MoreHorror Exclusive: Interview with 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' Actress Amanda Wyss

Amanda WyssInterviewed by Michael Juvinall,

I recently had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Amanda Wyss from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). You might not know her name but you will definitely recognize her from the role of “Tina” in that film. She has the pleasure of being known as Freddy Krueger’s very first murder victim.

Amanda has worked extensively in film and Television with some of her more well-known films being Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Silverado (1985), and Better Off Dead (1985). Her genre roles include the vampire thriller To Die For (1988), Shakma (1990), Black Magic Woman (1991), To Die For 2 (1991), and The Graves (2009).

Amanda has had over 50 Television appearances in everything from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1981), St. Elsewhere (1985), Cagney & Lacey (1986), Quantum Leap (1991), Dexter (2006), CSI (2011), and many more.

Amanda is such a versatile actress, with so many great roles under her belt, she is gracious enough to spend some of her time talking with fans and embracing her horror past, whereas many actors who start out in horror films prefer to forget the films that put them on the map to begin with.

Michael Juvinall: One of your better known roles was of course "Tina" from A Nightmare on Elm Street. How does it feel to be so well known for your role in that film?
Amanda Wyss: I totally embrace that role, when I made it I didn't realize it was going to be this iconic, classic horror film. I don't mean to self-advertise that, that's what people say. I totally embrace it and I'm totally honored that it's part of my legacy.

MJ: Do you have any interesting stories from the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street?

AW: When we did my death scene which just went on forever, the room spun around, I think everybody's heard that by now. Everything was nailed down and glued down in the room, I was always on the floor but as the room turned, I got vertigo and I completely freaked out. So I had to calm down and we had to keep doing the beginning of the scene because once we introduced the blood, there was one take. I had to get my mind back in the game so we could shoot that scene, so that was one of my interesting experiences on the film.

MJ: Have you kept in contact with any of the other cast members from the film?

AW: Yes, Heather (Langenkamp) and I are still best friends; I see Nick Corri, Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, and John Saxon. Now a lot of us from the other Nightmare films that I'm not in, through the years have become friends.

MJ: Are you surprised that the film is still as popular today as it is?

AW: Yeah, only in a really self-deprecating way because I can't believe I got to be a part of something that's lived on so long. It's so hard to know what's going to stick and what isn't, what's going to turn out well and what doesn't.

MJ: Have you seen the remake film? What are your thoughts on that?

AW: I have not. I have not seen the remake. You know what, I just love Robert Englund and he's such a good friend and I think Jackie Earl Haley is a great actor as well; I didn't really have any interest in seeing it.

MJ: I totally agree I didn't care for the remake at all. It was a film that didn't need to be remade at all. You were also in To Die For, I love that movie, and it’s a great vampire film, kind of underrated in my opinion. What can you tell me about working on that film?

AW: I auditioned for that film. The first one I loved, I love vampires and always have so that is just my thing, vampires and sci-fi, and I am just a big geek. I found that movie to be so much fun.

MJ: In the movie Shakma, was it scary at all working with the baboon running around?

AW: The baboon was terrifying; I was terrified of that thing. There was a wrangler on the set and they used electric fencing and stuff, the baboon ran through it once, I found the whole thing terrifying. Whenever you see me running and screaming in that movie I am running for my life and I am screaming for real. That movie is hilarious and it just is never going to die, people keep bringing it back up. I have to say there is some really fun internet news people (IGN), they use Shakma as their sign-off. I embrace it, I did not want to embrace that and now I do. You know what, it's not going to go away, it's not a very good movie but it's fun.

MJ: It's a fun film.

AW: I don't look like a scientist and the whole thing is kind of goofy, but it was fun.

MJ: Do you like coming to the conventions and meeting fans? Does it ever get old, trying to eat and some journalist bugs you while you're trying to eat (laughing)?

AW: I haven't done that many conventions, so to me it's still a novelty and it's exciting. I love hearing everybody's stories and why they like my movies. I get to meet people from all over the world and share their stories. The thing you really walk away with is how similar we all are, we're all just trying to make our way in this world and express ourselves in whatever way. It's still fun for me.

MJ: What question do you get asked the most?

AW: How did they do your death scene? What happened during the death scene?

MJ: Really?

AW: Yeah, oh my gosh! That and what's Johnny Depp like (laughing). Which I have to say, I have no idea because I only did one scene with him but I remember thinking he was awesome. He was the same cool kind of person he is now.

MJ: What's coming up for you?

AW: In December, a graphic novel is coming out called Harker and Helsing, it's a steampunk graphic novel about vampires and they used my likeness for "Abigail Van Helsing" the vampire slayer. I could not be more thrilled. In January, I start a film called Hell Storm that's going to be really good. After that, another independent film that's kind of a thriller/horror thing, hopefully in the New Year I'll keep some good stuff coming out which will be nice.

MJ: You've done a lot of TV, you've done a lot of films, do you have a preference over which medium you love more?

AW: I love doing movies because you have this longer arc and more time to work on a character, but as I get older TV is just nicer to women. There are a lot more roles for women on television over the age of 20. TV's just kinder.

MJ: Thank you so much for talking to me and I wish you the best of luck in the future. I've been a big fan of yours ever since A Nightmare on Elm Street and I hope to see you in many more projects. It was so nice to finally meet you and take care.

AW: Oh, thank you so much, you're sweet.

For more information on Amanda Wyss, visit her Official IMDB Page

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