Danielle Harris Aint Afraid Of No Ghosts- An Interview.

October 2, 2010 by Chris Grosso

For playing such a tough, resourceful character, as both as Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 & 5, and Annie Brackett in Rob  Zombie’s Halloween I & II, Danielle Harris is a sweetheart. She’s funny, captivating and completely down to earth, which made this a really enjoyable interview to conduct. The setting was perfect; heavy rains and wind, with power flickering on and off. I’m not sure if that’s what Danielle was experiencing as she called from New York, but for me, nothing could have been better. Danielle was gracious enought to talk to me about her role in the original Halloween series, as well as Rob Zombie’s remakes, her new film Hatchet II, and the zen of  moving furniture, and then moving it again.

The Danielle Harris Interview

TIS: What was your experience filming Halloween 4 with horror icon “Michael Myers” at only 11 years old?

DH: Well, I turned 11 on the set of Halloween 4 and 12 on the set of Halloween 5. It was really fun actually. I mean how many times do you get to leave school early and go live in a hotel for 2 months,  staying up all night long, and eating spaghetti for what cast/crew called “lunch” at 3 o’clock in the morning. Plus, being covered in fake blood, or backing up into the “candy glass” on set which was actually made of sugar and you could eat, that was definitely some of the stuff I thought was really cool and fun. I got to run around yelling and screaming in a Halloween costume, even thought it was really April.  Basically all the stuff you really look forward to as a kid. You really don’t think about the fact that you’re working, because you’re young and having so much fun.

TIS: Yeah, that sounds awesome. So, I’ve always wondered, in parts 4 & 5, were any of your screams when Michael was chasing you real, or was it all really just acting?

DH: (Laughing) Pure acting. I knew he really wasn’t trying to get me. None of it was really “real”. Maybe in Halloween 5, when I was running through the woods and Michael’s chasing me with a car, that was probably the only time I was really scared. I was actually the one doing the running in the dark woods. Our stunt coordinator mapped out a route for me to run around certain trees, so I had to remember to turn at this tree, and that tree. I remember being scared that I wasn’t going to remember which way he wanted me to go.  There was just so much smoke, and it was late, and dark, so I was definitely a little bit worried about that.

TIS: I read that you chose to pass up the role of Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 6 due to the fate of her character. Can you talk a little about that?

DH:  Yeah, it was actually a combination of different things. It came down in the Breakdown Services that they were looking for a lookalike, so my agent called to let me know. I told him I didn’t know why, because no one had called me to see if I was interested. So we got in touch with the producers and they said they wanted someone over 18, and I was 17 at the time. So I went and got emancipated on my own, on my own dime too, which cost about $3,000, so I could do the movie, but the script was changing. I was getting revisions, and going through negotiations with Miramax. I met with the producer and director and didn’t care for the way Jamie died. It was a really small role, and she was pregnant with Michael Myers baby, and I don’t know, I just wasn’t excited about it. We were in negotiations and still in the middle of the writing process, and they started being really weird about salary, when all I really wanted was to recoup what I had paid to be emancipated in order to do the movie in the first place, but they weren’t even willing to cover that much. It was then I realized that I just shouldn’t do it. I  didn’t feel like I was meant to be a part of it. My friend, J.C. Brandy ended up playing “Jamie”, and I guess everything happens for a reason, you know? After seeing the movie, I felt as though I’d made the right decision. I was a little upset that I didn’t get a chance to finish it out though. But at the same time, with Rob Zombie’s ’07 version, I have a feeling that he probably wouldn’t have cast me if I’d done Halloween 6 and died. I feel like that really left it open for me, and fans really wanted me to come back too. So yeah, I think if I’d done 6, my part in the series would have been done, so it worked out for the best.

TIS: Ever since your appearance in Halloween 4 in 1988, you’ve had an ever growing presence in the horror film genre, and now you have your own horror webpage horrorgal.com.

DH: Working on it (laughs).

TIS: Can you tell me a little about it?

