I‘m pretty sure it was the late, great James Brown who adopted the moniker of ‘the hardest working man in showbusiness’.

Well, if the title ‘hardest working woman in horror’ ever came up for grabs, here at Movie Ramblings towers we reckon there is only one candidate – Jessica Cameron.

From having a quite frankly ridiculous amount of films in post-production, production or pre-production (to be honest, we’ve given up trying to count them all), to hot-footing it around horror festivals the world over, we are in awe at Cameron’s work ethic.

This is a star that has an undoubted love not only for the genre itself, but for the fans that follow it so religiously.

So much so in fact, that when it comes to the current crop of genre talent, we could think of no one better to kick off our site’s brand-spanking new Women Of Horror section in real style.

Luckily for us, Jessica was more than happy to share her thoughts on her career to date, her plans for the future and the state of horror in general – so here goes…

MR: Fashion seems to have been the dominant art form of your earlier years, but have you always been a fan of horror cinema? If so, any favourite films at all?

JC – I have always LOVED horror films - the first one that will always hold a special place in my heart was The Wishmaster. I personally feel that many horror films have more depth then a lot of other films in different genres, there is just so much depth and The Wishmaster is an example of that. I love the moral in that film, be careful what you wish for. Andrew Divoff was so great in that role, extremely charming while being truly evil. I have to confess I never really considered film making to be a career option, growing up in a small town it just was never something that ever came up.

MR: I believe you began taking acting lessons as more of a hobby, but was there a ‘light bulb’ moment where you realized that was actually what you wanted to do with your life?

JC – The very first day I spent on set was for a film called The Dead Matter (it actually starred Andrew Divoff, small world) – that was when I first realized that I needed to do MORE of THIS. Being on a real set is addictive, the passion that you are surrounded by, the talent, the art. It’s electric. I was shooting night scenes and at the time was working a job that required about 80 hours each week of my time. I literally drove an hour to and from that set and shot through the night, I didn’t even go home since there was no time, I just drove from set to my office job and took an hour long nap in the car. I was so charged up from the energy I felt from being on that set and being a part of it that I didn’t feel tired, I felt excited. Something awoke in me that night and it’s been driving me ever since!

MR: Your early roles were mainly made up of appearances in short films – how did you find that, and was it easy to keep the motivation/enthusiasm through those years?

JC – I don’t think anything about acting or film making is ever easy, it certainly wasn’t then and it most definitely is not now. But if it was easy then everyone would do it ; ) I think its a beautiful challenge, or at least it is for me to craft these complex characters and show them to the world. Short films are so very different then working on feature films, the benefit is that they take less time over all – both to film and complete. The downside is that because they are shorter in length you often don’t have the time to really explore a character. I rarely do shorts any more, only if they are truly exceptional scripts with amazing people involved.


MR: 2011 was a breakout year for you – appearing in the likes of Camel Spiders, Mr Hush etc. What did you learn from those roles?

JC – The most important thing I learned in 2011 is that I could make a living off my acting. It was my second year doing only acting as a full time job, and I would then move to LA to really dig into it all. Working on Camel Spiders was interesting because it was a Jim Wynorski film in every sense of the film making process. We shot 27 pages of dialog and action in one very long 17 hour day, the actors drove ourselves to and from set which was another 3-4 hours. But it was so much fun working for Jim since he’s quite entertaining if you don’t take ANYTHING he says personal and it’s impressive to see his vision since it’s so clear in his head. He knows exactly what he wants.
Working on Mr.Hush was a lot of fun too, that set was filled with some interesting characters. I remember when I got the job, it was the 4th job that I have been offered that day and it was very exciting to be getting so many great projects.

MR: You obviously did a lot of TV work across 2011/2 in the likes of Two Doors Down and The Funny Man – was it easy to switch from television to film and back again?

JC – For me the end medium doesn’t really matter. I focus on the character and the journey that they are on regardless of format. So I have never had a hard time switching from one to the other. It can be challenging going direct from one set to another and a very different character. I try and schedule a few days off in between since its hard otherwise to shake one off and put another on.

