INTERVIEW WITH A SUCCUBUS
An interview with the original Girlfriend from Hell, Liane Curtis, who joins the tavern to talk mini-monsters, demonic possession and the horrors of big hair.
Most people out there will remember her as sassy Randy from the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles. Horror fanatics will recognize her from her role as creature-killing Megan in Critters 2. But for me, and for many other lovers of lost VHS treasures that lurk in the shadowy corners of the horrorsphere, Liane Curtis will always be the Girlfriend from Hell.
A sort of hybrid of teen party movies and The Exorcist, this 1989 cult flick is a horror comedy so beloved by the underground that it spawned a stage musical even though the film itself has not yet been released on DVD or Blu-Ray.
The movie tells the misadventure of Chaser (played by Twin Peaks star Dana Ashbrook), a supernatural bounty hunter who claims to have invented the condom, as he hunts down the devil through galaxies, deserts, and eventually suburbia.
In hot pursuit, Satan, in an ethereal form, jumps into the body of awkward, virginal wallflower Maggie (Liane Curtis), who quickly becomes a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, nun-hunting, wanton sex machine under Old Sparky’s influence. Liane makes for one sexy, comical she-devil here, with metal babe hair and a cherry dress that she’s simply poured into.
The film becomes a cat and mouse style caper as Maggie then takes her stunned friends on a ride that includes vengeful lobsters, pistol-packing nuns, punks in RATT t-shirts and lots of hooter grabbing. But the roller coaster of a night turns deadly when Maggie starts picking the boys, one by one, for white lightening inducing, soul-sucking sex.
I had the pleasure of working with Liane Curtis last fall and we’ve since become friends. When we first started talking about doing a feature for the Tavern of Terror, we both knew which of her films we wanted to raise our glasses to!
Hello, Liane, and welcome to the tavern! Please pull up a stool!
But not a stool sample, right? Hi Kris!! Thank you for having me – figuratively speaking.
As a fan of the series, I have to ask you about Critters 2 first. How did you end up getting involved with the sequel?
I was with ICM at the time and it was your regular old audition process. I remember it was down between Cheryl Pollack and I got it because I could drive a stick and she could not … so friggin’ weird why you do or don’t get a job sometimes.
What was it like to see the final product compared to filming? Was it fun to see the critters come to life on screen?
Yes. It’s always fun to see the end result. Mick did a great job.
The mini-monster craze was huge in the 80s’, with everything from Gremlins to Munchies. Do you think it is due for a comeback?
Like zee mini skirt, yes, zee fashions and styles always come back eventually. Fashion and trends are like Phoenixes. They burn out then rebirth themselves in a similar way.
Another one of your horror roles is as the title character in Girlfriend from Hell, the cult classic from 1989. What was it like to play a wallflower-turned-sex pot by being possessed by Lucifer?
It was awesome … I think of ALL the films I have shot and all the roles I have played, possessed Maggie was the most fun of them all.
Your almost unrecognizable as innocent Maggie, but then your sass and sexiness comes out once Satan gives you a makeover. I’ve got to ask, how long did it take to get your hair that big?
About 2 hours a day to get me ready. I remember that wig well. I kept it after the shoot and my eldest child, Tyler, would freak when he was a baby if I put it on. It terrified him. I threw it away at my mom’s request.
You think big hair is due for a comeback?
In the film, your friends notice a slight change in your character as you begin to smoke, drink, man-eat and hunt nuns with a car. What is your favorite zany moment in the film?
I think the crazy driving. Not even the mowing down of nuns but the actual driving scenes where I am laughing. There have been times in my life when friends were uncomfortable with my road skills and it would throw me into this nervous cackle. Well, the look on Jim Daughton’s face (we were and still are friends from WAY before we shot GFH) brought me back and off went the nerve alarm and out came the cackle. My other favorite part would be when I spit wine through my two top front teeth at Hilary Morse. I don’t know why. Probably because I learned to do that as a child and never had the occasion to do it on screen. Probably never will again, either.
Your speech at the dinner scene is riotous. Did you enjoy that?
HELL YEAH! No pun intended.
I also like that in this flick, Satan is bored by the coming-to-get-you act so common in folklore and horror movies. Did you enjoy playing a “woman scorned” version of the devil?
