My dear friend Jennifer Nangle, aka Malvolia: Queen of Screams, is one talented woman. When she’s not taking the souls of her victims, she’s creating horror magic via acting, writing, and producing. Yes, folks, she does it all. Learn about how she got involved in the horror community, her dangerous alter ego Malvolia, upcoming projects like Irrational Fear and more!
PopHorror – Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for talking with me! How did you first get involved in the wonderful world of filmmaking?
Jennifer Nangle – I grew up acting on the stage since I was ten years old. I got my BFA in theater, but while I was attending Niagara University, I realized that I was falling out of love with musical theater. The realism of acting in a straight play was more appealing. Developing more true to life characters challenged me creatively, so I thought, “Why not move to Hollywood and audition for television?” As we can see, that didn’t pan out the way I thought. Auditions were few and far between. I didn’t have enough legit credits to be called in to audition for co-star roles or sign with agents, yet I couldn’t seem to get anywhere unless I had said co-star roles and said agent. So how I did I get more work? I made it. Hence, I became a filmmaker. My one true love is acting. I only do all the other stuff because I have to to get things done and made, but I would just focus on acting if I could. I love it. I crave it.
PopHorror – Well, you definitely kickass at everything you do. What was your first project as an actress?
Jennifer Nangle – I had been acting on the stage since I was young, but my first on film project was a sci-fi comedy web-series called Guides, based on the ancient alien theory created by Jennifer Farac. She had expressed interest in making this idea she had and asked if I would be interested in helping produce it and create my own character. She explained that this was the new way of acting: self-producing! So I said, “Yes!” and had a ball doing it. Since I was the youngest alien in our LA Guides office, I made my character a little ditzy, an obsessor of celebrities – how could I not with the office in LA? – and a somewhat fashionista, which is something I would never go out for. It was so much fun and I learned a ton!
PopHorror – That sounds fun. I’ll have to see if I can find it! What was your first project as a director?
Jennifer Nangle – I wrote a short film entitled Spirit Board. I formed a group where the goal was to film two short films a month and this was apart of it. I asked a couple people to direct, but they weren’t available at the time, so I thought, “Here we go!” It was our first, so we were testing the waters and figuring everything out. We did everything practical. It was fun and no pressure! I was happy with the outcome seeing as though we made it on no budget.
PopHorror – Seems like a blessing in disguise. When did you come up with the persona of Malvolia: the Queen of Screams?
Jennifer Nangle – A couple years ago, I wrote a treatment for a film series that I wanted to be a part of. The creator wasn’t interested, but one of the active producers, Hunter Johnson, saw something in it and encouraged me to push further with it. Once I was free of the film restrictions, I really didn’t know what I wanted to say with it. I went to Scare LA last year where they were celebrating Miss Elvira herself and was enthralled with her and all her devoted fans after all these years! It sent a lot of ideas through my head – a modern day Horror Host! Little did I know that there are still active Horror Hosts all over the country. The more I wrote, the more I realized how much better it would be as a series. We are the generation of YouTube where anything can be made and you can reach anyone, anywhere. It’s been a fascinating experience. I didn’t expect all this support, love, and encouragement!
I really have to thank Richard Trejo and Alex Napiwocki from Safety Meeting Productions and, of course, Hunter Johnson from lahorror.com for helping me in so many artistic ways. Without them, I wouldn’t have landed the festival wins we have!
PopHorror – You are the new mistress of darkness and I love it! Can you tell us more about her?
Jenn Nangle – I’ve been called the Modern Day Elvira, but I don’t see it that way. Sure, I rock the fierce cleavage and when I’m not calling my fans “victims” I will call them “Darling,” but, I based Malvolia off of Vampira and Morticia Addams. I wanted darker, more creepy, scary, spooky! Both these ladies had a type of elegance with a darker, drier humor. I wanted to embody that with a more temporary feel and with more dead bodies and blood. Lots and lots of blood!
PopHorror – Hell, yes! One of your upcoming films is called Irrational Fear. Can you tell us about it?
Jennifer Nangle – It’s a horror film written by Kevin Sommerfield and Hunter Johnson, directed by Johnson, where six therapy patients are brought together to a secluded cabin to face their fears. Everyone has a different fear. Then, like true horror film fashion, chaos ensues!
PopHorror – That’s an exciting plotline. Who do you play and what is she like?
