The indie horror community is full of wonderfully talented people. Jessica Cameron is by far one of those people and stands out in a crowd. She’s a jack of all trades, each talent just as exceptional as the next. Her love for horror shows in everything she does and her work continues to improve with each project. She’s one of our favorite indie Scream Queens!
For Women in Horror Month, I talked with Jessica about how she got involved in the industry, her favorite projects, female inspirations, and more!
Photographer: Greg Damron Wild Vine Studios
PopHorror – Thanks for talking with me, Jessica! How did you get involved in the industry?
Jessica Cameron – Long story short – I was working in the fashion industry when my boss’s boss complained that I spoke too fast. This led them to demand that I take speech classes. When no speech classes were available, my boss – who thought the whole thing was absurd – suggested I take an acting class, and then speak slowly around the stupid people. So that’s what I did. I almost instantly fell in love with the craft of acting. Thankfully since then, I realized that the fashion industry was particularly vile and not something I loved. I spent my days working at the corporate gig and my evenings and weekends working on acting stuff. I created my plan on what I would need to get out of the fashion world and make acting my full-time career. Within a few years, that’s just what I did. Filmmaking would come later.
PopHorror – I’m glad you found your true calling. Have you always had a love for horror?
Jessica Cameron – Ever since I was a little kid, it was my favorite thing to watch. I just loved that it evoked such a strong reaction in everyone. Also, I liked that the films were not as predictable as too many are in other genres. In a horror film, literally, anything can happen.
PopHorror – This is true! What was the first project you were ever involved in?
Jessica Cameron – The first real audition I ever had was for a film called The Dead Matter. I did land the role, and I had so much fun on set. My character survived, but since I was having such a great time with the cast and crew, I asked if I could come back another night. They said I could be a zombie and warned me that since my character survived, I would have to have extensive makeup so that I would not be recognizable. I jumped at the chance. I was turned into a burn victim zombie. I was quite horrifying to look at! It was so much fun though! (laughs) I am still friends with Ed Douglas and Bob Kurtzman to this day. I know that one day, I will work with them again.
PopHorror – (Laughs) Sounds awesome. So, you’re a jack of all trades. Do you prefer acting or directing?
Jessica Cameron – Acting is more fun in the traditional sense. I mean, you show up to set where someone is getting your clothing ready for you, and someone does your hair and makeup. You stand where someone else has blocked for you to stand, and you say the words that someone else wrote, all while getting constant praise and people who are happy to bring you everything you need. As a director, I am the first to arrive, the last to leave, and I am lucky if I have had the time to shower in the last week. That being said, I do love the challenge of directing and being able to hire and give opportunities to great people.
Jessica on the set of Truth or Dare Photo from IMDB
PopHorror – Truth Or Dare has received a lot of love in the horror community. What was it like to work on that project?
Jessica Cameron – Aw, thanks for noticing! It was my first time behind the camera officially, and although it was a very stressful time, it was also one I look back on with great fondness. It was the first time I wrote a script. It was the first time I got funded. It was the first time I was behind the camera… (laughs) that’s a lot of firsts! So much heart and passion went into that film, not just from me but from my cast and crew. I am really pleased with how it turned out and would love to continue on with the franchise.
PopHorror – As you should be, it’s a wonderful film. You are really good friends with Heather Dorff. How did you two meet?
Jessica Cameron – We actually met on the set of Intrusive Behavior in Florida. We met in the airport, although we had known each other on social media prior to that. During this film, we were sharing the same room and sleeping in the same bed, so we were both relieved that we got along so well. On this set, I really got to know and love her as a person, and then I was blown away by her abilities as an actress. Needless to say, we have been friends ever since. I try to cast her in every film I can, not only because she is such a tremendous actress, but also because I can depend on her when I need help in pretty much every way.
When we were filming An Ending, we lost our caterer in the final week of filming. I didn’t even get the request out of my mouth before Heather started planning the grocery list for what we needed to get so she could prepare 5 days worth of meals for 30 people. She is that amazing. It was the only day off that week, and she spent 16+ hours planning, shopping for and preparing food for the cast and crew. I could not have gotten through that shoot without her.
PopHorror – Wow, that’s amazing. Thanks for sharing that. How did you get involved in the film, Red Eye?
Jessica Cameron – I had known Des and Tristan online and met them at a horror convention with Heather Dorff. We just clicked, and I had so much respect for what they were wanting to do and the drive that they had. After that, they offered me the role and I happily accepted. They are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I can’t wait to work with them again.
Destinie Orndoff, Jessica Cameron, and Tristan Clay on the set of Red Eye.
Photo from Red Eye Facebook
PopHorror – Yes, they are! If you could have played in other roles in Red Eye, which one would it have been?
Jessica Cameron – I would love the opportunity to play a Red Eye-type character. We haven’t seen a female slasher in far too long, in my opinion… I also think that would be a fun role to portray.
PopHorror – Agreed. This needs to happen ASAP! February is Women in Horror Month. Who are your female role models/inspirations in the industry?
Jessica Cameron – Gosh, there are so many! Jamie Lee Curtis for sure. I just love her range and her ability to not get typecast. I love her passion for not just film but for everything that she spends her time doing. I am very excited – although admittedly apprehensive – for the new Halloween.
Sigourney Weaver is one of the first strong women I remember seeing as a child, and she has stuck with me ever since. She brings this strength and power to every role she takes on and really makes them her own.
Selma Blair is an actress that always stands out in every role, and she just continues to impress me with her role selection and acting skills. I love the fact that she is able to maintain being a kickass mother while working in the industry. If you follow her on her social media – and you should – you see her being so active in all her passions, and it’s inspirational to see someone so genuinely happy. Also, I got to hear her speak after a screening of one of her films, Mom and Dad, and watched as she took photos with each and every person waiting for her, signed countless autographs and was just incredibly sweet.
PopHorror – All amazing women! What does this month mean to you?
Jessica Cameron – Honestly, not a lot anymore. Over the past few years, I have seen too many people take advantage of it and use it to push their own agenda, which I just can’t respect. In my opinion, that kind of action makes us all look bad and rightfully so. Also, as a fan of equality, it seems unfair to have a month just celebrating women… if we are all equal, shouldn’t we celebrate the talented, regardless of sex, all year long? Furthermore, I never introduce myself as a female filmmaker or female actress. I am me, and I happen to make films and act. My gender has nothing to do with it. It just seems weird to me that some complain about not being equal and then insist on having a month to honor them because of their gender.
PopHorror – Thanks for your honesty. I know others that feel the same way! Out of all the films you’ve done, which one is your favorite so far?
Poster for Truth or Dare Photo from IMDB
Jessica Cameron – That is like asking a parent who their favorite child is! (laughs) I will say, my directorial debut, Truth Or Dare, will always have a special place in my heart. During this film, I really cemented my friendship with Heather Dorff, as well as learned so much about myself. It was a very special time in my life and really helped me become who I am today.
PopHorror – That’s great to hear. What an amazing feeling. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
Jessica Cameron – I sure do…
Mania has been signed to a distro deal, and I am just awaiting permission to release the info. Lilith and Kill The Pa will start screenings this year. An Ending is in post and should start screening early 2019. Besties is in final stages of prep. So stay tuned for more info! As always, please feel free to follow me and my films on all my social media pages to keep up to date with them all.