Owen: "It’s a labour of love".
Conducted by Phil
December 23rd, 2005
With Christmas just around the
corner and glitter and tinsel everywhere, I thought it only fitting that
we should talk to a real life fairy. Owen Keehnen writes for the
excellent horror site www.racksandrazors.com which has some seriously
great reviews and interviews, amongst other stuff for you to discover.
Openly gay Owen's popularity has seen him make the
transition into other areas of the industry, like so many others before
him, and he will soon be gracing silver screens everywhere.
Read on for a hilarious interview with one of the most
honest, confident and funniest men I have ever had the pleasure to
Tell me about
www.racksandrazors.com How did the site come to be and who are the main
It’s a labour of love. Actor/playwright Brian Kirst and I are big horror
whores and when we would see each other we’d chat about this and that and
Brinke Stevens and Stephanie Beaton and such. I mean incessantly and
obsessively! Well, the idea actually happened as a flowering of that dark
fixation. Then we got hooked up (via Felissa Rose of all folks) with
horror actor supreme Greg Russell Tiderington who in addition to acting is
also a horror fan and website designer and hallelujah – racks and razors
was born! Speaking of Greg, I am so jealous, he’s currently starring in
‘Dust to Dust’ with Debbie Rochon (my idol!), Lynn Lowry, Jeff Dylan
Graham, Felissa Rose, and Heidi Martinuzzi!!!
Are you a big fan of the
Oh yeah, with a vengeance. I am a huge fan. Though truthfully I have
some boundaries, for example vampires and zombies have never done it for
me. Not sure why. I also deeply love casts that include ‘Special Guest
Star’ and ____________ as Mrs. Watkins or __________ as The Mayor. That
sort of shit. Give me Emma Samms or Karen Black or Michael Moriarty or
Lorenzo Lamas or Dee Wallace Stone or Michael Nouri or the amazing
Priscilla Barnes!! ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ was awesome on that “70s stars”
aspect alone. I completely get off on that, that spells a certain rental
for this horror fan.
Which is your favourite
Hmmm. For this one I would have to say I LOVE a good creepy haunted
house. It’s all about atmosphere with me I guess. Give me The
Changeling, give me The Haunting (the original), and give me The Innocents
(with Deborah Kerr).
You are now breaking into
films, was this your intention all along or have you stumbled into it for
the fun of it?
It happened, and now that it did I am so happy. Maybe my subconscious was
working, but it was right on target. In retrospect I would say -
intentional yes, conscious no…. If that makes any sense?
"Being the demon is always the best".
I believe you are currently
working on a movie in Chicago with Chris Kahler called Bat Bites in which
you play the demon. How did the project come about and is this your first
Oh it’s fun. Being the demon is always the best. The project is exciting
too because Chris is so into it that it’s infectious. Enthusiasm is
everything! It’s not my first movie. My first was actually a bit role in
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ – that’s how far back I go!!! Anyway ‘Bat
Bites’ is awesome!!! Very inventive and fun!! I also just filmed a
closing credit sequence with Chris for Phil Herman’s ‘Always Midnight’
where I play a crazed newscaster discounting the reality of vampires.
Chris is amazing, as a director, an editor, and an artist, what he did
with that raw footage we shot is nothing short of genius. I also have a
movie within a movie segment in ‘Bat Bites’ called ‘Don’t Play With the
Toys’ in which I have a (gasp!) nude scene and am ravaged by dildos while
bathing --- and hey, for the inquiring minds out there – those dildos
weren’t all mine!
I hear you also have a cameo
in Lucien Eisenach’s latest movie, Sea Creatures from Outer Space. How
did that come to fruition?
Lucien is such a nice guy! Thank God he made it through hurricane Katrina
okay. I am breaking new ground in the miniscularity of cameo appearances
with this movie. I am having my picture appear as Colonel Spudic in ‘The
Sea Creatures From Outer Space’ – a doctored picture as a military man
with shoulders back and chin up and in front of a flag no less. It is so
not me! My friends are deeply amused at the irony.
You also have roles in at
least three other movies coming up; tell me a little about each of those?
