Many fans may know actress and model Sarah French under her former stage name, Scarlet Salem, which she went by until this year. Now going by her real name, Sarah currently has over 30 film credits under her belt and quite an impressive modeling portfolio. While browsing her photos, what I found particularly impressive are her tribute photo shoots where she assumes the classic looks and poses of horror and screen icons.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Sarah started modeling after being discovered by a professional photographer at a metal concert. Modeling soon led to small parts in independent horror films, which led to larger parts that included non-horror films such as her recent role in Opposite Blood, in which she plays a Russian Spy (and yes, she does the accent well). Some of her other credits include Strip Club Slasher, In Harm’s Way, Insectula! and the online series Ghostbustin 911, which has been described as a “mix of Ghostbusters, Reno 911, and Cops.”
Most recently, she reportedly landed a part in the upcoming film Disciples, which features Scream Queen icons Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, and Debra Lamb. If Sarah thinks she can’t say she’s made the big leagues yet, she’ll sure be able to after appearing in a film with the likes of those ladies. You can also catch Sarah’s column at Shock Horror magazine and catch her in person at the many events and horror conventions she often appears at such as Texas Frightmare Weekend.
CHRIS CHARLES: Thanks for taking the time to do this Sarah. Your the third model/actress from Minneapolis that I’ve interviewed in the past couple of months.
SARAH FRENCH: Thanks for having me. The Minnesota acting scene is pretty big here, so I’m not surprised. Very cool!
CHRIS: I understand you were discovered at a metal concert. What band was playing?
SARAH: I think it was my boyfriend at the times’ band, Revelence. It’s metal music, which I’m into, and the photographer liked my “dark” look. He gave me his card and soon after that I set up a shoot. From that shoot on, it’s all history!
CHRIS: You originally modeled and acted under the name “Scarlet Salem” until just this year. No secret there. I’m guessing you didn’t use your real name because there was already a celeb named Sarah French?
SARAH: That was a part of it, but also at the time, my first photographer told me most girls modeled under a stage name, so he suggested I made one. I eventually did, with his help, and it started from there. Soon after modeling, I got into acting and decided to keep that name for the time being. Within the last year, getting into more serious roles, I want to drop that name and just go with my birth name. Scarlet was more of a stepping stone, and now Sarah will get me to where I want to be.
CHRIS: You have quite an extensive list of modeling and acting credits, which got you your own Wikipedia page. Congratulations on that because I know other up and coming models and actresses who’ve applied for them but haven’t been successful, although I’m sure they will be once that have added more to their list of credits. Were you approved for one the first time you applied or am I assuming wrong and you didn’t do it yourself?
SARAH: A few years back, someone emailed me and told me I was on Wikipedia. So, I checked it out and yup, it was all up there. Anyone can set up a Wiki on someone. I’m not sure how, but everyone’s in control of that. Yeah, one of my fans must have set it up. So, thank you to whoever is reading this, if you set mine up!
CHRIS: You’re known as a Scream Queen. Are there any icons in that field who inspired you?
SARAH: I’m a big fan of Cassandra Peterson, who plays Elvira. I grew up watching her on those midnight Movie Macabres, also her movies, and I always knew I wanted to do something like that. She is super beautiful, likes metal and everything evil, and funny. She definitely has been a big inspiration to me! I finally got to meet her a few years ago at Texas Frightmare Weekend. I thanked her for being such a big inspiration to me and she said, “Oh honey, you’re hot!” Yup, that made my life complete! (laughs)
CHRIS: You’re currently shooting Insectula. The trailer shows Hannah Hudson and Yasmin Moon both meeting their ends while going for a swim. Without giving away too much, do you survive or also fall victim to the giant alien insect?
SARAH: Let’s just say the viewers won’t be disappointed! Insectula is a great 50s style big bug movie, Roger Corman cultish-styled. It has all the thrills, chills, laughs, gore and much, much more. You can visit the website and see the trailer at www.insectula.com. Definitely not one to miss!
CHRIS: You said in a late in 2009 interview that your role in Strip Club Slasher was your favorite at that point. Still true?
