Actress, model, producer, director, screenwriter, and stuntwoman are all titles that can precede the lovely Melantha Blackthorne’s name. Her early dance and later music training, eventually gave way to a love for acting and a fascination of monsters and horror films. After creating her own alter ego, Countess Bathoria, Melantha started her own productions company that has produced three feature films and is currently working on number four, a women-in-prison exploitation genre gem, Death House Dolls.
Described by some prolific horror journalists as “the Elvira of the 21st century,” “a rare commodity in the world of exploitation cinema,” and the “Vampirella, Betty Page, and the Whore of Babylon all rolled into two weapons of mass destruction,” (my personal favorite), Melantha is one of the few ladies in modern indie horror who has truly earned the title of “Scream Queen.”
In addition to her film work and modeling, Melantha is an avid animal rights activist. Describing herself as “a rebel with a cause” when it comes to animal rights, she spends a lot of time volunteering at local animal shelters and is very passionate about spreading awareness about animal cruelty. Above photo of Melantha and her cat, Osiris, courtesy of Melantha, herself.
CHRIS CHARLES: This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now, Melantha. I’ve had you on my list of ladies to ask for an interview for quite a while and I’m glad we’re finally doing this.
MELANTHA BLACKTHORNE: Thank you for the opportunity Chris! I’ve been a fan of Idol Features for some time now so this is certainly an honor. I especially enjoyed your interview with the fabulous Debra Lamb. She’s a goddess and also a good friend!
CHRIS: Well, I’m flattered you’re a fan of my site and yes; Debra’s awesome. When I first interviewed her, she was blown away that I had been a fan of hers long before the Internet and knew of many of her works from back in the day. So, your first taste of performing was when you studied classical ballet as a child. Did you go on to study other forms of dance, as well?
MELANTHA: When I was six years old my parents signed me up for ballet classes and from there I went on to study jazz and tap. However, once puberty hit, I lost interest in dance. I guess it was because I was more interested in chasing boys at the time. Every artist has a need to be creative and I eventually replaced dance with guitar and voice lessons. In the end, acting is what stuck and I’ve never looked back.
CHRIS: What was your very first acting role?
MELANTHA: I was cast in a local vampire film as the lead villain. It was more of a romantic drama than a horror movie. My character seduces the private investigator who is tracking her murderous trail. It’s a shame that this film was never finished but something great did come of it. I met my Robomonkey Productions partner Jason Cavalier during this shoot!
CHRIS: Ah yes, I want to ask you about Robomonkey. But first; according to your IMDb page, you’re currently involved in eight movies that are either filming or in pre-production. Is that accurate?
MELANTHA: Yes and many more that aren’t yet listed on the IMDb. So be sure to check back for updates!
CHRIS: Which one or ones are you working on as this interview goes to press?
MELANTHA: I recently returned from New York where I shot two films back-to-back. The first was with the multi-talented and critically acclaimed Kenneth Del Vecchio for his newest feature, Rock Story. I made a cameo appearance opposite television legend Joyce DeWitt. For the second film, I worked with the award-winning director Larry Rosen for his anthology, Bloody Slumber Party. I played a lead role in one of the shorts opposite indie starlet Suzi Lorraine.
CHRIS: I recently did a short piece on Captured Hearts, in which you play one of five Van Houten sisters (named after one of the Manson family girls) who are very prominent in the community, as well as very deadly. Did you and the other four ladies sort of interact like actual sisters while making that one?
MELANTHA: Thank you so much for your support Chris! Suzi was also one of my co-stars in Captured Hearts. We first met in 2004 on the set of SV Bell’s classic film The Night They Returned in which we played necrophiliac cannibal sisters. So our sisterhood goes way back and the chemistry has always been strong!
During the filming of Captured Hearts, I had the privilege of sharing a room with fellow actresses Seregon O’Dassey and Jamie White, who also played Van Houten sisters. It was definitely a positive bonding experience! We shared cheap wine that we drank out of paper cups. Also, Seregon and I had to share the shower because of the lack of hot water in our room. The whole cast and crew bonded like a family. We were a little dysfunctional and perhaps incestual at times but it definitely worked!
CHRIS: Wow. (Really wanting to hear more about her “bonding” with her sexy costars, but deciding to move on.) So, you have gorgeous blonde hair that many women would kill to have. Would you say your long (natural) blonde hair and the mole under your left eye, sort of combine to create your “trademark” look?
MELANTHA: Thank you for your kind words! Yes, these seem to be the features that my fans talk about most often. I also get a lot of comments about my eyebrows. In fact, I was once compared to Leonard Nimoy’s character, Spock (laughs). I consider this to be a compliment though. He was HOT in Star Trek! Especially in the “Patterns of Force” episode. I love a man in uniform!
CHRIS: You’ve graced quite a few movie posters. Do you have a favorite, framed on your wall at home?
MELANTHA: I’m actually a graphic artist and created a few of them myself. If you’re interested, feel free to check out some of my work at Facebook.com/VoileNoir. At the moment, I have the Sinners and Saints and Order of One posters laminated and up on my wall. I definitely need to get more of them done!
CHRIS: Do you have any favorite old school Scream Queens?
MELANTHA: I love Maila Nurmi! She had a dark twisted wit and was also extremely intelligent. I did have the pleasure of dining with Tura Satana once. She had some great stories to share about her experiences on the set of Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! What a wonderful and charismatic woman she was! Not a “Scream Queen,” but certainly someone I looked up to.