Not to discount my work, but at 45 the roles come sorta easy. It’s the
upside of being older. I think younger actors often get disenchanted by
the time they reach my age. Pardon the digression. Upcoming projects ---
first off I have a part in ‘The Small Assassin’, which is based on the Ray
Bradbury story of the same name – very cool – very Omen-ish – about a
child who may or may not be evil. I play David’s Uncle. It was fun –
nice big budget & period clothes (it’s the early 1950s). I also did a
newscaster bit about the appearance automatons in Evet Socrates’ movie
‘Astrolux’. I also just did a filming of Samuel Beckett’s inspired
‘Eleutheria’ for experimental filmmaker James Fotopoulos that looks very
trippy and am lined up to work with him next on an Ionesco project. I
also have a film named ‘Forest’ completed in which I play a homeless man
living in the forest (hence the title) who sends out his daughter to steal
from campers in the woods.
I believe you are also
finishing up a horror novel about a murderous schizophrenic called MEL.
That sounds very interesting. What prompted you to write that?
Therapy!!! Seriously, I think it began as therapy for me as a longtime
retail worker. If the public only knew! When you can’t express you
either explode or find a different means of venting. This was my
different means and Phil, it was fucking scary how easy it was to lapse
into that psychotic voice! In many disturbing ways Mel is my significant
Is writing your true passion?
Yeah -- that and roller coasters -- both give me a thrill. With writing,
I just love creating a world. Time evaporates and I go somewhere else
when I sit down to write. Maybe it’s just a need for control the entire
universe, but it has always felt right. Since I was a kid it’s always been
my favored best means of expression. Writing screenplays is next on the
agenda. My first script is well into the development stage.
Do you have any other
aspirations within the horror industry?
Yeah, you know I want it all. In addition to screen writing I think I
want fame behind and before the cameras. I figure who more than a true
horror connoisseur deserves it, you know? I want to be someone that
people at a horror convention would stand in line to meet. Being in horror
flix for me is simple -- I want to be sacred or scary as shit and flat and
"I think as a whole, horror
is very accepting".
Where do you see yourself in
five years time?
Hopefully above ground and still engaged in life. I think boredom is the
greatest human tragedy. I’d like to have a couple published books under
my belt and still be involved in the horror world.
As a gay man, are you pleased
with the more relaxed attitude to gay cinema lately, such as the success
of David DeCoteau films and Jason Paul Collum’s new projects as well as
movies such as HellBent, which are receiving strong word of mouth?
I guess. Actually I have some mixed feelings. Not to step on toes -- I
love that “the boys” are getting recognized only I think horror is
horror – and breaking it down into gay horror has some fears inherent in
it – for me anyway. Call it sour grapes, but primarily I fear that it will
be an endless array of beautiful boys getting butchered. I understand
it -- the T & A show is part of our “culture” -- only it is kind of
depressing seeing homosexuality reduced to that… much as I assume women
hate seeing the gorgeous bimbos being butchered as the sole contribution
of the heterosexual horror genre.
Why do you feel gay people and
in particular yourself, identify so strongly with horror movies?
Oh a lot of times because going at the “socially privileged” and
“callously popular crowd” (frequently the maniac’s targeted mincemeat)
with a machete are right where I am and have been emotionally. I think it
is a vicarious means of crazed expression with those who are repressed.
Carrie-Syndrome. Vicarious revenge, maybe yeah.
Have you found that many
people working in the industry are gay?
Yup! Once again without sounding like too much of a psychotic I think we
relate somewhat (as do many others) to that outsider rage that slashers
Have you ever encountered any
homophobia within the industry?
I think as a whole, horror is very accepting. I think horror lovers tend
to see themselves as “freaks”, meaning those socially labeled as freaks,
and therefore are pretty inclusive. Also lovers of horror are a bit more
careful about whom they piss off (hehe). You can be sure if you make fun
of little Billy --- he may one day grow up to fuck up your prom night.
What else can we expect to see
from you in the near future?
Well, if you are looking over my shoulder you are probably going to see a
lengthy list of New Year’s resolutions. I am a freak about those and a
big goal setter in general. Other than that I am going to remain
determined, leave it up to the fates, and above all enjoy the ride.
Thanks for your time Owen.
Are you kidding? Phil, I could chat about me forever. It’s one subject I
never grow tired of. Now if only everyone else felt the same way.
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."