WHO: Liesel Kopp, Actor
FAVORITE HORROR FILMS:
“The Serpent and the Rainbow”
As a child, Liesel Kopp was never a huge fan of horror films. But that’s putting it mildly. “Horror terrified me,” she said. “I still remember when I was little…I saw “Poltergeist” and it traumatized me. Oh my God, the trees, the worms and the guy’s face, the ground and the hallway…It was so real and so traumatizing.”
And with every horror film she watched, Kopp felt such a connection that she saw herself as part of the film. “As a kid, you kind of have these bizarre ideas,” she explained. “I came up with the idea that if I watched a horror movie of any kind, whether it was a serial killer or a fantastical demon…that I was essentially telling the powers that be that I would allow those things to come into my world and do the exact same things to me.”
It was her childhood exposure to “Poltergeist” and the musical, “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” that her parents brought her to (she still doesn’t know why) that turned her off to the guts and gore of horror.
But it was at UCLA where she honed in on her theatre skills, which ultimately brought her back into the horror genre. “You’re looking more at the behind the scenes—the craft of it all—and what goes together on all levels to put anything together, whether it be a play or a film, and I become fascinated with [it],” she said. And after working on two horror-influenced plays by Clive Barker, “Crazy Face” and “Frankenstein in Love,” for which she had a supporting and leading role, respectively, Kopp was hooked.
“Horror is such an…intrinsic part of our culture as well as cultures beyond American culture,” she explained. “There’s something so insidious about horror…there’s something that really gets into your skin with horror that’s so fascinating. And I just remember in all my acting classes, the teacher was like, ‘Raise the stakes! Raise the stakes!’ But in horror, it’s like this is life and death. It is a life and death situation.”
She then made her transition into film with her first horror piece entitled “Puncture,” a serial killer story involving a young couple stranded in the desert. From there, it seemed that Kopp found her niche, starring in multiple short and feature length horror films, including the over-the-top zombie flick, “Die-ner (Get It?),” the ridiculous and zany short “Doll of the Dead,” the devilish “Door to Door” and “The Congregation,” an Amish-themed zombie survival story (yes, not even the Amish are safe from the zombie apocalypse). Keep your eyes peeled for Kopp in “Revenant,” her new haunted house flick coming soon.
And while Kopp doesn’t only act in horror-based projects, she does prefer the genre. “I’m always happy when I get cast in anything. And then on top of that, when it’s horror, it’s just a little extra icing on top.”