Felissa Rose played the role of Angela Baker in the 1983 cult horror classic "Sleepaway Camp." The film has one of the most memorable and shocking endings in cinema history and is still popular over 30 years after its release. Felissa has worked on numerous other films in the horror genre and has taken some time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about some of those projects and what it was like working on one of the most iconic slasher films of all time.
Moviepilot: First of all let me say thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to talk with me I'm a big fan.
Felissa Rose: No thank you, it is a pleasure - thank you for thinking of me!
MP: I'm sure you have been asked this a lot but can you tell us what it was like playing the part as Angela in "Sleepaway Camp," being so young and with so many "parts" (no pun intended) having to be kept from you?
Felissa: The part of 'Angela' was a dream role. I was still at school and getting the chance to appear in a movie that is most kids dream right? I had always been a performer and wanted to entertain people, it was the perfect chance for me to do that. I was also looking for representation at the time and I had met with an agent who challenged me with 3 auditions. The challenge was if I got any of them then they would represent me. And luckily one of those auditions was SC. That was quite a daunting challenge for someone of my age at the time, but one I couldn’t wait to try!
SC opened so many doors for me, without SC I wouldn't be here today, working and living the life I am. I couldn't be more thankful and proud of that. For a small film to still be talked about 30 odd years later blows my mind. And I met my husband through SC as he was a fan - so literally I cannot imagine life without it.
The strange thing is people assume the producers / directors / writers kept things from me. They didn’t. I knew everything that was happening, I knew the ending – the only thing was my mum wouldn’t allow me to perform the killings (so to speak – you know what I mean). So when you see Angela’s hand – it is actually Jonathan Tierstan (Ricky) which I think is where the online theory came from that he was helping me with killings.
MP: That's pretty amazing, a lot of good things came from the films then, so when, and what was it like the first time you got to see the finished film?
Felissa: I first saw the movie in a theatre with my eighth grade class. The movie theatre was absolutely packed in my hometown. I think everyone was pretty shocked, I mean it isn’t your average film, especially the ending. I remember closing my eyes as the last sequence played out. I had never seen male parts before and I knew I was about to see one!
I remember that just before the movie came out some of the kids at school were kind of mean to me, I wasn’t bullied, but some were a little, I guess jealous or annoyed with me for doing a film?? So the “tough” girls protected me until the movie came out…then everyone was afraid of me lol which I loved! I would get these curious but slightly terrified glances!
I remembered looking at myself on the screen in the local theatre a few times and asking, "Is that what I really look like?" For a young girl watching yourself, and analysing yourself on screen is very strange. I thought the film was terrific! I snuck into the movie theatre a couple times after opening night with my cousin and we'd be eating popcorn and laughing every time that I was on the big screen. It was a great experience. And again without it I wouldn't be getting to act in the genre that I love.
MP: I can only imagine the look on every ones face in the theatre as the final scene played out, speaking of which has anyone ever thought that was actually you in the final shot of the film with the extra appendages instead of someone in a mask of you?
Felissa: People thought that for a long time. They thought either I was actually a boy or it was me with some kind of prosthetic device. Due to my age my mother was trying to keep me safe on set so it wasn't. It was actually just me doing the facial expressions, then a rather nervous 18 year old college boy, who got very drunk and the crew shaved him down and he did all the work. They made a mold of my face and put that on him. Sorry to shatter the illusion folks. I find it really funny that the guy who played my ''appendage'' has never been seen or heard of since. I think it would be really cool to track him down and get him to a convention. Maybe we should start a campaign on TWITTER or FACEBOOK ''FIND ANGELA'S JUNK"
MP: I'm sure a lot of people would want his autograph haha. You've said before that working on 'Sleepaway Camp' was kind of like a real camp experience and that you made a lot of strong bonds with your fellow actors, how many of them are you still in contact with?
Felissa: John Dunn who played Kenny is my best friend to this day. We never lost touch and we were really tight on the set. I was always like his little sister. I adore him and I’m so lucky he’s in my life.
Everyone was really, really brilliant. Jonathan Tierstan and we had to work a lot together and he was sweet...I had a crush on him during production. I have been blessed to work with him again we did a movie called 'Perfect House' which is brutal. That was brilliant – Jon is a true talent.
It was always just fun on the set and everyone had a good time...everyone worked really hard and well together...it was very comfortable and like a real camp experience.
MP: Being such an outgoing and friendly person how hard was it to go in and out of character as the shy and brooding Angela?
Felissa: It was hard!! I really enjoyed just having fun with my cast mates! But I went for the opposite of what I was feeling and it worked out well.
MP: It worked out very well! I know you have your own website can you tell us more about what we can find on the site so your fans new and old can get their fix?
Felissa: Well the website came around because of a fan (I hate the word ''fan'' but that's another story). Andrew, he is all the way from the UK and he messaged me and we started talking – then the website idea came and we launched it a few months later. I love it. There are still tons of things we have planned for it, but I am busy at the moment – but once things settle a bit we are going to be doing some really cool stuff.
