When swingin' giggolo Rex Romanski has a one-night stand with vindictive witch Rita Marie, it could be the end for this loverboy. Now he must fight to save himself and the new love of his live, Amoreena Jones, from paying the ultimate price as Rita sets out to prove the old saying true...."hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." HNN staff member, Sean McLaughlin caught up with sexy starlet Sarah Nicklin to talk about the retro feel of The Disco Exorcist, '70s grindouse, and of course...whether the porn industry has been knocking down her door.
Horror News Network: In The Disco Exorcist, you play porn star vixen Amoreena Jones. Any hesitation on taking on a role with such a swinging backstory?
Sarah Nicklin: Surprisingly no. Not only was it a team that I had worked with before on several other features, so I really trusted them, but also reading through the script, even though the character was a porn star, there were only really two scenes that involved any sort of "porn". One being a scene from a film that is playing at a movie theater and then another scene which is showing the "making of" one of the films. Other than that, the focus is more on her relationship with Rex and how they deal with the curse that has been placed on them.
Horror News Network: Your character is such a strong presence for Rex Romanski, up until the demonic possession forces her to turn on him. What are your thoughts on the role of gender reversal in this film, with the men seemingly at the mercy of the women in their lives?
Sarah Nicklin: Wow, that's a really interesting take on it - I had never thought of it in that way. Aren't all men at the mercy of women? haha :) I do think that is something that is heavily influenced by the time period - since the film is set in the 70s, women may have been more "submissive" durning that time, but nowdays, I find most women (including myself) to be pretty strong and more of the "take control" and get shit done type where we are certainly not at the mercy of men. For the film, I don't think it really would have worked if it was the other way around. A man taking advantage of a women, even if he's possesed, is still a man taking advantage of a woman, whereas when it's a woman taking advantage of a man, then it's sexy and erotic.... I'm not quite sure why that is.
But I really like that there are such strong women in this film, Rita (played by Ruth Sullivan) is especially strong (granted to the point of being crazy), but none the less, I really like that the women in the film aren't push-overs - if someone screws them, they will screw them right back. It makes me like the characters more that they aren't just "damsels in distress" but rather will fight for what they want and what they believe in. I think it makes it much more interesting and also makes those moments when they are vulnerable much more compelling.
Especially when it comes to horror, if you look at the "scream queens" or well known women of horror - they're all pretty strong women. They're carving out a place for themselves based not only on looks and talent, but also on being smart. They are exploiting their subjectification and using it to their advantage to further their careers and I really like that....hmmm...am I starting to sound like a feminist? This question is making me think about all sorts of things.... maybe I am a feminist.... ?
Horror News Network: Being a child of the 90s, you may or may not be familiar with the 'grindhouse'ï¿½ style of filmmaking that The Disco Exorcist emulates. What do you think of it?
Sarah Nicklin: Very true, it is a bit of a foreign style to me, but I think it's a lot of fun. It took me a second to really "get it" since it has a specific tone and style that films I had been used to don't, but Richard Griffin, the director, is a big fan of 70s films (as you can probably tell), so he has exposed me to a lot of them over the years and I have definitley gained an appriciation for them thanks to him.
Horror News Network: What is your favorite 70s horror film?
Sarah Nicklin: Susperia. That is a 70s film right? I'm not good with remembering exact dates. It's not grindhouse, but I'm pretty sure it's from the same time period. Its not the best story, but I just absolutely love the art direction and lighting in that film. Everything about it is so beautiful.
Horror News Network: The cast you worked with on this movie did a great job of portraying innocent humor, bumbling heroism and devilish lunacy. How were they to work with?
Sarah Nicklin: They were absolutely fantastic! I really love working with this crew. Everyone is so easy going and fun to be around and know what they're doing. They are one of the most efficient film crews I've worked with breezing through 8-10 pages sometimes in one day while laughing and joking all the time. Richard really does his homework and knows exactly all of the shots and set ups he wants before coming in that day and also visualizes the most efficient way to get it. Since he also edits all his own films, he "shoots to edit", meaning that while shooting, he's editing the scenes together in his head, so he only needs to shoot what he needs or if he thinks he needs an inset of something to make the scene work, he'll quickly pick that us as well. It's really wonderful to watch him work.
Especially with a film like this, since there is so much humor in it, it's hard to keep from laughing on set. The only times when things could have gotten awkward was during the nudity bits, but Richard does such a great job of keeping the mood lights that you never have time to feel awkward or self conscious. As he puts it, his job is to be everyone's biggest cheerleader on set.
Horror News Network: Any offers from legitimate porn studios stemming from your believable portrayal of a porno goddess?
Sarah Nicklin: Haha! Not to my knowledge! That would be pretty hillarious though, I'd like to see what an offer like that would sound like.
Horror News Network: You and I both hail from wonderful Fairfield County, CT. Have you ever seen the Lady in White (a popular folktale in the Bridgeport area)?
Sarah Nicklin: Sadly no, I haven't. I'm familiar with the story though. I'm super into all of that ghost/ metaphysical stuff, so I did lost of research on Dudley Town all though I was too scared to even go there (looking back now, I wish that I had), and also places like the adandoned Fairfield Hills Asylum ect. I used to like to spend time in old cemetaries since there are alot of them dating back to the 1800s around here, but never really saw anything.
Horror News Network: You have a TON of upcoming projects in the pipeline (9 by my count). Which one are you most excited about?
Sarah Nicklin: A bunch of those are in post-production at the moment, so there are only really 3 that are in pre-production at the moment, and I'm really excited about all of them:
A Case of PMS - which is a scooby-doo-esque comedic web-series about ghost hunters (did I mention that I like ghost hunting!)
Chupacabra Territory - A feature horror about a group of friends who go into the woods in search of the chupacabra.
Normal - The next Richard Griffin film about a serial killer and the days leading up to his next kill.
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about you?
Sarah Nicklin: I have a website where I post any new casting news or interviews or photos and such, and that is: sarahnicklin.com
Or you can also friend/ follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Thanks so much for the interview!!
Thanks for your time, Sarah. I thoroughly enjoyed your performance in The Disco Exorcist, and look forward to checking out your next film. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.