Cult clas­sics bring Bar­beau to Frightmare

Star of hor­ror flicks as “The Fog” and “Creepshow” com­ing to Falls

The Niagara Falls Review - - Front Page - JOHN LAW

Adrienne Bar­beau can talk all day about hor­ror films. She even still makes them af­ter nearly 40 years. But watch them? No thanks.

“I was just asked to judge a series of short hor­ror films, and I said, ‘Oh guys, I’m not the one, this is not for me,’” says the star of such iconic hor­ror flicks as “The Fog” and “Creepshow.”

“I love ac­tion and ad­ven­ture, (but) I don’t like blood and gore.

“I don’t like to be fright­ened. The ten­sion of that is like ‘Oh God …’ Plus, the scripts I get of­fers on, it seems like some of them have re­ally taken a down­turn since the good ones of the ’80s.”

Ap­pear­ing at the sec­ond an­nual Frightmare in the Falls Oct. 27 and 28, Bar­beau never set out to be a hor­ror queen. In fact, she has al­ways gone with the flow of wher­ever her var­ied ca­reer takes her, and af­ter seven years play­ing out­spo­ken fem­i­nist Carol Traynor on the “All in the Fam­ily” spinoff “Maude” in the ’70s, she chose the su­per­nat­u­ral thriller “The Fog” to be her first movie.

It was a big one for her then-hus­band John Car­pen­ter, the fol­lowup to his iconic “Halloween.” Play­ing a DJ in a small coastal town in­vaded by venge­ful ghosts, Bar­beau had no idea she was mak­ing a fu­ture clas­sic. And about to make a few more.

In short or­der, she fol­lowed with “Es­cape From New York” (also with Car­pen­ter), “The Can­non­ball Run” (not so fun for her), the B-movie howler “Swamp Thing” and the en­dur­ing “Creepshow.” Movies that would guar­an­tee her place at fan shows and comic cons for decades.

“It’s an in­cred­i­ble com­mu­nity that has just grown and grown since I first be­came aware of these things,” she says.

In De­cem­ber, Bar­beau was hon­oured by Bos­ton’s Coolidge Cor­ner Theatre with its Af­ter Mid­nite Award, rec­og­niz­ing her for movies that have gained cult fol­low­ings through the years.

And as she’s dis­cov­ered, hard to du­pli­cate. While she still pops up in hor­ror movies, none have made the same im­pact as the hand­ful she started with. She savours the few that ac­tu­ally stand out.

“I just did one (‘Un­earth’) in Erie, Pa., that was a re­ally well-writ­ten script and had some good peo­ple in­volved,” she says. “It wasn’t just … within the first three pages six peo­ple are killed and you don’t know

who they are. ‘How badly can we slice ’em up?’ This had some in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter devel­op­ment and a theme. It was about frack­ing and the hor­ror that is re­leased when peo­ple are drilling into the ground.”

For Frightmare in the Falls — Bar­beau’s first ever visit to Ni­a­gara Falls — she’ll be joined by genre leg­ends such as Doug Bradley (“Hell­raiser”) and makeup artist Tom Savini. It’s or­ga­nized by the same team be­hind Ni­a­gara Falls Comic Con, Chris Dabrowski and James Ponce.

“I was very for­tu­nate be­cause ‘The Fog’ was so well done and so suc­cess­ful,” she says. “‘Es­cape,’ which isn’t a hor­ror film but a genre film I guess you’d say, and then ‘Creepshow’ and ‘Swamp Thing’… I was lucky.”

Bar­beau’s movie ca­reer seemed to mir­ror Jamie Lee Cur­tis, who made a string of hor­ror films af­ter “Halloween” to earn the nick­name Scream Queen. But she even­tu­ally dis­tanced her­self from the genre.

“In the first place, I wasn’t think­ing about gen­res,” she says. “I was do­ing so many other things sep­a­rate from that, it never crossed my mind. And I just took what­ever came along that I wanted to do.

“I say in my mem­oir (‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’), when­ever I hear a pro­ducer say, ‘Oh, we can’t get that per­son for this film,’ I think to my­self: Make the of­fer be­cause you never know why an ac­tor takes a film. I mean, I took a hor­ri­ble hor­ror film be­cause it was film­ing in Moscow and I wanted to go to Moscow.”

But these days, hor­ror comes in dif­fer­ent forms for Bar­beau. This in­ter­view fell on the day af­ter Chris­tine Blassey Ford’s tes­ti­mony be­fore the U.S. Se­nate re­gard­ing sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh. In a move her char­ac­ter from “Maude” would ap­prove of, Bar­beau spent the morn­ing phon­ing sen­a­tors in her area.

“There is a de­pres­sion and an anger and a rage that has set in over this last year that af­fects ev­ery­one on a daily ba­sis,” she says. “It is un­be­liev­able.

“I do love Canada. My father’s fam­ily is from Que­bec, and at one point I tried to ap­ply for dual cit­i­zen­ship. I’d be very happy liv­ing in Canada.”

REED SAXON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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