DEBBIE ROCHON INTERVIEW: PART 2
Interview conducted by Stuart D. Monroe
If you haven't yet, make sure to read part one of this interview!
Stuart D. Monroe: So, you were talking about not serving a big budget and being able to make the kind of movie you want to make. The word that comes to mind, of course, is auteur. Where I got familiar with you is through your works with Troma. Lloyd Kaufman should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word auteur. Nobody fits that definition better than Lloyd; he makes what he wants to make. His style is completely his own, and he really doesn’t apologize for jack shit. I don’t miss a Lloyd Kaufman movie for any reason, and neither do you.
Debbie Rochon: [laughs]
SM: So, Shakespeare’s Shitstorm is supposed to be coming pretty soon. That’s also the single greatest title I’ve ever heard for a movie, by the way. What can you tell us about that movie as you’re not just a Troma alum but you’re the Troma alum? You have a pretty unique perspective on Lloyd.
DR: That is the truth. And I could say that I agree with you about Lloyd being an auteur; he truly is. Okay, so…Shakespeare’s Shitstorm is based on based on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In Shitstorm, the beginning sets up the story with a bunch of big pharma people. Very conniving, very dirty, trying to get the public on drugs. I’m, of course, one of them. Lloyd plays a brother and sister…both parts! You know, they’re not in the room at the same time.
SM: [laughing hysterically]
DR: Exactly! So, he’s in most of the movie as a woman.
SM: Lloyd Kaufman in drag. That’s outstanding!
DR: Oh, it is. He certainly is. I call myself his sidekick only because, not because I’m his sidekick in the movie per se, but because almost all my scenes are with him and we’re trying to overthrow people as we’re going along. In the meantime, we’re pushing this drug called Safespacea, which protects people that are offended by everything. So, if you’re offended by everything (as some people are nowadays), you can take this drug, Safespacea, and they will not be offended during the time the drug is active in their system. So that’s just a part of it, and it’s nuts. It’s great nuts! It’s crazy and there’s so much social commentary going on. To touch upon all the themes in the movie would be almost impossible, but basically, we’re pushing this drug and we’re part of the big pharma group on this ship. We get stranded because of the ship sinking due to all the whale shit. Instead of a wave of water, it’s whale shit; whales have basically had diarrhea on a boat and sank it. So, we crash on the shores of New Jersey and then find our way to Tromaville.
SM: Of course.
DR: Of course. We have to. And things happen from there. It’s nuts; what can I say? It’s so much fun. It was so much fun to make, too. I was there for about four weeks this past summer making it. It’s crazy and it’s great and it has so much to say. There are going to be so many things to talk about in the movie, as you know. You’ve seen his movies; how can you easily describe any one of his movies? There’s so much happening.
SM: Just trying to describe Terror Firmer alone would take about 3000 words, and it still wouldn’t do justice to what’s going on in that movie.
DR: You still wouldn’t cover everything. So, yeah…it’s going to be exceptional. They’re really working hard to make not a faster-made movie in a negative sense, but a faster turnaround. I know Nuke ‘Em High Part 2 took like 6 years to come out. But this, they’re really very confident that Shakespeare’s Shitstorm will be ready by the end of 2019.
SM: Well, thank God for that.
DR: Yeah! If that happens, that’s great. All the sooner it will be unleashed upon the people.
SM: So, in reading through some of your accolades, I didn’t realize there was a B-Movie Hall of Fame. I thought that was very cool. What’s the coolest moment that your life as a B-Movie Hall of Famer and (in my humble opinion) one of the smartest minds in the business afforded you? Not necessarily a fangirl moment, but an “I have to pinch myself” moment. Like right now, I’m on the phone with Debbie Rochon, and I have to pinch myself it’s just so fucking cool.
DR: Aww, that’s so awesome of you. First of all, thank you! That’s super cool of you. Second of all, it depends whether we’re talking about a job/joy or an actual event moment. A highlight for me is when you receive an award for your acting work. I was very fortunate, though, to receive a Rondo award for my writing on my column in Fangoria Magazine…
SM: Yes! “Diary of the Deb”!
DR: Yeah, that was extraordinarily special because that was the first accolade for my writing I’d ever received. It was really special and it felt so special and amazing. There was another time, it was actually the first and last, the only time, there was an “Ingrid Pitt Excellence and Perseverance in the Horror Field” award. It was given out yearly. The first one was given out to me, and I don’t believe they ever did it again, which makes it even more amazing! It’s a beautiful crystal award. This was a few years ago after she had passed on. It was authorized by her husband, a proper Ingrid Pitt award from her estate. That was really incredibly nice. There are a couple of moments like that which were, I have to say, pretty fucking amazing! And, you know, that’s besides being in certain work situations where you’re overjoyed to be working with someone who’s amazing and cool and giving so much, be it in acting or on the radio. Those couple of moments I just mentioned were definitely special moments because they hit on perseverance, which is what I’m all about. And the writing award was just so cool and recognized my writing. Both of those were very sweet moments.
SM: You mentioned “Diary of the Deb”, your Fangoria column. I was reading through the new Fangoria, and I’m just a little baffled as to why you’re not in it. The only thing I can figure is that they weren’t going to supply you with enough coffee. I’d just assumed it would be in there after running for so long and it’s not. As much as I love the new Fango, I was a little indignant.
