening it would smell too, so it’s all the senses coming together for the full gross out effect.
I think that’s the next step in movie making, “Smell-o-vision”
(Laughing) You never know!
Least Favorite Horror Movie?
That’s a good question. I’ve never been asked that before. I really can’t think of one off the top of my head that was so awful I was appalled. Let me get back to you on that.
Favorite Horror Monster?
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Freddy Kruger. I’m a huge Freddy fan and once again, I saw that when I was little. He’s one of my favorites because he’s of course creepy looking and scary, but he has the greatest one-liners and is really funny and entertaining.
What’s your opinion about zombies? Do you think they’re over exposed? (Click here for my opinion on zombies)
I think everything comes in waves. Personally, I’m rather fond of zombies. I think there’s just a flood of movies right now because everybody who has a video camera can put something together and call themselves a filmmaker. So I think maybe there’s a glut of those types of zombie movies. But, there are a few good ones out there too. Going back a few years there was Shaun of the Dead and the classic zombie movies such as Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, etc.
How about Twilight?
You might be surprised but I have not seen it. I guess I’m mildly interested because there’s been a lot of hoopla about it, but I have not seen it yet. It just kind of seems like the WB’s version of vampires but then again I’ve heard people say it’s great so maybe I should give it a chance.
What’s your opinion on all of the remakes of classic horror movies?
I really think it’s a shame. And I can tell you, from the production side, especially because of the bad economy, the studios want to play it safe. So, a lot of the Hollywood studio films are remakes because they figure it’s a given that it’s going to do well. It’s a tried and true formula they know will make money so the studio execs and investors are risk aversive. They’d rather say, “Hey we know we can make money on this” rather then taking a risk on a more creative idea. Personally I think it sucks because if a movie was done right why go back and reinvent the wheel? Why not come up with your own idea and make something new and different?
I don’t like that they think the use of CGI makes everything better. What’s your opinion on CGI?
I’m definitely not a big CGI fan myself, I’m more of a traditionalist. No matter how well CGI’s done, I can still tell it’s CGI and with horror movies I feel it can detract from the scariness of it.
What really scares you?
Definitely, things that can REALLY happen. I’m not really that much of an alien fan or attack of giant leeches, or stuff that’s really outlandish that I know could probably never happen. What scares me are serial killers, real life people who go out and commit atrocities, movies that are made in that nature. Plausible ideas that could really happen. That’s the kind of stuff that scares me. I just saw a movie called Plaguetown at the Gorezone Weekend of Horrors film festival in London, and it’s very rare, being a horror fan, to find something nowadays that actually scares me, but this movie was really scary. The story was about a village of people who were disfigured, and hell bent on keeping interlopers out. They attacked the “interlopers” or visitors, who were the recipients of vicious, brutal beatings. The setting was so desolate and remote – it really gave the viewer the true feeling of isolation and desperation that the main characters were going thru.
Sounds like “Deliverance” or “Children of the Corn”. Speaking of which, do you read any Stephen King?
Yeah, I read a great deal of Stephen King when I was younger but I haven’t read anything he’s written say in the past 10 years. NightShift, Cujo, Needful Things, Four Past Midnight, Pet Sematary…
So you didn’t get into “The Dark Tower” or any of those?
No, I haven’t.
No, I never read that one.
If you’re afraid of stuff that could conceivably happen, that is it.
Yeah. It’s about a super flu that wipes out humanity. He got the idea apparently from an article he read about chemical weapon tests that killed a bunch of sheep but had the wind blown in the opposite direction possibly would’ve hurt or killed a lot of people.
I’ll definitely put that on my to read list. I remember something interesting from one of the forwards to his novels, which are always so good because he’s such an entertaining guy, with a real wry sense of humor. He said inevitably, he’ll be at a cocktail party and someone would come up to him, shake his hand and say, “I’ve always wanted to write” and he’ll look back at them and go “you know, I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon” and they would look at him quizzically. He never quite got the sentiment, because if you want to write, you write. You just do it. I thought that was a funny Stephen King-ism.
Speaking of writing, you’re a writer. How did you become a columnist for magazines like Gorezone and Horror Mania?
