Tiffani Fest, Felissa Rose and Dominique Swain star in director Jody Barton's exceedingly clever For Jennifer, available now On Demand from JB Films. In celebration of the release of For Jennifer we got a chance to speak with actress Tiffani Fest about her favorite horror films, working with the life-long manager of The Comedy Store, and found footage movies.
After a surprise horror themed birthday party, Jennifer gets a scare that leads to an accident. Jennifer is a horror blogger and huge horror movie fan. Her friends, to cheer her up after the accident, decide they could make a movie. They collect their gopro cameras and phones and begin to shoot. Soon, the discoveries of other low budget horror films similar to theirs begin to intersect with their own movie. This sends Jennifer on a journey to understand where these other "Jennifer" films came from. The journey leads to a discovery about the films she could never have imagined, and she realizes her participation has put her life, and the lives of her friends, in real danger. A danger they have to endure, whether by choice or not ... if they want to make a good horror movie.
Your latest film is For Jennifer, which is available on Demand. Were you a fan of the previous Jennifer films?
Tiffani Fest: Yes. Actually, I saw the second film first, being a friend of Hunter Johnson's & hearing good things about it in the horror community. At the time all I knew is they were found footage style films, shot using only iPhones. I was definitely intrigued, especially learning there was no intention for the film to become a series of spinoffs. Hunter just really liked James original film, and contacted him regarding creating and starring in a follow-up. And that's how the Jennifer series was born.
How does this one differ from the previous films in the series, in your opinion?
Tiffani Fest: I think one of the main differences in our film is the use of comedy. Jody Barton is well-connected in the stand-up comedy world, being a long-time manager of the acclaimed Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. He cast a lot of comics in Cameo roles, as well as added a comedic undertone to the film in general, which contrasts nicely with the horror elements.
I also feel like our film really ties the 3 previous films together in a way that had never been done before in the Jennifer movies. We bring back the original killer from James film (spoiler!), as well as bring back Hunter to reprise his character's role, and several others characters who come back to close out the series with us. Personally, I think the finale that comprises the last 30 minutes of our film is epic and just about as perfect an ending to the quadrilogy that you could ask for!
With so much of the film mirroring real life in a smart, very meta-way, how similar would you say you are to Jennifer?
Tiffani Fest: I think we were all definitely bringing ourselves to the forefront of these characters. Keeping it natural, very grounded & real. I think this goes hand in with any found-footage style movie, where the audience should feel like they're watching real people in real life, not a movie. Even more so with our film being "a movie about making a movie," so the audience should feel like they're watching the "behind the scenes" moments, what's really happening in between takes. So, if it seems like Jennifer isn't a character, she's just "me" playing myself, then I did my job perfectly.
What's your favorite horror movie of all time?
Tiffani Fest: That's always a hard one for me to answer! I'd say favourites include: the original Alien (1979), and more recently I adored A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) and The Eyes of My Mother (2016). I like a good arthouse horror film, with depth and tragedy & devastating cinematography.
And of the film's you've been in, do you have a favorite?
Tiffani Fest: Of course, in some ways, I love every film I've ever had the opportunity to work on, because it's taught me something or encouraged me to stretch and grow. But favorites would be Circus of the Dead, the film which launched me into the horror circuit in 2014, starring Bill Oberst Jr. Even though in some ways it's just a brutal slasher, the cinematography is stunning, the score is haunting, and it very much homages the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Clockwork Orange, two of director Billy Pon's favorite films. It has a very 60s killer clown throwback vibe that I love.
Another favorite would have to be Ugly Sweater Party, which has such a ridiculous level of 80s throwback Slasher elements, it's almost too cheesy to watch. And I mean that as a direct compliment! Director Aaron Mento has a Troma background and an extensive collection of B horror VHS at home, & this movie is nothing less than love story to that. Both incredibly sick & twisted movies to watch.
For Jennifer is available now On Demand.