With titles like Bloodstruck, Disciples, The Bitch That Cried Wolf, and Zombie Dollz, to her credit, Minneapolis-based actress Rachel Grubb is a well-known name in indie horror. (Please don’t confuse her with the folk singer of the same name). As this goes to press, Rachel is working on Queen of Snakes by Christopher R. Mihm, who also directed her in Weresquito: Nazi Hunter and Cave Women On Mars. Even if she didn’t have a great scream, which she does, those titles would still earn Rachel Scream Queen distinction.
Also know as “Celia Cyanide,” a seemingly more risqué alter ego, Rachel has a modeling portfolio that spans 10 years and is as impressive as her list of film credits. It ranges from cosplay and classic pinup to artistic nude and fantasy. Learn more on Rachel in the following recent interview she gave exclusively to Idol Features. Above photo by Devoor Photography.
RACHEL GRUBB: Yes, sometimes. When I was in college I wrote a short story, historical fiction, about a little girl named Celia who grew up in the Jim Jones cult. She had figured out what Jim Jones was going to do, and she tried to put the cyanide in his food before he could put it in the flavor-aid. She was killed by him instead. And so, as a tribute to the brave character I had created, I became Celia Cyanide.
CHRIS: Do people sometimes confuse you with the musician Rachel Grubb?
RACHEL: (Laughs) I’m sure they do! A friend of mine once found her web page and was really confused at first, until he figured out it wasn’t me. It’s not a very common name. I think I would like to see her perform, just because we have the same name. There was also very right wing politician named Rachel Grubb. I wonder whatever happened to her…
CHRIS: I know you born in Springfield, Ohio. When did you move to the Twin Cities area?
RACHEL: I was in the second grade. I’ve lived a few places since then, including London and LA, and I still love Minneapolis the best. It’s a wonderful city.
CHRIS: When did you first start modeling?
CHRIS: What would you say has been your most memorable photo shoot, for good or bad reasons?
RACHEL: My most memorable shoot, for me, is probably a horror series I did with Heidi Shub from Black Op Studios. She wanted to tell a story about a murderer as he stalks and kills a girl as his accomplice follows and takes pictures. She used an effect to make them look old and scratched. The end result was very dark and creepy. I also liked it, because as a murder victim, I got to do some acting, rather than just posing and looking pretty.
RACHEL: I have worked with John Donegan in Nashville, Tennessee several times. He is an excellent photographer, and I always get images that stand out. He always takes me to this sushi place that serves the best sushi I have had, anywhere! Even when I lived in LA, I didn’t find any sushi that was quite as good. The last time I was there was over the Super Bowl. I wanted to get out of Minneapolis, because I knew Downtown would be crazy. So I went to visit him and we took some photos and we went to visit Third Man Records and The Johnny Cash Museum.
CHRIS: What was your very first film role?
RACHEL: My first speaking part was a short film called Rice Park. It was a love story between an artist who lived in a hotel and a business man who came to stay there. I was filming on the weekends, and taking acting classes during the week. The crew were all professionals, and the craft service was phenomenal. I always joke that free food is the reason I became an actress. It’s not entirely true, but it is a wonderful perk.
RACHEL: My first feature! I have worked with Christopher R. Mihm many times since. He’s movies are all really fun 50s throwback sci-fi and Horror. I remember he did something before that audition that he has never done since; he emailed the script to everyone before the audition. Since what he was doing was kind of unusual, he wanted to make sure it was something we were interested in before we came in to read. It was right up my alley.
CHRIS: Cave Women in Mars (2008).
RACHEL: We just had a 10th Anniversary screening for this! It was so much fun. Before the screening started, Chris went up and talked about the making of the movie, and he had Dan Sjerven and I read Amazon reviews of the film, which were hilarious. The crew from Midnight Movies with Dr. Bob did a “snark track,” which is basically giving it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. It was a great time.
CHRIS: Unholy Reunion (2009).
