Actress Michelle Tomlinson is best known as the star of The Cellar Door and Kevin S. Tenney’s recent zombies-from-space romp, Brain Dead. She is also a devoted Halloween fan, although she’s been too busy lately to enjoy it as she once did. But in years past, Michelle was the Queen of Halloween.
“I have dressed up as so many kooky things, and used to love going to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood with the throngs of humans and getting wild and crazy,” Michelle told me recently. “I think it’s an awesome excuse to get dressed up and be outside of yourself and be silly!”
For the record, I can personally attest to Michelle’s love affair with all things October 31. I’ve known her for a while now and I can recount many Halloweens where I received unintelligible midnight texts containing bizarre photos of Michelle, clad in various outrageous costumes and surrounded by the aforementioned human throngs. (I can neither confirm nor deny alcohol’s involvement in these antics.)
Though we’ve been friends for years, we’ve never actually discussed this fascination of hers. It turns out, like almost everyone I’ve talked to for Planet Fury’s Halloween Memories series, Michelle’s devotion to All Hallow’s Eve began in childhood, when she discovered an affection for playing dress-up and trying on other personalities.
“When I was super-little, maybe 8, I was Madonna for Halloween — I cannot believe I’m admitting to this,” Michelle laughed, turning slightly red. “I even put the mole on my face and slicked my hair all crazy with egg goo and painted it an insane white/silver color and had the little cutoff gloves. And, of course, there were like two other girls dressed as…Madonna.”
Thankfully, she didn’t let that minor embarrassment stop her. The budding actress carried her love for make-believe with her as she grew. “My senior year in high school, I borrowed my boyfriend’s hockey gear,” she remembered. “Since he was 6’3”, it swallowed me, but it was ridiculous fun, and one of my best friends and I tried to go trick or treating. We pissed off a lot of parents ‘cause they thought we were too old to trick or treat. But that hockey costume was a riot. I had on the full body padding — the whole nine yards.”
Michelle has done a lot of work in genres other than horror over the years, but she really loves being part of the horror tradition — a love which stems from a big moment in every kid’s life: that first horror movie.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street was the first horror flick I ever saw,” she said, smiling wistfully. “It was when I was little with my dad, and I loved it. I couldn’t stop singing the song, ‘One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.’”
The most terrifying movies for Michelle are those grounded in reality. “I loved the creature/slasher films when I was growing up, but the movies that could actually even maybe happen in real life completely freak my shit out.”
As an example, she offers Hostel, about which she said, “Anything that can rob me of sleep for two days afterward has to go on this list.” She also mentioned Adam Green’s Frozen. “Again, it interrupted my sleep — but only for one night.”
Though Michelle has abdicated her Halloween throne (for the most part), she and I both know old habits die hard. Consequently, I’m already curious to see what pics I’ll discover on my phone when I awaken on November 1.
Happy Halloween from Michelle Tomlinson, Planet Fury and Slammed & Damned!