Some people are just born to create horror and Scream Queen Danielle Harris is one of them. She lives and breathes the genre and has been involved with it since she was a little girl. PopHorror got the amazing opportunity to talk with Danielle about how she got involved in the industry, what horror means to her, her favorite characters, her new film, Inoperable (read our review of the film here), and other upcoming projects!
PopHorror – Thanks for talking with PopHorror, Danielle! You’ve been working as an actress since you were a little girl. What inspired you to do so?
Danielle Harris – I think I sort of fell into it, or my mom would say that I always wanted to be an actress. I’m not quite sure if that’s 100% true. (laughs). Ya know, I started doing beauty pageants, actually. I think I was an outgoing, slightly too mature kid and I just liked being creative. I think that’s what made me want to get into it.
PopHorror – Awesome! Do you prefer directing or acting?
Danielle Harris – I prefer directing, actually. I like to have my hands in a little bit of everything. I have more opportunity to be in control of the outcome of the movie if I’m on the directing side of it.
PopHorror – That makes sense. What has been your favorite characters you’ve played so far?
Danielle Harris – Jamie from Halloween 4 and Darian from The Last Boy Scout are iconic. However, I really enjoyed a movie I did for Disney several years ago called Wish Upon A Star. It’s one of my only comedic roles and I still enjoy watching it whenever it comes on.
PopHorror – Oh, yes! I love that one!
Danielle Harris – It’s an oldie but a goodie!
PopHorror – Yes, it is! You’ve done so much horror throughout the years. Do you have a special bond with this genre?
Danielle Harris – There’s nothing I know better than horror movies. I’m a fan anyway and there’s such a specific style and way to do them that I think you have to really love them to continue to be involved with them. Horror definitely has a special place in my heart.
PopHorror – I’m happy to hear that. Horror wouldn’t be the same without you! Speaking of, as a Scream Queen yourself, what do you think about your son doing horror when he’s older?
Danielle Harris – Oh, God! I don’t want my kid to be an actor at all. He’s 9 months old and incredibly strong-willed. The other day, I took something away from him and he broke into tears within 2 seconds, full on crocodile tears, not even baby crying, and then I gave it back to him right away and he had the biggest smile on his face. I thought, “Oh, my God. I’m in big trouble!” Then someone said, “Oh, maybe he’ll be an actor,” and I said, “Over my dead body.”
PopHorror – Understandable. You know what it’s like.
Danielle Harris – Yeah. I mean, on the other side of the camera, that’s great, but in front of the camera… I hope it doesn’t go that way.
PopHorror – Definitely. How do you feel about ’90s horror versus horror now?
Danielle Harris – I’m hoping things kind of go back to how they were. I think less is more and it’s scarier. I think in the last 10-15 years, things have just gotten out of hand. I don’t buy it. It’s difficult for me to be scared when I know what I’m watching isn’t really about the story. It’s not frightening, it’s just horrific. I’m not interested in seeing a ton of blood. Ya know, that whole torture porn phase that everyone went through a few years ago… I think was the demise. I think it was cool for a second because it was different. Everyone likes to jump on the bandwagon – if one thing works, everybody has to make the same movie. I’m hoping it will go back to simplifying things and maybe taking some of the things that are happening in our world now and focusing on that because those are terrifying. Keep it real as possible. There’s enough out there that we can use, we don’t need to make up things anymore
PopHorror – I completely agree. So, what was it like working with Adam Green?
Danielle Harris – I love Adam. He’s the only person who can get me to do pretty much anything and for free. (laughs) It never seems to fail. He’s always coming to me with something do. I just went to his place on Monday. Monday we did another episode, a Christmas special, of Scary Sleepover. It was me, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, and Felissa Rose. He made us turkey and we all sat around and talked together about what we want for Christmas and what our wishes and hopes are for the world today. Ya know, we were there all night, spent the night at Ariescope. He’s hilarious and always finds a way to lure me in like, “We’re doing this. It’s really fun. You don’t have to, but everyone else is doing it, but you don’t have to.” Then you’re just like, “Argh, I’m gonna kill you!” (laughs) There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for Adam.
