Horror cinema has been around since the late 19th century. That gives us 130+ years of thousands of individuals who have laid some cement on the foundation of the genre that we have today. From the performers who were drenched in blood and screamed their way through countless films, to the writers and directors who created the causes for those screams, to the makeup artists and costume designers who brought the horrors to life.
It’s been an internet hobby of mine since the internet was a thing to research those involved with the genre. The most interesting part of the research is the arrival of the present, and seeing where these individuals from past films are at now. With this monthly column, I will be sharing with you bits of information that I find out on these pioneers of horror past, answering the question, Where [Sc]are They Now?
The first individual that popped in my head to feature in this column had a trifecta of films in the 80’s in which she portrayed a teen who was definitely terrorized. The genre threw at her aliens in the form of clowns, slugs from outer space who infected the brains of humans turning them into zombies, and 100% bonafide zombies. Huh. Seems to be a theme of space creatures and zombies when it comes to the wonderful Suzanne Snyder.
Suzanne’s first appearance on a screen was on the buddy cop TV show, C.H.I.P.s in 1977. She followed that with a handful of TV and movie appearances, including a great role in 1985’s Weird Science. It wasn’t until a year later, in 1986, that she confronted her first terror in a horror film. Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps introduced Suzanne to the horror genre. It wasn’t a huge part. In fact, she’s in the film for less than 30 seconds, but her scene turned into one of those that ended up being one of the memorable moments from the film. The disinterest of her character became instantly iconic as she opens the door to a zombified frat dude to be annoyed and completely unaware of the danger. Suzanne’s character, Lisa, initially had more scenes, but they were left on the cutting room floor.
1988 would be a huge year for Suzanne, as it would present to the world the two other films of her horror trifecta of teen terrors. The first of these two films were released on January 15, and Suzanne screamed the first scream that would solidify her as a memorable lady of horror. In fact, she screams ..a lot.. as she’s attacked by multiple zombies in Return of the Living Dead II. She portrays Brenda, a bubbly teenage girl who was very much in love with her guy (Thom Matthews), and very much hated the idea of waiting and zombies. Her go as Brenda had more meat to it than Night of the Creeps, and she made it almost all the way through until love won over, and she literally let her boyfriend turned zombie talk her into giving up her brains for dinner.
Following running from zombies, Suzanne would run from Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Her role as Debbie is hands down one of my favorite ladies in horror. There’s just something incredibly iconic about Snyder’s portrayal. It all boils down to the return of what I will now dub as the ‘Snyder scream’, and the headstrong resilience she put into Debbie as well as the natural likability that she gave the character. Suzanne’s Debbie the only female character in the entire movie, but the character wasn’t just given the “damsel in distress” archetype. The Chiodo Bros. presented Suzanne with a character that she took to a level where the playing field was equal with the abundance of testosterone in the film.
After Klowns, Suzanne strayed away from the genre, but continued to act in many other TV shows and movies. Her last credited role listed on IMDb is from 2010. But she hasn’t put the roles within the genre behind her. Just take a look at the special features on the most recent blu-rays for all three of the above films. Within the past year, each film has been given the special/Collector’s edition treatment (Night of the Creeps and Return of the Living Dead II from Scream! Factory, Killer Klowns from Outer Space from Arrow), and she’s present on all three. Not only present, but she is also full of appreciation for each filmmaker that she’s worked with and with each performer that she’s acted beside. Suzanne also frequents horror conventions, and is always there to celebrate any landmark celebration for the trifecta that she appeared in.
Outside of the horror world, Suzanne is a thriving individual who is the mother of 7 children, and she is a Health & Wellness coach with concentrations in hypnotherapy (for which she has a Masters in), aromatherapy, yoga, and meditation. Her official website has all of the details.
Our first episode of Sugar and Scream with the beautiful Judie Aronson, my wonderful son Alexander True Snyder and gorgeous Sugar and Scream co host Jill Schoelen! pic.twitter.com/HHvocmlCyf
— Suzanne Snyder (@suzannesnyder1) May 1, 2019
Recently, Suzanne has announced that she is stepping back into the world of horror with an exciting new project. Coming in 2020, she will be co-hosting along with fellow horror gal Jill Schoelen (Popcorn, Cutting Class) on a cooking talk show titled Sugar and Scream, where the two will cook horror-themed dishes for “…the everyday person who likes to cook or needs to cook or even for someone who doesn’t cook.” Each episode will feature a special guest. These guests? People from the world of horror and sci-fi films and TV shows! Excuse the corny and probably unneeded pun, but that’s a recipe for a good Snyder scream with a side dish of Schoelen wail! Check out the official website for Sugar and Scream for more information as well as photos of the two ladies on set!