January 16, 2019 Interview – Lynn Lowry
In life, if we are lucky, we get to follow our creative passions and make a career of them in the process. A gift, never to be taken for granted, it is even more rare that we get the opportunity to revisit these passions a second time around at a later stage down the line. Glowing with natural beauty, American Actress Lynn Lowry had a list of memorable roles in the early ’70s, including films such as David Cronenberg’s 1975 classic Shivers and George A. Romero’s 1973 favorite The Crazies. Sustaining a successful career through the ’80s, by the time the mid ’90s hit, Lowry would all but retire from film and television.
Leaving a burning memory in the mind’s of those who have seen her films, Lowry unexpectedly would see a resurgence into the spotlight come the 2000s, and she has not looked back ever since. Keeping herself busy with numerous projects in varying stages of production, she recently took the time to sit down and chat about the tales of her career in film, working with independent filmmakers, plus much more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in film and television for nearly five decades now. Starring in a list of films through the years, first tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career as an actress?
Lynn Lowry – As a child I was really shy. I got involved in playing music in the band and I played trumpet because my dad did. So I was beginning to get up in front of people to do my little trumpet solos, which I won a lot of awards for. Then, very early on in grade school, I started doing reports in front of the class and getting all kinds of attention. That kind of led me into wanting to be up in front of people more and getting more positive attention from them. I found that if I did a character, who I got to use their words, it didn’t matter if I was shy, because I got to play a character. That’s what inspired me.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. You have done various different types of genres in your career, but have done an abundant collection of Horror films. Do you enjoy the Horror genre?
Lynn Lowry – I do enjoy it. I’ve been doing a lot of Horror Comedy lately, which is a lot of fun. I would love to do other kind of things, but I have been sort of known for doing Horror films, so that is what I get cast in. I do love it though, it’s a lot of fun, and I get to play a wide range of characters.
This past October, in England, I got to play this crippled woman in a wheel chair who thinks she is being attacked by some supernatural entity in her house. After that, I went onto this crazy Comedy where I play this Gloria Swanson type character who changes outfits and becomes three other different people and kills delivery boys, because she hates delivery boys. It’s a wild, funny Horror Comedy. So yes, I love working in Horror.
Cryptic Rock – Having that diversity sounds like it would be fun. In recent years, you have been rather prolific starring in many films. One of your many films released of late is Terror Tales, which just came out on VOD recntly. How did you become involved with this project?
Lynn Lowry – Jimmy Lee Combs and friends on Facebook, I saw he posted something about doing a movie. I sent him a Facebook message and I told him I would be really interested in working with him. The movie he was looking to do needed a lot of financing, and I don’t think he was quite ready to do that. He had this idea of doing this film called By Proxy, so I flew to Colorado and did that film. He did two other films with a wrap-around story, and now it is this great anthology which is getting all kinds of wonderful attention.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, and that anthology is Terror Tales. In your segment, By Proxy, you play an author who is feeling the stresses of motherhood and begins to do some heinous things to her son. What was it like portraying this role?
Lynn Lowry – To be really honest, I had no idea. Sometimes when you work on a character at home, you don’t really know the depth of the character’s emotions. You are just learning lines and getting an idea of how you want to do it, but you don’t really know what you’re going to feel when you’re doing it. I was amazed how difficult that role was because she has a lot of really emotional moments. It was challenging for me, I felt really fulfilled and I enjoyed doing it.
I also loved working with Jimmy, he was just great. He is was so supportive, easy going, and he had such wonderful ideas. I think he got some really nice footage, so it was a very good experience working with him. For the character, I had to pry a lot. I had to have a seizure, meet this demon, see the horrible face of death at the end, it was just one thing after another. It was very exciting.
Cryptic Rock – You did a good job with the character. Terror Tales was actually completed in 2016, so it has been a long time coming to see it get proper distribution.
Lynn Lowry – Yes, he did By Proxy. I think it took him a while to get the second one, third one, and wrap-around done. He ended up taking a few years to get the whole pieced together.
Cryptic Rock – Well, it is great to see it has finally receive mass release. As mentioned, you have starred in many films through the years, but you would go on to take a break from film/television for nearly a decade into the 2000s. What re-inspired you to come back to acting in such a strong fashion as you have over the last 15 years?
Lynn Lowry – Around 1995, I sort of retired for about 10 years. I was out in California and it is very difficult to get work. I was always doing theater work though, so I never stopped acting. All through that 10 year period, I did theater and I had a Jazz trio which I sang with. I was always in front of people, but I just kind of gave up on television and movies. For one reason, because I really had no idea I had such a large fanbase. I didn’t know how many people had been affected by my work in the early ’70s. I didn’t know I Drink Your Blood (1970), The Crazies (1973), and Shivers (1975) were such big cult classic films.
I think it was around 2004, I was sitting in my office one day, and I thought I would look my name up to see if anything was written about me. I couldn’t believe it, there was page after page, after page of everything that I had done from all the way back to The Battle of Love’s Return (1971) and on. Also, around about that time, I Drink Your Blood came out on DVD and I did an interview. Then The Crazies came out on DVD and they did a 14-minute short film on my career. All of a sudden things started happening where people started calling me asking me to be in their films and do conventions. It was a whole unbelievable thing that I had always wanted to happen and do, but I never had the opportunity to really do it. It was a gift and second chance.
Cryptic Rock – That is wonderful to hear. It also goes to show the staying power of the Horror genre and the dedication of the fans.
