HomeInterviewsTricia Helfer on Shudder's Creepshow and What Really Scares Her

Tricia Helfer on Shudder’s Creepshow and What Really Scares Her

Creepshow Tricia Helfer
Photo Credit: Shudder

Back in the 1950s, EC Comics (Entertaining Comics) began publishing several horror anthology series namely: Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear. Why are we bringing up three comics that are not titled Creepshow. Well, that’s because this is where Creepshow started.

Inspired by and paying homage to anthology comics like these is how famed horror author Stephen King and famed horror director George A. Romero birthed the original 1982 horror comedy anthology film, Creepshow.

The film consisted of five stories: “Father’s Day,” “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” “Something to Tide You Over,” “The Crate,” and “They’re Creeping Up on You!” sandwiched between a prologue and epilogue which follows a young boy named, Billy (Joe Hill – Stephen King’s real life son), who is punished by his father, Stan (Tom Atkins), for reading horror comics. As you can expect from a film written by Stephen King, all of the stories have quite ominous conclusions.

Following this film, there have been two film sequels, Creepshow 2 and Creepshow 3, a graphic novella (entitled Creepshow) and now a new series on Shudder, also simply titled, Creepshow, which premieres today. Each episode will bring us a new, grim story told to us by The Creep from the pages of the Creepshow comic book. The first episode, “Gray Matter,” is written by Stephen King, he is by no means the only episode writer, with one-two different writers for each story. We are excited by the series’ cast which includes: Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, David Arquette, Tricia Helfer, Dana Gould, Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Davison, DJ Qualls, Big Boi, and Kid Cudi.

As plenty of us here at The Pop Break are big horror nerds, we didn’t hesitate in seizing the opportunity to talk to Tricia Helfer at San Diego Comic. Most famous for her role as Number Six in Battlestar Galactica, Helfer is no stranger to the sci-fi and horror genres. You may have seen her as Charlotte in the cult series Lucifer, Dracula in the SyFy series Van Helsing, and Molly Parker in ABC’s Killer Women.

During the interview we spoke with Ms. Helfer about how she came on board to Creepshow (despite never have watched or read the source material), the physicality of her role, and what really scares her.

Creepshow Poster

So you talk about your sequence, your episode, what, what is going on and what’s your, who is your character?

Tricia Helfer: My character is Lydia Lane and she is a very high-powered CEO. She makes a decision to give a promotion to a protege over another person working for her. I don’t think she necessarily made the wrong choice, but there was a little bit of an ulterior motive because her young protege has also been her lover and this job requires them to move to Europe. [From that decision] an argument that ensues and there’s an accident that happens. She makes the wrong decision to try and take care of herself instead of calling the cops and [now she’s] dealing with it.

I think that’s where karma comes back to bite her in the ass. She gets stuck in an elevator trying to get the girl [she killed, Celia] out into the parking garage [since] there’s an earthquake. She gets stuck in the elevator for many, many, many, many hours. [The episode is] the slow unraveling of her ability to understand the situation. Celia is starting to decompose … and of course it’s Creepshow. So Celia starts to kind of come back to life. Or is this a mind frack? Is she really just losing her marbles or is she struggling with the guilt over her decision? Or is this over the loss of her lover? Or is she really in some sort of a supernatural [world where] something’s happening and Celia is actually coming back to life to either haunt her or to hurt her to get revenge.

So [the episode] is molded after there was a story in Creepshow 2, “The Hitchhiker.” That’s kind of the inspiration in some ways in regards to is she losing it completely? [From the movie] is this guy appearing all the time and is she repeatedly killing him or is all this just her struggle? And so [this episode is] molded after that. It’s a different story, but that was kind of our inspiration for our story.

Tricia Helfer in Creepshow
Photo Credit: Shudder

How’d you first get involved?

Tricia Helfer: I got involved because they offered me the role. I’d worked with one of the producers before and I never worked with Greg before, but of course I knew of him and his work. He was so funny because when I first arrived in Atlanta I only had a couple of hours at the production office to do the fitting and stuff. [because] I had to fly to to Pensacola, Florida for a convention. Then I would come back Sunday night and start working Monday morning. So we only had a few hours.