Jennifer Nangle – I play the role of Kelly. She has the fear of being imperfect or atelophobia. What was great about this process is that I arrived to set with my character changing significantly throughout the four days of filming – a great significant! Emotions were flying and just being able to “be” and react in the moment was incredible. I was surrounded by such talent who were so supportive and loving towards each other. It was just great to let go and go to that dark place, but then be able to smile afterward. Being in that location was incredible, too. We were seriously in a cabin in the woods.
PopHorror – Can you relate to her at all?
Jennifer Nangle – Absolutely! Maybe this is letting some of my skeletons out of the closet, but I think as an actress in Los Angeles, it’s hard to look around and not compare at times. Perfect bodies, perfect looks, bought body parts, tanned skin, muscle enhancers, hair extensions… I mean, the list can go on and on. I know I feel self-conscious at times and intimidation sets in. It’s funny… I posted a picture on Facebook the other day where I thought I looked fat and my nose looked weird. It received over 200 likes in a day. Our minds definitely play tricks on us.
Even before filming Irrational Fear, I had contacted Andrew Beirl, who was coordinating producer and in charge of wardrobe and asked, “Am I showing anything? I think I should tan!” I’m sure he thought I was a little nuts, but wow! Talk about art imitating life. I wanted Kelly to be perfect. The perfect hair, the perfect makeup, the perfect way she spoke to the other therapy patients. Let’s be honest, perfect doesn’t exist, so in this situation, trying to make it created beautiful art! Or so the way I felt when I left Wisconsin. I cried on the plane ride home. I loved filming with everyone so much!
PopHorror – So glad to hear it was a great experience! When is the film set to come out?
Jennifer Nangle – Hunter is crazily editing as we speak… I believe by the end of the year. Definitely should not be missed! Fingers crossed there is an LA screening!
PopHorror – I can’t wait to see it! As a strong woman in horror, who are some of your other favorite women in horror as far as actors, directors, etc?
Jennifer Nangle – Thank you for calling me a strong woman in this genre. That means so, so much! A conversation never goes by where I can’t mention Lara Jean Mummert. She and I met on the set of Ugly Sweater Party while filming in Idyllwild, but our friendship didn’t really grow until back in October. A true, true talent that I am lucky to call a friend. She and I need to collaborate very soon! We talk about it all the time! And maybe we are sooner than we think!
I adore Brooke Lewis! She is on fire right now! She is so positive, so friendly, thankful, and encouraging – I would love to act opposite of her some how, some way! Writer/director Jennifer Kent (The Babadook). I mean, do I need to say more? And lastly, Barbara Crampton, a limitless, timeless talent.
PopHorror – Love all of them! What is your dream film? One that you’ve always wanted to make or act in?
Jennifer Nangle – A revenge film. I think people under estimate what I can do and don’t see me in a role like that. I think people would be pleasantly surprised…
PopHorror – Pfft. I totally can see you kicking ass in a film like that. MAKE IT HAPPEN! Any other upcoming projects?
Jennifer Nangle – I’m currently attached to two projects that I am under strict NDAs, but one of them I can say is a studio project in association with Falconcreek Entertainment that I am absolutely ecstatic to be a part of. I landed the audition after the director saw my short thriller film The Deal, which was directed by Hunter Johnson. It was so amazing to have a complete stranger message me out of the blue and ask if I wanted to audition for this huge event. I mean, I still can’t really believe it.
I’m working on a really creepy project with writer/director Clint Carney. I’ve already been in for SFX pre-pro work! I’ve been asked to join the horror anthology 10/31 as Malvolia herself! I’m going to reunite with director Matt Aaron Krinsky who got me a Best Actress nomination and the Best Acting win for Demonic Attachment. TBA what we’re planning…
I will be filming a segment for the horror anthology Lilith directed by Alex T. Hwang come September, along with a horror short film directed by Monte Light. Monte and I collaborated recently where he let me write, direct, and act in a piece for his web-series 1 Minute Manias which has been recently released. Come October, I’ll be collaborating with Joseph R. Davis and Brian Gerson from PROco PROduction coMPANY on a short I am currently writing. And, lastly, I’m working on the first draft of my first feature. I’m not ready to say much about it, but I am beyond excited to tell this story. I don’t feel like this has been told this way before.