MY INTERVIEW WITH LISA LONDON by George Rother (aka Movie Guy 24/7)
I recently had the opportunity to speak with actress Lisa London, a name familiar to guys (like me) who spent their teen years watching late night cable TV in the 80s. She’s one the stars of the 1979 T&A college comedy H.O.T.S. I watched this one a lot growing up. It was one of the first “dirty movies” I saw when we had Cinemax installed at my house. I still like it to this day. Back then, I never dreamed I’d be in a position to talk with one of the stars. Being Movie Guy 24/7 does have its occasional perks.
We started off by discussing H.O.T.S., a movie Lisa describes as a “cult classic”. It was her first movie. I asked about her experiences working on that film.
Lisa: “It was a dream come true for a young actress. It was literally the first audition I ever went on so I guess you could really say it’s beginners luck [chuckles]. And it was being touted as the first female version of Animal House. “
She went to talk about how it was released in theaters all over the country and how it allowed her the opportunity to work with amazing people like Danny Bonaduce and the late Angela Aames. Lisa also told me that they went through three different directors before they hired Gerald Sindell. Of making the movie, she says, “It was just an absolute dream come true.” I asked her if she ever dreamed it would be remembered so fondly forty years later.
Lisa: “When I was doing it, of course not. When you’re that age, you’re like ‘Oh my God, this is great! Now what am I going to do? What’s next?’ before it’s even complete. I did start to realize though every two years something would happen where a film would request use of footage from H.O.T.S. or talk about it on a major news program or something. So I did see how it was making its mark on pop culture a few years after and ever since.”
I next asked Lisa about the 1986 action flick Black Moon Rising starring Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Hamilton. She’s listed in the credits as “Redhead”. It was a small part and I couldn’t remember where she was in the movie.
Lisa: “I’m the girl that [Tommy Lee] approaches at a gas station out in the middle of nowhere to get a ride somewhere.”
I also asked about The Naked Cage, the 1986 women’s prison picture from Cannon Films. Lisa said that it was recently shown in a restored new print as part of Quentin Tarantino’s film series at New Beverly Cinema. She describes it as a “really beautiful, ahead of its time film”. I asked about her next movie Dragnet, a comic take on the classic 60s cop show starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. It was a higher profile summer film. In it, she plays the “1982 Redhead” present at a poolside party thrown by Dabney Coleman’s character. I asked about her experiences on that film.
Lisa: “I got the biggest compliment of my life from Dabney Coleman and Christopher Plummer when they told me I was great at comedy. I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve arrived.’”
Lisa currently stars in Holy Terror, a new horror movie co-starring Kristine DeBell (Meatballs) and Mel Novak (Game of Death) available exclusively on Amazon Prime. She describes it as a “modern version of The Exorcist”.
Lisa: “If you loved The Exorcist, you will love this film. The performances are amazing. It’s shot beautifully. It’s shot to look like a retro older film.”
She went on to say that it allowed her the opportunity to work again with Gregory Hatanaka who directed her in Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance in 2015 (she plays a crime lord). Holy Terror is directed by Rich Mallery who served as first assistant director on Samurai Cop 2 (Hatanaka is the cinematographer on Holy Terror). She describes them both as “a dream to work with”.
Lisa: “It’s really great. It has just the right amount of scary and humor. It makes you think. I was just thrilled to do it. It’s a different role for me. I play a medium and my niece’s favorite auntie and that’s all I’m going to give away because I want everybody to watch it.”
I asked Lisa what drew her to Holy Terror and she replied that it was because it was unlike anything she’d ever done. She says, “At this point in my career, I really am looking for things that are different. That I can portray people, characters that I haven’t done before”. When asked if she’s a fan of the horror genre, she says, “They scare me to death.” One of next movies is Do You See Me, a fright flick about a scary clown. She says that she was scared to even shoot it.
On working with DeBell, Lisa says that the Meatballs actress was one her very first best friends when she moved to Hollywood and working with her (it’s the fifth film together) is “magical” because they have chemistry and relaxation which she says are “the key to great performances”.
Lisa encourages her fans (and everybody else) to watch Holy Terror, which was released on April 1, on Amazon Prime because they’ve started this thing where they give back to the filmmakers. She’s also in an upcoming webseries called Confessions of a Hollywood Bartender. In addition, she’s just begun work on an as-yet-untitled film with actor-comedian Johnny Vanokur. So it seems the H.O.T.S. star has remained active throughout the years. She’s as bubbly and perky as ever. She’s very excited about Holy Terror and I definitely plan to watch it. I was a real privilege speaking with Lisa London and I wish her continued success.