Lynn Lowry – Yes, the fans are wonderful. I love going to the conventions and meeting them. It’s so exciting, there are so many things. This one woman actually had on her answering machine my whole monologue from Shivers that I have about the dream. It was mind-blowing to me that someone would think enough of me to want to put that on their answering machine! The fans are wonderful and I couldn’t be more grateful to them for remembering me, enjoying my work, and giving me all this support for the newer films I’ve done.
Cryptic Rock – It is a great thing! Seeing your vast experience, you have worked with some great filmmakers including David Cronenberg for Shivers and George A. Romero for The Crazies. What were these experiences like?
Lynn Lowry – It was David’s first movie, he was really ambitious, really young, and really hungry. He wanted to make a name for himself, so it was very exciting to work with him. It was especially exciting to work on a film that was really on the cutting edge. It was first movie ever to be made with ‘body horror.’ I was very exciting to be in a movie like that. Alien (1979), The Thing (1982), and all those movies that came later, I think they got that idea from Cronenberg’s film. He was great to work with. He was funny, supportive, and I just loved working with him.
The same with George, there was not a nicer man, he was so nice. He was such a gentleman, I just adored him. It was wonderful to get to work with him and get to know him through the years. I did a few conventions with George, and the way he treated the fans, I kind of learned from watching him. He was so humble and so appreciative. He had enormously long lines of people and he would spend time with each person, shake their hands, look them in the eyes, and answer their questions. It was really inspiring to see that. I loved working with George!
Cryptic Rock – Those are some great memories to have. It is all wonderful to see the legacy both David Cronenberg and George Romero went onto to build through the years as well. You have quite a few films in various stages of production coming up too. What can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?
Lynn Lowry – I am doing a Sci-Fi film called Essence written and directed by Jeff Kacmarynski. I have really good role in it, but I don’t want to give too much away. Something I’ve noticed a lot about my recent projects is I often get to play the bad guy now; opposed to just the victim of the crazy victim. It’s kind of fun, I like playing the bad guy. You don’t have to scream quite as much or cry quite as much. It’s interesting to me to examine the lower depths of someone.
I also did a film with Michael S. Rodriguez last August called The Dark Lullaby. That will be coming out. I actually had 5 films come out this last year. One is a very good short called Ripper Tour. Then I did a film called Cynthia with Sid Haig and Bill Moseley – it was directed by Devon Downs and Kenny Gage as well as written by Robert Rhine. I also had another Anthology come out called Last American Horror Show. I had a lot of stuff come out. (Laughs) There was a bunch of stuff that is supposed to happen this year, but the only thing that is definite right now is Essence. I also have the two films coming out that I just shot in England – Ready For My Close Up and The Scream Inside.
Most everything I do now is independent films, but I love that. You get to work with a lot of directors who are just starting out. They have a lot of talent and they have this dream that they want to make this movie and they want me to help them to make that dream come true. That is a great honor to be asked by someone to help accomplish their dream. I’ve been really excited to work with young filmmakers and do independent film work.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, and with independent film work, where the budget may lack, the passion is there. That passion is what bleeds through in a film.
Lynn Lowry – Absolutely. That’s the difference a lot of time with the films I did the ’70s. When I did The Crazies in the ’70s, and when I did the remake of The Crazies (2010), the difference between the 2 was the original had passion. The remake was people just doing their job, there was something like a 21 million dollar budget. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good film, it’s a very entertaining movie. I had a little cameo in it and it was wonderful they paid homage to the original. That in mind, in 40 years, no one is going to remember the remake, but everyone’s still going to remember Romero’s film, because it was passionately made.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, it is very rare a remake out does the original film. It is not to say a remade film is always bad, but very seldom are better than the original films. Last question, what are some of your favorite Horror and Sci-Fi related films?
Lynn Lowry – I love the original Alien, I think it’s just perfect. I very much love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). That was one of the first Horror films of that type that I ever saw. The fact there is not much blood in the movie, but it’s so chilling to watch it.
I also like The Ring (2002) and The Grudge (2004). I like movies that are chilling. I liked Let The Right One In (2008), I liked both that and the American version too. I love The Omen (1976), I thought it was an amazing movie. It was just perfect the way the whole movie fits together. The acting was fabulous too, I just loved it!
I like all kinds of Horror genre. I like supernatural, serial killers, I loved Halloween (1978). I am not too thrilled with a lot of the Horror films right now though. I just think many of them are too much, they are too bloody. I don’t know if it is you don’t get to know the people well enough, or you don’t care about the people in the films as much.
Cryptic Rock – A lot of Horror fans would agree with that sentiment. It’s about character development and it’s about creating an atmosphere. Perhaps with all the technology we have now at our finger tips, the atmosphere is lost a little bit.
Lynn Lowry – Yes. When I did the remake of The Crazies, they had I don’t know how many levels of make up to make someone reach the final stage of being ‘crazy.’ When I did The Crazies with George, he just said, “You need to be crazier here.” I had to act. I had to find a way in my instrument to be crazier and be at the level that I was supposed to be. I didn’t have effects, I had to do it right then and there. Again, I think that is part of the passion of the craft, we had to really make it happen at that moment. And, it was shot on 35 mm, so you could not screw around. (Laughs) You had to get it within the first couple of takes, because they didn’t want to waste film. You really had to know what you were doing. It was very exciting to work on those films in the ’70s.
Now, directors just have you do it again and again. You don’t even know why they are doing it so many times. I guess because they can. Sometimes it gets better and better and you do find different ways of doing things, so it is interesting to explore different ways. Although, having that kind of liberty takes the pressure off of getting it right at the moment.
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