MR: You got to play a young Marilyn Monroe in 2012’s The Black Dahlia Haunting – I imagine that must have been quite a buzz?

JC – It was, and it was such an honor to portray a woman that I admire so much. I have always been a life-long Marilyn fan, so I really worked on trying to portray her as a real person as opposed to the caricature that Hollywood often portrays.


MR: Moving into 2013 and you not only starred in Intrusive Behavior, but also produced the film – what triggered that decision?

JC – I loved the script and the film so much that I just tried to help out as much as I could with it. It was also the first time I met in person my co-star Heather Dorff. She was like an instant sister to me, we just had that instant bond, for better or worse. As soon as I saw her act I spoke with her that night about starring in my film Truth Or Dare, she was just so brilliant. I will try to find a way to cast her in everything I direct since she is one of my all time favorite actresses to watch and direct.

MR: Truth Or Dare was obviously a watershed moment for you career-wise as you directed, starred, produced and co-wrote the film – can you tell us a bit about how the project came to light?

JC -When I was a child I would play Truth Or Dare with my friends and always fear that they would dare me to do something painful, like stab my leg with a pencil. That is something that stuck with me growing up. When I moved to LA I would meet all these unemployed actors and it ocurred to me that these are the men who scare me the most, those who are desperate for a fame that they have convinced themselves they deserve. I was brainstorming ideas with writer/producer Jonathan Scott Higgins and we merged the two ideas together and started writing it. I never intended to direct it, originally I just wanted to produce and star. But we couldn’t find a direct who didn’t want to “tone down” the script. Since I loved the script as it was, and firmly feel that we need less watered down horror films, I opted to direct it also.

MR: Truth Or Dare stars the likes of Heather Dorff and Devanny Pinn – actors you worked with prior to that, and have worked with since – what is it do you think that ‘clicks’ between the three of you?

JC – We all LOVE what we do and we all work consistently. Not to mention we are also best friends. I love them both so much, they are genuine, great people. It’s great to work with professionals who really bring their A game, it makes you and everyone better, it raises the bar.


MR: How much did you enjoy the process of directing – do you ever see a time where that becomes your sole focus?

JC – HA HA I didn’t enjoy the process too much, it’s so much more exhausting then acting. Acting for me is significantly more fun, it doesn’t feel like work. I love a challenge and that was by far the biggest challenge I have ever had in my career. I was so exhausted from it that I originally swore that I would never direct again, that said after a few months of more normal sleep and lower stress levels I did change my mind. I don’t think it will ever be my sole focus, but then again I never considered acting to be either before I started, so you never know. Right now I am very content to direct the films that others won’t, the ones that others are afraid to and that I as a horror fan want to watch.

MR: The film has also gained a reputation for being a brutal, in-you-face piece of work – how easy a decision was it to make something so extreme?

JC – While we were writing it we just went where the story wanted to go. We tried to keep it all as natural as possible (under the circumstances). It wasn’t till we had finished the script that we realized it was pretty extreme. Even then we were surprised when we went out to directors at how many had issues with how extreme it gets and how they wanted to water it down to make it less extreme. We felt that the script was really strong, and my co-writer Jonathan Scott Higgins and I didn’t feel it was right to tone it down. We wanted to watch the film as it was written. It is exactly what it was meant to be and I am so glad that we didn’t change it to play it safe.

MR: To say you are ‘prolific’ (as we did on our site) is a bit of an understatement considering your work ethic – what is it that draws you to a particular project?

JC – Well first, thank you so very much. That is such a kind statement.

In this business it is an honor when someone mentions you, watches your work, or comments on it let alone pays such a kind compliment.

I am blessed to be getting offered the best work of my career, so right now I am being drawn to these really original and strong female characters. Characters that I have not seen in other films, characters that I am excited to play. I also look at who is involved, since I have a strong work ethic I try to work with others who have similar qualities. After that I consider if the project itself is marketable, if I would want to watch it : )

MR: You are back solely in front of the camera for Utero – what can you tell us about that film?

