Monday, March 31, 2008

Interview: Sara Dunn (Queen of Trash)

From the Sacramento horror scene to wrestling queen, actress/model Sara Dunn has done it all!

By: Ken Hulsey


KH - Where did the title “Queen of Trash” come from?

SD - "Queen of Trash" came from an annual Sacramento film festival called the "Trash Film Orgy". On their second year, they had a "Queen of Trash" contest. It was set up like a beauty pageant. I was picked out of the audience. I became a little stage shy when I saw all these skinny petite girls in the cookie cutter "Lip Service" vinyl up there. I've always been big (6'1, 200+ lbs) and I have to admit, there is a certain feeling of awkwardness that comes with being twice as big as most females. My hairstyle was shaved head with just bangs at the time. I had tons of piercings. It was a conscious decision to work my unusual appearance and natural larger-than-life stature to my advantage. This separated me from the others and I figured I would at the very least lose with a little panache! As it turned out, to my great surprise, the three hundred-plus people out there in the audience went crazy for me! I really felt like I had found my element! Luckily so did the host of the TFO at the time, the fabulous comedian, Francois Fly He kept bringing me back on stage as the Queen of Trash and that’s how everything started.

KH - You have often said that you want to reinvent the horror film scream queen. What do you think is wrong with they way women are portrayed in horror movies and how do you intend to change it?

SD - Women in Horror movies are pathetic and always seem to find themselves in a cliché role. They are almost always the party girls, drinking, smoking pot, flashing, screwing, and when trouble comes along, they are the perfect victims. I'm sick of seeing some 90 pounder run through the forest screaming while blood and sweat make her shirt transparent and her nipples protrude. It seems, films counteract the effect of extreme gore by making characters that you don't care about. Are you really disgusted when a character with no brains, no morals, no integrity, no personality dies in a movie? I'm more disgusted when these characters are introduced! Don't get me wrong; I am not talking feminism or the women’s movement, but my personal enjoyment of the horror genre! You can have your gratuitous nudity, whatever! --just make a female character someone worth killing! Killing characters audiences are indifferent to is a waste of red corn syrup.

In the rare attempt to showcase a strong woman character, or at least look like they're trying, there is another stereotyped breed of fantasy-horror female. The badass with super human strength and weapons galore. The problem with this type usually is that there still no personality, and no brains. She's just some bony broad in a latex outfit with emotions that seem more like a hormonal problem then anything else. Now, again, don't misunderstand me, when I say that the character is bony, it is only for the fact that it doesn't match the character. I'm not one of those fat girls who thinks everyone should be fat. If you are doing Kung-Fu and flying through the air, kicking ass, and taking names, you should have muscle or a little bit of meat on you. It would be just as wrong if they casted an obese woman. The illusion is ruined for me when it's too obvious that the character is there for male demographic appeal and not to serve plot, vision, or any of the other wonderful things that make movies worth watching. Hollywood will never break from the formulas, unless people discover what they're missing. I want to be an inspiring image of a strong woman with strong character that will influence the current generation of film goers the way Tura Satana influenced me.

KH - You have stated that you want to play the monster or mass murderer in a horror film series. Why do you think we never see too many female killers in horror films?

SD - I think most filmmakers don't know how to portray a woman as a monster. You have to explain to the audience how this female character can overpower a male. Also, they usually want to keep the sexuality and femininity of the character, which is a feat that few filmmakers today can do. In many cases to make a woman a monster, you would have to make the character ugly; studios can't get behind it, because they are too intent on selling sex. Character development is something severely lacking in filmmaking. Take the movie, "Monster", for example. Granted, for that, they had to use the real life story of Aileen Wuornos, but it was effective. If they had instead just showed some hooker killing people, it wouldn't have worked. Knowing her, knowing where her damage came from and the desperation behind her every move made her a fascinating monster. But that’s a kind of darkness that few filmmakers are willing to tap into.

KH - You list your influences as Lolo Ferrari, Tura Santana and Divine (?), what is it about those particular artists that had such a strong influence on you?