CHRIS: I’ve interviewed a lot of actresses who do their own stunts, but besides you doing your own stunts, you’re credited as a stuntwoman who’s done stunts for others in films that you had no other role in, correct?
MELANTHA: Yes. I once doubled Tracy Nelson and on the set of Paul Anderson’s Death Race, I played Pachenko’s navigator which required my presence in the Chop Top – 1966 Buick Riviera for all of the car chases. That’s right! I was a passenger opposite veteran stunt driver, Gary Baxley. Gary is famous for jumping the General Lee on the television show The Dukes of Hazzard. It was an adrenaline rush but knew I was in great hands!
CHRIS: Have you ever been injured while performing a stunt?
MELANTHA: No. The most difficult stunt I’ve performed to date was a stair fall. I was bruised for about a month but nothing major.
CHRIS: Any stunts you haven’t been asked to preform yet, that you’d like to do?
MELANTHA: A fire burn while riding a motorcycle!
CHRIS: Do you ride a motorcycle in your private life?
MELANTHA: I do! My girlfriend Sorouja and I decided that it would be fun to get our license a few years back. There’s nothing quite like riding a motorcycle on a warm Summer day. It’s the closest I’ve come to flying! It’s also a great place to go when I need to clear your head.
CHRIS: I understand you have a pretty extensive weapon collection. What are some of your prized pieces?
MELANTHA: A pair of sai that I used to fight Jason in Sinners and Saints, various swords and machetes, plus an auto extendable baton that almost prematurely aborted my pregnant girlfriend by accident!
CHRIS: I think you’d be a perfect fit for a Tarantino film. I’m going to guess you’d love to have the chance to be in one?
MELANTHA: I’d slice someone’s ear off to be in in a Tarantino film!!
CHRIS: You created Countess Bathoria in 1999, but I see her website is not currently thriving. Have you put her to rest for good or will she rise again?
MELANTHA: The website is currently being revamped. Countess Bathoria will be back and soon thriving more than ever!
CHRIS: Is your production company, Robomonkey Productions, still in operation?
MELANTHA: Yes! Jason and I have been swamped these past few years performing on other films but as soon as we both have some free time we’d like to begin shooting our fourth feature, Death House Dolls.
CHRIS: I know you’re involved in some charitable causes, particularly animal advocacy. Please fill me in on this.
MELANTHA: Animal advocacy is something near and dear to my heart and is a priority in my life. As a child, I remember when my father would bring me fishing. I couldn’t stand to watch the fish die in the bottom of the boat. I felt so much empathy for them. As soon as my father looked away, I’d toss the fish back into the water. I’ve always been concerned about the well-being of animals. I remember watching a documentary about factory farms and the treatment of livestock. It changed me. It persuaded me to be mindful of the ways in which my everyday dietary choices effected the lives of other living creatures. I became a vegetarian and stayed that way for 24 years. I’m now a full-fledged vegan. I’m also active in the community by spreading awareness and volunteering at local shelters. It’s my belief that every living creature has the right to live free from exploitation, pain and suffering. Horror belongs in the realm of make-believe and I wish that’s where it would stay! I certainly don’t want to push my views or beliefs on anyone but if you’re interested in hearing more about this subject or would like to understand why I feel so strongly about this cause, please feel free to watch this award winning documentary called Earthlings. It’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and available for free (here and warning; it’s not for the squeamish). Also, animal activist Gary Yourofsky is one of the best public speakers I’ve heard on this subject. He’s extremely charismatic and his words are powerful. (Hear for yourself)
CHRIS: That is powerful stuff. While I am and always will be a consumer of meat and animal products, I do agree that no animal should suffer while being raised or put down. Anyway, on to a lighter topic. What’s you favorite wine? MELANTHA: Favorite? Hmmmm. I don’t drink often and can’t say I’ve tried many wines but as long as it’s deep, rich, and red I will most likely enjoy it! Black cherries, vanilla and a hint of chocolate flavoring are a must! CHRIS: What kind of glass do you like to drink it from? MELANTHA: I have a stainless steel wine glass that’s covered in tiny skeleton bones. I’m clumsy and tend to break everything else. It figures that my death glass would last the longest! CHRIS: With that, I want to thank you again for doing this and giving me the pleasure of including you to my list of lovely interviewees, Melantha. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone? MELANTHA: Thank you for having me Chris! A very special shout-out to all of my fans for their undying love and support! It’s because of them that I can continue to live my dreams!! CHRIS: Oh, just one more question: How many friends do you like to have in the shower? MELANTHA: I’m a die-hard romantic so I’d have to say just one. However, I’m open minded, and if these friends were to include my Captured Hearts sisters I’d definitely make an exception and add them to the mix.
Some select film posters featuring Melantha:
Sinners and Saints (2004)
Purple Glow (2005)
Prison of the Psychotic Damned: Terminal Remix (2006)
She-Demons of the Black Sun (2006) Not too often will such a beautiful lady
play such a horrifying character as Melantha did in this one. If not for that
gorgeous blonde hair, you wouldn’t know it’s her in this role.
Countess Bathoria’s Graveyard Picture Show (2007)
The Greatest Women of Horror and Sci Fi (2012)
Deathmatch (Concept/development stage)
From 2006’s Order of One
Compilation of just some of Melantha’s action scenes, appropriately
accompanied by Mötley Crüe’s “Looks That Kill”
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music biz 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 and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, you can catch his writings at Idol Features, Behind the Velvet Curtain, and add him on Facebook and Google+