RACHEL: I got cast in this for my scream. That was what I did at the audition, scream really loud. I played the wife in the flashback, and I got killed. It was a fun role.
RACHEL: That was Kim Sonderholm. It was a mockumentary, and since my part was an interview segment, he had me film it and send it in to him and he cut it into the film. He is located in Denmark. I had connected with him a while ago when he released The Horror Vault DVD. He was looking for two more horror shorts to round out his compilation, so I sent him a link to RETINA, an excellent student film I had done. It was dark and weird, with high contrast black and white. Very David Lynch. It was directed by JP Wenner, a good friend and filmmaker I have worked with several times since. It made the DVD, and I think it may have been the only student film from the school to get international distribution!
CHRIS: Disciples (2014).
RACHEL: I got to do a scene with Tony Todd. That was very exciting for me. I have loved his work in Candyman, and so many other films and TV shows, especially The Flash. He was very nice, and a generous actor. He gives a lot to the scene, which makes it easier for me to give back.
CHRIS: Zombie Dollz (2015).
RACHEL: What can I say about this one? It was a blast! I had met up with a friend of mine from high school, Valerie Katz, who did makeup, and she ended up doing beauty makeup on another feature I did called The Bitch That Cried Wolf, along with Ries Dahlquist. Valerie and Ries had such a great time, that they produced Zombie Dollz with the same director, Creep Creepersin. So they started working on this story that could be shot in one general location about a zombie plague that only effects women. We filmed at a house, and we all stayed there for the weekend. It was a great time, and the story and characters were a lot of fun.
RACHEL: I absolutely loved my role as Addison Marion. It was somewhat like Harry Potter with women, but with its own mythology. And I got to be Harry Potter. Ries Dahlquist, who worked on Zombie Dollz, wrote and directed this, and I was very grateful that she cast me in it. It was a fun and challenging role.
CHRIS: And most recently, Hammered: A True Story.
RACHEL: This one is special to me, because I wrote it. I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts, and one story in particular caught my attention. I wrote the screenplay in one weekend. The first draft was basically just writing out everything that happened. I chose to set the story in the nineties, because that was before social media and cell phones, which made the story more interesting and cinematic. in the first draft, the main character was the only real character. Everyone else was just names. They could easily have been called “Girl #1” and “Boy #2.” We brought a lot of young actors for auditions, and we sort of created the characters around the actors we got. JL Sosa directed, and I was very happy with the finished product.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your favorite fellow actresses to work with?
CHRIS: The Dawn, is currently in post-production. What can you tell me about that one and the character you play in it?
RACHEL: I have a very small part in that. I play a nun. But even though I was only on set a short time, it was a joy. I got to work with Devanny Pinn again, and I had not seen her in a long time. Stacey Dash was a sweetheart, and a joy to work with.
CHRIS: I understand you’re currently working on a film entitled Queen of Snakes. What can you tell me about the character you play in that one?
RACHEL: I don’t know why it’s not on the IMDb yet. It’s by Christopher R. Mihm, the director of Weresquito: Nazi Hunter and Cave Women On Mars.
RACHEL: I am quite good at crafting. I like to go to Good Will and find cheap shoes and fix them up into something special. I make shoes with themes of comic book characters, bands, or movie stars. The first shoes I made were a pair of James Dean platform heels. I decoupaged his posters all over the sides of the shoes. I thought they would look tacky, but they actually turned out really pretty. So I made more. I used to have an Etsy store, but I’ve been a bit too busy with acting lately to keep up with it. Another hobby I have is cosplay photo shoots. I like to put my own spin on the characters, rather than replicate the look exactly. I have done homages to Harley Quinn, David Bowie, Natalie Wood, Bettie Page, Alice In Wonderland, and many others.
CHRIS: Oh just one last question: Do flat-Earthers still send you friend requests on Facebook?
RACHEL: (Laughs) I certainly hope not! I do get a lot of random weirdos on social media, but most of the time, they’re the kind of weirdos that I love.