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          April Burril has been a performer of one sort or another as long as she can remember. Before developing her ChainsawSally character, she was trained in voice, dance, and is a leading member of the Baltimore theatre troupe JamO . An accomplished musician, she also plays several instruments, her favorite being her black Fender Telecaster guitar.
          Being a long time horror fan, April, along with her creative partner JimmyO, created ChainsawSally to create her own horror hostess in the same vein as several of her favorite scream queens and comic book characters. A little Elvira, a dash of Vampira, a generous helping of Tank Girl, and her favorite slasher of all, Leatherface. The name, of course, came in homage to the incredible Marilyn Burns, who plays Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “No one ever went through what she went through to make a movie.” says April.  “She’s not just a scream queen... she is THE Queen of Screams.

         Thank you for this interview Sally! My first question is.out of all the projects you've been involved with, which one was the most enjoyable to work on?  Why?

         - The musical-comedy-horror, Silver Scream, definitely!  (go to www.silverscream.org to see what I'm talking about) I've been involved with the stage shows since they came to Maryland in May of 1997 and have been with this unusual and original theatre group ever since - from their days as "Jamo Alturnative Theatre" up to their current incarnation as the independent filmmakers, "It Came From Planet X", where I was also involved (both behind and in front of the camera) in their movie version of "Silver Scream."

         While preparing for a role/hosting, do you use any special technique to get yourself ready?

         - Hmmm... well, alot of character comes to life just by putting on the costume and make-up. To give it a boost, I like to have some good psycho-billy or hardcore punk (i.e., Ramones, The Damned, Wired, etc.) playing in the background. Sometimes, I'll throw in a movie - usually something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Return of the Living DeadBut, if it's not actually horror, then it's gotta be Tank Girl!

         Who is your favorite actor?  Actress?

         - There are many.  It's very hard to pick a favorite.  Elvira, of course.  Vampira as well.  Definitely Cloris Leachman and Madeline Kahn. (If you want to know why, watch Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, and Blazing Saddles!)  Of course, I'm very hooked on the girl who played Willow in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (can't remember her real name, though).  Catherine O'Hara, Sheri O'Teri, and the list goes on...  For actors: Johnny Depp has turned out to kick alot of ass, acting-wise.  He's come so far since 21 Jump Street... Vincent Price, mais oui.  Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman, Christopher Guest, George C. Scott, Seth Green, etc etc etc.

         What is your favorite line that you've ever said in a film/hosting?

         - "It's more fun than a mouthful o'Wesson oil!"

         Have you always been interested in the horror genre? If so what is the earliest/first memory you have about something horror related that you enjoyed?

         - Yes yes yes!!! Always!  My parents could never figure it out, because they're actually pretty normal (and I've always gotten along with them - how's that for freaky?). Mom did read alot of Stephen King, though... Most of my early horror experience was on Sunday morning, when they played old Black and white's like King Kong or the various giant insect movies.  Those were interspersed with stuff like Laurel and Hardy, Ma & Pa Kettle, and Abbott & Costello. I think that combo goes a long way towards explaining me. That, combined with the Solid Gold Dancers (you know - the chicks in spike heels and gold thong bikinis. Yum!).  My first significant horror memory is watching "The Blob".  I was 5 years old and it scared the crap out of me!  I think it's cause it was my first color horror movie. Anyway, it freaked me out badly enough that I got in alot of trouble for not going to sleep that night - I kept feeling the blob sitting on the end of my bed whenever I closed my eyes.  After getting through that rough night, I realized how much fun it was and so began the obsession.... (my barbie dolls never played nice....)

         What projects have you recently finished and do you have any projects in the near future for us to watch out for?

         - Hmmm.  Well, I've just finished the movie of "Silver Scream", as mentioned above. I also just did a really fun gig at Balticon (Baltimore sci-fi/fantasy convention), where I hosted their movie festival. Upcoming, there's some talk of hostessing the midnight movies at the Senator theatre in Baltimore.  That should be happening soon.  More exciting, but less sure of the date, is the movie of ChainsawSally that It Came From Planet X is starting work on. We're just coming up with a script right now, but I think it's gonna be a blast! A very bloody blast!  A very, very very bloody blast!  Gore gore gore gore gore gore.......

         Are there any projects/scenes that you regret being involved with?  If so, why?

         - Well, at one point in my life I had to work at the Roy Rogers in a highway reststop on I-95 and that sucked.  People who've been on the road for a long time can get really nasty about their fried chicken.  And sometimes there's just nothin' for it, but to drop 'em in the deep fry. But, that's alright, 'cause it saves alot of money on chicken ... oh! you mean theatrically?  Nope.  Don't regret a thing!