It started about five years ago. I was contacted by “Horror Mania” to do an interview for their “Horror Hotty of the Month” section and afterwards the publisher told me he was impressed that I had so much genre knowledge and asked if I’d like to be their New York Correspondent. I said “of course” and the rest is history! They give me carte blanche to write about whatever I want, whether it’s editorials or reviews or just stuff that happens to me on movie set, kind of like a “day in the life of…” That’s how Horror Mania happened and it then it led to “Gorezone” magazine. I got an email from the editor of “Gorezone” which was a start up magazine back in 2005 and I’ve been writing for them ever since.
Where did you get the idea for “Won Ton Baby”?
I didn’t write it but I came up with the story idea. My friend James Morgart wrote the screenplay based on my story idea. We were totally on the same page with the creative concept. He would send me twenty pages at a time for me to review and say “is this on track with what you’re thinking?” His writing was brilliant, brilliant stuff. He really understood it. We had a conversation for an hour one day when I was coming up with the idea and he just listened and listened and laughed, and took my idea and fleshed it out into these really well rounded and lovable characters with a proper storyline. That’s how Won Ton Baby came about. It was inspired by my love of B horror films like “Basket Case” and “Its Alive” and over the top dark comedy.
It’s about a “Won Ton” baby?
Yeah, it’s about a little devil baby. He’s Asian, he speaks with this cute, gravelly Asian accent, and he has this bushy fake Elvis pompadour. He’s about three feet tall and he’s chubby like a Sumo Wrestler and he goes on a killing rampage because he’s hungry and likes to eat people. Hehe. There’s actually a lot more to it than that, but that’s it in a nutshell
And he’s “won ton”?
Won Ton, that’s the family name. His last name is Won Ton and that’s why we named him Won Ton baby. I play his sister, Little Wing Won Ton. It just premiered last Saturday at the Gorezone Film Festival in London, so I just got home from that. It’s gotten some really good reviews already. It was shot on a low budget but from what I heard the baby stole the show. They loved the puppet. We decided to go that route, as we wanted to avoid CGI at all costs, so we had a proper puppet, we had puppeteers, we had a compositor who was actually able to make his eyes move, which is as close as we came to CGI when it came to making the baby look more alive in post production.
Cool. Personally, I’d take the Yoda Muppet over CGI any day of the week.
Exactly, I’m with you.
Your movie, Claang is being released in Italy will we see it state side?
We certainly hope so. The movie’s complete. It looks beautiful. It is actually in Italian so it’s going to have English subtitles and that makes it a little bit harder to get US distribution, but not impossible, so the producer is working hard right now to try to secure distribution. It premiered in Italy in May. It’s a beautiful period film. I guess I would equate it to “Gladiator” and I definitely hope it’s gets released in the US so people could see it here. I play the lead, Princess Eleanor, so I got to spend a lot of time in Italy. That was definitely one of the highlights of my career so far.
Was it hard to shoot and speak in Italian?
I actually spoke in English and they dubbed the voice over in Italian. So, in the movie you’ll see me but there’s an Italian actress who actually recorded the lines.
Do you think if they release it state side, they’ll back in your dialogue or will they keep it all in Italian?
That’s a very good question. I don’t know. I’m thinking they might keep it all in Italian for continuity sake since the actors all speak in Italian. But I certainly would love it if they could put my voice back in. The voiceover actress did a good job though. I’m pleased with the work she did but still it’s a little bit different because it’s not my voice and it’s not going to sync up with my lips. I should learn Italian for my next movie. ;-)
What’s your next movie?
The next movie I have is actually a vampire movie called “Valeria” and it’s going to be shot in Hungary and I think in the UK, but primarily in Hungary. My agent’s finishing the final negotiations on that and it’s scheduled to shoot in January. But, a lot of times with films you’ll have a schedule and then things will change for whatever reason and it gets pushed back. I kind of hope it’s in the spring because Hungary is going to be freezing in January and there’s a lot of exterior shots. I always joke, at this point in my career within the genre, I could pretty much live anywhere because they fly me to whatever country or city I’m shooting in, I don’t have to live in the most expensive city in the US, necessarily.
What’s it like to have your own comic book?
I was actually in Marvel’s CABLE 6 last year. I was Cyclops’ girlfriend (Emma Frost). My friend Michel Lacombe an illustrator from Montreal, asked if he could use me as his model and you can see me in the entire comic. There are about 20 pages of me in it. I also have my own comic book in the works through Red Skye Comics called Voltage but I think its still in production because I haven’t even seen it yet. They tell me it’s coming soon!
