Tamara Glynn set the horror scene on fire as the ultimate sexy devil-girl Samantha Thomas in Halloween 5, memorably challenging The Shape with a rusty pitchfork while soaked in her dead boyfriend’s blood.
In Part 2 of our exclusive interview (click here for Part 1), the actress turned producer and film festival organizer takes us back to 1989 to explore the legacy and relive The Revenge of Michael Myers.
Tamara said she only recently “rejoined” the Halloween franchise community online via Facebook and other social media, as well as her first ever convention appearances and the Hot Springs Horror Film Festival she hosted in her hometown earlier this year.
“It’s just a very special time for me, what the franchise has done, just the love and support from the fans,” she told us. “It’s just a super, super special time in my life. This is a rarity.
“How many times does this happen in someone’s life after being out in front of the camera and doing major films, and then to have this golden opportunity to come back? It’s like I never left. It’s crazy. It doesn’t happen every day. I’m so glad, I’m overwhelmed, and I thank my lucky stars, I’m working my ass off. That’s not to be taken for granted, trust me.”
As we did with all of our “Halloween at 35″ interview subjects this year, we asked Tamara about John Carpenter’s original Halloween and when she first saw the classic that started it all.“I saw the original in theaters when I was 10 years old in 1978,” she said. “My mother was the one that introduced all the weird stuff.”
“The original came out and I was fortunate to have a mother that graciously introduced me to the horror genre. I kept up with them (the sequels) as much as I could. I was a huge fan of the franchise beginning at 10 years old.
“To go in and audition (for Halloween 5), I was excited as all get out. When they called me and said that I was going in to read for it, I was just super excited. I read for it, and they put me on tape and sent the tape to Dominique (Othenin Girard, director) and Mr. Akkad (producer).
“The next day I left to go shoot the finale of Miami Vice. I was in Miami when I got the call from my agent saying that I had booked Halloween 5. So I went from Miami and stopped back in California to get some stuff and then I went straight to Utah. It was a pretty fast turnaround. I was 18 years old.“It was my first feature film, so that was not a bad gig for a little girl from a very small town in Arkansas.”
Tamara says that the making of Halloween 5 was nothing but a positive experience for her.
“Dominique was an amazing director,” she said. “Super talented, super easy to work with. I so admire and respect his gift. He’s just a wonderful guy.”
She also talked to us about scream queen Danielle Harris and watching her career blossom as it is in the last two and half decades since her own feature debut in Halloween 4.
“I never had one scene with Danielle, but I was close with both her and her mother,” Tamara said. “It’s just really weird, because even after all these years there’s so many fans out there that want a Danielle and Tamara reunion of sorts, and to me it’s just so funny because we had no scenes together. That people want to see me and Danielle together all these years later is pretty cool.
“Oh my God, in a heartbeat (I would work with her again). I am so proud of her and her endeavors. I know for a fact that she has really set the standard high for women in horror, women in film. She’s been consistent, she’s got the drive, she’s got the brains, she’s got the beauty, and Danielle Harris is just your package deal and shines in every project she’s involved with. I am just so proud of her. Wow.”
Tamara talked candidly about the personal family issues that caused her to go back home to Arkansas soon after her big break in H5.
“I will share with you what I haven’t shared with everyone,” she said. “After Halloween 5, we had horrible news about my grandfather’s house, and have always put family first in my life no matter what. My mother received a phone call out in California that my grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer, and my grandparents had a farm, they had a couple hundred herds of cattle, just major responsibilities and everything they had built in their life and put their heart into for so many years.
“So my mom and I talked about it, and the only right thing to do was to move back home and help them. So that’s what we did, and it was the right thing to do. I do have a core value, and that was the right thing to do.
“Once I moved back here, I was heavy into being behind the scenes and production. I really had an opportunity all these years, even Arkansas because we do have some very nice production facilities here, to get in there, work for them, educate myself, learn more about equipment, and turn me into what I have become.”
Glynn said that it an eventual reunion with Harris that foreshadowed the most recent developments in her career.
“It was really weird,” Tamara recalled. “Probably about six years ago, one Friday afternoon I get a phone call and there was this man on the other hand, and he says, ‘Tamara, there is a horror convention in Little Rock.’ And I’m like, ‘Cool.’ He said, ‘Well what’s cooler is Danielle Harris is in town. Here’s here number, she wants you to call her.’ I’m jumping for joy thinking this is just so cool that Danielle’s in town.
“We went to dinner that Friday night, and Danielle actually reached out to me about appearing at the 30th anniversary shindig. At this time, my mother’s health had started to decline and I had a 12 year old son, and I wasn’t receptive to that at the time. It was a timing issue in my mind, in my personal life. After that, I was just like if the opportunity ever rises again, I am going to jump on it, but right now I have to do what’s best for my family and myself.
“ I knew that once I was around the franchise and the opportunities out there, that it was going to take off in this other direction, and I wanted to be able that when it did arrive that could do it and do it the right way and give 110% as opposed to trying to balance a chronically ill parent at the time and my son. The dynamics of it just were not available at the time to really make it happen the right way.
