My newest interview subject, Darcy DeMoss, is a performer I’ve wanted to interview ever since I was doing articles for my previous writing base, RetroJunk. That was almost a decade back, but the end result was more than worth the wait. Darcy DeMoss is an actress, a dancer and a photographer, among many other skills, and this year marks the 35th anniversary of Jason Lives: Friday The 13th, Part 6, where she memorably played the character of Nikki. On August 11th, we talked about Friday The 13th, Reform School Girls, Can’t Buy Me Love, photography, conventions and more. I hope you all enjoy reading this interview.
A quick note beforehand: If you see watermarks on some of these photos, you can get them autographed without watermarks from Darcy’s page on the website Signature Horror. Run by the wonderful Gene DeRosa, many of your retro horror favorites sign through this website. I recommend them heartily.
Without any further ado, say hello to Darcy DeMoss!
Johnny: Hello, Darcy.
Darcy: Hi, Johnny. How are you?
Johnny: I’m doing good. First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me…
Johnny: …And I have my questions all ready to go.
Darcy: Awesome! Well, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Johnny: Oh, no problem. Let’s start with this: This year marks the 35th anniversary of Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives, where you memorably played the role of Nikki. When working as part of the Friday The 13th franchise in the 80s, did you have any idea that it would have such a legacy, or did you just view it as work at the time?
Darcy: I had no clue. I don’t think any of us really did. You know, I do a lot of these cons, and I do them with C.J Graham, who played Jason Voorhees, my director Tommy McLoughlin, Thom Matthews, who was the lead, and, of course, Tom Fridley, who was my costar. (Laughing) I don’t think any of us could have foreseen this.
Johnny: Alright. Speaking of that legacy, as I’ve asked several other Friday The 13th alumni, like Melanie Kinnaman and Deborah Voorhees, what do you think audiences saw in those movies that critics like Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel did not?
Darcy: I think that a lot of the fans can relate to the different characters. A lot of people were teased in school, or abused, or what have you, and they can kind of relate. It’s kind of fun for them to go out and see Jason just kick the cool kids’ asses, basically (laughing).
Johnny: That makes sense. The movies serve as sort of a catharsis. I’ve noticed that horror film fans do a lot of good work. They do a lot of charity fundraising. They care for causes for the afflicted and those who have been downtrodden. I think that 80s horror has definitely gotten a bad rap, with the movies and with its’ fans.
Darcy: I agree.
Johnny: When it comes to Friday The 13th, soon you’ll be reprising the role of Nikki in the fan film Friday The 13th Vengeance 2: Bloodlines, which I was a Kickstarter backer of.
Darcy: Thank you! Thank you so much! That’s amazing!
Johnny: Oh, you’re very welcome. When this film’s makers approached you about bringing the character of Nikki back, how did you react?
Darcy: Oh, I was thrilled beyond belief. They went back-and-forth. “Well, she died”, and then they said, “Well, did she? (Laughing) We never saw her dead!”, even though as Tom McLoughlin, our director, pointed out to me in a very long, interesting text, not only did Jason push my face through a mirror, I went outside the Winnebago and it flipped over I don’t know however many times, and then it caught on fire. Somehow, Nikki survived! (Laughing) She’s back.
Johnny: Fantastic. Is there anything else you can tell me about Nikki’s return, or do you have to play it close to the vest until the film’s release?
Darcy: Unfortunately, I’m just not at liberty to give away too much. I think, when it comes out in April, everyone will see what great fun this film is, and how much love was put into it. I think it’s going to be really, really good.
Johnny: Well, I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Darcy: Me, too!
Johnny: To go to a different credit, North American fans of director Tom Six are eagerly looking forward to the release of The Onania Club, where you play the role of Johanna Sturgeon. Do you think the movie will ever be released in the United States?
Darcy: I do, I do. I just think it’s actually very bad timing right now with everything that’s happening in our world, unfortunately, but I do. There’s a market out there. This film is so good. I’m so proud of it. I had the privilege of viewing it, and I just have to tell you that I’m so excited about it.
Johnny: Well, I’m looking forward to it, too. Tom Six is a director who challenges his audiences with his films, so what was your experience like working with him on The Onania Club?
