Helene Udy [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today our guest is the legendary actress & producer with over 40 years of experience in and out of the world of horror. Her projects include the recently released Evil Under the Skin, as well as work on projects like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Dead Zone, My Bloody Valentine, and many more.

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

I was always attracted to creative arts. First I wanted to be a ballerina but as a child even though I was the shortest in the class the teacher started moving me to the back. That was the death knoll. Then I turned to music and formed a band with my bestie Marla Neftin, but it turned out that she was 10 times more talented and had a much better voice … Then I found acting. After watching The amazing Australian movie Galipoli and watching the whole audience in this tiny little rep theatre leave the place sobbing I knew that I had found the best way to feel in communion with humanity and exchange ideas about life & what it means to be alive. I felt connected in an inexplicable way. And so it has always been acting, for that reason. I was subsequently kicked out of theater school at the age of 16. The rest is history.

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

My first paid gig was a super fun pilot of CTV in Canada called Off the Wall at the age of 15. We were treated like absolute stars. It was so much fun! There was so much money thrown at this thing. It was magical. It did not go however. It was like a Canadian version of Donnie and Marie. The lesson?… This is the best job in the world. I can do this…. So in the years to come, rejection was never a hard thing because the 1st thing I ever auditioned for I got and I never lost my confidence after that. It always reminded me that anything was possible. If I did it once I could do it again.

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?

Well … As an actor it is the people involved on the filmmaking. The horror genre filmmakers I have had the good fortune to work with are incredibly creative and passionate about their visions and they never let a tiny budget get in the way of their massive sense of invention. Horror movies are so fun to work on. And strangely enough I have noticed that horror movie fans are the kindest, least pretentious, most enthusiastic and lovely folks I tend to meet. I was never a horror movie fan myself. And rarely watched them until maybe the past 5 years, when Netflix became a thing and then suddenly the horror genre caught on for me. I now understand that when life gets rough there is nothing more consuming than a scary movie to take your mind off your own woes. And horror is so great for that.

Can you tell us a bit about your recent film Evil Under the Skin? What drew you work on this insane project?

I was extremely lucky to be great friends with the talented writer of the project Luc Bernier who introduced me to the Director Jeffrey Schneider. And that is how I was cast. I sort of feel that knowing Luc beforehand and knowing his intention for the movie, understanding the way he likes to write and the respect he has for actors being one himself, combined with Jeff’s seasoned indie approach made the whole project tantalizing. It’s terrific that it worked out as beautifully as I had hoped for. Sometimes they don’t. But, this was the right movie and the right team. Donna Hamblin, Timothy O’Hearn, and the rest of the cast were also incredibly excellent fun to work with. 

What is your favorite scary movie?

Hmmm…. Well the most disturbing movie I have ever seen if it fits into this category is Roman Polanski’s The Tenant. Also Rosemary’s Baby. And then of course my alma matter My Bloody Valentine directed by the iconic George Mihalka. I’m also a huge fan of the American Horror Story series especially the first 3 seasons. Just terrifying.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year? 

Well my Birthday is November 1st. he day after Halloween. So Halloween was always a big deal at my house. I lived in a great neighborhood for trick or treating and looked forward to it every year. My parents were not keen on candy but that was the one time they let me eat all the candy in my bag without question and normally took almost a month. I’d be sad when I worked my way from the good stuff, the chocolates, hard candies, bubble gums down to the  yucky taffies which I really hated. But you know candy is candy and by the end I would eat it all. Tradition. 🙂 

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

Well I just finished shooting a fantastic Movie in Indiana called The Embalmers directed by Sisters Rebecca Rinehart and Diane Fraker. Just before that I did just finish a sci-fi movie really fun called Bad Voices. In my mind, it is a very indie version of Men In Black. Check on IMDb for when that gets released. In Ocotber I start rehearsals for a mind bending drama called Reflections of a Broken Memory with Director Marco Bazzi that i will be shooting in December.

In between I am so excited to be shooting a crazy wonderful parody drama by the incredibly talented Israeli Performance artist Lior Shamriz. And finally in February, if all goes well, I will be shooting a wonderful atmospheric and heart rending ghost story in England with Kemal Yildrim and his team. And then another mind bending drama stretching the genres between horror and drama I think called Blood Covered Chocolate with Monte Light.

And between all of that? I produce a monthly Cabaret show in my front yard called “Was Ist Das?” were the most fantastic ,and out of this world performance artist and clowns and musicians come to perform for a very social distanced crowd that stands outside on the other side of my garden fence. And our Halloween show is planned for November 1st! You can tune in at Helene Udy Live on Facebook. Please do!!! Or just find me on Facebook at the “Was Ist Das show?” page and stay up on the news. I would be so grateful if you did!!!

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

We just had an earthquake a few days ago. It was scary actually even though it only lasted 4 seconds. With so much going on these days on California from COVID to wildfires and earthquake momentarily just felt like the end of the word. I had 4 gloriously terrifying seconds of terror. And then so much fun gathering with.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last show “Was Ist Das? show” I did last night September 20 . It was such spectacular fun!! Thanks for asking. Also my 8 dogs make me smile every moment of every day.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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