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Written by Jay Creepy   
Friday, 16 June 2017
That Black Chick From Italian Horror: A Severed Cinema Interview with Geretta Geretta

  Not Just a Demon: A Severed Cinema Interview with one of Playboy's Sexiest Scream Queens of All-Time Geretta Geretta

Any hardcore, or casual viewer of horror flicks (mainly Italian ones) back in the '80s would have come across an actress who went under a few different names at the time. Geretta Geretta, will probably be forever remembered as the ill-fated, Rosemary, in Bava's Demons. However, this lady pops up in many other places. She portrayed, Chocolate, in the trash classic, Rats: Nights of Terror (screaming a fair bit too) and dropped into Lucio Fulci's Murder Rock. There has been so many. Geretta reminded me of one I had forgotten in this interview which was cool. Meanwhile, aside from acting, Geretta is an accomplished writer, producer, director, and a darling to her huge fan base. She has travelled and lived worldwide, and leads a very busy lifestyle. I should know, it has taken me over three months to catch her for this interview. It was worth the wait!

Greetings my dear. First off I must thank you so much for your time to do this interview. I gather by our correspondence that you have a very busy lifestyle. So from an '80s genre fan, it's a great honour to grab you for this. What have you been up to today?

 Today is Saturday here in New Orleans so off to a music festival of course! I have been working with NY filmmaker Michael Shershenovich and Glasgow artist, Ash Loydon on a Graphic Novel, about four years now based on the real life of Rosemary, or the idea of Rosemary in the present. We have about three years of material and are launching it this year; hard copy and serialized in a few of our fav horror mags.

In fact, what is a day in the life of Geretta? How varied has your career become?

At the same time I created a Horror Dramedy for cable around it and it's being pitched to networks. It's very I'm Gonna Get You Sucker meets Supernatural. I think it's hilarious. We shot a little sizzler to pitch it with lso. Still editing it. I move slow. Drat! But you know how it is these days you gotta have your social media numbers pretty high, 100,000 more or less if you're not already on a show. I think we'll make it though. What else? Oh, I'm still polishing my Demons 3 (ish) script (laughs). I'm setting it up to take place in New Orleans and have some interest. So watch this space.

A Demons 3 (ish) idea from the mind of Rosemary herself. Yum, sounds good. I know rather a lot of people will recognise you from your role as Rosemary in Demons, however you have held down numerous roles over the years. There's been some large gaps from time to time. Did you find getting work in the industry a struggle as it seems like the majority of taste in horrors, and so forth, has changed? Or did you purposely move away from movies and venture elsewhere? I notice you have a writing career as well.

 No, I don't have any gaps as far as I feel. Your art is fluid, it goes where you go and are ready to go at that time. When I left Italy I left to go to film school in Los Angeles. Did that, I moved to Belfast, had a lot of projects there for two years. I moved to New York, raised the money for my feature film that I wrote and directed, Sweetiecakes, co-produced with Roger Brustio of Big Six Film, Switzerland. That toured the indie international film festival for two years straight -- this was early 2000-2005. I've been to India, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, France, Germany, Japan and more with that film. Then, as most of you know, I moved to Costa Rica for five years just as I got started in the Horror Festival and Conventions scene. Wow! What a time! Literally, I lived with my pets and monkeys and beauty, then hop on a plane, fly back to the States, and be all Rosemaryed  out for the fans. I did this every ninety days for years. I love my fans, because they are my friends.

You've also written and directed a few titles, concentrating around the early 2000s, casting such names as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karen Black. I wonder if you're a laid back director or a dictator? How do you see yourself in that role?

Yes, that casting was for a film I co-wrote with former Vegas showgirl, Kristine Perchetti and it was short-listed for the Sundance Writers Lab, twice! Heady days I tell ya! As a Director I am not laid back per se, because I am a bit too talkative. But no, I don't shout or do a Fulci (laughs) that's for sure. I actually, having been one myself, enjoy actors and get them. The truth is many people, directors in particular, don't really understand actors and now that you can be far away looking at them from a monitor, you don't need to have a certain type of rapport once needed. But good! Bless the monitor! (laughs) You have way less surprises in the post!

Tell me a bit about your inspirations for your writing, more so your short films?

 The majority of my short films were always small bites from the feature films I was trying to raise the money for. I think only once I sat down and wrote a short, just to be a short. We are all different and it's easier for me to write 120 pages, the length of most screenplays, than to try to hit all the marks in five, ten or thirty pages. Same way for my writing, I don't do short stories, but do attempt a novel now and then. I've been working on Big Coat Country, a series of ideas for a novel I've had since my days in Northern Ireland. (Laughs) Not going very fast at all!

So how did it all begin? The birth of Geretta in the world of movies? When did you realise it was what you wanted to do?

When I was 17, hungry, and stood in line for an extra job in New York. I think the movie was with Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. I wanted to be a fashion designer and dropped out of college without even realizing that's what I had done. It was the famous "I'll take a semester off..." Yeah, right.

How the memoirs book going?

Almost done, and it's very very very SEXY!!!!

 (A long Jay Creepy silence as he composes himself) Ahem, a random question then, what do you see from your window when you're actually at home?

