My tour of duty in and out of the Galaxy!
By; Debbie Rochon
Science Fiction is most certainly thinking man's genre. While horror movies, slasher flicks and exploitation videos are all gratifying and entertaining genres. Sci-Fi film makers warrant much more credit than their blood and gore loving peers. They bring complex and thought provoking stories to the screen. A memorable Sci-Fi script will not only present you with 90 or so minutes of viewing pleasure, but will also make you stop and question your own personal ethics. More so with the Sci-Fi genre than any other in the 'B- movie' arena, the psychological fight between good and evil, right and wrong is at the heart of every story. In the 50's and 60's we were inundated with aliens and space monsters who either wanted to punish us for being such bad / immoral humans or they were mutations from our own ghastly nuclear experiments. We are confronted by the very demons we created; from Frankenstein (James Whale-1931) to Godzilla (Ishiro Honda-1954) to Eraserhead (David Lynch-1977), the bottom line has always been: We are the monsters!
I do consider some of the great man-in-suit pictures to be Sci-Fi based. Take the Current Resurrection of the monstrous lizard Godzilla. According to his legend, he was born from the H-Bomb, clearly a man made monstrosity. Godzilla had every right to be more than a little mad at us, we never gave him a mate or a friend rather just a never ending flow of other angry mutated dinosaur-like-reptiles, of course he was going to storm into town all the cool architecture!
Now I know you hard core (or even soft core) Sci-Fi aficionados are screaming "Those aren't really SCIENCE FICTION movies!". And you're right, but my personal scale of what's Sci-Fi or not is slightly different than others! I come from much more of a horror movie background, having made 20 or so oozing epics. I have dabbled in the genre though, and I must say some of the most stimulating roles I've played have been in Sci-Fi flicks.
The first Science Fiction film I made was called The Regenarated Man (Ted A. Bohus-1994).The story line is a combination of The Toxic Avenger (Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman-1985) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Various versions) with a splash of a 1950's mad scientist movie. The plot evolves around a scientist who is forced by thieves to drink his own potion. He occassionally becomes a monster-faced killer with a throbbing skull. When he's ready to kill someone his body opens up and bone fragments fly out and kill people. He finds himself in a contact with similar looking aliens and they save the day! I had a fairily small role in this film, I play a woman who is accosted by three thugs while on her way home from shopping. Just before they rip my clothes from my body The Regenerated Man comes out of the darkness and scares them off. The next scene has my character trying to explain to the police chief that a monster/alien saved me, needless to say they don't exactly believe me! The film was produced as a 'tribute' to the campy and innocent creature-features and Sci-Fi films of the 50's.
The next Sci-Fi film I made was in 1995 called Cybervengeance (J. Christian Ingvordsen). It was a very cool film about a guy who becomes so obsessed with plying his virtual reality games that they plying finally became real. He would go in to the game's 'world' for long periods of tine ende even becomes emotionally involved with the fictitious characters. In this film I play a princess he has to save in one of his virtual reality games. He goes back to the game over and over again throughout the film till he's on the verge of winning. But like the lead character in The Lawnmover Man (Brett Leonard-1992), he goes too far with his fixation. Now in order to leave the game he must win the game for real . The contest spans centuries and planets and he must win battle against the most hideous alien opponents ever created. I won't give the ending away, but it is a shocker!
Last year (1997) I made a picture called Alien Agenda: Endangered Species (1998). It's a very low budget movie, but the story is traditional Science Fiction. As a matter of fact it's all story with very little special effects! To me this is getting back to the true roots of Sci-Fi. A great story, something to learn and not an over abudance of optical illusions. Don't get me wrong, Sp-Fx are great, but if you can make them believable, then please don't do it! Unless of course the film maker's goal is to make something very silly and campy. In the Case of Alien Agenda: Endangered Species, the director opted for character developments and I thinks it works. In this story I play a TV reporter who investigates the whole alien abduction phenomena. I start finding out things I really shouldn't know according to the "Greys", a very dangerous alien underground group, and soon they plot to kill me. What's interesting about this flick is that the three middle stories were shot by three different directors in three various parts of the United States. It's interesting to see how they brought the stories and styles together. I think it has more to say than the bigger budgeted Sci-fi films I have done. I should clarify; anything under one million dollars US is considered low budget. I've starred in only low budget films so far, most ranging from one hundred thousand dollars to just under a million dollars. That is very little money in Hollywood standards. It's propably lunch money for the big budget super stars! Alien Agenda: Endangered Species was made for ten thousand dollars! Without a doubt it's the lowest budgeted movie I have worked on. But it stands up because it has a good pilot. And to me that's what really great Science Fiction is based on, great stories.
I should mention some of my many favorite Science Fiction films. It's very hard to name just a few, there have been so many wonderful fantasy films made since the invention of motion pictures. If Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1926) can be considered Sci-Fi, then this has to be one of the all time great genre films. Lang made more than a classic movie, he made a masterpiece. His depiction of a futuristic society was uncannilly accurate. One of my all time favorite Sci-Fi films is Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). I'm such a huge fan of Scott, Blade Runner (1982) is another cult hit that no other film maker has been able to duplicate regardless of how hard they try! Another great work of art is James Cameron's The Abyss (1989) a wonderful film that was orginally lost in a sea of ocean movies that were released at the same time. All the other films were horrible, but this one stands out as a classic. Very inventive and involving. I guess you could say Mr. Cameron has done well with 'water' movies after his recent success with Titanic (1997)!..
I'm currently working on a futuristic gangster film called Split . It hasn't been completed yet, but will be done some time this year (Director; Chaim Bianco-Released in 2004)In this one I play a character called Cyclops who is a hit-person for a 100 year old Asian Madame. I have to undergo many hours of special effects make up every day before shooting because my character's face is complately mutilated on one side! It really made me appreciate all the hours of make up actors have to go through to become aliens and monsters!
Thanks alot for article to Debbie Rochon and thanks alot for the pictures to the Garry Cook (Image Group / Minnesota-USA)
WE LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH DEBBIE!..
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