“I’m really glad I made the decision I did. Looking back, I had to put some priorities first, and I’ve been able to sleep well ever since. All of a sudden, here we are.”
Tamara believes that everything happens for a reason, and as with most of us, those reasons only become clear later on.
“Life is pretty much a timing issue from what I have experienced, whether personal or professional,” she said. “It was a waiting game to see what was going to happen with my family. I was already anticipating getting back in front of the camera.
“When my mom passed away, probably the last words I said to here was, ‘I’m going to grab the bull by the horns, and I will continue to honor her through my work and being the person she raised me to be. I can honestly say in my mother’s final hours, I promised her several things in my career, because she was an inspiration. I had great amount of respect for her, because of her strength and just her being the wonderful person that she was.
“I feel really good about the direction that everything is going in, and I know that I have my angel with me and she’s cheering us on right now.”
Glynn says her life has come full circle in many ways since reemerging into the public eye.
“A few months ago, my son had a tennis match in the town I am originally from in Arkansas,” she said. “So I go to his tennis match and I’m sitting there, watching my beautiful son play, and I’m like ‘Wait a minute. I am in my hometown watching my soon-to-be-graduated son play tennis, I came back here after Halloween to take care of family, and now it’s Halloween that has rebooted my career and given me so many amazing and wonderful opportunities and this huge fanbase that’s on board with all of this love.’ I have these weird little moments where I just go ‘Wow.’
“The major life lesson I have learned is that in dealing with adversity, it’s not what happens in life, it’s how we choose to go with it. That’s been my number one life lesson, going from so much heartache and pain, trying to take care of my loved ones. It’s a maturing process. What coming back to Arkansas has given to me is access to TV, film, and video production.
“It was meant for me to come back here to get on my feet, on my game, learn, mature as a person, be the best I could possibly be, and then just chill out and see where it’s all going to lead. I would not have been the person then that I am now. That’s the beauty of my own personal journey. It’s been a tremendous learning process. It takes a couple times falling your face to get back up and say ‘Okay, I get it now.’ That’s the beauty that I’m embracing now.”
When asked about the undying legacy of the Halloween, Tamara says she is not surprised at all at the success of the franchise.
“I’ve always been a believer in this franchise from day one,” she said. “It’s just amazing to be involved in the world’s largest franchise. They’ve done an excellent job, from the writers to the directors to the cinematographers. I have personal respect for each film. The execution of the kills, the class of the franchise itself, I am just happy that they have erred on the side that they have, because to me it’s a very classy franchise, and I think the fans would concur.
“It has been consistent. Even with Zombie on board, I think it has been consistent, and I am a fan of Rob Zombie’s.
“The coolness is that the fans know every time there’s a Halloween release that they are going to get scared. They want to know what Myers is up to. If you’re going to the theater to see it, you’re going to get your money’s worth, without a doubt.
“Being in the industry and being behind the camera as a filmmaker and producer, I personally look back and I’m like, ‘Look at the way the barn scene was lit.’ There are just technical aspects that come into play on each one of these films, and I just respect the hell of out of them. I think they’ve been super successful, and just how everything translates on screen. You can tell I’m pretty partial.”
“Whether it’s the Halloween franchise or the genre as a whole in its entirety, we’re really hardworking people.”
She went on to expand on the relentless appeal of the original film.
“If I were the executive producer and I were to start my own gig, I would so want to use Halloween as my template to go by,” said Tamara. “There are more fans coming on board all the time. I just think it’s so cool that John Carpenter’s Halloween is so unique and special that it sets a tonality and it kind of set the standard. A lot of today’s directors that are up and coming, or that have names now and are so respected and known for their amazing work, it’s all because they saw the original Halloween and they really got into ‘80s horror, and that’s just super cool.
“I even had friends that didn’t know my association (with the franchise), so this has been a special time for myself. You know it’s not something I go around like, ‘Hi, I’m Sami from Halloween 5.’ There’s a lot of uniqueness going on with all that itself right now.
“My true friends are still my true friends, but some people start to get weird when they find out you were in a horror movie. I don’t even think of it as a horror movie, I just think of Halloween up there all by itself. Because I’m so closely connected, I don’t feel what others point of views are on it. It’s been an interesting ride.”
Though she had no scenes with the late great Donald Pleasance, Tamara remembers, “I met Donald a few times on set. What I remember from him was just his demeanor. I did definitely command a room. He was one of these people who could just walk in really silent, and just everyone’s jaws dropped in awe. He didn’t have to make himself noticeable. That’s what I remember of him. He just had this amazing presence.”
Finally, Tamara told us that she would be more than up for a return trip back to Haddonfield if the producers of a future film in the franchise were to call her.
“I would embrace it with open arms,” she said. “When it came time to give a performance, I would totally give a very memorable performance, one that no one would be able to forget. I would graciously accept. If it’s meant to be, it’s going to happen.
“I’m learning about myself through this journey.”
Be sure to click here to read Part 1 of our interview with Tamara Glynn, and then click here read our entire “Halloween at 35″ retrospective series!
You can see Tamara on screen again in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, currently playing in limited theaters this week, and you can meet her at the upcoming 35 Years of Terror Halloween anniversary convention happening November 15-17 in South Pasadena, California.