Home? From Costa Rica: Monkeys in the trees. From New Orleans: Mardi Gras beads I've caught that now line my porch. From Miami Beach: My best friend's pool. From Oregon: the Columbia River -- I live on a Island.

What has been the ultimate highpoint of your life so far? I mean, involving everything from life in the films and out of the films?

Waking up alive, versus dead. That would suck. And it does happen.

You have been quoted as being a horror fan and name such awesome flicks as The Sentinel and The Fog (the original of course!) as favourites. How do you find the modern creations? Would you say, aside from the mass pollution of CGI, much has changed since the '80s when you were jumping about gratuitous gore flicks like Demons and Rats: Nights of Terror?

No, I couldn't say that. Although I do like what we used to do with no CGI. I love CGI in Sci Fi. Plus, hey, we were barely 20 when we did those films. I couldn't do all of that now. So a little CGI never hurts!

You said that you do appear at many conventions. How do you find the fan base in general?

My fan base rocks! I did HorrorRama, Toronto, thanks to an invite from Chris Alexander and Co. I have great friends. Chiller was my first! I just did an event for NOLA Horror Film Fest. And am their official "mascot" this year.

You've worked under numerous different names and struck out at so many genres such as horror and science fiction. I know you've probably been asked way too many times but how were chaps such as Lucio Fulci and Lamberto Bava to work for?

 I have been asked heaps. Great! Fantastic! Fun! Witty! Like family. Yes even Mr. Fulci was wonderful to me.

2020 Texas Gladiators brought together so many names in the directors seat and cast. So, again, George Eastman, Al Cliver, Joe D'Amato, Donald O'Brien? I mean, I'm assuming you all huddled together in some hut together having a chat. In reality, how much contact did you have with these names?

Joe D'Amato has another name in Italian and I know him fairly well. On set I only worked with George Eastman and Michele Soavi who was like 3rd Assistant Director back then. By the time I did Demons, he was first assistant Director. So you see, we all grew up together in the business.

As I plotted out that last question and named those names, it dawned on me, other than yourself and ladies such as Catriona MaCall and Tisa Farrow, you tend you find that not many females are recalled from this era of movies. As a lady working at ground zero in those years, did women have a harder time pushing themselves to be recalled by the average Mr. & Mrs. Movie Fan?

 Honey, I dunno, it's not like I guess what you imagine -- You do a film and then you have fans. Films come out sometimes years after you've made them. It's more like this: you do a film with a group of people and they become a fan of your work, or your friendship, or whatever. These things, relationships, stay with you. My entire career mainly was in another country.

It's only long, long after that I met my fans. And that's because of all the wonderful people like David J. Moore and his World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies, and others who wrote about me in books. Do people still remember that thing called a book? (Laughs) Seriously, there were all these little bookstores and some big ones that had the history of Italian cinema, or Horror in general, in anthologies, and low and behold there would be my photo or something but for the longest time no one knew my name. As you mentioned, it was changed so many times, depending on what the production company wanted usually. That's how my tagline: 'That Black Chick That was In All Them Italian Horror Films' got started.

That is one hell of a tagline (laughs). I do recall books as well, good film books. I have a load of these things we used to call books, and they're fading away in the outside world like bookshops and libraries. (Laughs). All these roles you've been involved in, which one, from everything up to Bloody Christmas, do you feel represents you? I mean to say, if you had to lend someone one film, aside from those you have made yourself (that's the next question) then which one would it be?

Smithereens by Susan Siedelman.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about that one. So what is your proudest film you have made yourself?

Always the next one. I'm acting in a film written and directed by Skip Shea. I have a sneaking feeling this is going to be my best work.

Wow, your life has so many varied avenues. Huge chances, gut instincts, guided always by herself. But who exactly is Geretta? Who are you from childhood to womanhood?

Just a girl from the Pacific Northwest that got out and saw the world via her choices.

Geretta, it's been wonderful chatting and hopefully if you ever drop by a convention in the UK near my end of the country we'll meet face to face. One last thing though -- Playboy's 50 Scream Queens, eh?

Playboy's Sexiest Scream Queens of All-Time Geretta Geretta

Someone in 2016 wrote me and said I had made the Playboy's Sexiest Scream Queens Of All Time List. I often had been asked to pose nude and even did a test shot (very tame) for a Playboy Italy scout at one point and never signed the release. Twenty years later they do appear here and there and most notably in a back issue of Ultra Violent Magazine with a very in depth interview by Art Ettinger.

As I'm not known for a lot of nudity in my Italian era career, I am and was more than honoured to be included! Some of the scenes I did in a more recent small gory film, Bloody Christmas, directed by Michael Shersonovich were very sexy and in Demons, wellllll, I guess it's the legs? I still have a pretty nice set of gams!

But the sexiest in my opinion I have ever been in is my post apocalyptic career as Amazon in Warrior of the Lost World. I kick ass in a mini skirt and a corset! Gabrielle in a little known French Film called Domino. And my very first Italian film: Texas Gladiators 2020. If you look very closely, the girls are out!

Geretta will be a media guest during Shocka-Con September 8th, 9th and 10th 2017 in Charleston West Virginia.

Interview with Geretta Geretta was conducted by Severed Cinema writer Jay Creepy. You can find her on Facebook:

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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