To horror fans, the name Danielle Harris is a name most are well familiar with. Did you realize that she’s been acting for over 30 years now? Her career started way back in 1987 on the soap opera, One Life to Live, no less. She first got a taste of horror in the 1988 sequel, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers as little Jamie Lloyd, the niece of the boogeyman Michael Myers, and she’s never looked back. Since then, Harris has racked up a film and TV resume of almost 90 projects to date and has worked alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood such as Steven Seagal, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and more. But it was the horror genre that Harris kept returning to more than anything.
Since Halloween 4, she has been in over 30 genre films including Urban Legend, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 1 & 2, Hatchet II & III, and Stake Land just to name a few. Harris has become a bona fide scream queen, horror hottie and is loved and revered by fans worldwide as the darling of horror.
I caught up with Harris in the promotion of her latest film, the psychological horror film, Inoperable. Join me as I chat with Danielle about Inoperable, Being a Mother, and more.
Inoperable will be released on DVD and Digital HD on February 6, 2018!
Horror Patch: Hi Danielle how are you?
DH: Good How are you?
Horror Patch: I’m doing great! First of all, I just wanted to thank you for taking time out to speak with me. I last spoke with you a few years ago when you were doing press for See No Evil 2.
DH: Ok, got it.
Horror Patch: A lot has happened since then. You’re a mom now. Congratulations on that.
DH: I am yes, a lot has happened. Thank you.
DH: I think ambitious is a great word. I hadn’t done a psychological thriller like that…yet. Uh, having it all be in one location, filming in sequence, knowing I was in every shot, every setup. Knowing it would be a bit challenging to kind of keep up with the pace of it for the short amount of time we filmed. I hadn’t done anything like it before so I was up for the challenge and that’s what made me want to be part of it.
Horror Patch: Awesome! You’re right, I don’t remember you ever having done a psychological horror movie before, so it was great to see you doing something new.
DH: Yeah, usually it’s me fighting a person like a guy or something, or someone. This is kind of like me, myself, and I with some scattered things that I see or didn’t see. I had to use my brain a lot. Thank God I didn’t have a kid then because I would have total mommy brain. I don’t know If I could’ve done it now.
DH: Oh, it was dirty and grungy, that’s for sure. Let’s just say the art department didn’t have to do anything. All the stuff that was there was there. It was a run-down abandoned place they were going to tear down. I think they were tearing it down after we were done filming. It had asbestos and mold in the ceilings and bats. Everything that you thought it was and more.
Horror Patch: Oh really? So, the terrible carpet stains, peeling paint, dirty ceiling tiles. That was all part of what the director was going for.
DH: Oh yeah, that was all real. That’s the way that it came, that’s right. That’s exactly the way it came.
Horror Patch: I don’t think that’s a hospital that I would ever want to stay at.
DH: Hell no! Me either.
Horror Patch: For you, what was the biggest challenge of filming Inoperable?
DH: I think it was just not having any time to recharge, knowing that everything was happening to me the entire time. There was one scene I thought I wasn’t going to be in and it ended up being shot over my shoulder. So, I didn’t have a moment to regroup and pull myself together. It was go go go from the moment I got on set until, over 13 hours until whenever we wrapped. It just didn’t stop, but it’s good because it works for the character. I was happy to wear myself out for it.
DH: We did, we filmed in Tampa Bay.
Horror Patch: Oh, nice. Have you ever filmed in Florida before?
DH: I have not but my family lives very close to there in West Palm Beach so that was a deciding factor in taking it, was knowing that my family could come up for the weekend.
Horror Patch: Oh, that sounds nice.
Horror Patch: This film, Inoperable, incorporates a natural disaster, a hurricane into the movie. I thought that was unique for a horror film wouldn’t you say?
DH: Yeah, I mean it’s Florida too. They’re so used to it down there. We were kind of like it’s kind of creepy timing. I think it was bringing some quantum physics and mind games into the story that you don’t see very often. Usually, it’s a who done it and or how to get the bad guy kind of thing.
Horror Patch: I must admit that I had to watch the movie a couple of times to make sure I got everything and I’m not sure I still did.
DH: But that’s okay. At the end of the day, it’s all in my head anyway. At least that was the consensus when I would have questions. They said you could do whatever you wanted to do because it was all in your head. It’s a chance to use your imagination.
Horror Patch: Yes, that’s interesting. How was it working with the director, Christopher Chapman?
DH: You know it was nice. Christopher is pretty hands off. He trusts the DP and me to do what we’re hired to do and take a step back and allow us the freedom to play and go for it. Our DP came up with some really amazing shots. It’s very difficult to shoot everything in one location and tell a story. He really had to figure out ways to make this film move when not a lot was happening. I think he did a really good job at that. Then it was up to me to – most of the scenes are the camera and myself. I’m not really running necessarily sometimes from anything specific because this is in my head. It was kind of a dance that he and I had to do and a trust came. Chris oversaw everything and kept us on track.