Andrew is a dream; he contacted filmmakers and people whom I’d worked with to get all the information on my films so we could have that in one place for anyone interested in my body of work. Me and him are always emailing, instant messaging ideas and news.
But if you want to know about what is going on with me www.felissarose.com is the place to go. It is always up-to-date. Andrew gets things on their super-fast for me. And it looks cool right?
MP: That's pretty cool and the site looks great, i can't wait to see what else is planned for it. Can you tell us why you didn't reprise your role as Angela in the 'Sleepaway Camp' sequels?
Felissa: The reason i didn't come back for parts 2 &3 was just logistics. I went in for a read but i had just been granted early admission to school. I contact the school and asked if i could move my enrolment and they said no. I knew that the directors were really fond of Pamela Springsteen anyway. To be honest i don't even know if i would of got the part anyway – even if I hadn’t enrolled at school.
Pamela was superb and i couldn't imagine anyone else playing Angela in those movies, she was so good. Parts 2 & 3 are very different from number 1, more dark and comedic, so I think it was good they got new blood in. We are even now as we both have played Angela in two movies! I would love to meet her one day - have the two Angela's together I think people would go wild for that at a convention. Plus I would just love to share our memories of playing the same character.
MP: That makes a lot of sense and obviously things worked out well for you, so what was it like returning for 'Return to Sleepaway Camp?'
Felissa: A dream. Not only did i get to revisit Angela, but i got spend some time with my friends whom in some cases I hadn’t seen since the original. It was like a big old family reunion. Although the makeup process to transform me into the Sheriff took hours and hours! And I think you could tell it was me ha-ha, but that’s all part of the fun!
Maybe one day we will get to do it all again??
MP: I would watch another one for sure. I know you have a recent film called 'Camp Dread' you did with fellow scream queen Danielle Harris, can you tell us a bit about the film and what it was like working on it?
Felissa: That movie is amazing!! A real dream role for me. I got to play a character (Rachel) that was caring, compassionate and modelled on my real life situation (a horror star, who starred in a movie franchise called Summer Camp). Harrison Smith is a creative genius and i have been lucky since to work with him on another film (Zombie Killers). Danielle is pure gem. I didn't have any scenes with her, but got to meet her and spend some time together she is a beautiful soul. We really connected so i am thankful for that movie experience. People’s responses to Camp Dread have been incredible - which is always great to hear. Plus my death scene (SPOILER) was very gruesome...i urge everyone to check it out as it is a throwback to the classic slasher days! And it stars Eric Roberts!
MP: That role sounds like a perfect fit for you! I'm sure everyone, myself included would love to hear about your most recent projects, zombie killers, and Reservoir, any info you could give us on those films would be amazing.
Felissa: Zombie Killers is a fantastic new film by Harrison Smith (who did Camp Dread). I play a crazy character which was fascinating for me as she is so far away from my own persona it was a real challenge. She is a religious fanatic – in a Zombie world, I loved it. Zombie Killers has been picked up by Anchor Bay for release this fall which is really exciting. The trailer is on the home page of my site, and on youtube. The cast are crazy good in this movie. The film stars Dee Wallace, Mishca Barton, Billy Zane and loads more who are crazy good. I am so proud of the film and I cannot wait to hear people’s reactions. I mean just look at the talent in the cast alone, and the people behind the scenes worked so hard, it is visually stunning.
Reservoir, which I think has just changed its title to Blood Reservoir is a new film that we begin shooting this month. It stars two of my SC co-stars, Jonathan Tierstan and Frank Sorentino. Super excited to work alongside these guys again. It is an interesting film that is inspired by real events. I don't want to give too much away, but you guys can check out the movies website http://www.thereservoirmovie.com and learn more – I’m literally shooting this in like two days! Cannot wait! The guys behind this film have worked like crazy to raise money for the project they have had two Indiegogo campaigns and they both did really well. I love that people can become a part of a movie like that. It is going to be great!
I have some more films in post-production too (I have been busy) keep your eyes peeled for a movie called ‘Within These Walls’ where I play a paranormal investigator (Sage Hawthorn).
MP: I can't wait to see all of these, you really have been busy lately I hear you also have a calendar coming out soon anything you can share about that?
Felissa: I do!! We are still shooting at the moment, but it is looking great at the moment. We have only done I think 4 months so far. I will keep you guys up-to-date on my site! It is going to be very revealing!
MP: So besides acting and modelling you also are a producer on the film No Solicitors? What can you tell us about this film?
Felissa: No Solicitors is done, the trailer will be up soon! Super proud of producing and acting in this gem with Eric Roberts, Beverly Randolph, Kim Poirier, Jason maxim, Serein Wu, josh Benton and my hubby. It was a terrific shoot about one messed up family! Can't wait to unleash this dark, quirky flick!
MP: Well it's been amazing talking to you and can't wait to check out all your upcoming projects and revisit the past ones, thanks again for talking with us!
Felissa: No - thank you guys again, for talking to me - it means the world to me that you guys took the time to track me down and feature me. It has been a pleasure. We must do it again!