Today marks the 25th Anniversary of one of our all time favorite Halloween-themed movies, the landmark horror masterpiece Night of the Demons, which opened in theaters on October 14, 1988, and to celebrate we’re bringing you the following exclusive interview with the film’s star, Amelia Kinkade!
In 1988, dancer and animal psychic Amelia Kinkade landed her first starring role as an actress in the cult classic Night of the Demons, as possessed party girl Angela, and went on to become horror’s most famous female monster since the Bride of Frankenstein.
We were lucky enough to interview the film icon outside by the hotel pool at the third Blood at the Beach horror convention in Virginia Beach, VA on May 10, 2013 (while Pinhead himself, Hellraiser star Doug Bradley enjoyed a light lunch with a lady friend a few tables over), as Amelia graciously looked back on that very special Night 25 years ago, how Angela changed her life, and what she has been up to lately.
“The casting agent hired me because she said I absolutely scared her half to death, which I’m very proud of”, Amelia told us of her initial audition for Night of the Demons. “I was cheerful. I got in her face and I was little bit too flirty.
“I had no idea that it was going to lead to a series of films that 25 years later have still maintained the test of time. I now have fans coming to meet me with tattoos of me on their chest. The first one of these conventions I did, four guys in their 20s came in with tattoos of me, and I was just shocked.
“I had no idea I had that kind of fan base out there. I have it with the animal work that I do and with the books that I write, and I teach and lecture all over the world, but this resurgence of horror movie interest comes as an enormous shock to me.”
Amelia told us that she never thought she would be creating one of the greatest and most memorable villains in cinematic history, much less breaking cultural ground as one of the only female monsters to stand out among her peers in an already crowded genre traditionally dominated by hulking males.
“It hadn’t occurred to me at the time,” she said. “Even when they were making these posters that say ‘Angela’s having party and Freddy and Jason are too scared to come,’ it still hadn’t occurred to me that I was the only female monster, and I remain the only female monster. When people say to me, ‘Why did you audition? Why did you want the part?’, I say I wanted the part because all the other girls were running around naked getting killed. I was the only one that got to keep my clothes on and kill everybody else.
“Given the choice between screaming and being chased by a female demon or being the female demon, I thought it was fun. I thought it was funny. I think that when I shot the film, I was just being myself.”
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is Angela’s seductive dance, set to the classic Bauhaus track “Stigmata Martyr”, which came about as a result of Amelia’s background as a professional dancer. When the scene became an instant fan favorite, the producers of course put a similar dance scene in both of the sequels, Night of the Demons Part 2 in and Night of the Demons Part 3, each again starring Kinkade as the ultimate Halloween party girl.
“I did the entire choreography of all three dances,” she said. “I had more and more input as the sequels went along. They allowed me to choreograph and do absolutely anything I wanted.
“In Demons 2, here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever said in an interview, I was supposed to have a demon dance, and one of my favorite dance sequences in a movie was from Hair, where a hippy jumps on a table at a wedding or a garden party and he trashes the entire table. He’s dancing on the table. In Demons 2, I did the entire dance on the table and it was my idea to pick up the punch bowl and pour the entire thing down my chest. How could the director say no to that?
“I had a lot of freedom. They allowed me to have as much fun as humanly or inhumanly possible. They let me go wild.”
You can watch Angela’s infamous dance in the player below!
Amelia said she had no idea she would be asked to play Angela a second and third time, but jumped at the chance to carry two more films on her shoulders, and thus further embed the legacy of Angela into the pop culture subconscious.
“It’s hard to turn down films you’re starring in,” she said. “If they had told me ‘You’re going to be the third tree from the left,’ I wouldn’t have done it, but they were writing them specifically for me and we were developing something together that was really fun to do.”
She says it was recently, at conventions like Blood at the Beach in Virginia Beach, that Amelia has come to know and embrace her legions of fans. In fact she says she found out about horror conventions when people started contacting her about merchandising, having attended her first event just a few years ago.
“I just discovered I had fans out there,” she said. “I had no idea.”
Of the Night of the Demons collectibles available at events such as horror conventions, Amelia marvels, “There’s all this stuff. There’s statues of me, there’s dolls, oil paintings, T-shirts. Someone wanted me to come and promote their stuff at a convention, and I said ‘No one knows about those little movies I made in the ‘80s.’ One of the conventions I went to, I had a line for nine hours. I couldn’t get up and go to the bathroom. It’s been an enormous response.”
Now an accomplished author and respected animal psychic, Kinkade has found that many of her Demons fans she has met at these conventions are just as excited to follow her latest real life adventures.
“The reason that I did it,” she said, “is that for the last 12 years that I’ve been tour I’ve been talking about animals and I write books to help people understand animal behavior, what animals are thinking, what they need, what they want, and how we can become more receptive so we can actually tune into them and pick up what they’re trying to tell us. I started getting all this fan mail from people saying ‘We watched Night of the Demons nine times last night and we have a new Dalmation puppy and my wife is pregnant and we’re worried about introducing the dog to the baby.’
