Interview – Horror Scream Queen Linnea Quigley

Interview – Horror Scream Queen Linnea Quigley

936full-linnea-quigley During the 1980’s the horror genre was blistering with inventive, gory, fun, and memorable films. After the success of exploitation slashers in the late 1970’s the horror scene found it’s perfect blend of comedy and horror by the time 1980 hit. One of the decades brightest horror stars was Linnea Quigley.  With a resume of horror film credits, a bloody bucket full deep, Quigley justifiably earned the name scream queen. With memorable roles in cult classics The Return of The Living Dead (1985) and Night of The Demons (1988), Quigley has undoubtedly engraved her name in horror forever.  Recently we sat down with Linnea Quigley for a personal retrospective of her career in horror films, her love for music, and much more. – Now you have starred in numerous classic 80’s horror films including Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), The Return Of The Living Dead (1985, and Night Of The Demons (1988). When you first started out in films did you think becoming a fixture in the horror genre was something you aspired for or was it something you just fell into?


TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures

Linnea Quigley – It was something fell into even though I loved horror. I really loved horror but it was nothing I thought I’d make a mark in. Which really made me happy when I all of a sudden started to get attention from People Magazine, Premier, and from the fans. It was pretty cool. – Absolutely and sometimes as an actor or actress you fall into something you really didn’t want to do and you get type cast, so it’s good that it was something you wanted to do.

Linnea Quigley – Yes, I would have hated to be type cast as a soap opera queen or something like that. Even though it’s good money I don’t think I’d want it. – Of course you have to do what you want to do. Now you have acted in other films besides horror films of course. In 1984 you co-starred with Linda Blair in Savage Streets, quite an excellent film with a great soundtrack. What was it like playing the role of a mute-deaf girl?

Linnea Quigley – It was actually, believe it or not, challenging. I had to remember I couldn’t hear them. I had to look at their lips and not hear noises that were behind me or in front of me. It was actually very challenging and during the rape scene not to make any noise, because the normal thing to do would be to scream and make noises. – I imagine that had to be challenging. That film is another one of those lost gems from the 80’s. It’s really a great film.

Linnea Quigley – Oh it is, it’s a really good 80’s film. Especially with the soundtrack, with Linda Blair in it, and the gangs. It’s just great, I’m really proud of that film.


Motion Picture Marketing – As you should be, it’s a fun film. Your role as Trash in The Return Of The Living Dead is somewhat iconic in the horror genre. After 28 years from when the film was released could you have you ever imagined that your role, and the film in general, would become as iconic to horror film fans?

Linnea Quigley – Oh no, when we were doing it we didn’t know how it would turn out because we were taking it dead serious. We didn’t know 28 years later people would even remember it. We thought it would just make the circuit and go away but luckily it really hasn’t. It’s a really good movie. – It definitely stands up and it has become a cult like film. There is a huge following and it’s part of the 80’s horror classics. Return Of The Living Dead had a certain atmosphere and feel to it that still holds up today. What do you think the key to the long term success of the film is?

Linnea Quigley – I think it was just written so well, the characters were so good, and Dan O’Bannon paid attention to detail so much. Also the moon and stars were aligned at the right time. It just happened. There is no way to force a movie to be good, it just kind of goes together. It was just a great ensemble of people, a great director, great art direction, great wardrobe, and everything. Everyone cared. – It definitely shows through in the film because it still holds up with horror fans.

Linnea Quigley – Yea and there is a lot to see that goes on that you’ll miss one time that will show up another time.

Orion Pictures

Orion Pictures – In 1988, 3 years after The Return Of The Living Dead, you did Night Of The Demons. The film like many horror films got some negative feedback. I personally believe it’s a fun 80’s horror film. It definitely is a lost gem of 80’s horror. How do you feel about the film and do you feel it deserved to be more successful than it was at the time?

Linnea Quigley – I think especially because it really didn’t have much of a budget, it should have gotten a lot more respect and notoriety that it did. I think that it was a really great movie, and Kevin Tinny did a great job directing it. I wish it would have received a little bit more exposure out there.

Republic Pictures

Republic Pictures – I agree with you, it definitely was another fun 80’s horror film with a great atmosphere to it.

Linnea Quigley – Yea and the make-up and effects were great, which were no CGI.

Night Of The Demons (1988)

Night Of The Demons (1988) – Yes and there was that one memorable scene with yourself and the lipstick. That was an unbelievable effect, it really looked good on film.

Linnea Quigley – oh yea it’s flawless. – Right, and I personally am not a fan of remakes but I know you did a cameo in the remake of Night Of The Demons in 2010. How did that happen for you and how do you feel the remake holds up against the original?

Linnea Quigley – I haven’t watched the whole remake to tell you the truth. I’m not a fan of remakes either. It just happened that I guess they wanted to have me in there. It was funny because they kept calling asking can you send pictures over in a bathing suit or can you send pictures over in shorts. They didn’t know if my butt had grown to big in proportions or something like that (laughs). They just called me in and I was glad to do it and work, but it wasn’t the same feeling as doing Night Of The Demons or anything. It was kind of a letdown. – I personally haven’t seen the film so I can’t comment on it. I just personally don’t like remakes.

Linnea Quigley – Yes they lose so much. The first time you see Jaws it’s like oh my god, to me it’s the most terrifying film in the world. Then they keep remaking it, and remaking, and sequels and it just loses its feel. – Totally true. We are living in an era of horror films where everything is either PG-13 rated and watered down or an excessively gory remake of classic horror films. What do you think of the current state of the horror genre and how do you feel about the extensive amount of remakes being done?