Darcy: He’s completely brilliant,…The nicest man you’ll ever meet. We had a really great connection with him, the other actresses and myself. I can speak for the other ladies as well. We are all really, really excited, and proud of this film as I’ve already mentioned. We’re hoping that it will find a home, and I know there is a viewing audience out there. It’s just getting it distributed.
Johnny: Definitely one of the biggest challenges in our current media landscape.
Darcy: All the fans have been sending messages to him. “Release The Onania Club!”. It’s a tragedy that we just can’t get it released right now, and that it’s just sitting there when it should be out for viewing pleasure. There’s definitely a market for it, but we just have to locate that market.
Johnny: Well, I have faith that it will get out there.
Darcy: Me, too! (Laughing)
Johnny: When it comes to a project that was released, you played Myrtle in last year’s horror film Clown Fear. Do you find clowns scary, or was that movie just a chance to have some fun?
Darcy: It was a lot of fun. I’ve been friends with one of the producers, Asif Akbar. He called me up and asked if I wanted to do it, and I said, “What great fun”. I just loved our director, Minh, who is incredibly talented. I think they’re working on a sequel, which is going to be interesting, and because I didn’t get killed off, I believe I’ll be in it.
Johnny: That sounds like fun. To go to a different aspect of your work, you’re an active photographer with your own company, Exotic Visuals. Who have been your biggest influences as a photographer?
Darcy: Oh, my gosh. Well, I have to go to Bill Dow, who is a very good friend of mine. Tippi Hedren is my dearest friend, and he photographs all of her big cats at Shambala, which is a preserve where she rescues big cats. She’s got tigers and lions mountain lions.
Johnny: Oh my.
Darcy: It’s incredible. These animals come from horrific circumstances earlier in their life, and they get to go live out in sanctuary at Shamabala. It’s just an incredible, beautiful preserve. I highly recommend anybody that can get out there to go visit these cats, and donate, and also you can adopt a cat, which is pretty cool. Because of COVID, unfortunately, they had to close down, but I believe they’re reopening in September. Bill Dow is Tippi’s personal photographer, and he’s unbelievable. I also went on safari, and David Rogers was my safari guru. He’s a photographer, and he’s amazing.
There’s another photographer that does incredible aerial shots of animals. His name is Greg du Toit, and his shadows and stripes are so intense, if you ever go to his website. I don’t know him, but my favorite photograph of his is an out-of-focus elephant. It’s called Vanishing Elephant, which says so much because these elephants are being killed for their ivory, which is just a travesty.
Johnny: It certainly is.
Darcy: I’m going back to Africa in November.
Johnny: Well, I definitely know you’ll take some great pictures. Speaking of which, which pictures made you stand back once they were developed and say, “I can’t believe I shot that!”?
Darcy: Elephants are my favorite. I was on safari, and I had a private guide. They usually say, “What do you want to see today?”, and I said, “I want to see 100 elephants!” (laughing). The safari people looked at each other and said, “Well, that’s a very tall order. We can’t guarantee that, but we can do the best we can”. I said, “I’m pretty lucky, and I usually get what I want”, so needless to say, we sat out there for a couple of hours. We were having our lunch on the Chobi River, and all of a sudden, about 50 or 60 elephants came from one side of the mountain, coming down the hill into the water, and then another 50 or 60 elephants came from the other direction, and they all just played in the Chobi River right in front of us. It was the most amazing day, and I got some great photographs from that.
At the end-end of my safari at the Chobi National Park, my guide and I were sitting on the river bank. All of a sudden, this huge bull elephant came walking towards us, and then he kind of walked into the river and right at us. The wind picked up, and he decided to take a mud bath (laughing). It was flinging mud everywhere, and I was like a little kid stomping in a rain puddle. I had to put my camera away and just watch visually because there was so much mud, but it was a magical, magical day.
Darcy: I do have one photograph from that elephant. I call him Maharaj, and I usually donate that photograph for fundraisers. If somebody needs it, I have lots of copies that I have printed off and framed, and I donate them to whichever I’m asked for. I’m a giver (laughing).
