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Amy Lynn Best

Amy: "It really makes me feel fulfilled when
someone sees one of my films".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
June 3rd, 2005

When I chatted to Amy Lynn Best last Halloween, she was still very much new to the casual horror fan. She has continued working hard however, and is now making waves in the genre thanks to numerous projects. Opinionated, intelligent and honest, Amy is sure to gain further success thanks to her motivation and informed outlook on the workings of the horror community. Just don't call her a Scream Queen or she'll kick your ass!!

When did you first become interested in the arts?
I’ve been involved with some aspect of the arts for as long as I can remember. I started dancing when I was three and never thought not to. My mother loved dancing and theatre and got me involved at an early age and I loved it. Performing was something I took to and have always enjoyed.

You are a trained dancer and actress but you are willing to turn your hand to just about any aspect of the entertainment industry. Do you feel that you were born to do it?
I honestly never thought about it like that, but I guess I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t in some sort of entertainment. It really makes me feel fulfilled when someone sees one of my films and gets the meaning and really likes it. That’s what it is all about.

What is it about the horror genre that captured your interest?
Horror is fun. I’ve always been a fan of horror. I like being scared and grossed out and laughing at silly gore effects. There is something cathartic about it. You can forget your life problems and focus on chainsaws ripping limbs off victims and feel better about yourself.

What are some of your favourite horror movies?
My favorite horror movie is The Haunting. It still scares me. And with it being near Halloween I’ve been watching some fun ones too. Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are always good to watch. And, of course, I’m a Night of the Living Dead fan.

You worked on American Nightmare which was a great movie, how was the experience of working alongside Jon Keeyes and Debbie Rochon?
It was hot in Texas. Seriously, we had a lot of fun working with the cast and crew of American Nightmare. Everyone was so nice and there was such camaraderie with the crew we met. There are a few people I still talk to. And it’s always great working with Debbie. She’s a wonderful person and a great actress.

You have since worked with Debbie on Weregrrl, what is she like to work with?
We’ve worked with Debbie on everything we’ve shot so far. Debbie is incredible to work with. She is very professional and a treat to watch. And she is a very good friend.

Amy: "WereGrrl was my
anti-exploitation movie".

Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind, and eventually the making of Weregrrl?
WereGrrl was my anti-exploitation movie. I was tired of seeing the same lesbian (inset monster here) movie and I wanted to do something that would be the opposite of that. We had a great cast and crew with Jasi Cotton Lanier as our star and Debbie in a small role also. We had a very difficult 4-day, very low budget shoot. We bought a new camera and WereGrll was basically our camera test movie. It has some sound problems and we really didn't fill it out as much as we should have. We only intended it for the test and the few people who saw it really seemed to enjoy it. Most low budget movie fans can look past the technical problems. Under those circumstances I am very happy with everyone’s work and the final product.

Lilith Stabs also did a little bit of acting in the film for you, would you like to work with her again?
Lilith did an intro for WereGrrl and she was very funny. We decided then that we wanted her in Severe Injuries and cast her in a role and she did a wonderful job with that also. People are surprised that she can be funny but she really is a good actress. She is fun to work with and I’d work with her anytime.

Your husband wrote the script but did you have a say in how the female characters should be portrayed, as it was your intention to steer clear of the clichés wasn't it?
My intention was to poke fun at exploitation films. We both hammered out ideas and some dialogue and Mike (Watt) wrote the final script. I had a lot of input and did veto a few lines, but he is very good at writing for strong female characters. I don't think I could enjoy portraying a weak female character. I'm not saying that the character herself couldn't be a weak woman, but if she is weakly written, just a sketch of a woman, then that to me shows very little respect or very little talent from the writer.

What are your thoughts on exploitation in low budget cinema, and do you have any words of wisdom for any young women out there who are trying to break into the industry?
I think there is a lot of exploitation in low budget cinema because there are a lot of people out there who want to see it. My advice to anyone is that if you’re going to do any exploitation, do it on your own terms. There are too many women who let themselves be exploited because they think that’s the only way into the business. That’s wrong; there are many aspects of this business and you have the power to do whatever you want to.

You have your own production company, Happy Cloud Pictures. Did you set up the company so that you were guaranteed to have total control of your projects, or was it as a result of any bad experiences working for other people?
Neither really. Happy Cloud Pictures was set up because Mike, Bill (Homan) and I had a movie we wanted to do, The Resurrection Game, and we did it. We never thought about finding another company to produce it. And I guess we had so much fun that we keep doing it.

You were in Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots, which has a great cast, how did you become involved and what was the experience like?
Mike met Paul Scrabo, the man behind Dr. Horror’s, online a few years ago. We talked to him on and off and when Paul started casting he asked us to be in it. Shooting Dr. Horror’s was a great experience. Paul and Georgeanne Muller were both so nice and so talented. They came to Pittsburgh and we shot our scene for a few hours in the hot sun. I’m seeing a trend on working with other people’s movies here!

Amy: "It’s more of a comedy and the gore is silly rather than scary".

Your next project was Severe Injuries. What was the idea behind the project?
Severe Injuries was a script Mike wrote a few years ago that we had lying around. We never thought we’d shoot it, but we were suddenly looking for something to shoot and we decided on that. Severe Injuries is also a turn from normal horror movies. It’s more of a comedy and the gore is silly rather than scary. That was the first feature that I directed and it was intimidating. WereGrrl was a short and had a four-day shoot and only 6 characters, where Severe Injuries took a few months and had a lot more people in it. I was scared but I knew I had great people both in front of and behind the camera and I had a great experience on that movie.

You have worked with some of the best genre actors around in your short career; do you find that everyone working in the genre is nice and helpful?
Unfortunately no. Just about everyone we’ve worked with have been wonderful, but there are a couple out there that we’ve had not so pleasant experiences with. Just like with anything, there is a lot of pettiness and jealousy that goes on in the horror community and some people have the mistaken idea that everyone else has to lose in order for them to win. We’ve been very lucky that we’ve only come across one or two of these people, but I’ve heard and seen many horror stories involving friends of mine.

What can we expect from you and Happy Cloud Pictures next?
We’re in pre-production on a few projects at this time. Doomtown is our big project that we’re excited about. It’s a horror film and we have a lot of fantastic people involved. Amber Benson, Mike Quinn, Reggie Bannister, Tom Savini, Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, Robyn Griggs, Lilith Stabs and a few others. We also have a very dark grim horror film in the works called Razor Days. And one of our crew wrote a fun gore-filled zombie film that we’re working on getting shot. Keep checking my site www.amylynnbest.com and the company’s site www.happycloudpictures.com for more information.

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Amy.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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