Here’s a special treat for all you slasher fans, an exclusive interview with Bonnie Deroski who played Marnie in the 1981 slasher The Burning.
How did you get the part on The Burning?
This was just another audition like any other at the time. Joy Todd, the Casting Director, did a lot of extra’s casting and knew me from that. I a couple of preliminary auditions and then a final audition with the director. I remember Tony Maylam saying that American girls were so pale and that we all needed to get out in the sun.
Were you aware of the slasher boom of 1981, where a slasher was released every few weeks?
No, I was not aware.
What is your favourite memory of being on the set?
The day when Fisher Stevens showed up in full corpse makeup for the underwater scene was pretty exciting. He was guided onto set because he couldn’t see well in the make up, and of course he couldn’t move his face.
What was your favourite scene to film and why?
I actually had two favorite scenes; the one in the girls cabin and only because I had dialog, and the canoe scene. That was hilarious because they had set up uneven numbers of rowers in each boat so there was no way to make the boats go straight, and then many of our boats started sinking. It was all very unexpected. FYI – that is my hand dripping blood on the raft during the transition to bloody water. The actress playing that role had moved away from the shooting area and they just grabbed a girl to fill in.
Who did you get on with best on set? And why?
I didn’t really develop a close relationship with anyone in particular. However I remember being extremely impressed with Jason Alexander. He and Fisher worked very hard to put the comedy into their dialogue. Much of his role was ‘improvised,’ and it was no great surprise that he went onto a big career in comedy.
Are you a fan of horror films? If so which are your favourites and why?
As a teen I watched some horror films, but I would not consider myself a fan.
Do you think someone will remake The Burning someday, considering all the 80s slashers being remade at the moment?
I can’t imagine anyone remaking The Burning, but I suppose stranger things have happened.
What was Tony Maylam like to work with?
Tony was easy to work with. I remember he kept saying, “I want ‘Todd’ to be g-damn macho!”
What was Holly Hunter like on set?
This was Holly’s first NY job, and when we flew out to the set, she had just come north on a bus from home. She was very, very southern. I remember one day when we weren’t shooting and she wore cowboy boots with shorts. I remember that she and Jason got along really well.
The Burning is looked upon by a lot of fans as one of the best slashers of the early 80s, why do you think this is?
Just look at what the cast and producing team went on to accomplish. Truly the start of something big for many involved. There was just inherent talent involved in the project.
How intimidating was Lou David in the ‘Cropsy’ makeup?
I never saw Lou in the makeup, although I did see him once with out.
Of course you are working for a Carson-Adler at present, was it always your intention to stay in the film business?
I started out as a child in theatre, and as a young adult my mother opened a talent agency specializing in youth. I have come full circle and am now working with the next generation of young stars. Hard to say whether I could have predicted it.
Why do you think your acting career was so short-lived?
Shortly after The Burning, I became frustrated with being ‘typed out’ for significant roles and decided to drop out of the business.
Have you ever considered returning to acting?
I occasionally consider returning to acting. I am raising a family now, so perhaps when they are grown I may give it another go. A number of years back I did audition for The Crucible for Broadway show and that was pretty exciting. I got nice feedback from the director and it was reassuring to know that “I’ve still got it.”
Have you kept in touch with any of the other members of the cast?
Not really. I think because I left the business for 10 years, there was no occasion to see each other.
Written by Paul Downey for Love Horror