Johnny: You definitely painted a vivid portrait with that story. You’re definitely an excellent storyteller.
Darcy: Oh, thank you!
Johnny: To go to my next question, as you first made an impression on me with your 80s and 90s work, I hope you don’t mind me asking some more questions about that.
Darcy: Not at all!
Johnny: To start off with, you were featured in several Aerobicise videos. I’ve asked this question of talents like Max Wasa, Julie Winchester and Marcia Karr, and now I’d like to ask it of you: What made exercise such a tremendous source of entertainment in the 1980s?
Darcy: Well, you know, we were in the aerobics craze, so when Ron Harris came out with Aerobicise, it was something completely different. I don’t know if you’ve actually watched them, but they came on the Z Channel and Showtime, and they had a warning before basically saying, “Don’t try this at home, but if you do, good luck!”. Ron Harris was a fashion photographer from New York, and then he started doing these incredible Aerobicise videos. I had the privilege of working for him, and what an extraordinary man. He is definitely missed.
Johnny: My first exposure to that kind of programming was actually when I saw a clip of the follow-up, the 20 Minute Workout, in the very first movie I ever saw, Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird…
Darcy: (Laughing) Okay. I don’t know it, but cool!
Johnny: …And I have seen footage of Aerobicise on YouTube. I mean, my preferred form of exercise is walking (Darcy laughs), but I can definitely tell the appeal exercise had in the 80s.
Darcy: It’s basically timeless. The videos still look amazing. It’s just gorgeous the way he shot them. We were on this turntable, and we had four cameras. There were three down below and one above, and the turntable moved. It went in a big circle. He also filmed behind the scenes, which is really fun to watch…I mean, if you’re an Aerobicise fan, and you can find it. He called me Wild Thing, and he always wanted me to do my exercises alone. He wanted me to stand out. He didn’t want to put me in the crowd with the other girls, so I’m truly grateful for that.
Johnny: Very cool. According to IMDB, your first film role was as Dede in Hardbodies. Although you’d had plenty of experience as a dancer going back to your childhood, were you nervous about making the jump to on-scren acting?
Darcy: Well, I had done commercials. I shot my first commercial for Sony when I was 15 years old, so I had been in front of the camera prior to doing Hardbodies, but I was really elated to get that part, so I could get my Screen Actors’ Guild card.
Johnny: Alright, and it definitely was an enjoyable movie. Movies like that are definitely great fun. I was born in 1982, but I became a big 80s fan in the late 90s as a way of dealing with all the hell I was going through in that decade. Hardbodies came into my view, I’d say, roughly around 2000 or so, and upon watching it on VHS, I just thought, “Wow, I wish I could’ve seen this first-hand!”.
Darcy: (Laughing) Yeah. It’s campy, good fun.
Johnny: Definitely. You’re the second cast member from 1984’s Gimme An F that I’ve interviewed, the first being Lisa Wilcox, whom I interviewed back in 2018. Were you a cheerleader growing up, and if so, what was it like to revisit those days on film?
Darcy: I did a little bit of cheerleading in junior high. Not much, maybe one year, but God decided I should’ve been a cheerleader, and every time I turned around in my 20s, I had pom-poms in my hands (laughing), which was great fun. With my dance background, gimme an F! That’s the film you just mentioned. I was one of the Moline Ducks.
Johnny: Definitely good stuff. Now we come to the movie where you really first made an impression on me. In 1986, you played Knox in Reform School Girls. You’re the fifth cast member from Reform School Girls that I’ve interviewed, following in the steps of Sybil Danning, Sherri Stoner, Linda Carol and Sheila Lussier. What are your favorite memories of working on that movie?
Darcy: Probably the Kitty Stomp (Darcy and Johnny laugh). Somebody who hasn’t seen the movie wouldn’t know what we were talking about, but it got a giggle out of you. It was an interesting experience, and I had a lot of fun. Working on films is an extraordinary experience.
Johnny: Oh, absolutely. It’s a movie that I’ve always gained great pleasure from. It’s one of the first titles I ever purchased on DVD.
Darcy: Well, thank you!
Johnny: It was a blast. I’ve just really come to love that entire decade of filmmaking. I feel it’s very underrated, and it’s definitely gotten me through some dark times.
Darcy: You know, I was just talking with Tom DeSimone, who was my director on that film. I was really nervous about the shower scene and being nude, and he said, “Well, I’ll take my clothes off, too, if that’ll make you feel more comfortable” (Darcy and Johnny laugh). Everybody said, “No, that’s okay!”.
He had directed a film called Chatterbox, and the woman who starred in it, Candice Rialson, was like my big sister. She lived in our house, and I have her dress from Chatterbox on a mannequin in my office that I look at every day. It was really fun talking to Tom and reminiscing. Tom directed Candice, and he also directed me, and it’s really interesting how this film business is three degrees of separation. Everybody know everybody (laughing), and you’ve worked with somebody who knows somebody.
Johnny: Well, it’s definitely a very interesting way to figure out connections. Even though Reform School Girls was where you first made an impression on me, the first movie I actually saw you in was as Patty in 1987’s Can’t Buy Me Love, which I saw on a trip to Ireland in 1996. Where do you think Patty ended up after she graduated high school?
Darcy: Oh, she opened up a chain of salons. She had a whole chain called Patty’s. You could get your hair done, your nails done, your makeup done. You could get waxed. You could get a massage. I think that’s where she ended up.
Johnny: Very cool.
Darcy: (Laughing) If you need waxing, go to Patty’s.
Johnny: As I asked Ami Dolenz when I interviewed her in 2018, Can’t Buy Me Love is about a young man who compromises what makes him special, thus alienating both his old and new friends. Have you ever been tempted to compromise what makes you you, or have you always been able to remain true to yourself?
Darcy: I think so. I think I have. You know, you’ve just got to follow your heart and do what’s right. You can get on another pathway, but that won’t bring you to anything great. By the way, Ami Dolenz is one of my very best friends.
Johnny: Oh, very cool! My interview with her was really a big success when I interviewed her in 2018, and she is a sweetheart.
Darcy: Isn’t she wonderful?
Johnny: I actually got her autograph, and I was able to get an autograph of her for my fellow Pop Geeks writer, Adam Pope. He’s Pop Geeks’ resident film reviewer, and he also has an enormous VHS collection, so he was able to get Ami Dolenz’s autograph on his VHS of She’s Out Of Control.
Darcy: I went to that screening with her. We had the same manager, Robert Martucci, who was the original idolmaker.
Johnny: That movie definitely deserves more credit than it’s gotten.
Darcy: Yes. Ami’s living in Canada right now, so I haven’t been able to see her. I talk to her quite often, but I don’t even refer to her as Ami. I call her Blue, because her middle name is Bluebell.
Johnny: Oh, yes, and that’s also part of the name of her art studio.
Darcy: Exactly. She’s doing amazing art. She’s just so incredibly talented.
Johnny: Absolutely. To go back to you, in 1990, you played Cherry in Pale Blood. You worked alongside George Chakiris in that movie. What do you recall the most about working with him?
Darcy: Oh, my god, George Chakiris! Stop it! Wow. That’s all I can say. For anybody who doesn’t know, George Chakiris won the Oscar for West Side Story, and he’s an incredible human being. I was on set in the makeup trailer. I have a lot of energy, and he says to me, “Who are you and where did you come from?” (laughing). I introduced myself, and he was just fantastic.
Johnny: i actually met George at the Chiller Theatre convention in April of 2018. He was very quiet, but very friendly.
Darcy: He is very quiet. He’s very reserved.
Johnny: Staying in 1990, you played Maggie Sams in the Wings Hauser-directed-and-starring film Living To Die.
Darcy: Wow, you’ve done your research! Thank you!
Johnny: Oh, you’re very welcome. You’re the first PM Entertainment veteran I’ve asked this of, so what was it like to work for PM?
Darcy: Um, you know, post-menstrual (Darcy and Johnny laugh). I worked with Wings Hauser on three films. Wings Hauser was in Pale Blood.
Johnny: Oh, okay.
Darcy: He was the videographer. Do you remember the film?
Johnny: It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.
Darcy: He was the crazy videographer that was chasing the vampire, George Chakiris.
Johnny: Oh, cool. I’ll have to catch up with it. It’s been a while since I’ve sene it. I know that Vinegar Syndrome recently released it on Blu-Ray.
Darcy: Well, I met Wings Hauser on that film, and then he directed a PM Entertainment film called Coldfire. I was his leading lady in that, and then he cast me as Maggie in Living To Die.
Johnny: It’s interesting how the connections you develop on one film can lead you to work on another.
Darcy: Exactly, and then we fell in love, and I had a five-year relationship with him (laughing).
Johnny: Well, on a different tack, you worked often with Playboy in the 90s, whether it was through appearing on the Playboy Channel series Eden or hosting Playboy’s Home Shopping.
Darcy: Again, good research! Not very many people know this about me. I was the first celebrity guest to host Playboy Channel’s Shopping Network.
Johnny: What stood out the most to you about working for Playboy?
Darcy: Well, I got to live in Mexico for ten months and meet some incredible people. Work, live life to its’ fullest…It was an extraordinary adventure, I must say.
Johnny: Definitely. I’ve interviewed quite a few Playboy veterans over the course of my time as an interviewer, and they all speak very fondly of the company. I’m just lucky enough to be able to interview talents like yourself, and when I say that, not just because you worked for Playboy, but because talents like yourself made the work that inspired me, gave me some inspiration in some very dark times, and got me to the light.
Darcy: You know, the series that I did for Playboy, Eden, was also on the USA channel on Up All Night With Rhonda Shear. Mr. Hefner was an incredible man.
Interestingly enough, my aunt is buried below him, and next door to him is Marilyn Monroe, and my uncle is buried above Marilyn Monroe, face-down. (Johnny laughs) Seriously, I’m not joking. My father is buried with my grandmother. I’ve got more family over there in that Westwood Cemetery than anybody else. They’re in really good company. There’s so many incredible people buried there. Merv Griffin…If you look at his grave, it says, “I won’t be right back”. He always said, “I’ll be right back”, so on his tomb, it says, “I won’t be right back” (Darcy and Johnny laugh). A lot of humor…
Johnny: Well, it’s good to have a sense of humor. To go to my next question, you played Alice in the 1995 made-for-TV remake of A Bucket Of Blood.
Darcy: Roger Corman!
Johnny: Yep. Had you seen the original movie before signing on for the remake, and if so, how did it influence your work on the film?
Darcy: I did. I did my research. I wanted to see the first one. For the life of me, I can’t remember it right now, but that was an interesting experience. I had to be cast because the villain makes art of dead things, like he kills a cat and he puts this plaster all over it, and people think it’s brilliant. He did the same thing with me. They had to do the whole body cast, so I had to sit there for hours and hours for the Alice art piece. It was a crazy, crazy experience, really fun and dark. Shadoe Stevens was amazing in it.
Johnny: Do you know what happened to that art after the movie was done?
Darcy: Well, I was given Alice. She was in my living room, and then she started to deteriorate, so I had to throw her away (laughing), unfortunately. We kind of kept adding to her, and then her tushy kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and then it didn’t look anything like me (laughing), so we said, “Okay, she’s got to go”. She ended up in the dumpster when I remodeled my first home.
Johnny: Well, on a tack away from film and TV, but related to it, one of the things that the American public is trying to get back to in our current chaos is autograph conventions. What’s been the most rewarding part of attending conventions for you?
Darcy: You know, you get to meet the fans that are just so enthusiastic and that love the franchise. It’s incredible that, after 35 years, people are still excited about the films. They’re still watching them, and then they’ve got the grandfather coming with his son, and the grandkid is there, and it’s so, so much fun. Interacting is terrific. It’s just a great experience, and I’m so grateful to everybody who is out there and enjoys our little films.
Johnny: Yeah. It’s always great fun to go to a convention. What’s been the most wonderful piece of memorabilia you’ve signed at a convention?
Darcy: Well, it’s not a convention. It would probably be Gene DeRosa of Signature Horror. I sign with him if anybody wants to purchase a photo or a video or any of that stuff. He sends me posters and memorabilia to sign.