SD - All three influenced me around the same time, in my adolescence. I remember being at a party and someone put on "Pink Flamingos". All of a sudden, I saw Divine, this over acting, over-feminized Drag Queen, eating dog shit and doing God knows what else. I said to myself, "Wow! What a Woman!" That sort of outrageous caricature of femininity spit in the face of all that is delicate and docile! This was the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be that sort of larger than life personality. She WAS the character! You rarely saw her playing anything other than herself; even in "Hairspray’s” as Ricky Lake's mom "Mrs. Turnblad" she still had that same "Divine" stench. It wasn't that she couldn't do anything else, as she proved playing the racist cigar chomping TV station manager in the same film, but Divine's staple character was too spectacular to suppress, or to try to mold into anything else. A few years later, I was introduced to "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!". I came from a home where I was taught that it was easier to take a beating than to fight back and risk something worse. I had no strong female role models and because of this I found myself in a horribly abusive relationship. After I saw "Faster, Pussycat!", Tura Satana as the beautiful black clad two-fisted "Varla" was the woman I had always dreamed of being! A type of woman I never knew existed. She was SEXUAL, she was feminine; TRUELY feminine--but she was tough. She wouldn't allow anyone to mistreat her! That was a big deal for me and the start of a new life. I learned, how to defend myself, what kind of respect I deserved, how to make myself a person worth respecting. I learned all this with the image of Tura Satana in the back of my mind. As for Lolo Ferrari, I was looking through an issue of Penthouse that belonged to an ex-boyfriend, and it took me a minute to comprehend what I was seeing. The spread eagle pose assured me it was a woman, but--My God, WHAT A WOMAN! Her tits were enormous, her lips the enormous, long Vampira-like nails, and wild untamed blonde hair. She wasn't a woman, she was a comic book character, this was the only way I could describe her, and that image of oversexed femininity stuck with me. Although to date, I am all natural (as opposed to her 3 liter apiece implants!), I use her as the ideal, and try to channel that raw sexual energy.

KH - Besides being an actress and model you have taken up wrestling as well. As I understand it you have wrestled nude men and women, a drag queen, luchadors, and a grizzly bear on PBS. There have got to be some awesome stories behind those events. Can you give us some of the highlights?

SD - In 2003, I got the first challenge to my throne. The presenters of the Trash Film Orgy had changed, and a couple of the new leaders thought that the character I created with François Fly was so cool, that they decided their Drag Queen friend should be "The Queen Of Trash" instead of me! So, they set up a Meat Wrestling match, in which I am supposed to throw the fight and let this new contender win. So, the Meat Wrestling was awesome! Over 650 people who came out for it! They broke the Midnight Movie record for attendance at the Crest--Coincidentally, the film of the night was "Faster, Pussycat!" As we were about to square off on stage in, what was to my knowledge, a kiddie pool of meat, and the sportscasters are seated at a break-away table, I find out that beets were added to the meat to give it a gorier look. The fight starts fine, we fight outside the pool, and we get in the pool. It smells wretched! At one point my opponent(I think he took the name Super Boom Boom for the show), grabs a handful of meat and shoves it down my top! It was nasty. The way the fight was to planned I was to win by cheating...this way, I'm disqualified, and "Super Boom Boom" becomes the new Queen of Trash.

So, as planned, I win, the ref is goes crazy, and I get out of the pool to clobber him! Suddenly, both feet are over my head and I land flat on my back! The soles of my shoes were COVERED in beets! I took one off! Luckily, my knee-high buckle boots had zippers on the side. I go to take the second boot off, and the zipper pull breaks off! So, I am trapped in one 4 inch platform boot and I somehow have to take on the ref. That done, I walk over to the s**t-talking sportscasters who are at the "break-away" table … Of course, no one told me that they weren’t able to find a break-away table in time. You could hear the reverberations of my poor bruised wrists on the (very solid) table across the theatre. One sportscaster was rigged with a blood pack and a jello heart. After I rip out his heart, all I had to do was walk (awkwardly in one platform) off stage. I could feel the meat drying and adhering to my tits, so, for good measure, I took a bite of the heart and spit it into the face of my opponent. I thought I was finally done, and I headed toward the Green Room to ice my ass. Upon exit, I put too much weight on my remaining beet covered boot and fall off the stage! Oddly enough, most people thought all of the trauma I endured was part of the show. Even stranger than that was the fact that no one in the audience would accept "Super Boom Boom" as the new Queen of Trash. So, after all that, I kept my title, TFO invented another character for him called "Auntie Trash" that was also short lived.

