Actress visits film class to give students a glimpse into the world of horror movies


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Film Professor Mark Steensland invited special guest actress Barbara Crampton to his Film Genre class on Nov. 14 to speak to students about horror films and the film industry.

Crampton, who has acted in a significant amount of horror films, was present in the class via Skype to lecture and talk to students about “Re-Animator”, a film they are discussing in the class as they are focusing on the genre of horror this semester. She also talked to students about her experiences in the industry and offered them advice on what to expect if they are to pursue a career in this category.  

“To bring somebody of her level of professionalism and reputation, and so forth into the classroom I think that it just gives them a bigger view of we’re studying,” Steensland said.

Crampton described how the film industry had developed over the last 35 years, especially in horror, and how for her it has not been easy, for she had to learn to be more connected and involved with film festivals.

One of the students enrolled in the class, Nick Garcia, 19, an undeclared major, said that he enjoyed listening to her wonderful stories about working with great people in the industry and her travels on visiting to film festivals.

“It definitely gave a deeper understanding to what the behind the scenes of the film were like,” Garcia said.

Crampton talked about her time visiting different film festivals from all over the country and said that one thing to know is that “you never know who you might be working with.”  

At one festival, while she was working at her table, she met Gunnar Hansen, the original actor  who played the mentally impaired cannibal “Leatherface” in Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

She recalled how, while also being startling to meet such an iconic figure, this meeting allowed them both to become partners and close friends.

“Just realize that nobody is going to do it for you if you want to work in movies or theater or any kind,” said Crampton. “Just know that it takes a long time to keep building and building your name.”

Working in horror for her wasn’t her first choice, but she said it’s the best genre to work for because there’s more to it than just being scary; there’s a lot of other genres involved.

Crampton also discussed what horror meant to her, as someone closely affiliated with it.

“Well, it’s family and the genre itself adopted me and I had the pleasure to work with great people on and off who I hold very dear to my heart, and the meaningful stories is pleasure to me,” Crampton said.

With all the horror films out there, Crampton said her favorite films of all time are Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

They both have a few things in common like; a psychotic murderer, and moments that reveal the ultimate human terror in realism.

Crampton said that if she could work in any horror film current or past, it would be Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”

“It has so much relevance to today’s events and how there is still racial inequality,” said Crampton.

While still interested in acting, Crampton said she is trying out something new by focusing on producing. She said that it’s a good way for her to continue being involved in the film industry.