Lin Shaye [Interview]

Welcome to Day 29 of Trainwreck’d Society’s Annual Month of Horror Showcase! We have a fully loaded month of all things horror for you fine folks! October is our favorite month for this very reason, and we are so excited to share 31 full days of film showcases and interviews with some of the finest folks from the world of horror, just as we have been doing for the last 6 years. What started as a simple 5 day showcase, has now blossomed into a full blown month long event. You’re going to love this! Enjoy!


Hello Folks! We have a very exciting interview to share with you all today! We have an incredible actress who we have been yearning to have on the site for quite some time. Pretty much since the inception of the site! And in recent weeks we have also be doting on a project that she was the lead role in entitled Room For Rent, having featured the film itself as well as having the film’s screenwriter and director featured here in our Month of Horror series. It’s the great Lin Shaye, Everyone!

Horror fans would obviously embrace this incredibly talented actress for her work in the Insidious and a plethora of other incredible projects, including our old friend David Dubos’s forthcoming NOLA-base thriller, Bayou Tales. Others will recognize her for her amazing character work in legendary Farrelly Brothers hits like Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and our most prized and personal favorite here at TWS, Kingpin which features our dear friend Vanessa Angel. Lin has amassed such a large body of work both within the horror genre and beyond. She has appeared in some of the most legendary films in the horror genre including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters 2, 2001 Maniacs, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and just so many more! We are so excited to have an absolute on-screen legend at the top of our Month of Horror!

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the absolute legend, Lin Shaye!




What inspired you to get into the world of acting? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

What inspired me primarily is simple:   l love storytelling!…when I was little, I had no real “neighborhood friends”…(only my big brother Bob who definitely  would not play with me…!….but ironically would tell ME scary stories and also ironically would go one to becoming a champion of story telling himself, as he later created New Line Cinema, and some of the great Horror films of our time!)  …I spent lots of time by myself, with my dolls, and stuffed animals..I gratefully had a voracious and vivid imagination filled with detail and flights of fancy..I loved taking the clothes out of my closet, (much to my mom’s dismay!) and with my imaginary “stuffed friends”  I would dress up in different outfits, and me and my gang would make up stories where I would act out all the characters, and be the voices of all the dolls and animals.  I also loved pretending to be “someone else”…

What was your first paid gig in the world of acting? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

My first “paid gig” was when I was finally doing plays in New York.  I always pursued theater in high school and college though never thought about it as any kind of a career…it was just fun, and something I seemed to be good at….”pretending” to be other people…Most of the theater I did however was “equity waiver” which meant a play would run for 6 weeks, and the actors received NO PAY…I did not care in the least….My first “equity show” was at the Chelsea Theater Center.  It was The Screens:  a 5 hour play by Jean Genet.  5 hours….there was a dinner break for the audience!..I was non-union at the time.  I ended up understudying  the role I had auditioned for and wanted, but did not get, (which was usually the case!) and was given one line as a non-equity member in the ensemble…when I finally got to go on as “understudy” for a wonderful character I had auditioned for, (described as “the ugliest girl in the world,”  who wore a burlap bag on her head, covering it completely for the entire performance) that made me eligible to become a member of Actor’s Equity…the coveted and necessary union to be in, if you were serious about theater in New York…I think then, they “paid me”…the lesson learned?  Never give up, and you never know what will lead to what when you persevere….even if it looks bleak at the moment!



I absolutely LOVED your performance in the recently released film Room For Rent. I am curious to know what drew you to this delightfully bizarre tale? And how was your experience in making this wonderful film?