Horror Patch: Cool. I did think the film was shot really well. There are a lot of good shots in it.
DH: Yeah, some cool stuff that I have not really seen to date. Working as an actress, I learned a lot from the stuff that he did.
Horror Patch: Awesome! Moving on to something a bit different. You’ve directed a couple of films in the past. Is that something you want to do more of is directing?
DH: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s nice. I feel a little overqualified just to be an actor sometimes because I’ve been on so many sets and I’ve seen so much of what goes on. I am interested so I do pay attention to other things that are happening. I have a project in mind that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’m just now trying to put the pieces together and tell this one specific story that one day I’m going to tell, I just must find the right group to tell it with.
Horror Patch: Is that in the horror genre.
DH: Of course.
Horror Patch: Great, great. I guess that kind of links into my next question. If you could work on your dream project, what would it be?
DH: Ooh. Well, I want to be directed by Tarantino, that’s for sure. That’s on my bucket list. I love the way he writes women. To have him write a film that I star in would be my dream.
Horror Patch: That would be awesome. Another question I was wanting to ask you…Now that you’re a mom, do you look at horror films differently, regarding maybe violence towards children? I know before I had my son, I could watch anything even if it had to do with kids and it never bothered me. Now that I’m a Dad, kids in peril, seeing stuff like that, it really gets to me and it never did before.
DH: I haven’t watched a movie since I had him…well shit, I haven’t watched a movie period because I haven’t had time. I haven’t watched a movie with any kids in peril yet but I can guarantee I’m sure that won’t be something that I’ll be ok with anymore. That’s for sure.
Horror Patch: Do you think it will change the way you look at a role you might take?
DH: Yeah, I’m very protective over children actors to begin with because I was a kid and I feel like there were a lot of things done to me as a child on sets that were super unacceptable. Not anything horrible but in terms of putting me in danger – things that I don’t know how they got away with nowadays, considering there are so many people watching now on sets. I still feel like kids are taken advantage of by producers because their parents are afraid their kids are going to get fired if they don’t do what they’re told to do. I’m very protective of kids and what they feel pressured into doing or feel like they must do in terms of stunts or what clothes they’re wearing or any kind of objectification. I’m usually the one that will say that’s not cool or we don’t need that. I rarely find someone goes toe to toe with me and wants to argue it. Usually, I end up winning. In the horror genre I feel like I have a place to speak out where if I were to be hired on a TV show, I definitely wouldn’t say anything because I don’t have a voice. I wouldn’t feel like anyone would listen to me. I think times are about to change and I hope to be a part of that.
Horror Patch: That’s great. The world is changing and the film industry and especially the horror genre needs to keep up.
DH: Yeah, a lot of women are objectified hardcore in our genre. That’s not the case for all of the players in the story. I think we need to find the balance. Some women are totally fine doing that stuff like I have no problem doing sex scenes if I feel good about my body or the situation. There’s always the utmost respect on the sets I’ve worked on for any of the scenes that I’ve done. Everyone has been incredibly professional. I’ve not had any issues but I know that’s not the case for most. Hopefully, we can make a change.
Horror Patch: Oh, that’s great. So, what’s coming up for you Danielle? Have you gone back to work yet since you’ve had your son?
DH: Yeah, I did, about five months into him being born. I went a did a movie called Camp Coldbrook. Joe Dante produced with Andy Palmer directing and I star opposite Chad Michael Murray from House of Wax and One Tree Hill. I have a great, great fun role in that. It’s a really fun throwback 80’s genre movie that is creepy and fun. A film crew that has a reality show, kind of a ghost hunting show, goes back for one last shot at getting the perfect episode before their show gets canceled and then all this weird shit happens and it’s a really fun ride. So that’s great. It hopefully will be out by the end of this year because I’m about to see a screening of it next week. Then I just did a small part in a Lew Temple movie called Come, Said the Night. It’s a much more intense and hardcore horror than Camp Cold Brook, so I did two totally opposite types of movies this year so far. I have a bunch of stuff on the horizon for Spring but nothing a hundred percent finalized yet.
Horror Patch: Wow! That’s awesome. I look forward to seeing pretty much anything that you do.
DH: Awe, thank you.
Horror Patch: I’m just about out of time. I wanted to say congratulations on being a mommy now. You’re true royalty in the horror genre and everything you do is awesome. Congratulations on all that and I wish you luck in the future. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me.
DH: You got it, thank you.
Horror Patch: Until next time, Danielle.
Watch the trailer for Inoperable here: