By - Steve Mezo
Tonight I'm talking with a good ghoul that loves to be bad! She shares my obsession of Cheesy Horror Schlock, remembers all of the 70's monster stuff I talk about. If that weren't enough she has a killer collection of "Killers" memorabilia!
And her name is "Babette Bombshell"
And she is the hostess with the mostess of her own
So follow me back to the Horror section where Babette is waiting.
Hi Steve. It’s great to get to sit down with you. As a grindhouse whore myself, your audience is absolutely my type’a people. Good to meetch’a
1. What is one of your favorite pieces from your extensive Murderabilia, Side Show Paranormal Collection?
Well, it’s very hard to pick a favorite because they are all like little demonic children too me. I only collect things that I love. They are all one-of-a-kinds. Whether it’s a Johnny Eck painting, a Charle’s Manson spider, or a chunk of James Dean’s Porsche Spyder… they are all favorites.
Lately, I’ve pulled back from collecting more murderabilia because there aren’t any killers out there that strike my fancy. They all just seem to lack that certain something that sets them apart. They’re all page three types these days. They would never make front page news.
There are some that show promise. A guy is off’ing hookers in Dayton. Another is bumping off homeless in Southern California, but you can see what I mean… yawn.
I did go to several days of the Casey Anthony trial. The body’s dump site is within walking distance of my house so I figured… well… I have to go. I’ve actually run into her mom a few times since. There is that awkward “do you recognize me from the murder trial” moment, but other than that who cares.
The cases that I tend to like these days are the ones that fly under the media radar… like Jeanie Stevens, the little old lady in Pennsylvania who convinced someone to dig up the dead bodies of her sister and husband so she could keep them in her house with her. She lived in her house with the mummies for years until some nosey delivery person from Meals On Wheels dropped the dime on her.
I also am very eager to get my hands on one of the many tennis shoes, containing severed feet that have been washing ashore along the coast of Canada and Washington. There have been 12 since 2007. That is however an open investigation so those shoes will be impossible to get until after the whole thing cools down. They can keep the foot. I’ll settle just for one of the shoes.
2. Why have you turned down a certain Cable Channel from doing a special on your collection?
Several things come into play there. I’ve turned down plenty of reality TV producers and documentary producers. As soon as they discover the 350lb drag queen that collects & lectures on all manner of weirdness, my phone starts ringing. I can imagine Time Magazine were fairly flabbergasted that I turned them down when they wanted to do a feature on the Collyer Death Chair.
In the case of reality TV, I’m just too private for that nonsense. I love the camouflage that being Babette affords me. When I’m in my Clark Kent mode it’s nice to be able to go to a horror convention unnoticed one day and then turn around and take pictures with hundreds of those same people the next.
As far as documentaries, I’ve never thought that the money was worth displaying items from my collection prior to when I intend to premiere the entire thing in my own museum. Most of my items have come from private collectors and therefore have never been seen by the public. As soon as some of the central items become widely known, then that’s the day I have to move them out of storage and into bank vaults. That’s expensive. I’d rather spend my money collecting rather than spending an inordinate sum on 24 hour security… that’s no fun.
In the end, I’m very interested in doing TV, but it has to be right. I’m far more inclined to do acting for TV rather than just being a talking head on a documentary. I have some things that are in development. We’ll see.
3. What has been your favorite role?
All my favorite roles are in my future. I think that’s the truth for most actors. It’s what keeps us interested. I love totally transformative roles and heavy makeup roles. If I can lose myself completely, that’s when I’m happiest.
Honestly, most of my favorite acting experiences have not been on film. All my them were while I was working as a performer at a place called Terror On Church Street. It has long since closed, but it was a haunted attraction in Orlando Florida, which was open all year… even on Christmas. It was the best training ground for an actor that has ever been. One day you were Hannibal Lecter, the next you were a demented Clown or Dracula. All my favorite acting moments involved people either pissing their pants, or being dragged off in a pool of tears. You only really know that you are an accomplish horror actor when you have made someone shit their pants… literally. Maybe I should put that on my resume?
4. Are there any beauty secrets you would like to share?
Always give people more than they can handle… if you’re fat, insist on wearing belly shirts. If you have big varicose veins… outline them with blue eyeliner and wear short-shorts. People hate to admit it but they love the exotic. Nobody stops in the street to stare at fashion models when they are out of makeup. Those women starve themselves and spackle on tons of makeup to look freakish. If you can do the same without all the effort, then hit the streets. The key is to do everything with conviction. No one will dare defy you if you have enough conviction and you’ll be an object of beauty in motion that no one will be able to take their eyes off of.
5. What was the first horror movie you ever saw?
Ooo… that’s going back. I’ve always been drawn to the dark and creepy. I remember the first time I saw something and thought “Gee, that’s creepy”. It was a bizarre episode of Gilligan’s Island. I vaguely remember that a Russian was trying to scare the castaways off the island for some nefarious reason. He wore a sheet and had an audio effect dropped in over his ghostly howling. It was very chilling. All the castaways piled into a boat and the Russian blew it up… killing them all. In the end it was revealed that the Professor had made coconut dummies of them all, or something, but it was still a mindfuck for a 4 year old. Who knows what Sherwood Schwartz was smoking? It’s strange because I also remember him having Jessie James kill the entire Brady Bunch once, in a hail of bullets, on their show. I think Sherwood could have used some therapy.
My favorite monster movies as a child were the classic Universal ones. You know, Frankenstein, The Wolfman and Dracula… how can you not love them? Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is still one of my all-time favorite movies… if for no other reason than it contains a blow job joke within the first four minutes of the movie.
6. Did you have a favorite monster toy growing up?
I had all the Aurora monster model kits as a kid. I loved those. For Christmas one year I conned my mother into getting me the whole set of mego monster dolls. That was a major coup because I was raised in a very conservative Baptist household where dolls were considered queer and monsters were “of the devil”. Dolls and Monsters were a double whammy under the Christmas tree. My folks really only cracked down after I brought home the “Make Your Own Shrunken Heads” kit and started talking like Vincent Price.
7. How cool was it getting to do the voice acting role of one of my favorite bad girls Divine?
Beyond an honor… I had met Divine’s mother at a film premiere where some of my paintings were being featured. At that time, I had just finished doing a role in a film that required me to dye my hair white. The end result is that I looked very similar to her son when I showed up. You see, out of drag Divine bleached his hair snowy white. The whole time I was talking to her she just had this very strange look on her face. Later when she was looking at pictures from the event she couldn’t figure out where all these new pictures of her and her son had come from. The estate remembered my effect on her so later they approached me about several projects relating to Divine and his career.
I was already a huge fan of both John Waters and Divine so I set to work researching him and studying him as a person. I had never seen someone recreate him as a person rather than simply doing the drag persona. I love the challenge of recreating people. I’ve done that kind of thing in the past… once with John Wayne Gacy and right now I’m doing it with Margaret Thatcher for a film. Anyway, a demo was made of me recreating Divine from an interview from the 1980’s. Off it went to the estate and eventually John Waters. When we met he called it “spooky”.
In addition to other projects that I have been talking with the estate about, they had me come into studio and do the reading of a book that compiles all the postcards which Divine had sent to his mother during his career. Those that knew Divi well have really given me great feedback about my recreation of his voice. It’s a beautiful book and I’m beyond proud to be attached to it. The iBook version with my narration comes out later this year. The book is called “Postcards From Divine”.
8. What would be your dream role?
Well… that might just happen (see above topic). I really just like doing extreme characters. I love shocking an audience, scaring them and making them laugh. So long as I can keep doing that I’ll make every role I undertake a dream role.
9. How many conventions have you appeared in to date?
Tons, but I very rarely do horror conventions in character unless I actively have something to promote. I started doing Spooky Empire in Orlando when I was helping Herschell Gordon Lewis promote our movie together “The Uh-Oh Show”. Since then I try to go every year. People really seem to enjoy it. I try to push the envelope with my outfit each year. Last year I went as a human bomb… you know, a blonde bombshell. I looked like a fat terrorist strapped in a bikini made of dynamite. It even had a timer that ticked loudly as I walked around taking pictures. I don’t think security was too thrilled with that one. I’m determined to think of new and creative ways to freak them out. I’ll be thrilled if I get arrested. I’d go down kicking and screaming. My manager has strict instructions to call the media first and pay bail later.
10. How did you get to meet Jeffrey Dahmer?
Back when I was studying Improv in Chicago I danced as a gogo boy in a bar called The Lucky Horse. I had a 29 inch waist back then and wasn’t afraid to use it. I made great money in there. It was a sleazy little bar. It was one of the joints that Jeff Dahmer used to frequent when he drove into Chicago from Milwaukie to troll for victims. He’d drive into town and just hop from one side of the gay ghetto to the other getting obliterated. I only remember dancing for him a few times because I wasn’t really his type. He really liked the black dancers more.
I only really ever hung out with him once beyond just seeing him in the bars and that was at Gay Pride so there were a few thousand other people there too. Long story short, when he was captured the whole gay community was in shock… All of the dancers remembered seeing him and it was a ghost town in the bar for the rest of the week.
Rent was due and I was broke. It was that same week that I overheard a bar tender lamenting that the drag queen hostess had dropped out of an event that they were throwing. I chirped up and offered to do the gig. A film director named Scott Grenke just happened to be in the audience that night and liked my mix of comedy and improvising with the audience. He cast me in one of his independent films to star as a mutant who gives deadly blow jobs. That was how I got started.
11. You're stranded on deserted island with a portable DVD player that runs on an atomic battery, which five movies would you have with you?
Probably my own movies and porn, because I’m an egomaniac and I like orgasms… how’s that for a truthful answer?
12. Zombies are coming in your front door and you're running out the back what three items do you take with you, and they don't have to be survival items.
Let’s see… hmmm…. Firstly, I’d grab the keys to the storage unit where I have my collection of oddities. Gawd knows there are plenty of lethal things in there. Of course, I’d snatch up extra pares of underwear because zombie apocalypses are messy business. I’d also be sure to grab a Bible because then I could use it to quote from in order to grift everything else I need off gullible Christians.
13. Would you rather? Go on an island get away on the island from "Shockwaves" or see a double feature at the Drive In Massacre?
For sure Shockwaves… I could work on my tan. In retrospect, I can’t figure out why everybody in the cast just didn’t just start talking with fake German accents and goose-stepping on the beach when the Nazi-zombies started cropping up. Talk about a no-brainer.
It was really awesome getting to chat with you. We’ll definitely stay in touch. Your audience might just be able to tip me off to those hidden grindhouse goodies that I’m always looking for to feature in my Sphincter-clamping Cult Movie Reviews.