As of next month, which will put us in a new decade as well as a new year, Debbie D will begin her fourth decade as one of the top Scream Queens in American indie horror. Those of you who are already familiar with Debbie’s works, know that when it comes to getting bloody, bare, and bound, she has very few equals in the industry.
Born Deborah DePaul in Philadelphia, Debbie started her show biz career as a singer, performing with various East Coast bands. In 1992, she released her album “I Want You in My Life” and has since performed the title track in one of her films. Her acting career began a year later with the 1993 horror video, Burgler from Hell. The rest is Scream Queen history. All accompanying photos courtesy of Debbie herself.
CHRIS CHARLES: I’ve had you on my radar for quite some time now, Debbie, as you’re an icon in your industry. I see you live in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Since that can easily, at least at first glance, be misread as “Jerkintown” have some people thought that was a joke when they’ve read that’s where you live?
DEBBIE D: I live in Philadelphia. Jenkintown is where my fan club/business address is. Though many have confused that address to my residence. My business partner and long time friend, Bill Arthur, chose that area back in 1991, God rest his soul. November 24th 2019 was his 12 year death anniversary. That address was close to his day job and convenient at that time. Not so convenient for me, but since that address was in over 200 magazine publications and on all documents, I’ve managed to hold on to it so people can get ahold of me, no matter how many years go by. I am thinking of moving to a warmer climate. All things eventually change as we evolve.
CHRIS: You’ve had a career that spans three decades and will go into four very soon. I know IMDb doesn’t always have all everything on everyone. So, was 1993’s Burglar From Hell really your first screen role or was there something prior to that?
DEBBIE: The movie Burglar from Hell which was filmed in 1993 was my first horror movie. I did the plays in my high school and did some small commercials and music videos prior to that, but Burglar from Hell was the movie that started my Scream Queen career back then.
CHRIS: Singing actually came before acting, correct?
DEBBIE: I was singing before I could talk. Singing in glee club and in high school and being in bands traveling then landing a record deal with an independent label distributed by a major was the start of my career. I was also modeling when I was seen in a modeling magazine by a New York independent producer named Philip Herman. He asked if I wanted to be in his horror production of Burglar from Hell. With hesitation, I took the role once my famous friend singer songwriter Essra Mohawk convinced me to do it, even though it required topless nudity. That acting role soared me in to a whole new career in the horror film movie industry and I left singing behind, for now. Though I have sang in a few of my movies.
CHRIS: Early in your singing career, did you perform with any musicians who went on to become well-known?
DEBBIE: I sang with Donna Allen in a band called “High Octane,” then she went on to record two albums with Atlantic Records. We are still friends today. I also sang on the Disney Cruise Line ship at the same time Jenifer Hudson was also singing on the ship before she became famous from being discovered on American Idol. I was in the main show band while she was in the plays. At that time, my salary was higher then hers. We unfortunately have lost contact after our Disney contact.
CHRIS: You’ve done so many films and videos. Do you remember each role you’ve played vividly or do you sometimes have to think to recall certain ones?
DEBBIE: I get asked this question frequently on the movies I have made. I can not remember them all. I did so many and most of them I never saw because I was doing so many at that time and I still haven’t had a chance to catch up. I am glad people have enjoyed watching them. I enjoyed making them, even if I can’t remember them all. Of course, if I were to watch them, I would remember. I bet not one single person could list them all.
CHRIS: (I mention a few of Debbie’s films that include Slaughtered Socialites  Hayride Slaughter  Cannibal Sacrifice  Warriors of the Apocalypse  Make Them Die Quickly [2016)] and Earth Girls Are Sleazy .)
DEBBIE: Of the ones you mentioned, I remember a few because of where they were shot. Hayride Slaughter was shot mostly in Delaware at a real Halloween hayride and those memories were fun. Warriors of the Apocalypse was shot in Erie, Pennsylvania, which is about eight hours from Philadelphia for those who don’t know. Pennsylvania is a huge state!! That movie was a fun movie to make and I would like to do more with this company as I understand they film often.
CHRIS: What is the film you’re currently working on and what can you tell me about it?
DEBBIE: As I type this, I am in between movie roles, but interested in seeing more scripts to choose my next movie.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your favorite fellow Scream Queens to work with?
DEBBIE: I have met a lot of the other Scream Queens on the convention and show circuit. Debbie Dutch remains my closest and loyal friend. Brinke Stevens and Debbie Rochon are good people and helped me in the beginning. Tina Krause and I still do projects together.
CHRIS: I won’t ask for any names, but are there some people in the industry, on either side of the camera, you have worked with just once and will never work with again?
DEBBIE: Out of all the producers/directors and other actors I have worked with, I would work with them all again. It’s a tight-knit family and you all learn to get along and remember that the project, and making the project the best it can be, comes first!
CHRIS: It’s refreshing to here an answer like that. So, what have been some of your most physically challenging roles?
DEBBIE: I haven’t met my most challenging role yet. I’ll get back to you on that when and if it happens. When I get asked to do a role, they pretty much know what I’m about and I haven’t yet stepped out of that zone.
CHRIS: Have you ever had any mishaps while shooting a film that required a trip to the ER?
DEBBIE: While shooting, I have probably came real close to missing the ER, but in fact, every time I have shot I have hurt myself in some small way. Scratched by anything near me, inside or outside bruising, tripping, falling. I am accident prone by nature. Not sure exactly why that is.
CHRIS: Have you ever taken a role or done a video or photo shoot that you later on wish you hadn’t?
DEBBIE: I usually except the roles that come my way because there is always something I can offer to the project in the character I portray. I haven’t regretted anything that I have done in the movies, then again, I haven’t seen them all. Some of my magazine layouts have been on the edge and perhaps I have been judged for them, but being known as the “Ultimate Fantasy Queen,” I have given myself to my profession, so I tried a few things to please my fans. It’s always best to simply reflect on the them and not regret. Hope for the best and let go.
CHRIS: Do you stick to a pretty strict diet and workout routine to stay in such good shape?
DEBBIE: I keep myself in shape by working out and eating right. Everyone should do this. Our body and mind are our vehicle in life. If you want it to be there when you need it then you need to take care of it so it will be there when you need it. Exercise your mind and your body how ever you are able.
CHRIS: What’s the strangest thing a fan has asked you to sign?
DEBBIE: I have signed a lot of autographs throughout my career. Nothing too strange yet. Strange is in the eye of the beholder.
CHRIS: Was “Destiny the Vampire Mermaid” solely your creation?
DEBBIE: The Destiny the Vampire Mermaid character was created by Ronn Foss. Ronn created Destiny in 1962 then Dennis Druktenis of Scary Monsters magazine published Destiny in his magazine in 1994 and called her “Destiny the Vampire Mermaid” and they found me as spokesperson for Destiny in 1995 after they discovered me from being in a magazine called Ocean Gypsy. After that, I appeared in Scary Monsters magazine (in stores worldwide) from 1995, as their mermaid, for over two decades up and until the magazine was sold to another publisher who wanted to take the magazine in a different direction.
CHRIS: Do you run and have complete control over your official website DebbieD.com?
DEBBIE: www.DebbieD.com has been my main website since 1999. I am in control of that site and people are welcome to browse in the archives of my career.
CHRIS: What events or conventions will you be appearing at in the near future?
DEBBIE: As of right now, I don’t know when my next appearance is, but I have been know to show up at last minute appearances. My main e-mail is the way to reach me from the site.
CHRIS: Do you have any hobbies, skills, or interests that most people don’t know about?
DEBBIE: I enjoy a lot in life and am always up to new challenges and like to try things at least once. I love to travel and make movies. I’d like to do bigger projects and try a few national commercials if they come my way.
CHRIS: With that, I’ll again say thank you for doing this with me, Debbie. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
DEBBIE: Thank you to everyone who has read this interview! My motto; Do what you love in life, it makes life more fun!! Happy Holidays!!
Debbie performing her song “I Want You in My Life” in a scene
from the 2006 video, Requiem for a Vampire