Saturday, June 1, 2013

Exclusive interview with April Burril aka Chainsaw Sally

"I'd love to get into some more kick-ass fight scenes!"

April Burril's husband, Jimmyo Burril, is the creator of Chainsaw Sally. Chainsaw Sally first broke out on the scene back in 2004 and gained a ton of popularity among fans of the genre. Chainsaw Sally has become a household name in the horror community ever since.

April Burril plays Sally perfectly and we all adore her. The part has humor but it's actually very dark. Chainsaw Sally is wonderfully twisted character that watched her parents die at a young age. Due to the tragic event, she grew up to become a serial killer, and gets inspiration for her kills from horror films.

The show is an absolute blast! It's pure fun for those that are fans of modern horror as well as the old school stuff. It fits comfortably into our hearts and DVD shelves. The gore and kills are one of the main reasons of watching. It's always amusing watching people get hacked to death by Sally, if I do say so myself.

I had fun digging into April's brain for some insight on what it's like to be her, and to play Chainsaw Sally...

What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you? 

Hm… there's a lot of competition for that one… I did have someone ask me to eat them… not sexually, but really.  Eat them.  Digestion and all.  Even got a recipe and a description of the ceremony.  It was very well thought-out.

Tell me, what did you grow up watching? What horror films were you exposed to growing up?

My earliest memory is seeing The Blob (the original) on tv when I was about 5 or 6.  Scared the crap out of me.  Later on, but still during childhood, I have fond memories of The Fog, Squirm, and The Shining.  I remember catching the re-booted version of The Twilight Zone.  High school age was, of course, when I really got fully into the horror genre (that's also when my house finally got a VCR).  TV shows like Monsters, Tales from the Darkside and Freddy's Nightmares were some of my very favorites.

What are your 3 favorite horror films?

I can only pick 3?? Yikes.  Well, I'll go with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dracula (Bela Lugosi version), and … let me think of something more recent… let's go with the Cabin in the Woods.  Utterly fantastic movie.

What's your favorite era of the horror genre?

All of them!  Every era has something fantastic to offer.

Here's a question I've been itching to ask: what's the goriest movie you've ever seen and are there any films that you can't watch?

The goriest?  Geesh… I suppose Dead or Alive might take the prize.  I love that one.  There sure is a lot of pus! Gross.  I don't care to watch movies where kids get hurt.  Pet Sematary is a good example of that.  And the beginning of Pumpkinhead.  Both are good films, but I didn't care for those types of storylines even before I became a mother, and now that I am one, I really just avoid them altogether.  I don't avoid 
everything with a kid in it.  Just those where a child's death is a big focus.  Too damn depressing.

Who's your favorite present day horror director?

Is it too biased to say Jimmyo Burril? (laughs) Okay, then… how about the Soska sisters?  American Mary was pretty great!

I ask this question to as many people as I can, so I've got to ask you: Some people claim that horror is dead. Is it? Please specify.

No, of course not.  People who say that are basically saying that horror in the way that fits strictly within their own guidelines is dead.  Society changes, what scares us changes, our level of jading changes.  Stories continue to be written.  There are still horror fans, so horror is not dead.  As with anything that lasts over years, there are times when it seems like no good films are being made… or that they're all remakes (ugh!).. but the last couple years have seen an upsurge in new stories - Insidious, Devil, Mama, etc.   It doesn't die! It is …. UNDEAD! (cue thunder and lightning…)

What's it like playing Chainsaw Sally, is it as fun playing her as you make it seem? It appears you have a bloody good time.

It's AWESOME!!!!  Especially the kill scenes.  The librarian stuff is a little tough to get into sometimes, but it's necessary to the story, so I do my best with it.

Are there any downfalls to playing Sally?

Nothing comes to mind.

A lot of women can't balance being sexy and feminine while being a psychopath, yet you're so alluring. Is it hard to find that balance? 

Aw  thanks!  I don't really think about it that much.  I just play the role as well as I can.  I focus on the psychopath side and just have to hope that sexy shows up in there somewhere. I've never really been shy with my sexuality, so I guess that must help.

There's so many things that are memorable about your show. What's your favorite skit you've done as Sally?

There are a lot of good moments, but I think one of the funniest was what has become known as the "chainsaw enema", which took place in season 1 of The Chainsaw Sally Show with the very talented Rob Dimension as the unfortunate victim.  I could describe it further, but honestly, I think "chainsaw enema" says all that needs to be said, don't you?

You wear it well, but does it ever get old being covered in blood?

Nope!  I do hate when it gets in my eyes though.  Next season, we are working goggles into the costume.  I honestly can't think why it took me this long to decide on that!

What type of audience does The Chainsaw Sally show aim to attract?

We are horror fans ourselves.. with a sense of humor.  Jimmy tends to write shows that we would want to watch.  Generally, horror with a sense of humor.  That's not with every script - some are purely dark.  But for The Chainsaw Sally Show, the sense of humor is a very big part of its charm.  The show is aimed towards horror fans that don't take their viewing too seriously.

With word getting around just about everybody knows of you and your show. What's it like being acknowledged by some people as a female icon of the horror?

It's weird!  and great.  I still have a hard time seeing myself that way, but I love the attention the show and the character have generated.  I'm glad to see people entertained by what we do.

Is there every any stunts that you've wanted to do on the show that you weren't able to do? If so please specify.

I've had many fight scenes, but I still don't feel I've had a really well-choreographed fight scene.  We live in the land of ultra low budget filming, so hiring experts hasn't been an option.  I've had to rely on whatever martial arts and/or wrestling knowledge I and my opponents bring to the table.  I'd love to get into some more kick-ass fight scenes!

A lot of us wish we could be psycho's but unfortunately most of us are perfectly sane and don't act out on such things. Is it liberating and freeing to play a psycho without any repercussions?

Of course! A lot of the kills - the ones just for fun, not the big plot-movers - are just based on daily pet peeves. Jimmy and I (or sometimes we get ideas from friends) get aggravated with someone and they end up in a kill scene. That's how Nicola Fioré's kill happened - some non-handicapped jerk using a handicap parking space. Many found that rude, but Jimmy, having grown up with a paraplegic mother, had special reason to find it aggravating. Thus... kill scene!

You have a really good wardrobe. How do you come up with your outfits, are they what you like wearing or is it just for the character?

Thanks!  I put together outfits I like.  Mostly based on the punk side of my personality (just as the Good Sisters costuming entertained the witchy/hippy side of my personality).  I'd dress like Sally all the time, if I thought I could get away with it and be able to function in a small town without causing townspeople to come after me with pitchforks and torches.

Is there anything that you aren't willing to do for a skit or episode?

For Sally… I have more control over it, since I've helped develop the character.  She's intelligent and protective - in her screwed up, psychotic way.  So she doesn't condone stupid actions or the killing or maiming of children or animals.  Now.. would I ever play a character that does those things? Maybe… depending on the full context of the show.  If I am cast as an antagonistic character, I would play it to the hilt.  If I am in a comedy, playing an idiot, I'd play it.  As long as the idiocy is actually funny - and not just idiotic.

Did you ever think that you'd be as known as you are? Did you ever imagine you'd become so popular?

Nope.  Not a clue.  I played around w/ dance and stage but purely as a hobby.  My career is - and always has been - more focused around my visual art skills.

I miss the times of Vampirella and Elvira, do you feel that you may inspire women to become more involved in horror again such as yourself?

I won't say I'm on any kind of mission to make that happen, but I'm happy if it does.  I do have a large number of female fans.  I think they really get a kick out of seeing a female that is both the hero and the - sort of - villain… anti-hero I guess is the term.  But we're not the only ones providing strong female roles.  It's a reflection of our evolving culture that more and more, we see women playing strong roles - not just as ass-kicking heroines, but as villains as well.  There's always going to be a difference in how men and women are portrayed in film and treated in society.  We ARE different.  That's part of the beauty of being what we are.  What we are moving towards - as a culture - is equal value and the ability to trust women to have as much strength of character as men.

I'd like to thank you again for the interview, it means a lot being a fan. I always wanted to pick your brain. Maybe sometime in the future, once we've seen more of you, we can do a follow up. It's been a pleasure.

Thanks for having me and thanks very much for being a fan!!

You can fix your crave for Chainsaw Sally merchandise HERE

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