Thank you for seeing Room for Rent.  My “experience” with it is long and intense…and I love the character of Joyce almost more than any I have played.  The short hand is:  I had worked with Tommy Stovall the director 2 times before, and always loved and respected him.  He lives in Sedona…not a part of the “Hollywood scene”…a great person and talented artist.  He sent me the script on 2 separate occasions.  I did not like it at the first read…it was about “a psychopathic killer…blah blah blah…”  nothing new or interesting to me.  It did not impress me either on the second read, and as I was “turning it down for the 2nd time…and on the phone with Tommy…I tacked on to my “decline”…” you know?…it would be so much more interesting if this woman is not “crazy” but a victim of her circumstances, stemming from an abusive husband who pretty much “kept her as his ‘maid'” for the years of their marriage, and how, with his demise, she was left with no money and zero skills on how to navigate life for herself in this world…”  ..a woman who would lose herself in romance novels and fantasy because of her pain and loneliness”…bingo…yes…that was a good idea.!!!..and that was how Joyce began to evolve and  decline into a deranged madness when she felt betrayed. I actually wrote all the “romance novel” passages!….trying to marry the ideas in the novels  to the life and problems she was having for real!   I believe there are many women we will never know of,  who are “kept captive” by the men in their lives today..even with all the “me too” awareness, etc. now..and probably always….still all over the world, who are never allowed to experience love, freedom or themselves.

Beyond the world of horror, you also appeared in one of my favorite comedic films of all time, and gave another incredible performance. And that film was of course, 1996’s Kingpin, which also happened to feature our friend and past guest Vanessa Angel. So somewhat of the same question, how was your experience working on this insanely hilarious film?

Kingpin is still my all time favorite.  also truly long story.  The Farrellys did not want to see me for the role:  “the angriest ugliest woman God ever let loose on the planet”…their words…not mine.  I created that entire character…again in my bedroom all by myself !…wardrobe, hair coming out of my nostrils (actually eye lashes!) filthy hair, disgusting smoker, etc. and BEGGED over and over and over again to PLEASE LET ME COME IN AND READ.!!..but the answer was always:  “we love your work, but just don’t think you are right for this.”…..Finally a week before they were supposed to start shooting, I  got one of the producers on the phone and begged!!  BEGGGED!…telling him   “I have an entire presentation I have worked really hard on to show them”  He was in a good mood, liked me from Dumb and Dumber and said “Ok…sure, come in tomorrow”..OMG….Dressed totally as Mrs. Dumars I drove to Santa Monica to their office, sat on the floor (there were no casting chairs left!) for half hour while casting walked by me over and over…finally looking down in disbelief uttering:  “LIN???? I thought you were a homeless woman off the streets…we were just going to call the police!”…I guess I “nailed it”…!….or they were too afraid of me to say “no!”..

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Horror to me is special because it deals primarily with FEAR….experiencing fear with others in a safe place, is wonderful….and especially because it IS all “pretend,” but allows you to delve into your taboo places in public and safety.  Adrenaline is an addictive and  legal drug…

What is your favorite scary movie?

Favorite scary movie?  The Shining.

Do you have any plans for this coming Halloween? And fun traditions that you try to stick to every year?

I have no plans for Halloween….the most I have “celebrated,” since being a Panda and a Flapper as a kid.! ….has been at the Blumhouse Halloween party the last 2 years…!…Being “anonymous” is really fun..That is my favorite kind of costume, generally….Knowing people don’t know who you are is surprisingly freeing!…



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

Lots of goodies coming:  Grudge …a reboot of the original, produced by Sam Rami and directed by Nicholas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother)  opens wide on January 6 2020!…I have a fantastic role and you will all be scared to death!..  I am also in the New Penny Dreadful for Showtime….a fantastic series unlike the last 3 seasons….it is all about Los Angeles and the evil and corruption that existed in 1938…a fantastic cast, and fantastic character…Also a film called Gothic Harvest, was released on DVD and Digital on Oct. 15, 2019 and will be on DVD Nov. 5, 2019,…AND.. my brother Bob Shaye who created New Line Cinema is releasing a film he directed,  called Ambition. which will also have a VOD, digital and DVD release later this year…….I gratefully have a cool role in that as well……all really cool stories!

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?


What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog…..and this last question…… xx



About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: