Melissa Kunnap Reflects on Stereotype roles and Horror
Melissa Kunnap Exclusive Interview
Melissa Kunnap is an Actress, Director, and Writer. Kunnap directed, penned and produced the Horror short film The Stain. the synopsis reads as follows;
Three siblings learn the horrific secret their mother has been hiding.
Kunnap portrays the role of Clare in the Horror short DeadThirsty. This film screened at the 2017 Women in Horror Film Festival this year.
Below is an interview composed by Samantha Kolesnik.
DecayMag.com: You play Clare in the feature horror film, DeadThirsty, directed by Jason Winn. What is she like and what drew you to the role?
Melissa Kunnap: I had a lot of fun with Clare. She is physically and mentally strong, and at the same time extremely vulnerable. She’s not afraid to jump outside of her comfort zone and get hurt. I don’t read a lot of scripts where the women are just as capable, physically and mentally, as the men. Clare is the type who will put herself in the line of fire if it means saving you.
The fact that she is a protector and calm under pressure is what drew me to this role.
DecayMag: As an actor, which kinds of roles are you looking for in the horror genre? What do you feel would be the perfect role for you? Are there any roles in horror scripts that you’re tired of reading?
Melissa Kunnap: In horror, I’m looking for roles that are complex and imbued with humanity. It’s rare to find female roles like that in horror. My perfect/dream role would be a gritty real survival type, perhaps based around a psychosis or addiction. Issues that we generally keep quiet about, or which are considered taboo, are what scare and interest me the most. I am tired of seeing the stereotypical characters in horror. My least favorite characters are the one “black guy/girl” whose only role is to provide comedic relief and/or eventually be killed. There is a clear lack of people of color in horror, so at least write us a good storyline. The “dumb whiny blonde” makes my blood boil. She is always running the wrong way and waiting for someone to save her.
To me, there’s nothing worse than a stereotypical, predictable character.
DecayMag: There are definitely some political themes in DeadThirsty. Do you think horror is a good vehicle for social and political discussion?
Melissa Kunnap: Horror is a great vehicle for social and political discussions. You have a chance to reach a diverse audience. But at the moment I don’t think any political themed script is scarier than reality.
DecayMag: You switched from in front of the camera to behind the camera when you directed and wrote the short horror film, The Stain. Can you tell us about the story and what inspired you?
Melissa Kunnap: I co-wrote The Stain with two other talented women, Vanessa Aranegui and Courtney Lakin. I wanted to try my hand at directing and decided to get a team together for the 72 Hour Horror Film Race. The story was inspired by family secrets and how far they will go to keep them. We ended up winning best local actor (Grant McGowen). You can watch it on Vimeo.
DecayMag: Did you set out to perform in and make horror films or did horror find you?
Melissa Kunnap: It’s safe to say Horror found me at an early age. I remember my younger cousin got a Good-Guy Doll for Christmas, but her mom monitored what she watched so she didn’t know what he was. I was a complete asshole because I told her the story of Chucky and she cried and threw her doll in the basement. So, yes, Horror chose me.
It was love at first scream. I must have been six or seven when I first watched Child’s Play.
DecayMag: What’s next for you and where can fans stay updated on your upcoming projects? (Link to social media, websites, etc.!)
Melissa Kunnap: I am currently working on writing a short film with my talented partner, Brian Ashton Smith. We hope to film the beginning of next year. You can keep up with me and my current projects on Instagram. You can also follow DeadThirsty on Facebook.