Awhile back, I bought a copy of HM&M Films House of Whores because a friend of mine was in it. That was the first time I had seen a film featuring one of my current favorite indie horror actresses Nikki Strange. I recently got the chance to chat with her and we talked about how she got into acting, her various films and who she would love to work with. Read on for my interview with Nikki Strange, one of indie horrors rising stars.
PopHorror: What made you want to be an actress?
Nikki Strange: I actually had no desire to ever be one. When I was younger, my sister and I were always bullied and belittled, so the thought of me ever being “cool” was out of the question. However, I was in theater in Elementary school and really enjoyed it. I never landed the lead roles because I’ve always been really shy around people. I get stage fright super bad, especially in front of a live audience. What made me want to be an actress happened back in 2013. I posted something on Facebook and that’s how I met Daniel Murphy. I went to his house to pick up a Santa Suit, and I remember sitting on his couch while he talked about the movie he just made (And Then YOU Die). He was so chill and laid back, I knew I wanted to be friends with him. I remember sitting there, thinking to myself, “Ask me to be in a movie!” Sure enough, a few months later, he did. That was Night of the Dolls.
PopHorror: Well, as one fellow bullied kid to another, I think you are awesome. I’m glad you met Daniel and were able to start your acting career. What are some of the actors and actresses that inspire you?
Nikki Strange: I think you’re awesome, too! And I am truly blessed to have such a strong following, especially in the indie world. My absolute favorite actor is Neil Patrick Harris. I think he is such an inspiration because he never fails to give 150% to every role he plays. I hope to be as amazing and versatile as him one day. Another favorite of mine is Kevin Hart. He’s hilarious! Now, I won’t lie, I am very much illiterate when it comes to actors and actresses (laughs). I can’t remember names or movies to save my life.
PopHorror: Neil Patrick Harris is amazing! Great choice! You made your film debut in Night of the Dolls. What was it like working with the HM&M crew for the first time?
Nikki Strange: Ughhh! Oh my gosh! It. Was. Amazing! To be given an opportunity like that was incredible! Our crew was very small. Daniel did most of the work. He was the director, editor, director of photography – he did it all! Tom Komisar was also right there beside him. I remember behind the scenes it was so hot filming the music video for “Lolita Vida Loca,” Tom was fanning us off with a bass case. I think the best thing about working with everyone was that everyone was so nice. I’ve met so many amazing people through these movies! From other actresses to Hollywood stars to amazing reviewers who love indie films.
I absolutely love working with Dan and Tom though. It’s amazing how a small crew can pull a town together to support them. We’ve gotten so much help from local people to do these movies. HM&M Films is like my second family. We have gone weeks without talking or catching up, and when we do its like we never stopped. We also support each other in everything! I love seeing what my fellow cast mates are up to and hearing about their success. That’s another thing I love about HM&M Films. Dan and Tom and always supporting other independent film makers. It shows how much passion they have for the art of making movies.
PopHorror: Daniel and Tom are definitely good dudes. They sent me Night of the Dolls for free when I was too broke to buy a copy, and if it wasn’t for Tom, I would have never discovered Dolly Deadly. In House of Whores, your character goes through some extremely fucked up shit. How was that to shoot?
Nikki Strange: They really are great people! (laughs) That movie was pretty brutal! We had the entire movie scripted but did improv for the majority of it. When I first read the script, I was like, “What the hell?” but I decided to do it regardless. Honestly, if that were anyone besides Dan, I probably wouldn’t have. To do some of those scenes, you have to be comfortable with the people you’re filming with. I think me and Dan have that kind of comfort with each other. He knows my limitations and would never ask me to do anything that I would consider out of bounds. There were some scenes that were less than thrilling to do, but it all tasted delicious in the end! (laughs) Free snacks! Other than that, it was a blast! To me, it was a lot of actual acting. Having to put yourself in that kind of mindset can be hard at times, especially with two douchey clowns trotting about. But, it was great regardless. They kept the sets closed when they needed to be, and always made sure I was okay after each one… Even after Tom gave me a fat lip!
PopHorror: After appearing in mostly horror films, you did Stephanie Hensley’s Dane Granger, an indie drama and a phenomenal film. What was it like making the jump from horror to drama and how awkward was it shooting your first lesbian sex scene?