I opened up a tube and out came a ginormous poster of Can’t Buy Me Love, and it was signed by Amanda Peterson, who was my best friend after working on Can’t Buy Me Love. She lived with me. She was living here in Los Angeles, and we were roommates for quite some time, best pals. She’s no longer with us. She’s been gone for about four years now, and to see her signature pretty much blew me away. It was her saying hello to me. I just know it. Of course I broke down and cried, but they were happy tears.
Johnny: That’s lovely to hear. I was glad they included Amanda in Turner Classic Movies’ TCM Remembers segment for 2015. I think they used a clip from Can’t Buy Me Love, and that was just really an honor. I’m glad TCM remembered her, even though the Oscars didn’t.
Darcy: Thank you! I don’t know what happened there. The Oscars and The Screen Actors’ Guild…I was very, very distraught about that.
Johnny: …But Turner Classic Movies came through. I think Turner Classic Movies does the best In Memoriam out of all the organizations that do them to commemorate the passing of great talents. I think TCM does it best.
Darcy: Yes, they do. I agree.
Johnny: On a lighter note, you attended the Chiller Theatre convention in 2014 alongside several of my previous interview subjects, including KimmyRobertson, Raye Hollitt, Kristine DeBell, and the late Galyn Görg. That Chiller was noted for Norman Reedus’ appearance causing an hours-long line. Based on that chaos, would you return to the Chiller Theatre convention if they offered you the chance to appear there again?
Darcy: Absolutely! Chiller was my favorite convention of all. I’ve done it twice. I had a blast. I got to be there one time with my girlfriend Tippi Hedren, so we really had a lot of fun. We got to have dinner with each other every night. Chiller was amazing, but there’s so many different areas, so I wasn’t privy to what was happening with all that chaos. In 2009, I was there with Taylor Dayne, Luciana Carro, and Ami Dolenz. The four of us were lined up together because we had the same signing agent.
Johnny: Alright. Well, I hope you’ll return to Chiller someday.
Darcy: Me, too! I’m working on it.
Johnny: That’s the main convention I go to. I’ve met a lot of great people that way, and it’s just a blast, but to go back to you for my final question: You still look amazing, so what’s the secret to your youthful appearance?
Darcy: Thank you so much. You’re so sweet. I have been juicing. I do green drinks. I do parsley, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber…I literally juice these organic vegetables. I’ve been doing it since I was in my early 20s, and I think it’s been a great help. I exercise, and I try to eat right and be healthy (laughing), but thank you!
Johnny: No problem. I just think you’re a really great talent, and it was an honor to speak to you. Before I wrap up, I have to say it has been an honor to talk to you. I actually first reached out to you, I think, back in 2012 or 2013, when I was writing for a website called RetroJunk. I was doing e-mail interviews at the time. We weren’t able to get it set up at the time, but I’m glad we were finally able to talk, and the interview was more than worth the wait. You’re a fantastic storyteller, and it’s been an honor to talk to you.
Darcy: Thank you so much, Johnny! You’re awesome, and I really, really appreciate this.
Johnny: Oh, you’re very welcome. I again thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I’ll catch you on Facebook, and one more thing: An early happy birthday to you!
Darcy: Oh, thank you so much! Can you just add one other thing there? When it comes to my beauty regime, I’m a big Tori Belle Cosmetics advocate.
Johnny: I’m guessing they’re cruelty-free.
Darcy: Yes, they are. I appreciate it very much. It’s magnetic eyelashes, and maybe that’s why I look so good. I’ve got these big false eyelashes that I love to wear, and they make my eyes pop (laughing), and one of the women from Tori Belle created it in her kitchen, so yeah. Cruelty-free.
Johnny: On that note, thank you again for your time. I’ll catch you on Facebook, and I hope you have a wonderful evening.
Darcy: Thank you so much. You’re awesome. You made this so easy. I really appreciate it….
Johnny: …And I appreciate it as well. Be well, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful evening.
Darcy: You, too. Stay safe!
Darcy: Looking forward to reading it. Cheers!
Johnny: Cheers! Bye bye.
Who will I Flashback with next? Stay tuned.