PopHorror – Yeah, Adam seems like a really great guy.
Danielle Harris – He is. He just better put me in the next Hatchet movie or he’s gonna die. (laughs)
PopHorror – (laughs) What were some of the most difficult scenes to shoot throughout your career?
Danielle Harris – I did a movie called Shiver with John Jarratt. That was pretty gnarly. I had a scene where he was trying to rape me and that was a little bit much for me to deal with. It was shot in Portland and it was freezing and we were in this horrible location. Ya know, it was just pretty traumatic. The scenes turned out great, so I’m grateful for shooting at horrible places. Thank God all the men who I work with that have had to attack me are so lovely… because if they weren’t, I don’t know if I could continue on doing what I do.
PopHorror – No kidding, especially with all that’s going on right now.
Danielle Harris – Yeah, exactly.
PopHorror – How did you get involved with your newest film, Inoperable?
Danielle Harris – I get sent a lot of scripts and a lot of offers come my way. I basically ask – when is it filming, where’s it filming, etc. and I read the script. I liked the idea behind it, that it was more of a psychological thriller versus a typical slasher film. I hadn’t done anything like it before. It was one location with a Twilight Zone feel and I thought it could be great if done right. I thought it might be difficult to shoot everything in one place and it was. It’s difficult for an actor when the camera is always on you every day, all day. Even when the camera wasn’t on me, the camera was over my shoulder, and you saw my shoulder, so I never had a second to unwind. I kind of like working that way. (laughs) I thought it would be challenging and it was.
PopHorror – Sounds crazy! What was your favorite part/scene of that film?
Danielle Harris – When Katie was screaming, “I’m not pregnant! I’m not pregnant!” I couldn’t watch it. I had to walk out of the room. It was way too intense for me. Plus, the special effects were great. I like things practical and they did a great job with it.
PopHorror – It was pretty impressive. With so much going on in the film, did you find any part a challenge?
Danielle Harris – I think, in general, just trying to keep it fresh because you’re filming the same thing over and over again. Understanding that the timeline can be a bit challenging for the story. We worked together on ways to make it look visually different and were lucky to be given the freedom to do what we do best, take control of things and run with it. And we did, literally.
PopHorror – The end has a special twist. How did you think your fans will react to it?
Danielle Harris – I think they will go back to watch it again and try to put all the pieces together. I remember shooting that scene where I grab the magazine then I’m smiling and running towards the camera with the scalpel. I was excited to do it because I got to have fun with it, plus seeing that big shift in her from beginning to end was kind of fun to play. So, hopefully everyone will be excited. I’m sure some will be like, “I saw that coming.” But it’s not the destination, it’s the journey, and hopefully, they’ll love the process.
PopHorror – I definitely didn’t see it coming and I think they’ll enjoy it, too. Who was your favorite director to work with so far?
Danielle Harris – Hmm… Tony Scott. I also did a Movie of the Week with Bill Bixby and I loved, loved him! Rob Cohen I adored, as we did Daylight with Sylvester Stallone together back in the mid ’90s. He’s the kind of guy you give a big hug to every day. Obviously, Rob Zombie and Adam Green, too. There have only been one or two directors in my career that I’ve been eh about, the rest have been great.
PopHorror – That’s great to hear. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
Danielle Harris – Yeah! I just completed Camp Cold Brook. It was directed by Andy Palmer and produced by Joe Dante – so it has his stamp of approval. He is one of my favorites. It brings us back to what we were talking about earlier. Ya know, the ’80s and ’90s feel of practical. Really fun and a fun twist. I loved the character. We shot in Oklahoma at this crazy camp in the middle of nowhere. It’s Chad Michael Murray and myself and it’s really fun and the story is great. I’ve seen some pieces of it and it’s pretty awesome. I’m excited about it. Andy is a great director and I had a really nice time working on that movie.