I think playing ANY version of the devil is awesome. The fact that she was bored with her ‘usual’ tactics and went into sexual antics to spare herself the ennui was a nice twist. I loved playing the devil. I hate to say that I have a streak of the (possessed) Maggie in me which is alive and well … and stuffed WAY down. I keep her locked up cause the collateral damage is hard to clean! I try to keep drama on screen and not in my life!
There was a musical adaptation of the film produced in 2011. Did you ever get to see it? I’ve heard it is undergoing a revised production.
No. Unfortunately I was not able to go back East for either the original (which my mom attended on my behalf). She said it was good and she is a tough critic. I was also not able to go back last summer for the overhaul. Sean Matthew Whiteford is responsible for all of that. I would LOVE to see a production of it in my lifetime, though.
Any word on an official release for the DVD?
Again you get a big: Ummmmm, NO, however, there are bootleg DVDs out there somewhere I heard.
You still continue to work as an actress. You even popped up on the popular series Sons of Anarchy. What was your experience like working on the show?
It was short but sweet. The production team on that show is awesome. Producers to PAs. Great experience. That was in 2008. Last time I worked a TV series. HINT HINT HOLLYWOOD!
What other recent projects can fans find you in?
Back in October, I did a short film called Salt Liquor Lime. I play the owner of a bar and serve magic Tequila (Maggie’s favorite spirit) to the three leads. Cynthia Thompson McAdam wrote and directed that. I also shot a day on a film called Body High written and directed by Joe Marklin. I would LOVE to see that one. When I read that script I cried I laughed so hard. Joe made a farce out of the weed culture which has about taken over the Venice, CA community. Would love to see if the final result is as amusing. I sure hope it is!!!!
You’ve also moved behind the scenes helping produce music for your musical prodigy daughter, Jaq. Tell us about her music and your involvement.
Oh wow … well that could be an interview unto itself … I became aware that she had perfect meter when she was a 6 month old bobbing her head in time to the music. My friend Rich noticed the same thing when she was about a year and 3 months old and she was holding onto a coffee table bouncing. Rich is now her drummer and I her rhythm guitar/bass line on keyboards player. She continued to sing and bounce and then Leila Stienberg (Tupac’s mentor and manager) whose son was in the same class as Jaq, noticed her in honors choir in 4th grade. Leila subsequently taught Jaq that the mic was her friend and her gateway and encouraged song writing by giving weekly topics to Jaq in her Mic Sessions Kidz summer session. And away we went from there … and look at her now. She has written over 30 songs, is a BMI artist, has a team of suits and me. The Wizard of Facebook and all of her other social media working for her … can’t wait to see what’s happening a year from now … little by little Jaq is emerging and will eventually break out, I am certain of it. I wish her a long lived career.
Where can people check out her tunes?
You can buy 3 singles on iTunes, 2 more coming soon & you can find her at www.jaqrox.com – there are links to her facebook page and other social media pages on her HOME page. There are a couple of interview videos up as well and I embedded her Domino’s commercial on the video page as well.
What’s next for Jaq’s music?
I think we have come to a point where it’s time to start thinking about marketing strategies and how to take her to the next level. I took the helm of the business part of all of it so she can attend school and stay creative and it’s a lot of work. I have a methodology and a team of knowledgeable, trustworthy people right there to whom I can reach out. You will (I hope) start seeing a YouTube presence and I am going to drive iTunes sales up and finally more writing/recording. YAY!
What’s next for you, Liane?
Music, marketing, music video production more marketing, maybe a convention or 2 and maybe some acting work if someone remembers I am here (laughs). Lots of bird related activity as always, we have 40 birds, and the regular cooking and cleaning. I do not have any hired help nor have I this whole time raising my family, control freak that I am.
Lastly, this being the Tavern of Terror, I’d like you to share with the bar what your favorite beverage is. What can we serve ya?
3 parts Perrier/1 part DOLE Pineapple juice … kinda boring, although I do love my Stella when allowing myself a hops, fat-ass beverage or an Asahi with sushi … which scares me now that Fukushima fucked up the environment. I have also been known to enjoy a good single malt scotch like Pinch Haig & Haig, Genlivet/Fiddich or Laphroaig … high maintenance!
Thanks for joining us here in the Tavern, Liane. It’s a pleasure to have you. There’s always a stool for you here, and there’ll always be a cooler of Stellas when we’re on the road together!
It was my distinct pleasure, sir. I look forward to the next ‘on the road’ experience. You and Dr. Diesel saved it for us actor types!