Mary Elizabeth Winstead Looks Back on Horror Roles Including ‘Black Christmas’ and ‘The Thing’ [Exclusive]

Now streaming on Netflix, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a badass terminator in the action-thriller Kate, a poisoned assassin who has 24 hours to get vengeance on her murderer before she dies. Not surprisingly, Winstead absolutely owns the role, with Kate delivering brutal violence with a side order of heart, further establishing her as one of the coolest living actors.

Of course, Kate is far from the first genre role for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has continually returned to genre fare. In the past twenty years, Winstead has starred in films including The Ring Two, Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, Death Proof, The Thing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Birds of Prey.

In a chat with Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew Podcast this week, Mary Elizabeth Winstead reflects on her past horror roles in particular, a genre she’s personally a big time fan of.

I’ve always been a horror movie fan,” Winstead explains. “I would say, I really seek out really well executed horror films. Growing up, my main go-tos were always Rosemary’s Baby and Alien. Those were two of my favorite movies, period. I think it’s why I never felt any sort of judgement about the genre. For whatever reason, there’s a bit of a stigma. Or it’s seen as maybe not as high art as other genres of film. And I was always confused by that, because you look at those movies and there’s no higher art to me than those movies.”

As for the horror movies Winstead has appeared in over the years, she walks The Boo Crew through a trip down memory lane in this week’s episode. Here are some choice highlights.

Final Destination 3

“I think I was just really excited about the challenge of – I think it was one of my first horror films, if not my first horror film. So it was very exciting for me to think about entering into this storyline that was maybe far-fetched or unrealistic, and trying to make her really real and relatable. Just really believe it. So I just wanted to play her as very real… part of me looks back and goes okay, I took it really seriously, maybe more seriously than I needed to. Meanwhile, a lot of people are just watching it for the gruesome deaths, you know. But the emotional impact was very important to me, so that’s really where I was coming from. And what I was excited about.”

Black Christmas

“Ya know, [Final Destination 3 writer/Black Christmas director Glen Morgan and I] just really clicked, he’s just such a cool, kind, quiet soul of a guy. And I think we were just very much on the same page, in terms of, we want to make movies with people we like, and that are pleasant to be around. And so we just were like, let’s keep working together. Let’s make something else. I love those guys. They just gave me such great opportunities in this industry to show what I can do, and I love them for that.”

Death Proof

“[Quentin Tarantino] would tell me all the time… he’d take me aside and say, ‘I need you to know how great you are.’ I was 22 years old or something… my mind was blown, consistently. He would just build up his actors. He’s such a fan of actors. You could just feel that. And that’s an infectious feeling. When you feel that a director is loving what you’re doing, and he’s expressing that; it’s this adrenaline rush. It’s an unbelievable confidence booster, for sure.”

The Thing

“There was always going to be I think a bit of CGI, because we did have some green screen work here and there. But there was a lot of practical effects that did ultimately get altered in the final version of the film. So there was a lot that didn’t get seen, unfortunately. Some really great in-camera practical work. These things always happen… there’s lot of cooks in the kitchen, and things change. I’m always sort of pro-practical effects, but at the same time there’s amazing things happening with CGI. So I don’t want to get too stuck in my ways with that. But yeah. I think we were all a little bit disappointed that some of that work didn’t get seen.”

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

“Everything was unique about that vision. Who would ever imagine that a horse would get thrown through the air and used as a weapon… in a story about Abraham Lincoln. You just don’t imagine these things. But I love that. I love being part of things that are just completely left-of-center. Out of nowhere. Just wild ideas. So I enjoyed it. Again, I maybe took my role more seriously than was necessary, but it was another challenge that seemed exciting to me.”

You can listen to The Boo Crew’s full conversation with Mary Elizabeth Winstead below.

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