Linnea Quigley – I don’t like it at all because there are so many people that write good scripts out there. They can get someone that really writes well and do a good horror film. I’m not a fan of these Paranormal Activity films, or The Last Exorcism (2010), and this and that. For me it’s really a bad state of horror films right now. – I totally agree with you on that. Honestly I think it’s at its weakest point that it has been in a few decades.

Linnea Quigley – Yes, because they had the resurgence which was really good and all of a sudden all these really cheaply made ones came along and they’re horrible. – Now you touched on what I was going to ask you next. In your opinion why do you think Hollywood is remaking so many horror films? I totally agree I don’t think it’s a lack of new stories. Do you think it’s merely just a cash in on ideas people already know and love?

Linnea Quigley – Oh yea, I think it’s a cash in. They get the fans of the movies to believe these paranormal things are real, and they get their crowd of people, and they feel safe. I think it’s a safety thing, they feel like people will automatically go to the movie or get it from Redbox, because they’ve heard of it before. – Sadly that is the case a lot of the time, but I think that if people did see some original films coming out I think they’d do well.

Linnea Quigley – Yes, I do too. It’s really sad because some of the big actors are doing cameos in these really horrible films too (laughs). You know actors that were in the big A list films, and somebody gets it just to see it because so and so is in it, and it bombs really bad. – Now you have been involved in music as well. Many may not realize but you played in your own band The Skirts in the 80’s which you reformed in 2003. You have also been in music videos for bands like Motorhead and The Ramones. Are you currently working on any new music?

Linnea Quigley – I’m surprised you know that (laughs). Well right now our bass player is on the other side of Florida. We are trying to get together to write some more stuff. There is a load of stuff that we had that we didn’t record and we want to get into the recording studio to get some of that done. I love recording, it’s one of my favorite things.

LinneaQuigley_Skirts3 – That sounds cool. You have been involved in music for a long time now.

Linnea Quigley –Yea I started pretty early in my career. When my career started taking off I was learning guitar and started joining punk rock bands. I went through a few of those until The Skirts were solidified. – That’s really cool. Speaking of the Punk Rock scene in the 80’s, what was the scene like back then? It had to be really amazing.

Linnea Quigley – It was great. When pure punks were around it was really fun. People really lived the part it was like Suicide in Return Of The Living Dead said “It’s a way of life”. They really lived the part and they had fun. It was really fun, we used to rehearse underneath the Pussycat Theater on Hollywood Blvd at the Mask. It was this place where the Go Go’s were on one side of us The Motels on the other and The Germs would come in and try to break instruments every now and then.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Return of the Living Dead (1985) – (laughs) It sounds like it would have been a blast because there is so much great music from that era and so much influential music. Being involved in music as long as you have I imagine you are a passionate music fan as well. What are some of your favorite bands and musical influences?

Linnea Quigley – I love Fleetwood Mac, that’s one of my favorite’s. I like Stone Temple Pilots and Metallica. It’s hard to say all the bands that I like, but those are the top bands. The Rembrandts. I have a vast variety of different music that I like. Those are some of my favorites. AC/DC and The Ramones of course (laughs). – Did you ever have a opportunity to hang out with the Ramones?

Linnea Quigley –Yea I did mainly it was just Johnny. He was really sweet, really nice guy. When you think Punk Rock you think of the Ramones. Plus they did that movie Rock N Roll High School. I actually read for that movie and I was new to my career when that was happening. I had never done Return Of The Living Dead or Savage Streets or anything. They actually had Cheap Trick as the band instead of the Ramones, but thank god they changed to the Ramones because the really played better than Cheap Trick would have. – Yes the music alone makes the movie. Did you ever have an opportunity to hang out with The Cramps at all?

Linnea Quigley – Oh yea, definitely. Down at the Mask The Cramps would be down there, The Dead Kennedys, and everybody. That was kind of the hang out for the bands practicing and to do an impromptu show down there. The punks were really cool. They were nice people and caring. They were really decent people until the beach punks came in, then it was a different story. – I think that’s a misconception people had about original punk scene that they were not good people and that’s a bunch of nonsense. My last question for you is regarding films. is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Being a fan of horror films, what are some of your favorite horror films?

Linnea Quigley – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), When A Stranger Calls Back (1979), the original one. I am kind of a fan of The Saw movies, the first couple they came out with I liked them pretty well. They were a little bit different and then it got old after a while. I like Hershel Gordon Lewis films too because there is comedy and horror. – That’s interesting because you speak about comedy and horror. Horror is suppose to be terrifying yes, but there needs to be elements of humor in there for it be effective.

Linnea Quigley – Yes, exactly. You always have a scene like when a girl opens a door and a cat jumps out or something like that. You have to have that relief in there or it’s dull, it’s really dull, you don’t have those scares in there. – Yes, and that is something a lot of the new horror films are lacking. They either go over the top on the comedy or it’s not subtle enough and it’s not the right formula.

Linnea Quigley – Yes your right, you’re very right about that. – What are you currently working on now?

Linnea Quigley – I am going to be doing the movie The Hunters next. The Hunters is going to be kind of The Hills Have Eyes or a Rob Zombie type film. Then I will be working on a Hershel Gordon Lewis film when the money comes through.

Be sure to check out Linnea Quigley at

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