February 23, 2018 Interview – Amelia Kinkade
Inspiration comes in different shapes and forms. For Amelia Kinkade, her inspiration comes from nature and the bounty of beauty it provides. A professional Jazz dancer/choreographer, actress, writer, and animal communicator, Kinkade is living life to the fullest. Famously known in the Horror community for her beloved portrayal of the demonically possessed Angela Franklin in the Night of the Demons film series, Kinkade has starred in a list of films and television series. Through the years, devoting her life to helping raise awareness about the welfare of animals around the world, she is not only talking the talk, she is walking the walk. Recently we caught up with the glowingly positive and upbeat Amelia Kinkade to talk her work as an actress, Night of the Demons, working with animals, plans for the future, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in film and television as an actress for over three decades. First, tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in acting?
Amelia Kinkade – I came to Hollywood trained in modern and ballet dance to be a professional Jazz dancer. I spent the first year in Los Angeles with my aunt, Rue McClanahan, who had just landed the role as Blanche in the show The Golden Girls, where she went on to win an Emmy (years after my advice). In my latest book, Whispers from the Wild: Listening to Voices from the Animal Kingdom (2016, New World Library Publishing), I retell the very very naughty story of having my Aunt Rue come home in tears right after the show started filming.
The directors and producers wanted both her and Betty White to play “dumb blondes.” Betty’s “blonde” was tried and true, and even though Rue had won critical acclaim on the show “Maude” as the dingbat sexy blonde next-door neighbor, she felt lost playing yet another dumb blonde alongside Betty White, who was simply too well-skilled at it.
We were long into the night, and well into a bottle of champagne, when Rue was lamenting the trauma on the new set, when I rolled my eyes and yelled, “Rue! Give me the damn script!” I read it and said, “I want you to read these lines like your panties are on fire!” Suddenly everything that wasn’t funny became funny, and she came home the next day to tell me proudly that the director was doubled over clutching his stomach he was laughing so hard. Then she went on to win an Emmy. Conveniently, she forgot that her 19-year-old niece created the character of “Blanche” on The Golden Girls. She redeemed herself by demanding I become an actress as well as a dancer. I did as I was told, and used the same villainous vixen recipe to create “Angela.” It came easy to me. I was simply being myself. As God would have it, Rue and I both played roles named “Vivian.” Her’s was on Maude before The Golden Girls and mine was on The Young and the Restless, where I once again played my man-eating femme fatale. What type-casting!
CrypticRock.com – Wow, that is an amazing story! It is really wonderful that you fed off one another’s inspiration. As you mentioned, beginning in television, you soon would go on to feature films, and in 1988 you took on the memorable role of Angela in Night of the Demons. In October, Night of the Demons will actually be celebrating 30 years! Now very much a beloved Horror classic among fans, what was your experience like working on the original film?
Amelia Kinkade – It was hell on Earth spending 12 hours at a time shooting all night with horrific painful crap glued to my face. Thank God the special effects guys were so hot and funny. They made me laugh and cry, especially on Night of the Demons 2 (1994) where I broke a world record spending 27 and a half hours in special effects makeup, strapped to a teeter-totter, glued in a trench, with a face like Kermit the frog. The high point in the movies was getting to choreograph my own dances and being able to go totally wild – and of course, shagging Z-Boy to death in Night of the Demons 2. Good times.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like it was a fun, yet stressful experience. In the end, it came out fantastic on screen. In fact, many fans would agree they could not imagine anyone else portraying the character of Angela. Night of the Demons is really a quintessential ’80s Horror flick – you have the synth-laced soundtrack; the dark, eerie atmosphere; and some really great special effects. Are you surprised to see the staying power the film has had among fans?
Amelia Kinkade – I’m about to fly to New Jersey for the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival where not just the fans, but the fans of the fans will rip their shirts off and have tattoos of me on their chests. There are no words for the level of awe, surprise, and heartfelt gratitude I have for my fans, so I will spend three solid days wiping their tears and letting them cry in my arms. I will cry, too. So, yes, there is no word to summarize “the surprise” of the success of my Night of the Demons series.
CrypticRock.com – Beyond the original Night of the Demons, you would in fact go on to reprise your role in 1994’s Night of the Demons 2 and 1997’s Night of the Demons 3. While no film can usually live up to the original, these are very entertaining and respectable sequels. What was it like being a part of the two sequels?