I was pretty black and blue at the end of that, now legendary TFO show, but it seems to be the way things work. Even with the Grizzly wrestling on PBS for the live Cinema Insomnia broadcast I got hurt. I was pretty dissatisfied with the way it turned out. I was trying to take it easy because I had recently fractured my shoulder and tore some ligaments, but I think for the sake of the show, I should have let loose a bit more! During the fight, I was punching slightly behind the Grizzly bear, and at one point my hand slipped, my ring tore open my hand, and my thumb crashed into the concrete. So, the wrestling match was not as convincing as it should been. But, but when they finally cut away, I look down, my hand is bloody, my thumb is swollen, and I can't move it! It's all fun though. I think wrestling is the most fun thing I do! I am waiting for a couple injuries to heal. Then, I would like to go to a wrestling camp.

For my birthday in 2005, I actually got this gym where I lifted weights to let me have my birthday party there. I called it Battle Royale and I had a regulation arm wrestling table made. We had arm wrestling, food, music, and the main attraction...Live Nude Mud Wrestling! It was awesome. A lot of fun! My mind was pretty set on impressing the crowd, so I was beefing up at the gym before my birthday. Some guys started teasing me with sexist remarks. “Tarzan lift weight... Jane go to kitchen”--That kind of BS. I was benching around 200-220 lbs. at the time, and the guy who was giving me shit was lifting 250. So, I thought, "What the Hell, I can do that! I go to lift 250, and I successfully do it once, but upon bringing it up the second time, something gave way. I hear a CRACK! That was my rotator cuff. Just in time for my birthday Battle Royale, I'm in a sling, and I'm told not wrestle or arm-wrestle at all, no matter what! Not known for my common sense, I beat a Helluva-lotta people, both arm wrestling and mud wrestling despite my injury!! The one time I actually got beat mud wrestling was when some string bean of a guy threw a handful of mud in my eyes! And to add a little juicy trivia.... the raw and dirty decadence of Nude Mud Wrestling needed the perfectly straight arrow referee to balance it out, to keep it fun, not sleazy... that referee was none other than our favorite horror host Mr. Lobo.

KH - The Queen of Trash even has her own comic book. How did that come about?

SD - It's been in the making for years. What I mean by "in the making" is that I was approached by a talented artist Byron Brown who wanted to help me do a Queen of Trash comic, and we just sat around and chatted about it for a few years until we finally got off our bums and actually did something! Originally, we intended to do a pretty dark and gruesome comic, but the way my career was developing, I decided that I needed my comic book character to be closer to my stage presence. Since I am not a professional comedy writer, I turned to Mr. Lobo, The King of Funny. We brainstormed together and the scripts he wrote for the comic are hilarious. He really grasped onto what I wanted for the character. I don’t think anyone else could have translated me so well!

KH - You have recently paired up with famed horror host, Mr. Lobo, at film events and conventions. As I understand it, you have even been an extra on his syndicated television show, Cinema Insomnia. How did you two become associated?

SD - Well, believe it or not, I've known him since before he was "Mr. Lobo". I was casually acquainted with him through a previous boyfriend who worked on comics with him when I was 18. When I started working with the Trash Film Orgy, he had just started the program Cinema Insomnia. He would make cameo or "special guest" appearances at TFO shows, and he started having me appear or assist him with all of his live shows in Sacramento. As for the TV series, I only had a couple quick cameos on the show in the beginning, but the way things have developed, The Queen Of Trash is now a reoccurring character. Now, I do most of live appearances, conventions, and other shows with him. It's a lot of fun. Mr. Lobo is a great guy to work with, he's really fun, and talented, and he loves to showcase the talents of others!

KH - Maybe you should change your moniker to “Queen of all Things Horror”? Lets see if we can list all your talents here: actress, model, wrestler, artist, prop maker, costume designer (maker), makeup artist, and special effects. That’s quite a list. I hope I didn’t leave anything out. How do you manage so many things on top of doing live performances and conventions?

