Back in 1997 I interviewed pretty much the whole cast and crew of Elisar Cabrera’s film Witchcraft X: Mistress of the Craft, including imported American scream queen Stephanie Beaton, making the second of three films in the apparently endless series of sequels. Steph subsequently starred in and produced The Bagman.
You were in the last one of these films too, weren't you?
"That's right, I was in the last one, Witchcraft IX: Bitter Flesh. I played Detective Lucy Lutz and I'm reprising my role in this one, except here I don't get to carry a gun. It's England, so I've lost my protection!"
Are you the main link between Part IX and Part X?
"Yes, I am because I come from America; someone was committing the murders over there so I come here to get him, where of course he's travelled and is doing the same kind of thing."
Were you in any of the earlier ones?
"No, just IX and X."
How does this one differ from Part IX, as an actress?
"It's more personal. The last one I did was me and my partner. I actually mention him in this but of course he's not here, he's still back in the States. It's more of a personal relationship in this one; you get to see Lucy as herself, and not just going to the crime scenes and that kind of professional business level."
Is it different working with a British crew?
"Oh yes! It's a blast! I love it! I've had the best time since I came here, I truly have. These people are great, they're the best. The people I worked with before were awesome but these people over here are really jolly and everything, so I like it. This is my first time in the UK. We shot the first day I arrived and we're shooting right up until I leave. I'm going back next Tuesday."
So you're not seeing much of Britain?
"No, but it depends on the shooting schedule and how long the day goes to and stuff. Sometimes in the evening I can get out, but I'm really focused on this. I knew that when I came here I wasn't going to be able to see much, but it doesn't bother me. I just love doing it, and I wanted to work on another Witchcraft film."
Your character is a detective investigating weird goings-on.
"In this film I pester Hyde, the warlock, played by Kerry Knowlton. He has been committing these ritualistic-type murders over there in the United States - he has these supernatural powers - and he's come here and done the same thing. But it is different because of the vampires. The vampires were last in VII. There were no vampires in the last ones, it was more dealing with the occult and Egyptian hieroglyphics. This one follows up on the same thing."
Have you seen the previous films?
"I've seen some of them. I haven't seen all of them."
Have you done a lot of these B-movies?
"Yes and no. I just got back from Minneapolis where I played two leads in a film called Twilight and another one called Weekend in the City. That was a trilogy, kind of like Creepshow. I did a cameo appearance in Dying to Meet You, and before that I did a film for Showtime called Midsummer Night's Dream and I wrapped up another film called Zombie Ninja. I did a film with Heather Locklear for NBC called Shattered Mind and another one called Through the Looking Glass. I'm pretty busy.
“I did some music videos for MTV and some commercials. I did Penthouse. I'm always keeping myself going. Actually, when I get back there's a script in development with the director who did the Zombie Ninja film, Jeff Centauri. He is doing this other one, kind of like 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Indiana Jones in the inner world' sort of thing. It's kind of like a Detective Lutz role. I'm not going to be playing a cop but I'm going to take charge. So that's in the works for probably the end of November, then in January I'm going to New York because I'm doing the Fangoria horror convention where I’ll be signing autographs.
“March, April I'm going to Mexico - I'm pretty sure. I've got my fingers crossed and the director is really hoping to do this. He's a big director in Uruguay and he's getting all the production business side set up for his film, so I'll be hoping to shoot that at that time. It's called La Gringa, in which I play this woman who's wrongly accused of being an immigrant by these Hispanic guys, and this one guy goes absolutely berserk and kills his buddies off - I don't know why - then turns around and tortures me. But, instead of me getting killed, I get to come back and torture him. I don't kill him, but I make him so mentally out there in his dreams and his reality, and at the end you see me driving off. So I've got that in the works."
Do you consider yourself a scream queen?
"I guess you could say that, yes, because I can definitely scream. I do end up doing a lot of screaming in this film. I am labelled as a scream queen."
Is that a help or a hindrance?
"I don't know. Jamie Lee Curtis did it - why can't I? Look at her today. My future roles, I definitely would like to see myself in more serious, more dramatically moving, emotional type roles. That would be something I'd like to do. But I love horror though, I love it. I would never pass up doing a film. That's why I’m doing this, getting to come to England and see this place, and meeting the people here who are so sweet, and working on Witchcraft X - it's wonderful."
Had you met Elisar before?
"No. He checked out my website on the internet and he was really interested in me. He saw me in the last film and he wanted to bring that role back and see a side of her that you didn't see in the last one. She was just coming to the scene and investigating a crime but you never really saw her. So he was really interested in that. He's very nice, a good director."
How did you first get into acting?
"I'm originally from Ohio, and I moved out to California eleven years ago. I started acting in High School, then I did it in college, then after I graduated college I started doing all sorts of different work: commercial and things. One thing led to another and suddenly the roles started hitting. Then the music videos started hitting and I did that. 1994 was when I did my first real feature film; that was Unnaturally Born Killer. That was pretty interesting. It was a horror film, so that was my real test right there - and I screamed. I did it, and believe me, when I do it... When I did my scream here the other night, the crew all said their ears were ringing until the next morning! It was very ear-shattering."
How popular in America are these films that you do?
"They're quite popular, because I get a lot of fan mail and I get tons of hits on my website. My videos are out there in Blockbuster Video. People have seen them in the video shop, they've seen them on TV, they've seen them on pay-per-view and on the cable networks. So they are getting out there. I was in New York last month and I got asked for an interview on the top of the Empire State Building! It couldn't have been better!”
Official website: www.stephaniebeaton.com