SARAH: Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing a stripper and having a crazed killer after me, but I’d have to say my current favorite film would have to be my role in Shriek of the Sasquatch. The film is a total throwback to the late 70s monster, grindhouse-styled film. Watching Shriek is like actually watching a film from the 70s, its great! The director, Steve Sessions, paid very close attention to detail. I play Julie, and I’m on a road trip with my boyfriend, going to see my dad. Our car breaks down, and we have to get help. From there on we encounter the Sasquatch and lets just say it gets hairy after that! (laughs) Lots of fun, scary, gruesome scenes that keeps you on the edge of your seat! You can find out more on the film by visiting the website at www.B-Horror.com.
CHRIS: Did you rehearse with a dance coach for your scene in that one?
SARAH: Funny you ask that, but a few weeks before we filmed Strip Club Slasher I took a pole dancing class. I wanted to be prepared for my dancing scene, which I might add is VERY HOT! You can find more about that film by visiting the website at www.StripClubSlasher.com.
CHRIS: Ever have to really research a role or learn to do something just for a role?
SARAH: As a matter of fact, yes! As an actress, you have to constantly be on your A game, and with that, comes rehearsing, researching, etc. One of my current films, Opposite Blood, which is now in Post Production, I play a Russian assassin. I already can do a descent Russian accent, but I had to do some research online, to try to perfect that. So, for a few days before filming, I had to get used to the accent and study it hardcore. I really haven’t seen any footage with the accent yet, so lets hope I didn’t hack it! (laughs) Plus, I actually had to speak in Russian in some scenes. Luckily on set, we had an expert who could speak it fluently, so that helped. You can visit www.OppositeBlood.com to learn more about this awesome martial arts film!
CHRIS: What was the most difficult thing you had to perform on camera, either physically or mentally?
SARAH: I’d have to say the most difficult things would be the physical performances in general. With the low budget films in particular, most of the time you have to perform your own stunts and that tends to get hard after 10+ takes of each stunt. Most of my films I’ve had to do my own stunts. Luckily for me though, I love doing stunts! When you’re really into the character, setting, and the mood, it really shows! You just have to make sure your ready, have eaten well, and stretched the day of filming, because you’ll feel it the next day if you didn’t (laughs).
CHRIS: I see you like to visit infamous places like the property of (serial killer) Ed Gein, the Lizzie Borden house (now a bed and breakfast), and the house where the murders took place that inspired the Amityville Horror films. Very cool! How long have you been doing that and was it all your idea to visit those types of places?
SARAH: I’ve been interested in the paranormal and serial killers since I can remember. In elementary school, all the kids would be reading cartoon books, and I’d be over in the ghost section reading about spirits, etc. (laughs) My mom was big into that as well, so I’m sure she had an influence on me. I’ve always just read about that kind of stuff, but never thought I’d be visiting these infamous places. Luckily for me, my boyfriend, Joe Knetter, is also big on visiting these places, so we do that together. Whenever we’re working on a project, whether its film or a convention, we make a bigger trip out of it and visit infamous places around that area we’re staying in. Its so much fun and the history is astounding! I love traveling and its nice to be with someone who shares the same passion. Much more interesting places to visit in the upcoming future, so keep your eyes peeled for more cool photos and stories by me!
CHRIS: I see you’ve done some nudity but not a lot. So, I assume you’ve turned down many offers to do nude photo shoots and nude scenes?
SARAH: I’ve done nudity in the past before, it doesn’t bother me at all. The way I look at it is, its part of the business. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of shady people out there and I wouldn’t do it just for free or anyone, but if everything’s legit and money’s involved then I’m okay with it.
CHRIS: Well, this has really been a pleasure, Sarah. Anything you’d like to say to the readers and your growing fan base?
SARAH: Lots of cool projects in the works, so keep your eyes peeled and be sure to check out my website at www.oppositeblood.com.
CHRIS: Oh, one last question: What’s you’re favorite line from (your favorite horror movie) Day of the Dead?
SARAH: Good ol’ Rhodes screaming; “I’m running this monkey farm now Frankenstein and I wanna know… what the fuck you’re doing with my time!?”
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.