         Do you have an interesting story that you'd like to share about a personal experience in filmmaking/hosting?

         - The filming of Silver Scream ended up taking much longer than we'd originally intended and, so, alot of it was shot in late Fall, and Winter of '02/'03. Unfortunately, the warehouse we were using to film in had no heat.  And there'd been a big fire, so large chunks of wall were covered in nothing but a tarp. (but, it was free, so who cares?) We had propane heaters, but they really were useless unless you were actually close enough to catch on fire. (which, I hear, is a great way to get warm)  My point is - it was cold. Very very cold. I played the part of one of the vampire brides of the Count (among other things). The brides wear no shoes. And not much clothing. We filmed that scene in December.  It got so cold, that none of us could feel our feet from the ankles down. It was very strange to dance on feet we couldn't feel. I've never had feet that cold in my life! I was afraid to walk too hard on them for fear they'd snap off. Luckily, during the scene where we writhe in erotic ecstasy on the 2 boy leads, they were kind enough to let us stand on their feet in between takes.  Of course, that meant we had to stand real real close and actually cling to them to keep from falling off of their feet, but they didn't seem to mind...

         Who is your favorite horror movie villain and which of their films is your favorite?

         - Well, Leatherface fromTexas Chainsaw Massacre- duh!  And I do mean the original Leatherface from the ORIGINALTexas Chainsaw Massacre, played by hunka-munka Gunnar Hansen, not the lesser models seen in the sequels. However, the actor portraying Patrick Bateman in American Psycho was pretty damn entertaining as well.  And there'll always be a place in my heart for Bela Lugosi. He'll always be my Dracula!

         For my final question Sally... How do you feel about the direction that the horror genre is heading?  Do you think it has gotten better or worse since your beginnings in the genre?

         - Heh, heh... ready for a novel? Well, it's seen definite slumps, but I really think the horror movie genre has moved in cycles from the beginning. Horror was all the rage in films earliest moments - right from the days of silent film - with a version of Frankenstein by Thomas Edison, the various incarnations of Jekyll & Hyde, and, of course, Nosferatu - up through Bela Lugosi's heydey as Dracula, the classic King Kong, and Frederick March in Jekyll & Hyde. Classic films started winding down as studios sought to pump out chillers like "Tarantula" and the wonderful world of B-movies really started coming into its own. Then, audiences started looking more towards science fiction for their entertainment. (It Came From Outer Space, War of the Worlds, etc etc). Nothing really significant happened in the horror world for awhile. 

         Then, in the late 60's and early 70's, along comes the Godfather of Gore, Mr. Herschell Gordon Lewis, shocking the living heck out of audiences with movies whose central purpose seemed to be to give audiences a chance to look at lots of T & A and shock 'em with more blood and guts than they'd ever seen on the screen! Thank you Herschell! The modern horror era was born! The 70's really came alive with my favorite,Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and other wonders such as The Exorcist (a close second on my list), The Omen, and Friday the 13th, not to mention endless others. The 80's continued the surge of slashers with more Friday the 13thsequels, Halloween (and its sequels, but we won't talk about part III. Let's just pretend that didn't happen!), Nightmare on Elm Street (and its sequels, hmmm I seem to be saying that alot...) and started to cycle down again in the late 80's and 90's (a couple of Elm Street or Friday the 13th or Halloween sequels, not much). Some would say it started back up again with Scream, -it's not one of my favorites, but I would have to agree that it signified a shifting of audience's taste back to the horror genre. Lately, I'm very happy with some of the newer things that have come out. Jason X was very campy and alot of fun and had some wonderfully creative death scenes (nothing beats the nail-studded barrel roll in Herschell's 2000 Maniacs, but the nitrogen frozen face shattering in Jason X came close). Lake Placid is another campy fun one (though it only barely could classify as horror). American Psycho was absolutely brilliant. It made a huge statement about the whole materialistic "me" generation of the 80's (and I really HATE it when people say stuff like that! Now I have to kick my own ass...) and Patrick Bateman was just so darn happy about killing people (at first anyway). Ed Gein was another brilliant work. All of the actors were superb - I forgot I was watching actors, I got so involved with the story. My current favorite, however, has got to be the remake of the Japanese film "Ringu", entitled, "The Ring". IT WAS SOOOO CREEEEPY!!!! It's been along time since a film has creeped me out that much. (hard to believe, but I'm a little jaded when it comes to horror films) I did watch the Japanese version and really, the two films are the same, except one is put into American context with more modern special effects. So, credit to the Japanese version for being the first to come up with the idea because it kicked so much ass, but I enjoyed the American version more simply because I live in America and can relate to those images more.



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