Lotti Pharriss Knowles [Interview]

Hello Folks! And welcome to our very first interview of 2019! And hot damn if we aren’t kicking it off with a wonderful one! Today we are sharing some words from the absolutely brilliant writer, producer, and actress Lotti Pharriss Knowles! She has done some incredible work in the world of horror and beyond. She has worked with some of our good friends here at Trainwreck’d Society as well, including the likes of Rena Riffel and Austin Ford in the wonderful film Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven, which is actually a franchise that Lotti is  currently working on that we are very excited for, and so happy that she was willing to share some information about in her wonderful answers. Lotti is also the writer and producer of one of the most hilarious comedy-horror films to ever be made, a wonderful film entitled Chastity Bites that we also got to ask a bit about as well, as it is a personal favorite of mine.

Yes, I truly believe that Lotti was the perfect person to kick of what we hope to be a wonderful 2019! So Folks, please enjoy an absolutely brilliant interview with an even more brilliant human being, the wonderful Lotti Pharriss Knowles!

What inspired you to get into the world of film and television? Was it an early aspiration to do so, or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I was always “theatrical,” and also drawn to the macabre. As a kid my main interests were in being in school plays, pretending to be a witch (not just on Halloween), and having my Barbies enact intricate scenes based on horror movies or nighttime soaps. By the time I was in high school, I was ingesting a steady diet of horror movies and telling everyone that was going to be my career. My first feature screenplay was for my senior creative writing class, a total rip-off of Halloween called Groundhog Day. So though I’ve done many things in my life and career, I’m happy that I finally did make at least one feature horror film!

 


The 2013 film Chastity Bites, which you wrote and produced, is one of the finest displays of horror comedy I have seen in the last 20 years. It’s truly original and so well written. So, what inspired you to modernize the story of one of the most notorious murders in history?

Thank you so much! I’ve been fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory for a long time (I think my first exposure was Hammer Studios’ Countess Dracula) and always wanted to write a script about her. When I wrote the first draft of the screenplay, it was 2004 and the middle of the George W. Bush years, when there was a lot of heavy Christian rhetoric being bandied about — and abstinence education was very “in vogue,” despite all the evidence that it actually leads to MORE pregnancies and STDs for young people. One day my political outrage, sensibility for satire and love of the Blood Countess legend all clicked, and the rest is history!

 


You have worked in one specific gig that I don’t believe we have ever mentioned here at Trainwreck’d Society, which would be a Post-production Coordinator. I noticed that you have worked in this filed quite a bit, including multiple projects with the legendary filmmaker David DeCoteau. So, for those who may be unaware of this position (talking about me, if I’m being honest), what is the duty of a Post-production Coordinator? What sort of work does this gig entail?

Yes, like most filmmakers I’ve had a lot of other “bill-paying” jobs, both in and outside of the entertainment industry. This happens to be one of the more fun ones for me, since I’m kind of OCD and love to check off lists! The job entails overseeing some or all of the post-production process on a film, and making sure all the moving parts (editing, sound, color correction, FX and more) are going to come together at the right time to keep the movie’s “delivery” on schedule.

 

Beyond the world of horror, you also worked on project that was directed by our friend Rena Riffel, and produced by another friend Ford Austin, entitled Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven that we love around here. So what was it that drew you to this project? What was it that inspired you to jump into the Showgirls universe?  

This could be a looooong answer that I’ll keep as brief as possible! Showgirls is easily one of my favorite non-horror movies of all time. My husband and I are literally married because of it, and had a Showgirls-themed wedding in Vegas. Since then we’ve been collecting experiences related to the movie, and when Rena (whom we’d met in 2009 when we co-produced VampireCon) announced she was doing a crowdfunding campaign for her unofficial sequel, I knew I had to pony up whatever amount I needed to get us speaking roles. Being in it was absolutely glorious, I’m so proud. And now I’m proud to say that I’m producing the definitive documentary on the subject, Goddess: The Fall and Rise of ‘Showgirls’! I’m working on it with director/producer Jeffrey Schwarz, after other successful doc collabs like I Am Devine and Vito. We’ll be doing a Kickstarter campaign in March 2019 — follow us on FB TW IG @ShowgirlsDoc!



While the world of horror is far from being your mainstay in the world of film and television, you have had some great success in the genre. With that, I am curious to know what it is you enjoy about working in the more frightening world of suspense and horror? What sets it apart from other projects you tend to work on?

Horror is just my true love, and more fun than anything else to work on. I love coming up with the ideas, I love seeing the gore FX come together (though they are often the most difficult parts of shooting), and I love knowing that the project will at some point be part of The Great Horror Canon. I also love horror fans and think they (we) are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! I’m convinced it’s because we embrace the shadow side of life and work it out in a healthy way, rather than repressing it. I get why a lot of people think it’s sick, of course, but the genre has actually helped me deal with anxiety.

What is your favorite scary movie?

That is always such a tough questions — there are so many, and each for a different reason. But I will narrow it down to two, and say:

1) Halloween, because it really did scare me so profoundly as a child, and yet kept me coming back to it over and over. My life was set on a certain course already, but that movie turned the key in my head to full-on obsession.

2) Hammer Studios’ The Vampire Lovers, because I love me a lesbian vampire film (hence Chastity Bites) and it’s among the best of the best. I love the lush, sexy, gothic sensibility of Hammer films, and Ingrid Pitt is my favorite female horror icon.

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Besides the Showgirls documentary, I’m working on a couple of TV pilots. Last year I had a major disappointment, that an all-female-directed horror anthology series I was producing (along with a great team of people) was not picked up by the network we’d developed it with for a year, even after it was announced in the trades. I so badly wanted that to happen in the era of #metoo, and it would have been a dynamite show. But,  we face a lot of roadblocks and rejections in this business, and we have to pick ourselves up and figure out where to go next. I love these other series I’m working on now (one horror and one girl-power dramedy), and I hope they come to your TV screen soon! But if not, I will find something else that excites me — maybe try my hand at writing a horror book!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

OMG right after this midterm election when Ann Coulter tweeted “Kansas is dead to me,” and Matt Oswalt retweeted that with “did it drop another house on your sister?” It was so perfect and funny — ever the witch, I CACKLED when I read that. But I smile and laugh at a lot of stuff, including myself). Life is stressful, and we all need to smile, laugh and hug as much as possible. And watch horror movies. 🙂

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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