First Comics News: Why do you enjoy acting and how has it changed your life?

Debbie Rochon: I love the hyper-reality I experience when acting. I love the entire discipline. Some of my favorite acting experiences have been in acting class. Learning, working and overcoming the plateaus you hit along the journey is really satisfying. I love a challenge. I love being able to be and do things that I, as a person, would never do. Acting saved my life in 1980 when I became an extra on a big Paramount Picture for three months. It gave me something to love, something to strive for and most important; awakened my biggest dream. You don’t always get to work in good or even adequate situations, which is something they don’t teach you in class, but something you find out very quickly. That’s when you realize that all the training has been so that you can be in very strenuous or stressful situations and still be able to do your work. There are times because we’re all only human, where you’re not able to completely overcome situations or locations. That responsibility also falls on the director though. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing that’s better than working on a cool, engaging project. I walk away knowing I left a piece of myself, my soul, in the movie.

1stHow does it feel to have received so many awards for your work?

Debbie: Of course, it’s great to be recognized for your work. The most important thing about it is what it gives you as an artist. Encouragement. The reminder that hard work is noticed now and again. Awards are meaningless if they just serve as ego puffers. If they inspire you to work even harder and bring you a sense of pride in your work, then they are very important. I have always deeply appreciated them because it inspires me to dig even deeper and keep pushing.

1st: How would you describe “Doom Room” the movie?

Debbie: Doom Room is about a character called Jane Doe. She must figure out why she is locked in a room with some very unsavoury characters in order to escape and survive.

1st: What is the personality of the wife you play in “Doom Room”?

Debbie: The character of The Wife is like a viper that hasn’t fed in months. She’s a dark force and should not be trusted. Lucky for The Wife, Jane Doe doesn’t know this. So, the fun commences!

1st: What part of the wife is most like you?

Debbie: I wouldn’t say she’s like me in real life, but I would say it’s rather pleasurable to play dark and disturbed characters like her in film. You really get the opportunity to be super bad and you’re not hurting anyone in real life. It’s make-believe of course, but it hopefully has a real effect on the audience. The more you give to your character, the better the film will be and the easier you make it on the actors in the scene with you too. When every actor in the scene is firing on all cylinders it feels like magic. You don’t always find yourself in that situation but in Doom Room, this was certainly the case. It made my work deeper to have such committed actors to work off of. The material, the director, the other actors all play a part in allowing me to do the best job I can and go to the ‘ugliest’ place I could to bring this role to life. What a joy it was!

1st: Do you think “Doom Room” will pull watchers in as they watch so they cannot turn away?

Debbie: Well, no one wants the audience to turn away because that’s a really bad thing. I know for a fact, while no film is for everyone, this movie will find its audience if there’s an awareness the film exists out there. It’s disturbing, dark, unique and you have to follow along with Jane Doe on her journey navigating all of the madness. People just wanting buckets of blood may not respond as strongly as people who like an intelligent, different movie that they haven’t seen the same formula unfold in front of them a hundred times before. That’s what I think this movie is; a horror-art film that’s very dark in nature.

1st: What movie did you enjoy acting in the most?

Debbie: That’s impossible to answer with one title. I would find it hard to answer with five titles. The reason is, there are many movies that you can enjoy making but they, perhaps, don’t turn out the way you hoped. Or a movie could be pretty good, but it wasn’t the most creatively satisfying to make. I think to keep the answer simple, I really love working with certain directors. Jon Keeyes, the director of Doom Room, made American Nightmare with me in 2000. That experience was exceptional. I felt that was one of the top acting experiences I’ve had. Director Ivan Zuccon, whom I have also made two films with, Colour from the Dark and Wrath of the Crows, in Italy, is a true cinema master to work with. There have been other directors and projects that I have loved. I think Bloody Ballet, Exhumed, Terror Firmer, Slime City Massacre, Theatre Bizarre and Psychic Experiment are all films I look back at and I’m very happy I was involved in. There are a couple others that are fun movies like Serial Kaller and Axe to Grind that are a blast to watch for their full-on camp flavour.

1st: What monster are you most like and why?

Debbie: I am “The Impossibly Tall Creature” in Frank Darabont’s The Mist. I don’t linger around for the duration but come in to blow everyone’s minds in a powerful climax scene. Not even aware of the destruction I cause underfoot. Lost in ‘The Mist’ only to appear when it’s important to deliver a powerful punch and change the final outcome. BOOM!

1st: You were also in “Model Hunger” what was your part in it and how did it feel to be directing this movie as well?

Debbie: My part in Model Hunger was only a cameo in the movie’s ever-present cable TV show Suzie’s Secret. The directing experience was really life-changing. I was able to create on an entirely different level than I ever could as an actor. I was able to shoulder the vision of the entire movie. There’s nothing like it. With all the great things and challenges that happened while making a movie, it was an exceptional experience. I loved working with the actors. I loved tweaking/adding to the script, which was written by James Morgart. He allowed me the creative freedom you don’t usually have when you’re directing someone else’s material. I learned a ton. I loved so many things about it, mostly the creation of a movie from the ground up. I had a lot of help, but my vision was crystal clear, and while the movie has its flaws, I think the elements that worked far outweighed any shortcomings. It was a true labor of love and I made the type of movie that I like to see. I think it’s a very special feature and I am very proud of it.

1st: What will your column be about in “Asylum” the Italian magazine?

Debbie: My column, Debbie Rochon’s Bloody Underground, will focus on my film making experiences and, I will write about other films and filmmakers and even have installments about my personal experiences outside of making movies. So, it will be a wide variety of subjects. It’s very exciting to be involved with Asylum magazine because with every issue it’s moving toward all articles being in both Italian and English languages. The first issue had about three columns in both languages and the second issue will have ten. It’s visually beautiful, as one would expect from a publisher and layout artists in Italy, as they have an amazing eye for horror and know the beauty of the macabre.

1st: You have been in a lot of horror movies what about the genre do you think attracts so many fans?

Debbie: The excitement of horror movies. The fact that a horror movie can have commentary on what’s going on in the world easier than a typical comedy or drama. It can be set anywhere, and anything is possible if you craft your world properly. Horror movies challenge you, not just because they can be scary but also because they can make you look at things in a very different way. Horror movies of the past have affected how people take showers (Psycho), how you look at your bedroom closet, how you react to sound and how you react to silence. 

1st: Outside of movies and writing how do you spend your time?

Debbie: Watch movies, write, read and fight with my overwhelming DVD collection that can’t be contained by one room anymore!

1st: How loud can you scream?

Debbie: Faster than the speed of sound?

1st: What would you like to say to all your fans?

Debbie: Thanks for reading to the end! If you want to keep up to date on any news or appearances, you can hop over to my website! 

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First Comics News: Why do you enjoy acting and how has it changed your life? Debbie Rochon: I love the hyper-reality I experience when acting. I love the entire discipline. Some of my favorite acting experiences have been in acting class. Learning, working and overcoming the plateaus you hit along the...