“I started getting these really beautiful, interesting letters, and I realized there’s an enormous crossover audience between people who watch horror movies and are also animal lovers. I guarantee you that everyone who watches Demons has a dog or cat, or both.
“I started doing these conventions to promote my newest book. I just wrote my first crime novel. It’s called Aurora’s Secret and it’s based a real case I worked on with Scotland Yard, where a woman called me from Boston because she was trying to rehabilitate daughter’s dog after her daughter had committed suicide in London.
“When I started working with the dog, who was traumatized and couldn’t sleep at night, not only did the dog show me the details of the entire evening that the girl died, but the dog showed me that the girl had been murdered and showed me what the murderer looked like and gave me his name. Scotland Yard kept the case open on the testimony of a dog.
Aurora’s Secret (click here to read a review) is based on this story, but it’s a fictional version of what would happen if there were animals at the scene of a crime. It’s a wild, wicked, hilarious, scandalous, naughty book that I’m very proud of and I can’t wait to see on the silver screen.”
If Amelia’s life sounds like something out of a reality TV show, it may become just that in the near future.
“The next step right now is we’re shopping my own TV show in Hollywood,” she said. “I’ll know soon. They’d follow me around and watch me work with a baby zebra, or sick animals, show horses, rehabilitated beagles from laboratories, guinea pigs, snakes, rats, parrots, ferrets, and everything under the sun.
“The show would follow me when I’m working with the animals and the animals’ humans.
“The control of having my own show is so important, and that’s the obvious next step. After that I can pick and choose, but until that happens I can’t be at the mercy of another story maker. I’m the story maker. If I make my own stories I can play whatever I want. Eventually, I’ll leave it up to Tim Burton.”
When asked if she’s interested in returning to acting, Kinkade said it would depend on who is asking her.
“If Tim Burton or Martin Scorcese called me and said, ‘Amelia, I’ve written a role for you,’ I would definitely consider that,” she said, “especially if it was Tim Burton, I think he’s fabulous, but I would much rather have Tim Burton make a movie out of one of my books. That’s the perfect match, both for the animated feature, which he’d love, and for my gnarly, nasty, bizarre murder mystery.
Burton or not, Amelia is hoping that her original novels will be adapted into films.
“It’s very likely that at least two of my books will get made into movies,” she said. “I’ve got a children’s novel I just published, and I illustrated it. It’s my first Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz type book and I want to get it animated.”
So would the actress want to appear in her own book adaptations?
“If I was able to sell my books as screenplays,” she said, “I would absolutely want to have, probably not the lead role, but smaller roles in my own movies for fun, maybe playing one of the more surprising characters.
“If you’re an actress in Hollywood, you don’t have any control over your life. You’re lucky if you get to act in something that somebody else wrote. As a novelist and as a non-fiction writer, I have this incredible luxury of being able to write exactly what I want to say, and they’re published all over the world. I’ve got books in 32 countries now.”
Amelia has written a total of five books so far, when she’s not leading safaris across the world.
“I take people on safari in Africa, where the lions actually wait for my truck,” she said. “The elephants come out and pose for pictures, and the zebra bring me their babies, and the giraffes come over to the truck, and the pregnant leopards show me their bellies. It’s like being in Disney cartoon. I’m communicating with the animals and they come to talk to me.”
Of her psychic talent, Amelia explains, “I developed it. I took a workshop and started practicing, and the next thing I knew I was on a TV show working with animals as their token animal expert. Right after that The 100 Top Psychics came out and they wrote a chapter about me and published my home phone number. People were calling in the middle of the night from Brazil and Australia crying hysterically that their cat’s missing, their dog’s dying, their horse has cancer.
“It was a path that I tried a few times actually to get away from, because sometimes it gets too overwhelming, but I can’t. That’s what God created me to do and that’s what I came to this planet to do.”
“When I did make the (Night of the Demons) movies, the only reason I wanted to be actress was so I could help animals. I thought I was never going to be able to impact the world as animal activist unless I make it as an actress.”
Of the 2010 Night of the Demons remake, which stars Shannon Elizabeth as Angela, Amelia says, “I haven’t seen it. The only thing I can say is to put horns on Angela is just wrong. They did ask me (to be involved) and I didn’t want to glue all of that stuff to my face. You couldn’t have paid me enough.”
In the end, as Angela is so much more than just another pretty party girl to those who know her best, so is Amelia Kinkade an inspiration to her fans.
“The biggest compliment I’ve gotten,” she said, “is how many women have come up to me and love these films. And I say, ‘What is it about Angela you love the most?’
“What we finally arrived at is that I am giving power to the underdog.
“It’s the smart, nerdy little girl who didn’t make cheerleader, who never gets a date with the football hero, and she gets possessed and kills everybody, including the cheerleaders that she hated and the football players that she never got a date with.”