Nikki Strange: The jump wasn’t bad at all. I was ready to work on a second project and Stephanie is a great director. She was very precise on what she wanted from her cast and being able to make the cut was great. Also having the chance to be more than a scream queen was nice but I still love being covered in blood. The sex scenes we not bad at all either. Frankie McKay was a great scene partner and very respectful. The worst part was being around a new crew instead of HM&M Films. We had Dustin and Bryan who are actually great people. We had a blast on our road trips to film! I would love to work with them again!
PopHorror: I would love to see you work with them again, especially since Stephanie has started doing horror. You recently appeared in Nightblade and you got to work with some big actors such as Betsy Rue, Robert Lasardo and Todd Bridges. How was this experience different from the other films you have worked on?
Nikki Strange: I would love to work with them again! I hear Frankie is actually getting back into it. She rocked as Dane Granger! Being on the set of Nightblade was great. I had so much fun and did get to work with some amazing people. Tom Komisar was there too, supporting me all the way! The set was so much different because we filmed it all in a matter of two weeks, as opposed to on weekends twice a month. Everything had a deadline, and they stuck to it. Jim O’Rear and Scott Tepperman are great dudes, too. I hope to work with them again as well. It was a little nerve wracking being on set with larger stars, but in the end, they are just like us. I got acting tips from Robert LaSardo, friendship advice from Betsy Rue, and life advice from Todd Bridges. We also had Michael Koske, who was a zombie on The Walking Dead. He was so much fun to hang out with as well! I met a lot of great people on that set.
PopHorror: That sounds like an amazing experience! So your most recent film is Blood Moon River, which has a lot of secrecy around it. What was it like to shoot knowing you couldn’t really discuss anything too much with anyone?
Nikki Strange: It suuuuuuucks! Obviously, you have seen it. I love talking about my movies, so not being able to is killing me inside! All I can say to people about it is to watch it. I watched it a week or so ago, and even after being casted, I didn’t know what direction it was going until I watched it as a whole. That was an amazing movie though! HM&M Films at its best! I also love the found footage movies, and with the ending this one had, I can only imagine what’s next. All I know is, I want to be apart of it!
PopHorror: It’s definitely an interesting film. You have died many times on screen. What’s your favorite onscreen death?
Nikki Strange: Probably Night of the Dolls. It was a fun death scene to me. There was a lot of blood in it. (laughs) Also, Paisley Blackburn as Ingrid was incredible! Bryer Sage was a great partner to have that day.
PopHorror: That’s actually my favorite as well. It’s so unexpected. You have done mostly horror films. What other type of movie would you like to try?
Nikki Strange: Comedy! I’m actually really fucking hilarious! (laughs) I would love to have a shot at a comedy.
PopHorror: I would love to see that! Are you a horror fan? If so, what are some of your favorite horror films?
Nikki Strange: I love anything horror related! Like anything. Watching horror movies gives me this weird sense of happiness. I think my favorite horror movies ever are The Haunting in Connecticut 1 and 2 and Dead Silence. I haven’t seen too many of the classics, but my favorite is The Lost Boys, But, like I said earlier, I’m really bad at knowing movies and actors. I’ve seen so many I can’t keep them straight.
PopHorror: If you could work with anyone in the indie horror scene, who would it be?
Nikki Strange: Hmmm…. Probably Ellie Church. She started with HM&M Films and she loves cats. I think we would get along pretty well!
PopHorror: I would love to see you and Ellie Church in the same movie. Out of all the films you have worked on, what one is your favorite?
Nikki Strange: Blood Moon River for sure! Everyone on set was so amazing, and there’s some great eye candy in it. I am so excited for the premiere! The world needs to see that movie.
PopHorror: Me, too! I’m hoping to make it to the premiere. What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Nikki Strange: I plan on seeing you there! And, advice… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes a lot of patience, time, dedication, and hard work. Stay true to who you are in the process, and don’t give up!
PopHorror: That’s great advice. Are there any upcoming projects you would like to talk about?
Nikki Strange: There’s some that I wish I could talk about… but can’t. Which drives me bonkers!
PopHorror: I completely understand. I think that about wraps it up. On behalf of myself and PopHorror.com, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
Nikki Strange: Thank you for having me. It’s been a blast! And I’m serious! I better see you at the premiere. We’re overdue for a picture!