DH: Yeah, I was doing so much press for Halloween ’07, along with a lot of my other friends, and we felt like we were being asked the same questions over and over again, and we starting getting frustrated. I really wished the fans could get to know us, and who we really are, because we’re so different then the way we’re seen on screen. Especially the guys who play the “bad guys”, the Michael Myers’, the Jason’s, they’re completely different. So I thought about the fan base, and career I have, and the “scream queen” title I have. For example, that title was very acceptable for my fans through press, etc. but I think Adam Green (Director of Hatchet II) said it perfectly yesterday when someone asked him what made me a good scream queen. He said, “well because when I watch her on screen, I want to buy her ice cream” and I loved that. That’s the “me” most people don’t know. So I thought, what better way to let the fans get to know who we really are then someone like me to bring it to them. I thought, I know all these guys, and they’re totally comfortable with me, and then I was like, “ooh, I could be the Barbara Walters of the horror genre” and thought that would be super cool. I really want to show another side of the genre, from the other side of the table, and behind the scenes without the fans having to wait for it to come out on the DVD extras . I started carrying my flip camera and videoing stuff. I’m not sure if you’ve seen any of the Youtube Channel called “Horrorgal”?

TIS: Yeah, definitely.

DH: Cool, so you’ve seen that I like to ask random questions. It’s funny because every time I come up to somebody at a convention and ask if I can interview them for my website, they automatically get ready to answer questions about whatever movie they did, and that’s the last thing I want to know. I don’t want to talk about that stuff, I want their fans to get to know who they really are, so I ask them everything other than horror genre questions, and when we’re finished, they always say how much fun they’ve had. I was at a convention and somebody brought Kane (Actor- See No Evil) some Peppermint Patties (or whatever he said his favorite candy was) and he was like, how did you know, and they told him they saw it on my Youtube video with him. I thought that was really cool. So now I’m compiling all of it. I wanted to get it all up and available last year, but things are taking longer than I’d thought, like the design of the site etc. Plus I’ve just been so busy with work. I’m actually filming everything behind the scenes while I’m working, so trying to get that geared up and ready to go is tough. I’m hoping to have everything up by the first of the year and be able to update it every day or so. I also have my video blog up there. It’s just a lot of fun.

TIS: Well I actually have a question from an interview you did with Rob Zombie on your Youtube channel that I liked, and wanted to flip on you.

DH: And that’s funny, because recently a few reporters have said they’ve seen the Youtube videos and said they were going to do that to me, so I know it’s working.

TIS: Right on.

DH: Ok, so now that you’re stealing from me, ask away…I’m just kidding (laughing).

TIS: Aw, and here I was thinking I was so original. Well, hopefully you haven’t been asked this one at least. You’d asked Rob if he had any strange habits, so I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering that one yourself?

DH: Yeah, I’m totally OCD. Not clinically, but probably pretty close. I have a habit of going through my drawers, probably once every two weeks, and putting together a huge bag of clothes, which I then take to a resale store called Crossroads, or Buffalo Exchange in LA. I sell my clothes and with whatever money they give me, I go and buy a whole bunch of new clothes. I don’t really shop at the mall or buy anything new. I’m a huge clothes recycler. Plus, I don’t like to have too much, but rather  just enough.  I hate not being able to find stuff. I used to do a lot of laundry and wonder why I had all those clothes, so it got me in the habit of getting rid of a lot of stuff. I definitely hate clutter. I do that with furniture too.

TIS: Really?

DH: Yeah. I have this weird thing with buying couches. Like every two years, I end up hating my couch. I don’t know why, but I sell my old one and buy a new one. It’s definitely very strange. I also move furniture around a lot too. Probably once a month I’ll rearange the furniture in my house. I’ll change the paintings or candles or plants around too. My friends always joke whenever they come to my house about how they have no idea where the hell anything is, because I’m constantly moving it. I just like to create new space. Every time I feel stressed out, or the energy is weird, I move stuff around.

TIS: So are we going to see you on TLC with your own show soon?

DH:  Well I actually sort of do that. I have a business I started to help me when I’m not working, and so I can stop obsessing about my own house and I call it Om Organizing.

TIS: Really?

DH: Yeah, I do it in LA. I go to people’s homes and help them organize their stuff. I always wanted to be a psychologist, but I didn’t get a chance to go to college because I was working. I find it’s a total psychological thing for people to get rid of certain things. So I talk them through the process, and help them find a better way to organize their stuff. I go through their clothes and help them decide what’s in style, and what to get rid of, and what to keep, and what they really don’t need. I’ll get online and order new bedding or curtains for them. My mom is an interior designer so I love interior design, home design, fashion etc. and it’s a great way for me to get rid of some of my anxiety. I just go to other peoples homes and go through their stuff instead.

TIS: Wow.

DH: (Laughing) Yeah, I’ve never actually told anybody that.

TIS: (Laughing) Great, so now I have an exclusive!

DH: (Laughing) Exactly, breaking news!

TIS: You mentioned the name was Om Organizing. Is the “Om” a reference to Eastern spirituality?