DR: You know, I really don’t know. I don’t know what their new vision is. I had my column in there for, I wanna say, either it was very close to if not 10 years. A lot of wonderful things came of it. I loved writing it. It was a very prideful piece, and I really loved doing it. Yeah, with the new owners and the people who run the magazine I just don’t know what their vision is. Your guess is as good as mine. I have no clue, and it’s funny, when you do work for a company for a lot of years with the magazine and the radio show, you’d expect it. Even before, back in the early 2000s, we were doing shows and pilots and other things. We did so much work to do different things with the name, and you put so much of your energy into it gladly. But, yeah…it’s a new regime with a new publisher and new editors. What they have in store for the magazine I don’t know the very first thing about. What I can tell you is that I sincerely am extremely happy about my brand-new column in Asylum Magazine, which is out in Italy. It’s written both in English and Italian. It’s really beautiful. It’s out of Italy, so of course it’s going to be beautiful. The first issue just came out; it’s a brand-new magazine. It covers all kinds of movies from all over the world, not just from Italy or the US. I’m really happy to have a column in there. I’m very proud of that, I have to say. But, what can you say? Things move on.
SM: You just expect that when someone writes a column for so long that they’d be part of the new incarnation. They’re based here in Dallas where I am. Maybe I’ll kick the doors in.
DR: Kick the doors down! See what’s up. Tell ‘em you’re representing me. I’ll help pay for the medical bills if anything goes awry. I got you. But seriously, trust me with one thing: if I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that everything happens when it’s supposed to and everything happens for a reason. I’m such a believer in that. It’s exactly how I feel. That’s why I feel so optimistic about all the great things happening. That’s where my head’s at. It’s not planted in the things that aren’t.
SM: Very true. Keep in on the positive.
DR: That’s why I’ve done this for so long. If I got tied up and crazy over any particular thing, I’d have pulled all my hair out and stopped decades ago. I just focus on what is.
SM: And it shows. If there’s one truism, regardless of genre, it’s that you can spot the ones who are just out there doing it for a paycheck and those who really love what they’re doing. It shines through in what you do.
DR: Well thanks! And that’s exactly right. You’re either a lifer or you’re not, whatever. There’s no harm in either. But people aren’t stupid. They see that. They’re not in it for the accolades; the money is okay but they’re there for the work and the work comes first. You have to put the work in.
SM: I know I’m not making a friggin’ dime off it, but I can’t keep my hands off the keyboard.
DR: Right, exactly! That ultimately will be your legacy. Things will click. You just keep at it and things do click. That’s it! That’s your Bruce Lee motivation for today. Everything is in cycles. You just keep at it and ride the cycles out. Good times, bad times…keep your head down to the grindstone. Work hard and there it is. Me and you will reap the profits of all this incredible wisdom I have bestowed upon the world tonight.
SM: Well, we will get it out there to everyone else just as fast as my editor and I can turn it around. He’s pretty good, though.
DR: Damn straight! They’re going to enjoy it, and they’re going to love it and do the same with whatever they wanna do. So, pass the love…the horror love!
SM: I’m with you. Everything in my life is horror – I’m reading it, writing it, watching it. In my house, it’s Halloween all year and Halloween is like Christmas to us.
DR: Me, too! And Christmas is Halloween. All I watch this time of year is Christmas horror. Even though it’s called Christmas, it doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It’s just like a different holiday that we’ve usurped into our horror world.
SM: Finally, what’s up next for you? I see you have a shitload of stuff in post-production right now.
DR: In brief, Torment Road is the second movie I’m going to be directing. I’m doing that in the spring. It’s a road movie with a ton of horror in it, but the style is that of a road movie. Very cool, very creepy, very trippy. So, I’m very excited. It’s just in the pre-production phases now. I can speak more about it as we get closer. The script is there. You know, spring. I’d love to say April, but that’s a pretty big event for 2019 for me. I have a lot of writing that’s going on and two or three different cool projects that whether they happen in 2019 or 2020 I don’t know. There’s a whole bunch of other projects that pop up on a dime, so to speak. And, of course, something super cool that’s happening is that we’re doing a 20th anniversary Blu-Ray of American Nightmare, going back to John Keeyes who co-wrote and directed Doom Room. That’s coming out Halloween 2019!
SM: Cool! Getting all those good commentary tracks and such…
DR: Yeah, oh yeah. We’re going to spend the bulk of the first part of the year just on extras. There’s an alternate ending that wasn’t shot, but we do have rehearsal footage for the two different endings. It’ll be a lot of fun for the fans of that movie or those who want to discover.
SM: Thank you so much, ma’am, for taking so much of your time to talk with me today. I didn’t realize time had gotten away that hard from us. I’ll not keep you from the rest of your evening.
DR: No problem, my dear. I had a great time. Thank you for talking to me. I hope everyone checks out Doom Room, and thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
SM: You’re so welcome. Have a Merry Christmas!
DR: You too, Stu. Night!
HorrorTalk would like to thank Debbie for taking the time out of constantly-busy schedule to talk with us! Follow Debbie on her official sites using the links below.