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An Interview with Kristin Hansen Print E-mail
Written by Elaine Lamkin   
Sunday, 25 September 2005

Interview with Kristen hansen - "The Stink of Flesh" - Severed Cinema

Any horror fan who hears the last name “Hansen” immediately has one image come to mind. That of Gunnar Hansen, as “Leatherface”, swinging his chainsaw in a dance of frustration that a potential victim has escaped his clutches. Well, there’s another Hansen who has assumed the family mantel of horror actor and it is Gunnar’s niece, Kristin, NOT his daughter as the IMdb erroneously reports. Kristin (pronounced like “Christine” as she is of Icelandic descent) recently made her feature film debut in Scott Phillips’ great little low-budget zombie movie, “The Stink of Flesh”, where she plays “Sassy”, the rather odd sister of the over-sexed Dexy. And if she continues to follow in her famous uncle’s rather large footsteps, the Hansen family tradition of scary filmgoers silly is safely secure.

Tell us The Life Story of Kristin Hansen up until you became involved in "The Stink of Flesh".

Okee dokee. In a nutshell, I’ve lived most of my life in New Mexico. I had a pretty typical childhood in Santa Fe (soccer, piano, theatre, etc.). Most of the trouble I got into in my earlier years was directly connected to my very big mouth. As my Grandmother once told me, “Your de-saddlization process has begun too soon.” I grew up thinking that I was going to follow in my Dad’s steps and be a math major, but when I was 17 I had this little “epiphany” that theatre was the thing for me and gol-durnit that’s what I was going to do. I began as a Theatre Major at UMASS, Amherst however after about a year and a half I got into a bit of trouble (no need for details) and had to come back home. (Uncle Gunni came and picked me up and drove me clear across the country—an astoundingly kind and generous gesture.) I soon moved down to Albuquerque and finished my degree in Theatre. About a year after that, I moved to Budapest, Hungary, where I lived for five years, teaching English and doing theatre. In 2000 I moved back to Albuquerque and joined another theater company, with whom I worked for 4 years. We not only did theatre locally, but we produced an international theatre festival and traveled abroad to perform as well. It was near the end of my tenure in this company that Scott asked me to be involved in "Stink". I’ve known Scott for several years.

When did you first become aware that your Uncle Gunnar was famous and what did you think of that?

I think I’ve somehow always known that he had been in “Chainsaw”, but it probably wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really clued in to what meant for him. Of course I thought it was extremely cool.

How many times have you seen "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"?

Exactly once. It was one of the most effective horror films I’ve ever seen. The insanity alone mad me sick to my stomach.

What made you decide to become an actress? Did your uncle help you out with advice, cautionary tales, etc.?

I’ve always been into the live energy of theatre. I love the exchange that happens between a performer and the audience. I also just think it’s a great artistic and social medium. What I was doing was so different from what he was doing, I don’t think we made much of a connection between the two, other than being proud of one another for doing what we enjoyed.

How did you come to be involved with "The Stink of Flesh"?

It is my understanding that Scott wrote the role of Sassy with me in mind. I’m not quite sure what to think about that.

What did you think when you first read the script?

Loved it. Laughed out loud A LOT.

How did you go about creating the character of "Sassy"? Besides the prosthetics, of course.

I just sort of got a vibe and ran with it. I like Sassy; she’s innocent, sweet and deceptively smart, whatever other challenges she may face.

Did you know from the beginning that "Sassy" had this "special secret" or was that a later invention?

No, I think Sassy’s “special secret” was part of who she was from the beginning.

What was the filming experience like, especially as this was your first film? Any funny stories you care to share from the set?

The filming was remarkably fun. There was a very fun and free-spirited group of folks working on this picture. There were all kinds of ridiculousness happening all the time.

How was Scott Phillips to work with?

Scott is divine. And occasionally high strung. But mostly divine.

Any funny stories you'd like to tell about your castmates?

Kurly was very cool about having to be completely naked and having me smack him on the ass with my special stick. I was so nervous about accidentally hitting him too hard, that I kept missing his butt and getting his lower back. Kurly naked and pissed is a sight to behold…

Do you have a favorite scene in the film?

I don’t know if I have a favorite scene so much as moments…finding the zombie shit, the bit I was just talking about above, the kiss…there are quite a few.

How would you describe "The Stink of Flesh" to someone who hasn't seen it yet?

I would describe it as an a-typical zombie flick that is absolutely absurd in the most wonderful ways.

What does your uncle think of the film or has he not seen it yet?

He has seen and in fact he’s gotten the good word out about it some of the folks he knows. Given the circumstances it was made under (budget in particular), he was very impressed. I showed him the script before the movie was made and he really liked the writing.

What projects do you have coming up we may look forward to?

Scott will be directing a new project next month, and it sounds like there may be a role in there for me. I’m also planning on participating in the next project he’s currently writing, "Gimme Skelter".

What are your favorite horror movies?

I’m a big fan of Dario Argento’s movies. "Deep Red: The Hatchet Murders" scared the pants off me the first time I saw it. I couldn’t be alone in the house for about 3 months after that. I also really like some of these Spanish horror films that have been coming out lately.

Favorite horror novels/writers?

The last horror novel I read was IT. That scared the bejeezus out of me. I could only read it during the day because it gave me such amazing nightmares. I have a slightly overactive imagination, so in the best interest of my psychological health and well-being, I generally stay away from horror novels these days.

Do you have a "normal" job when you're not working?

I do. A couple as a matter of fact. I work for a non-profit that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, and I also work for company that lends training support to different law enforcement entities regarding Crisis Intervention and Hostage Negotiation (among other stuff).

Have you ever received any particularly good advice from your uncle, the wise "old" horror movie veteran (and the sweetest too)?

Regarding movies? Not so much (yet). Although now that I think of it, I have a question I’d like to ask him this afternoon. Regarding life? Absolutely. We’ve been very close for very many years.

I suppose you're aware the IMdb lists you as Gunnar's daughter and not his niece. Have either of you bothered to have that changed?

I haven’t. I think it’s kind of funny. We joke about it.  I’ll sign my e-mails to him, “Love, your diece.”

You mentioned you attended one horror convention with your uncle. What was that experience like? And will you now be going to conventions as an actor in your own cool, low-budget indie horror film?

It was fun! I saw Joey Ramone there. And the guy from “The Hills Have Eyes”. He’s a very interesting character. I believe he doesn’t have many pores in his skin…I felt that Uncle Gunni was very gracious toward his fans, of which there seem to be quite a few. As for myself—no plans to go to conventions at the present time, I’m not sure I consider myself worthy at this juncture. We shall see what we shall see.

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