Linnea Quigley Looks Back at “DEAD” and “DEMONS,” Talks Her Fundraising EffortFearful Features,Movies/TV,News Brian Kirst
Life is full of changes, but for horror fans, the iconic Linnea Quigley has remained a constant. Thus, many loyal devotees have pitched in to assist her as she faces a recent crisis: the possible loss of her family home. On the eve of several benefit screenings in Chicago (details below), the always personable actress talked to FANGORIA about the appeal of her classic films and the difficult decision she faced in reaching out for help.
FANGORIA: You are coming to Chicago this week for screenings of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. You have to be surprised about the enduring popularity of these films.
LINNEA QUIGLEY: Oh boy, yes [laughs]! Definitely! I am shocked. At the time, we didn’t think these movies would go very far. Now, it’s a—I don’t even want to say how many years—but it’s a good 20, 25 years later, and they’re so popular. They’re even popular with kids now, teenagers, which is very rare. But I think everyone wants to recapture the ’80s. To all horror fans, that seems to be the pinnacle.
FANG: Do you have ideas why that is?
QUIGLEY: I think everybody likes that it was real. It wasn’t all CGI. There were real effects. It’s not like some of the B-movies you see now.
FANG: NIGHT OF THE DEMONS recently received a grand repackaging on Scream Factory discs.
QUIGLEY: Yes! I got to do a commentary with a lot of the cast. The cover is beautiful. The packaging is beautiful. It’s a really good DVD/Blu-ray.
FANG: What was it like reuniting with the cast after so many years?
QUIGLEY: That was sort of weird. A lot of times, people don’t show up for commentaries because they’ve gotten out of the business or they just couldn’t care less—or whatever reasons they have. It was weird to do it with them, because I hadn’t seen them in so long—a lot of them, except for [director] Kevin Tenney and [co-star] Amelia Kinkade, since we made the movie! It was a thrill to see everybody. They were so nice. They were all grounded. It was great!
FANG: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is synonymous with your excellent turn as the often-naked Trash. You obviously accepted the nudity as part of the formula of these films. Have there been emotional consequences, though?
QUIGLEY: You’re right, that’s the formula [laughs]: blood, boobs and brains! I knew that, and they weren’t doing it just to get me naked. So I’d just kind of shake it off. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s a relief now to not have to do that. I didn’t realize how much of a strain it was. You’re always a bit self-conscious about things: The scratch on your leg, is it going to show up? Or I’d been sitting on lawn furniture and had to worry if the marks would show. You know, just stupid little things. You wonder if the cast is going to think you’re loose. I’ve even heard people in line at conventions say things like, “I’m going to tell her to whip out her boobs!” Of course, they never did when they got up there, but just that they thought that is kind of hard. I have to wonder if they like me just because I did nudity or for my acting.
FANG: You have done so many films. Is there a project that hasn’t seen the light of day that you wish would have?
QUIGLEY: Let me think—I know there have been. I was hoping this movie SEXBOMB would see the light of day. It was really cute. Robert Quarry is in it—he’s got a great character—Delia Sheppard’s in it; it’s just funny. There’s a little video of me getting chased around by a Jason-like character. But that got swallowed up somewhere.
FANG: You represented that iconic scream-queen character in THE GUYVER as well.
QUIGLEY: I screamed for the longest time in that! It was great working with Screaming Mad George, who is huge in the world of B-movies, and Steve Wang on that movie. It was cool to have two directors and be on that set. It was just really fun.
FANG: You were chosen as the ultimate representation of that type of actress, yet in real life you are down to earth and grateful.
QUIGLEY: Thank you! That’s a great compliment. I’m going to go around smiling all day! I don’t know what it is. I think a lot of other girls relied on their looks. They didn’t really take it seriously. They didn’t like horror. You’d mention THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and they’d be like, “Huh?” They were doing a movie they had no interest in, or they were just doing it for the money and to get to other places. I never did it to get to other places. I did it because I loved horror. Of course, I would like to get to bigger movies. Right now, that hasn’t happened. But I’m very happy, and it is what it is. I am very grateful. I see a lot of people out there who are trying and never quite make it.
FANG: You recently started a GoFundMe campaign to save your parents’ home. The Chicago appearances are set up as benefits for that. Can you talk a little bit about this?
QUIGLEY: Well, I’m away from home now and I just talked to my housesitter. Apparently, there are just buckets and buckets of water coming in. It rained again yesterday, and it flooded my bedroom. The roofer says it’ll probably be $5,000 more, because everything was rotten. Of course, this did not make me happy, because the price I’m paying is a lot anyway. Now I have to pay for the extra wood. It was kind of hard to take.
FANG: People have been responsive, though?
QUIGLEY: Yes! A lot of people have donated. Kevin Tenney has donated. But a lot of people don’t even know me. They just love my work and want to help me. It touches me. It really makes me feel good that people actually care. I was very embarrassed about the whole thing. I fought doing it; I didn’t want people to think I didn’t have any money.
FANG: Let’s address that. Comments like that are going to be made. But you never really made a lot of money for so many of the films that are now considered cult classics.
QUIGLEY: Definitely! I didn’t realize that people were using my name to sell the films. If I had known that, I would have asked for more. I just thought I was lucky to be working. I loved doing SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA; that’s another favorite of mine. But I didn’t getting paid hardly anything to do that. It was just for the joy of working, especially on a project that was fun. But on a bunch of those movies in the late ’80s and early ’90s—I’m so ashamed—I might have made $100 a day. That’s nothing. So, you’re right, I wasn’t making a lot of money, and I don’t get residuals because a lot of those films weren’t SAG.
FANG: But thankfully, you seem to be working quite a bit lately.
QUIGLEY: Yes, thankfully. Like I said, I am so grateful. Next, I’m doing pickups for something I shot in Pennsylvania. I’m working on a bunch of other stuff, as well. But generally, it takes about two years for things to finally come out. Sometimes, I’ve even had it take 10 years!
FANG: Well, you’re worth waiting for, Linnea!
QUIGLEY: Thank you! You’ve definitely made my day, again!
If you’re in the Chicago area, be sure to come and meet Quigley at a rare screening of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS at the city’s historic Davis Theater this Thursday, August 28, and at the Drive-in Massacre in McHenry, IL (screening RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and others) on August 29 and 30.