How horror icon Barbara Crampton finally landed a starring role with bite
Horror fan favorites Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) and Larry Fessenden (Habit) get to sink their teeth into big juicy parts with director Travis Stevens' Jakob's Wife (Friday). Crampton is Anne Fedder, a housewife whose adventurous spirit has been snuffed out by years of marriage to Fessenden's pastor, Jakob.
"My character Anne is long married to her husband, and she's settled into a complacent marriage and union with Larry Fessenden's character," says Crampton. "It's not a bad life, it's just not a fully realized life."
Their relationship changes after Anne is bitten by a vampire. "A horrible thing happens that jolts her into an awakening," says Crampton. "It's like if Marriage Story was a horror movie."
Jakob's Wife is a passion project for Crampton, who's also one of the movie's producers. The actress was alerted to Mark Steensland's original script after the screenplay won an award at the 2015 Shriekfest festival.
"Mark Steensland and Denise Gossett from the fest both contacted me and said, 'This would be a good vehicle for you. Would you want to read the script?'" says Crampton. "I read it and I was immediately captivated by the leading character. I said, 'Yes, I want to try and develop this.'"
Jakob's Wife is the third horror film to feature both Crampton and Fessenden after Adam Wingard's You're Next and Ted Geoghegan's We Are Still Here.
"Larry and I have a similar history," says the actress. "We've been in the independent horror genre for many years. Most of the time you see us as sidekick characters. It was nice to share a leading role with Larry and work on something in such a deeply meaningful way."
The film's two leads were also familiar with director Travis Stevens, who produced We Are Still Here. "I was really excited to reconnect with Travis, this time as a director, after his successful debut with Girl on the Third Floor. I think he's a budding horror master."
The Jakob's Wife cast also includes Nyisha Bell, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Bonnie Aarons, and Phil Brooks, AKA former WWE wrestler CM Punk.
"He's funny," says Crampton of Brooks. "Bigger than life. Just such a wonderful human being. He did Travis' last movie, and he just loves the horror genre, and couldn't have been more supportive or more gung-ho."
Thirty-six years after starring in the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation and cult classic Re-Animator, the actress remains in love with the horror genre. "We deal with death and loss," says Crampton. "It's fun to work out those things on screen. The more I work, the more I don't need a therapist."
RLJE Films and Shudder are releasing Jakob's Wife in theaters, On Demand, and Digital on Friday.
Watch the trailer for Jakob's Wife above.