[Erik Threlfall talks to Joy Tipping one of the stars of THE INITIATION (1983)]

Joy Tipping (aka Joy Jones) recollects what it was like making this low budget slasher classic in Texas; what it was like working with Daphne Zuniga and why Heidi should have been the killer ...

Q. Can you clarify the year it was made in - sources vary between 1983 or 1984 (yes, this stuff is important to fans!)?

Joy TippingNot absolutely sure about this, and those tax records have LONG ago vanished, but I'm pretty sure it was 1984. I would have been 23.

Q. How did you get the role, and do you agree that there should been much more Heidi in the film?

I was working with an acting coach here in Dallas named Don Shook (he also worked with Frances Peterson and Deborah Morehart, or Hunter Tylo or whatever you want to call her; we all knew each other for a long time before the movie, and Deb and I were in a production of "Vanities" together. Still in touch with Frances, too.) Anyway, Don had some connection with the filmmakers and sent a bunch of his students to auditions. We were good, too <g>, because a lot of us got cast. And yes, OF COURSE there should have been much more Heidi. My husband has a vision: "Saw XVL: The Revenge of Heidi." Personally I think Heidi should have been at the department store; she would have had the evil twin in a headlock STAT and prevented all that bloodshed.

Q. What was your experience like of working with established actors Vera Miles and Clu Gulager?

And with star-in-the-making Daphne Zuniga. Didn't get to work with Clu Gulager, but I worked in several scenes with Vera Miles, and she was absolutely lovely. When we were shooting that scene in the dream lab where she bursts in, there was an eclipse going on that night in Dallas. Vera and I kept running outside to look at the eclipse. Poor Daphne had to stay in that chair, while they worked on her lights and makeup and stuff. Daphne was a doll, but kept very much to herself. She was always working on her lines. Very serious actress.

Q. Any funny anecdotes from behind the scenes?

Joy TippingWell, at one point on the first day of (my) filming, they totally changed directors. I don't remember who it was at first, but by the time I got on set it was in the process of becoming Larry Stewart. I was terrified he'd want to replace me. I sat in my trailer (yes! I had a trailer!) and read a Stephen King book all day that first day.

Then when I finally actually got on the set with him, the first thing he said was that I was "too pretty." He wanted me to wear something grubbier, have less attractive hair (and NO lip gloss!), and put on my glasses. It was not a "movie star" moment, let me tell you!

The dream lab sequences, you probably know, were shot in a maid's closet at a Holiday Inn at Fitzhugh and Central in Dallas. It's gone now. I had a fun time learning to drive a stick for the scene where I come screeching up in the Ghia. I think it took longer to shoot that scene than anything else I was in.

About five years after the film was made, I ran into one of the other actors -- Chris Bradley when I was seeing Kevin Kline in a show at the Delacorte Theater in New York City. Chris was playing a bit part, and he had "The Initiation" in his credits, or I never would have known him; we didn't have any scenes in the movie together. He got us backstage and we got to meet Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep.

Q. How was the film received by the press (and even yourself) at the time of release?

Joy TippingWe got absolutely NO press here in Dallas; I don't even know if it got a screening here. I didn't see it for a long time, but when I did, I thought it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Did you know it played at the Cannes Film Festival? I love telling people that -- of course, ANYTHING can play at Cannes -- you just have to rent the screening room. It's only the films that are in competition that have any prestige attached. A friend in New York told me it played at a theater in Times Square, when Times Square was still really, really scuzzy.

Q. Have you watched it recently, and if so, what is your 2011 opinion on the film?

I watched it about a year ago with my three stepsons (ages 24, 22 and 20), who were duly impressed. They just wanted to skip ahead to my scenes, though <g>.

Q.How do the feel about the big 1980s glasses? :)

The big 1980s glasses were mine; it was, after all, the 1980s.

Q. What are you doing now?

I'm an arts-entertainment journalist with The Dallas Morning News. I didn't turn out to *be* a movie star, but I've certainly interviewed my fair share (favorite: Kevin Spacey). I've also written two literary travel books (as Joy Dickinson), and freelanced for just about every newspaper in the country, as well as major magazines. I'm trying my hand at fiction now. Maybe *I'll* write Heidi's sequel!

Relevant Links

Read the review of THE INITIATION.

Visit Joy's IMDB page.

Listen to the Hysteria Continues podcast dedicated to THE INITIATION. And also check out the special minisode which features an audio interviews with Joy and fellow cast member Christopher Bradley.