Amelia Kinkade – It was a blast. I was allowed to go crazy with my choreography, and I even had some input into the possession sequences in Night of the Demons 3. When the actress got possessed as a lion, I instructed her to act like the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, and start clawing the tree. If you could imagine the honor it was to be directed by brilliant Brian Trenchard Smith in Night of the Demons 2 and to have my beloved Kevin Tenney write another film for me to star in Night of the Demons 3 – well it’s breathtaking.
CrypticRock.com – Each film is entertaining and enjoyable in their own right. In more recent years, you have stepped away from acting. That in mind, can fans expect you to perhaps return to the big screen again?
Amelia Kinkade – From your mouth to God’s ears, baby. I met Quentin Tarantino at his own theatre a few months ago and he screamed, “Angela’s back!” So hold that thought.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool! It would be wonderful to see you return to feature films. Beyond acting, you have done a lot of great things with animals. Raising awareness about animal welfare and nature, has this always been a passion of yours?
Amelia Kinkade – Of course. What could be more heart-melting than the animals we love and more mesmerizing than wild animals in their own environments in Africa? Angela was a celebration of wildness, of rebellion, and unapologetic passion. I use that power as I educate children in schools in Zambia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and South Africa about the evils of poaching. That part is easy. The hard part is getting the support of Americans, Europeans, and Canadians, and even Brazilians, who have stopped caring about all that is wild and free, or are so crushed by modern society that they think they can’t make a difference. It’s not too late to save the endangered species of this world – the Tigers, Pangolin, elephants, and lions, among others – but we need to get “our Angela on” and decide that our lives will make a difference – or that we will die trying. My goal on this planet is to protect innocence. As the Queen of the Underdogs, I will prevail or die trying.
CrypticRock.com – It is very inspirational to hear about your passion to help and bring on positive change. In your quest to make a difference, you have visited various corners of the earth. What would you say are some of the more important things you have learned from your travels?
Amelia Kinkade – Live like there’s no tomorrow! Play to win! Give everything in service of this planet, Nature’s animals, and the beautiful innocent beings here who are dying without our protection. As painful as it is to care, it is far more painful to try to shut it all out and try not to care. The charity work and the safaris bring joy and victory! I’m playing to win!
CrypticRock.com – That is very good advice. Here is the big question, we see so much real life horror on the news – politics, terror, etc. In your various efforts, do you see matters changing for the better?
Amelia Kinkade – Yes, I do. Terrorism is God’s biggest heart-opener to those who only care about themselves, their families, and think that they have no responsibility to care about others. Dramatic weather changes are also helping people learn that we must reach out to each other with compassion, love, and assistance, no matter our race, gender, religion, or hope of financial gain. There have been huge gains in the world of Animal Welfare in the last few years – the closing of the Barnum and Bailey Circuses and the elimination of the torture of the tigers, lions, elephants, and monkeys involved being one of the most victorious. We must focus our attention on what we can do to make this a better world, and most importantly, we must do it. If you visit www.ameliakinkade.com and click on the “Ark Angel” tab, you will see my charity work where I fly alone into the most death-defying wilds of Africa to reach the animals and children – to make a difference. I need every scrap of help I can get.
CrypticRock.com – It is very uplifting to hear that in your work you do see positive strides forward. Hopefully more will chip in to help. While you have stepped away from the Horror scene and acting, you still remain active with fans. You have attended various Horror conventions over the years, and as you mentioned, will be returning to New Jersey Horror Con March 2nd through 4th. How redeeming is it for you to see the fanfare after all these years?
Amelia Kinkade – As I said, I will be drying the tears of fans crying in my arms and they may be drying my tears, too. I am so honored that my fans remember me, and I can’t wait to give them all big hugs.
CrypticRock.com – It should be a great time for all who make the trip out! Last question, CrypticRock covers all genres of music as well as Horror/Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan of these genres, what are some of your favorites?
Amelia Kinkade – I’m a binge-watcher of NetFlix because I think we’re experiencing a Renaissance in television writing, directing, acting, and production that I have never seen before in my lifetime. I watch every new NetFlix show with a supernatural theme and I’m even writing a show of my own. Watch this space. (Smiles)