SD - Well, sir. Let me tell you that flattery will get you EVERYWHERE! Ha, Ha! I think it all really goes together. If I'm going to act, I need to model. I can't be in any sort of a small production without helping wherever I can, Usually that has meant, making costumes, building props, doing make up, and many other jobs. I'm a "Jackass of all trades", but I feel I'm really not yet a master of any. I look at every new opportunity as a learning experience. I just sort of put it all together when I do the Queen of Trash and that’s what I enjoy. I would get bored doing just one thing. My problem now is just finding time to perfect the talents I do make use of.

KH - You have appeared in several films. Give us a list of some of the films where “Queen of Trash” has made a royal appearance in?

SD - I'm very selective now. I have been in several minor films over the past couple of years since I've started screen acting. The Trash Film Orgy did a feature called "El Tigre Diablo and the Curse of the Golden Skull". I was promised a major role as "Ultimate Evil". I put a lot of my time, my talent, and my money into helping with that movie. I made costumes, did make up, supplied props, and helped with promotion. They kept revising the script until there really wasn't much of a role for me at all. My part got cut even more in editing before making it to the premiere. My big scene ended up being about 15 seconds of cleavage, and a really unflattering cut out picture of my face(never take a fat face and cut it into a circle, it's inhumane!) that "flew" around on the screen at the end of the movie. It was awful. I remember sitting in the theater, and at the end of the movie when this guy leans over and says, "WTF is that? A teddy bear?" I excused myself, went to the lobby bar, and cried into my beer for the rest of the night. It was also odd that Mr. Lobo had a cameo in the movie that was well received in the original screening, but was cut in the final release. Much of what was left in the movie was below par. The whole experience taught me a huge lesson about the reality of cliques and politics in productions. When they offered me a role in their second movie project I had to regretfully decline the offer.

I did a movie after that called "Palace of Stains". For his birthday, director Bob Moricz wanted to shoot an entire feature length movie in one day. He succeeded for the most part, though there was some touch up shots done later. It was a lot of fun, and although I wasn't as "on the ball" as I would’ve hoped since I had thrown by back out moments before they began shooting my scenes. The director loved my performance and used my face as part of the promotion for the live premiere to a packed house at The Crest. When I saw the film, it exceeded my expectations! It was really a decent movie. My only regret is that although it was shot a couple years ago, it has yet to be released on video! I don't even have my own copy yet!

I have a lot of prospects in the future, the William Winckler, director of "Frankenstein vs. the Creature of Blood Cove" and "The Double D Avenger" (A comedy that showcased many of the Russ Meyer girls) wants to cast me in the "DD Avenger 2".

Another movie I am particularly excited about is "Summer of Lovecraft". It is a pet project of talented filmmaker named Ethan Ireland(Hero In Hell). Ethan was writing the script and the only part that was not fully defined was the evil priestess that the story revolves around. He happened to be in the audience at a Trash Film Orgy show and watched in amazement as an Amazon fought a drag queen in a kiddie pool of raw meat! Suddenly, he found the inspiration to base his priestess character on! It's a thoroughly impressive script! I've seen a lot that Ethan has done and he is spectacular! He really adds a lot to everything he works on.

KH - Where do you see your career going in the future? What is the next big thing on the horizon for the Queen of Trash?

SD - The next thing is, that I will be featured as the premiere pin-up model in the January issue of "Big Ole Face Full of Monster" magazine. I'll be posing as a very sexy tribute to "The Bride of Frankenstein"! Let me tell you, I had so much fun on the shoot! I think your readers will love the pics! There is also a possibility that the very spectacular artist, Spencer Davis who is known for his sensational curvy resin sculptures, lovingly called "Booty Babes", may make The Queen of Trash in to a Booty Babe! I will be working on "Queen of Trash" issue#2: "Cruisin' For A Bruisin'" and hope to have that released by March. Cinema Insomnia is working on a new season with new episodes to be made weekly, Even though I will have my plate full, I am teaching myself to make jewelry that I hope to have available for sale at conventions this spring! I will also be working on my Physical Therapy so I can get back to weight lifting, and all the awesome things that go with a strong healthy body!
Fans can visit Sara (Queen of Trash) at her web site - ENTER

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