JC – Utero is one of my favorite projects that I have ever done. The character of Lauren is so unique, and getting to play her at such a sensitive time in her life (she is 8.5 months pregnant throughout most of the film) was great fun and a challenge. It’s currently in post production so stay tuned!


MR: Women seem to be moving front and centre in the horror genre at the moment – people like yourself, the Soskas etc. Do you see any particular reason for this shift? And how important do you think this is?

JC – I think if you are talented people start to notice, regardless of your sex. Though I do think the Soska sisters are making it easier for women in the business to get recognized. They have opened so many doors for women in the genre indie world. I have spoken a lot with them about the making of their first film (Dead Hooker In A Trunk) and how it was a struggle for them to even get it into any film festivals at the time. Now festivals are begging to play their films, and I honestly believe that without them my film would not be so successful. They have the world paying attention to everything they say, and they promote other women in the industry all the time. They are encouraging other women to stand up and go after the jobs and projects that they want - it’s inspirational, it’s a movement. They are also two of the most intelligent people you will ever meet, and the film industry is lucky to have them.

MR: You obviously have a very close relationship with your growing fan base and have done a lot with crowdsourcing and offering rewards on your films – how important are your fans to you?

JC – The fans are EVERYTHING. If they didn’t support what I do then I would not be here. I want to work to find ways to bring the fans into the indie film making world since it’s what I love, and since I think they will love it too. As a film maker I wish more actors would communicate with their fans more often, so few do and with social media it’s so easy. I just wish there were more hours in the day to ensure that I could respond to every message, email, tweet. I try but its just not possible to get them all.

MR: Where do you see the state of horror cinema at the moment? Are you a fan of any particular directors out there?

JC – I think the indie genre world is better and stronger then it has ever been. With technology becoming more available we are seeing more film makers who are bound by fewer financial restrictions and it’s really enabling some wonderful new voices to be heard! There are many film makers whose work I am a fan of. We already mentioned The Soska sisters, I can not wait to watch See No Evil 2!

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett – I love that they always write these strong, original female characters. I just saw The Guest at Frightfest and loved it, it’s one of my favorite films of the year!

Nacho Vigalondo always amazes me, I just saw Open Windows and was amazed. That film is such a wonderful example of a modern way to tell a story, that said throughout much of the film there are several computer windows open and running I can only image how hard it was to film. I have so much respect for Nacho for taking on such an ambitious film and then for doing it so well!

MR: You have your own production company – Small Town Girl Productions – where do you see that taking you in the future?

JC – I want to continue to make films and stories that I am passionate about. Tell the stories that others are afraid to tell, or just don’t know how to tell it. I want to make films that I want to watch. As far as where it will take me, I have no idea. But I can’t wait to find out.

MR: We’re intrigued by the double-bill you have on your slate – Mania and Kill The Production Assistant (which documents the making of Mania and Desolation) – can you give us any tasty teasers on those?

JC – I am SO EXCITED for this! We are going to make 2 feature films while travelling across the US in 3 weeks with minimal cast and crew, with the help of the fans. We are going to film it all for a documentary that we are calling Kill The PA. You can pre-order the films and get some great swag on the website Home – Kill The Production Assistant

Mania is the first of the feature films we are shooting and it will be the next film I direct. It’s a fun, fucked-up lesbian love story starring Heather Dorff. The second film is Desolation which will be directed by Ryan M Andrews, it centers around a young couple on vacation who pick up the wrong hitch hiker. It will star myself with Heather Dorff.

Making one indie film is hard, making 3 is even harder but we are excited for the challenge and looking forward to the experience and to bring the fans behind the scenes as much as possible so that they can see how we make films too!

MR: You’ve starred in films, written them, produced them and directed them – do you still have anything else on your wish-list?

JC – An Oscar : )

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle