This past weekend I traveled up to the Northeast United States to check out Salem Horror Fest, a brand new horror festival whose mission is “to examine the themes of Fear and the American Experience within the horror genre.” With programming from September 21st–October 15th, Salem Horror Fest has featured film screenings and various live shows that examine horror in the context of significant American issues including race, gender, and sexuality. It looks to be having a hell of an inaugural year and based on my experience, I’d be very surprised if it didn’t come back again next year.
At the “Women with Guts” event on Saturday, we sat down for a screening of Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood (you might be aware that I’m rather fond of this film) and afterwards, I was lucky enough to sit down for a conversation with the only girl to give Jason as much abuse as he was used to dishing out, Lar Park Lincoln. Lincoln, lover of horror since she fell for shows like The Twilight Zone, was jazzed to watch The New Blood again on the big screen, which she hadn’t seen all the way through “in a million years.”
Not only was Lincoln a horror fan, but she was also a fan of the Friday the 13th series well before she got the role in The New Blood. She remembers how thrilled she was when she found out that the movie, which at the time was going under the working title “Birthday Bash,” was actually going to take place at the infamous Crystal Lake. “I was so excited. And when my husband Michael read it... he read it and said, ‘Oh my God, this is Jason... you go get this.’ Because we used to watch it at drive-ins.”
The ironic part about her husband’s excitement was that in order to get the role, Lincoln had to hide his existence from most of the production because she had to pretend to be “19 for ten years” to keep getting roles. When I asked her if she needed to take any specific steps to pretend to be a teenager on screen, she replied that she’d been doing that for a while so she had a system down by that point.
“I had a very specific method way of ‘backwardsing’ myself in time to being that age,” recalled Lincoln. “From the way I was walking and behaving, Tina was very naïve; the character was very naïve of everything happening to her. But every role I was playing then was that same age. So it was very important because certainly Hollywood wants over 18 to play younger, but they don’t really want to know about it.”
Of course, this type of age discrimination hasn’t exactly gone away in recent years. “So now we’ve been working with IMDb,” Lincoln said, “because they posted a lot of our ages and not the new actors’ ages and it’s like the only business that’s allowing this discrimination. We did win to get it removed, but IMDb is refusing to cooperate and abide by it.”
This need not to out herself as a twenty-something married actress in an industry where that would be considered over the hill forced Lincoln to separate herself from the cast, who were playing fellow teenagers, but she did get to spend some time with everyone’s favorite cowardly therapist, Terry “Dr. Crews” Kiser. “He’s fabulous. And actually, he’s also a coach today. He coaches out of Austin and in Colorado, and I’m in Dallas, so we get to meet up sometimes which has been amazing.”
Of course, Lincoln’s career in the horror genre hasn’t been exclusively spent battling Pamela Voorhees’ baby boy. A lot of horror fans will remember her from another Sean Cunningham-created franchise, when she played Kate in House II: The Second Story, in which she shares a film credit with her future would-be killer.
“Kane did the stunts on that, too. I didn’t even know it at the time.” She also remembers House II as perhaps having suffered from mismarketing. “House, which I loved, was more scary. And so House II I think was billed incorrectly, because it was more horror comedy, which I really liked.”
What some people may not realize is that Lincoln is one of the few actresses to do battle with not one but two horror icons, as she also went toe-to-toe with one Mr. Fred Krueger as a guest star in an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares.
“To me, it was my Twilight Zone. It’s what I wanted my whole life. And the director of Friday Part VI cast me in that, Tom McLoughlin. My character was dying in an operating room and seeing herself dead and Krueger is coming after her in different parts of the hospital as she’s living through these things.”
Alas, she didn’t get to spend any time with Englund, as their scenes were shot separately and combined in post, which got Lincoln talking about how important each role is in the process of making a film.
“Thank God for editors! Because if you don’t have an editor, and you don’t have a score, you’ve got nothing. In our industry, if you’re a name in a film... we don’t write it, produce it, direct it, score it, market it., but if it’s good, we get all the credit. And if it really sucks, and we don’t write it and direct it, produce it, score it, we get all the blame. Once you do it, you do it for the work and the art, and then you have to let it go. Because there’s no control after that—or at any point, really.”
These are the types of lessons learned in a 32-year career that Lincoln imparts to clients through her business, Actors Audition Studios. “I don’t really teach acting in a traditional sense because it doesn’t work today,” explains Lincoln. “I’m really more of a mentor.”
She also focuses on helping actors through the audition process, which she, unlike most actors I’ve heard from, actually really enjoys. “I just felt like it was the few minutes a day where I could actually be acting because we work for free. We do the art for free. We get paid for the hassle and the years that it takes to get there. So when I teach auditioning, I teach how to get rid of those nerves and to give an audition that’s so dynamic, which is why they work so much. It’s super cool. I love it.”
Her work as a coach isn’t keeping her from being in front of the camera, either. In fact, in the upcoming film Expulsion, a movie featuring parallel universes and multiple versions of various characters, Lincoln pulled double duty as one of the stars and as a mentor to a student who also had a role.
“I had a great time. In fact, one of my students, Colton Tapp, was playing duplicate versions of himself, so I was set-coaching him through the film. And I was cast as this woman who’s been through so many duplications in the world that she’s just very gray and white and trying to close the universe hole to get back. I loved it. I hope it turns out great.”