I’m very proud to say the I’ve had the opportunity to chat with an icon of the horror world over the past few days. She’s a true scream queen, one of the very first as a matter of fact. She’s best known for her role as the young, lovably evil Angela Baker in the original Sleepaway Camp but has a list as long as my arm of things she’s done since. Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre, Return to Sleepaway Camp, Camp Dread and the upcoming Reservoir and Within These Walls just to name a few.
Without further ado, on to the interview!
SH: First off, let me thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me. I’m humbled to speak to Angela Baker herself! And I apologize ahead of time for questions that you’ve surely answered about a thousand times. Haha.
You’re obviously very well known for Sleepaway Camp, but you’ve got a long list of other things you’ve been involved in. As a huge fan of your work, I’d love to hear about some of your other favorite things you’ve worked on.
FR: Thank you so much!! I’m proud of a new film that just came out called Camp Dread with Eric Roberts. All of the Caesar and Otto movies are so well done and hilarious! One of my favs was Satan’s Playground:) I always say that each project is like one of my kids, I love them all!!
SH: I watched the interview you did for the Scream Factory blu-ray and a lot of the things you said were answers to questions I’ve had for years. I especially liked how you spoke about your mom and how she was open to you being in the film but protective to certain aspects of it. That sounds like a great mom! I always wondered how that was handled considering you were so young. Was there anything you pushed to do that your mom wouldn’t let you? Were there any scenes that she was opposed to that you still got to do?
FR: My mom is awesome! I would have loved to be the killing hands, but even under the guild rules, children cannot do certain things. That was about all we had to discuss. They cut Paul feeling my chest on the beach so we all felt the right decisions were made. I’m happy with how everything turned out:)
SH: Let me just say that the ending looked great… or horrifying… I’m not really sure how to even describe it. They did a phenomenal job with it though! When did you first see the ending? Have you seen it recently? How do you feel about being the pretty face to the terrifying last image of Sleepaway Camp?
FR: You’re so sweet! I think it came across really well with the mask on the boy. I saw the film the night it came out in theaters with Robert Hiltzik and my whole class. We lived in the same town, oddly enough. I loved playing Angela and the fact that she was so sweet and sinister was amazing! Love being that crazy image!
SH: Even though you were such a young age, you became THE face… and well… other body part, of horror. Other big slasher films were hot on the scene but Sleepaway Camp certainly offered something far different. And you’re still extremely well-known for your role. Now there’s a new, younger audience who has only seen Sleepaway Camp recently for the first time. Do the younger fans seem more traumatized by it than older ones? I know it changed my life. Haha.
FR: Wow!! That’s so cool to hear:) I think it really has stood the test of time and all audiences are shocked by the ending! haha It feels like everyone I talk to at cons and such feel pretty traumatized and have a strong reaction. It’s pretty crazy!
SH: Did you think, back then, while on the set that it’d leave such a huge mark on the world?
FR: No, I probably hadn’t thought about it. It was the best experience but once it was over there wasn’t much talk about it. It did well when it came out but it wasn’t until the internet came when it had resurfaced with so many websites and people sharing their love for it. It certainly amazes me today. I’m very thankful for all of the support and care that it’s received.
SH: What was your favorite part to actually film? Favorite memory when you think back to it?
FR: I loved filming so many scenes. Everytime I was with Kenny and Mike, I laughed my ass off. I also enjoyed filming with Judy and Meg. Jonathan Tiersten is a great friend of mine and we had a blast. It was fun the entire shoot!
SH: Your chemistry with everyone was amazing to watch! It reminded me of older horror films where the eyes played a character all themselves, your eyes said so much even though you said so little. It was most noticable especially when interacting with Jonathan Tiersten and Katherine Kamhi. As soon as you stopped filming a scene, was it instantly, “that was work, now let’s have some fun”?
FR: hahaha Yes! I loved when we cut after a scene so I could laugh and chat with everyone! We all had such a great bond and it was like being with family. They’re all such exceptional people. It was always a joy to hang out once we finished a day of work. Lots of parties!! I wasn’t always there, but would stay for a bit and understood what was going on;)
SH: You mentioned thinking Jonathan was cute, did that make it uncomfortable for you at any time? Or how about when you were getting yelled at by Katherine?
FR: It was hard with Jonny after we “broke up.” I felt really sad about it but we got over it and things were cool after a few days. It’s funny to look back because we have such a great friendship today. Katherine was like a sister. She was so professional and taught me a lot on set. We just played out these roles and then had a lot of fun off set.
SH: I read, and you would be the one to tell me whether or not it is true, that you were asked to be in Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers but had to turn it down due to getting in to the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. If it’s true, and any consolation, I think you made a good decision. Getting in there is no easy task I’ve heard. Is that what happened?
FR: Thank you. Yes, I went to NYU, Tisch, and had read for Michael Simpson but I wasn’t very good at playing that Angela. Pamela is fantastic and it all woked out for the best!!
SH: I loved Pamela Springsteen in II and III, she was amazing AND they made decent sense of why the ‘change’ of look, but it certainly wasn’t the same without the beloved Felissa Rose in that seat. How do you feel about parts II and on? They were definitely more comedic in approach but still kept the heart of summer camp slashing I thought.
FR: I love Pamela’s Angela. I think she’s perfect and I love those movies!! Michael did an amazing job. I hope to meet Pamel one day;)
SH: The world is still clearly obsessed with Angela Baker, Felissa Rose and Sleepaway Camp. You’ve got a legacy that’ll remain timeless. What’s next for you? What can we, the fans, look for? Any convention appearances or anything like that where the fans can meet you?
FR: That is so kind!! I have many cons coming up and they’re always on my site www.felissarose.com where the site master, Andrew, is incredible!! I have Zombie Killers, No Solicitors and Within These Walls coming out and I’m working on a film in Aug called Reservoir with my SC co stars Jonny and Frank Sorrentino! I love those boys! Excited for that one!!
SH: Lastly, if you’d be so kind, a few quick questions just for fun!
If you could change one thing about the original Sleepaway Camp, what would it be?
FR: The little kids throwing sand and getting hacked. Too sad for me.
SH: If you could have been in any film from the past, what would you pick and who would you have played?
FR: Wow, that’s a great one. I’d choose Shelly Duvall’s character, Wendy in The Shining because of the depth and story. She is not just there for the female emotion, although people do feel that way. There are so many laters. It’s such a great role and I would love to play opposite Mr. Nicholson! ha
SH: What’s your favorite all-time horror film?
FR: Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween and Black Christmas, should I go on? lol
SH: Thanks so much Felissa for your time! You’re as lovely today as you were adorable back then. And another thanks for pouring boiling water on that pervy guy who tried to frisk you in the cooler, he had it coming!
FR: hahaha You’re a delight! Thank you so much for having me and I appreciate all of these terrific questions!! Much love!!
She’s the nicest person one could ever have the privilege of talking to, so head out to every convention she’s attending and show your love for the lovely and talented Felissa Rose! In the meantime, pickup some of her films and have a marathon! And for the blu-ray/horror fans, definitely grab the new release of Sleepaway Camp from Scream Factory!