DH: Exactly, yes. My motto is “clean the clutter and gain clarity”.

TIS: Nice play on words.

DH: Or, Putting the Om back in your Home.

TIS: (Laughing) Clever.

DH: I don’t do it for money, I do it with the barter system because I think bartering is really cool. I find that when I do make money, I use it to pay bills or put away for savings. I don’t really do a lot of things for myself, so what I’ll do is work for this barter company. It pays in barter dollars, so I get paid a certain amount an hour, and it goes into an account. The money then accumulates and I’m able to take it and do something through other barter companies. I can go get my eyelashes done, or get massages or hotels in Palm Springs for the weekend with my girlfriends, even concert tickets. Facials, dry cleaning, there’s just so much that I do through the barter system.

TIS: That’s really cool. So do you study various Eastern philosophy/spirituality too, or is just an interest of yours.

DH: Yeah, I do. I’m a spiritual person. I meditate and pray. I do Bikram Yoga, I work out every morning, my therapist is a Jungian analyst and I’m totally into that kind of psychology. I’m also big into Kundalini Yoga, so I dabble in all sorts of spiritual things. I sage my house constantly, that’s probably why I move my furniture around so much. I’m sensitive to energy and can tell when things are out of place.

TIS: Ah, we share much in common in those areas.

DH: Yeah, it’s really important, and I find that with the work I do, especially in this genre, I put myself through so much emotionally and physically, and the body doesn’t know that it’s not real, so I’ve got to find that balance. A lot of my friends give me crap for it because when I’m not working, and at home, all I want to do is have dinner parties and have friends over, and it’s important to have that. A lot of my friends wonder why I don’t just rest,  why as soon as I get home I want to throw a dinner party or go to a wine tasting or go away for the weekend, but I need to do that for myself. I’m not the type of person who can just come home and sit on the couch and watch TV for three days. I just can’t do it. The energy needs to be a little bit different for me to be happy. And I’m a Gemini too, so it’s like I’ve got one side that says go, go, go and the other side that wants to go skipping through the daisies, you know?

TIS: That’s right, I read your birthday is June 1st right?

DH: Yeah, June 1st.

TIS: I’m June 3rd, so also a Gemini, and know exactly what you’re saying.

DH: Yeah, there you go.

TIS: So Hatchet II is releasing today in selected theatres due to its NC-17 rating. I read that the film board continued giving it NC-17 ratings, even after continuous edits, but when AMC Theaters saw it, they loved it and offered to release it exclusively, as-is. Can you talk about the decision to keep the artistic integrity of the film instead of chopping it down to an R rating, and a wider screen opening?

DH:  You know, I think and hope that this is something that will change the horror genre, and I think Adam Green really put his head on the chopping block for other film makers. Seeing what Rob Zombie had to go through during Halloween, and knowing that yes, everyone in the world was going to see that movie because it was in every theater. But it wasn’t his movie that we were seeing. It was what he was told was going to be his movie. And I think that’s really frustrating for somebody because they don’t have a leg to stand on. This is a cancer for the independent filmmakers that are making movies and don’t have the money to pay to get certain things ignored. He (Adam) really had to fight for it. Hopefully this weekend, we’ll fare well and we’ll be able to change things. I mean in 25 years there hasn’t been a movie that has done this, and it’s cool that it’s possibly Hatchet II. It’s really pretty amazing, and I hope this is the movie that does it, considering who’s in it. We’ve all been involved in movies that have had to be chopped up and had their integrity compromised. I mean this movie is fun. While it may be gory, it’s not hard to watch. It’s a movie you go to with your friends, and you laugh, and cheer, and eat your popcorn and walk out giggling, and make phone calls to your friends saying you want to go see it again tomorrow night. Adam wants to put a smile back on people’s faces, so I think that we’ve got a shot. Cast your vote and go see it. If you want to see more movies like this, you need to go and support it.

TIS: That’s very cool, and I really respect that you guys are doing that.

DH: It’s all Adam.

TIS: You step into the role of Marybeth in Hatchet II, which was previously played by Tamara Feldman in the first film. Often, film purists would consider that a big no-no. Are you worried about that?

DH: I really think that if you’re a fan of the first one, or a horror fan in general, you’re definitely going to be a fan of  Hatchet II. Also, I can look at it like a get out of jail free card. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted it to be the other way around. I think that Tamara probably would have gotten a little more flack and been judged a little more carefully if she were to come into number 2,  had I done number 1. I already have people who are protective over me, as far as fans go, so I think that I have a little more leeway with that. And the character is so different from the first film anyways. People ask me if I emulated or took anything from her performance into mine and I say no. She (Marybeth) started the movie in one place, and ended in another. I then pick it up and go from there. It’s not like I was coming back and having to redo what she did, so I never really thought that I was replacing somebody. I was like ok, this is Marybeth and this is what she’s been through. I made it my own, that’s for sure.

TIS: Are you game for some True & False questions regarding internet rumors about the film?

DH: Yeah, absolutely.

TIS: Ok, so…To keep details about the film under wrap, the crew did not receive copies of the script, and most of the cast received only select pages.

DH: True.

TIS: Fake scripts, endings & story lines were circulated around the industry, and no guests or visitors were allowed on set.

DH: False. Joel (Moore) came on set, and there was also some press that was on set.

TIS: A crew member quit on the 2nd day of shooting due to “moral reasons” regarding a certain scene.

DH: I don’t know if that’s true, but probably. I think day two was the sex scene. Oh God, yeah it’s probably true.

TIS: Hachet II’s final count of fake blood used in the film was 136 gallons, 81 gallons more than the first film.

DH: True. I think it may have been even more than that.

TIS: The principal photography was plagued with accidents, injuries, trips to the hospital and a swine flu epidemic that took out half the people on set.

DH: Yes, absolutely true, though it wasn’t the swine flu, but something close. What happened was we were filming on sound stage and had all that greenery. It either started molding, or creating a bacteria, and there was maybe something with the catering food too, I’m not sure but there was literally one day where we lost 9 or 10 crew members within the first hour. Everyone was either in the bathroom or outside throwing up. I couldn’t believe it, and that was the same day our A.D. swallowed a plastic fork at lunch. Somehow I managed to avoid all of that, but did start getting Pneumonia after we did the swamp stuff, so yeah, everybody was getting sick.

TIS: The film has 17 on screen kills, which makes it the highest ever, on-screen body count of any slasher film.

DH: Wow, really!?

TIS: I can’t confirm, but that’s what I read.

DH: Well I do know that there’s 17, but I didn’t know it was the highest body count of a slashed film.

TIS: That’s what I read, so I hope it’s true. It’d definitely be exciting for you guys.

DH: Yeah, that’s rad.

TIS: So what else is on the horizon for Danielle Harris?

DH: Well I just finished a movie with Jennifer Blanc and Mike Biehncalled The Victim , Jennifer produced it and Michael was in it as well. It was really fun because Jennifer is one of my best friends. This has really been a year of supporting my friends who are making films. I did a short film with my best friend Kimberly McCullough who’s on General Hospital, and does the AFI Women’s Directing Program, which I’m actually going to submit a short film to and hopefully will get accepted.  I agreed to do a little part in Rob Hall’s Laid to Rest 2 which just got announced. Also, Stake Land, which just won Toronto International Film Festival Audience Choice award for Midnight Madness, which is amazing, amazing, amazing. Jim Mickle’s is a genius and that’s also a Dark Sky Films Production. It’s probably looking at an early spring release. I’m going to Spain in a couple of weeks also for Hatchet II. It’s a movie I’m just really proud of and believe it’s going to be a fan favorite for sure.

TIS: All very cool. Well thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

DH: Sure, no problem.

TIS: I’m covering the Rock And Shock Fest In Worcester so I look forward to seeing you there.

DH: Awesome, I’ll be there with Adam.

As Featured On EzineArticles

For More Danielle Harris Information Check Out:

Danielle’s Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danielle_Harris

Horrorgal On Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/thehorrorgal1

Horrorgal.com: http://www.horrorgal.com/

Danielle on Twitter: http://twitter.com/halloweengal

Hatchet II Official Site: http://www.hatchet2.com/

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Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict, spiritual director, and author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster) and Everything Mind: What I've Learned About Hard Knocks, Spiritual Awakening and the Mind-Blowing Truth of it All (Sounds True). He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post, and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, Celebrate Your Life and more. Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, 12-step meetings, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner.
  1. […] Interview with Danielle Harris- Star of Halloween 4&5, Rob Zombie’s Halloween Remakes, and Hatchet II (Now Playing Nationwide): http://theindiespiritualist.com/2010/10/02/danielle-harris-aint-afraid-of-no-ghosts-an-interview/ […]

  2. cool as cucumber says:

    what a good interview and would someone give Danielle Harris award for being one the most honest actress working today

  3. Agreed. She was so great to talk with. Super honest and down to earth!

  4. […] Danielle Harris (Actress- Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II, Hatchet II) […]

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