Besides Alice Cooper, what music are you into?
A very eclectic mix. I’m a very big fan of Brit Pop. I love alternative music like Suede, Placebo, and Dandy Warhol’s. Going back to my earlier roots I was totally into metal. I still absolutely LOVE Savatage, highly underrated band. I saw them a lot back when they were together. I liked Metallica but started to loose interest after …And Justice For All. Back in the day I had everything Overkill CD’s, Kreator, Napalm Death, you name it I’m all over the place musically. I like a lot of Glam Rock too, that was popular in its heyday.
A little bit yeah. You know I saw a really cool documentary on Iron Maiden a couple of weeks ago documenting their tour throughout the world.
Which one? Was it recent?
Yeah, it’s very recent maybe like this year or last year and it was just so cool. What amazes me about Iron Maiden is they’ve been around since the seventies and they have rabid fans everywhere and some of their new fans are like thirteen years old. It’s amazing. Talk about longevity!
Guns N Roses?
Guns N Roses was one of the most amazing bands. They don’t make ‘em like Appetite for Destruction anymore. I was a wee child and was blown away by that. It was definitely one of my primary musical influences and at that point, I was also a huge Motley Crue fan. I saw them in concert with my dad. It was one of my first concerts ever. My Dad is very cool and he would always buy me CD’s and all that kind of stuff.
I like some Motorhead songs. I think Lemmy’s a character. He’s a staple in Los Angeles. He’s always hanging out and drinking. I’m also a big KISS fan.
Are there any roles you won’t take?
Probably. If it’s something that completely objectifies women and has no redeeming value to it, I will turn it down. I have turned down more scripts because of the words instead of the actions. If the lines are really misogynistic, I’ll turn it down. I definitely gravitate toward roles where the female can be empowered or at least equal or on par with the male. It depends on the tone and the vibe that I pick up from the script. You can tell a lot about somebody by what they write.
Do you see yourself coming into more mainstream movies or have you had calls for them?
I would love to. The appeal of a mainstream movie is more people can actually see your work, and a mainstream studio film has the money and means to get it distributed widely around the world. That’s very appealing. Who knows what the future will bring. In the meantime, I’m quite content to continue working in the Horror genre and on independent films in general, but if the opportunity came along I’d definitely take it.
Turn ons and turn offs?
People who are kind, honest, funny, sincere, and genuine. In terms of turnoffs…traffic, rudeness, condescension, selfishness, inconsiderate people, people who don’t like animals. I definitely am an animal lover and think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals.
Have you ever modeled furs?
I did actually and I had mixed feelings about it. I booked that through my agency and it was the kind of thing where you don’t want to piss off your agency but clearly I had the choice to say no. I don’t know if I would do it again. I think if somebody is going to be anti-fur I completely understand, but then I think you have to be anti-meat or having leather handbags or shoes because it’s all the same thing – exploiting an animal for food or clothing. I considered being a vegetarian but the fact is, and Bart Simpson said it best, if they could they’d eat us too. That’s true because that’s the food chain. I have cats and cats (and dogs) would die if they didn’t meat. You can’t feed them vegetables. Their diet requires meat, and they would literally die in the long term without it. There’s a reason why certain animals and species are carnivores.
Any projects you want to plug?
I’m plugging Won Ton Baby at the moment. We are going to submit it a bunch of film festivals to see how much interest and exposure we can get and ultimately, we hope make Won Ton Baby 2 on a bigger budget.
Finally, have you ever had any awkward fan moments?
I was at a horror convention, and generally the fans are great, but once in a while you get a live one. I had this guy hang round my booth for the better part of an hour, never buy anything mind you, but tell me about his affinity for bathtub scenes. Yes, you heard that right. He kept asking me, “Do you have any movies with bathtub scenes in them? Because I won’t buy any movie unless it has a bathtub scene. Bathtub scenes are what makes the world go round…” Then he starts rattling off the names of classic movies that have girls in bathtubs. It was quite surreal.
Did he mention why he liked bathtub scenes?
Umm, I think I have a pretty good idea. LOL
He likes rubber duckys?
And maybe that too. I’m pretty sure we don’t want to know. Probably just the beginning of Pandora’s box. ;-)
For more of Suzi check out her website at Model Suzi.com.
A very special thank you to Suzi for taking the time to give me this interview.