We were waiting for Greg, the girl that plays, Celia, Danielle Lynn and myself. We’re waiting there in the production office and Greg comes bounding in because they’d been off shooting. He introduces himself and he goes, “Look what we would just got to do when we were shooting.” He pulls out his cell phone to show us. We’re watching it, all enthralled and all of a sudden a head explodes. We yelled and we’re like warn a person! He’s like, “You wanna see it again?” No, I did not.  Obviously, his effects are just amazing.

[Back to the question] They just offered [me the role] and I read the script and I was just immediately drawn to it. I hadn’t seen the Creepshow movies or read the comics that it’s all kind of originated from. But, I just loved the story. I thought the story was great and I wanted to work with him.

How intense was it to work in that confined space?

Tricia Helfer: We shot it over three days. The first day was the the first set up — in the office and the accident and getting into the elevator. Then we shot for two days in the elevator. You get used to it. You’re rolling and earthquakes are happening. I’m being slammed and physically flying into walls. The crew’s walking all over the floor because we weren’t in a real elevator obviously. They set it up so they could move walls. You just get filthy. You’re sweaty and you’re filthy and you’re laying on the floor but it adds to it. So you just get used to being in there.

Danielle and I just met and we had all our dialogue scenes the first day. Then she plays dead for two days which is really hard to do actually. I mean you can’t just stop yourself from breathing, right? She was great and we just instantly bonded and we’ve become really good friends. We bonded over horror and decapitation. She was hysterical because as she’s getting more ghoulish decomposed she just had a lot of fun with the stages of it.

We each got a couple of bumps and bruises during [a scene where] her character’s on a chair and they’re throwing the chair around the elevator because of the earthquake. I’m flinging myself around. I think there’s one scene in the elevator, you know how elevator’s have a railing and it’s always at a certain height? [Well this was] just at my head height. There was one take where I see something in her that comes to life. Her eyes fly open or something and I go scooting backwards and I whacked my head so hard. I think it’s in the take where you just see me go “Ugh” and I got massive welts on the back of my head. I mean it can be confining and it can be difficult, but at the same time you just try and channel it and use it because the characters feeling confined.

(From left) Giancarlo Esposito, Greg Nicotero, Tricia Helfer, and DJ Qualls of Shudder’s Creesphow

Genres such as sci-fi and horror seem to have bigger, juicier roles for women — you yourself have done great work in Battlestar Galactica. Can you talk about why these genres lend themselves to having better roles for women?

Tricia Helfer: There isn’t [better roles] in genre television maybe more of an array of great female roles. That’s not to say there isn’t in a lot of other roles in a lot of other areas. Luckily that’s been kind of a trajectory and a path that has been happening more and more and more. To me I don’t really necessarily differentiate it in certain genres. I think it’s been around longer in sci-fi than it has in other genres. Maybe more sci-fi stuff is offered to me because I have done it more than other types of roles. I try and just base it off of who’s involved with the project, the character itself, the project itself and if I’m going to have fun doing it.

What scares you? Whether it’s movies, television, or even stories?

Tricia Helfer: Maybe because I do get terrified quite easy, I don’t watch a lot of scary things. I remember as a child watching Silence of the Lambs and not being able to sleep for months.

I like doing the gore, but I don’t like watching it cause I get kind of heebie-jeebies. I don’t go for slasher stuff too much. But the psychological, the ones where it’s really hard to get out of your head — those are scary. Or the ones where there’s [a chance] maybe that can happen or like ghosts or something like that. I’m also really terrible with things that jump out, even if it’s a comedy. If I’m watching a comedy and something jumps out, I will scream like a little girl.

And that’s why watching “The Hitchhiker” scared me. I’ve since watched both movies and [those don’t bother me] but in “The Hitchhiker” he jumped like he appears so suddenly on the roof of the car or outside the window that it’s that sudden jolt and that really scares me. So I had trouble actually watching it. I was watching it the night before filming and I had gotten back from Pensacola. It was late and I had to be up early in the morning and I’m watching it on my computer. “I’m like, why did you send me this? Like, I’m not gonna be able to sleep tonight. Why? I can act without having seen this.” But, I’m glad I did see it.

Catch Tricia Helfer in ‘Lydia Layne’s Better Half’ which airs tonight on Creepshow, currently streaming on Shudder.

Interview conducted by Alfred Mannarino with additional writing by Rachel Freeman and Bill Bodkin

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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