In an era where we as a society emphasize the need for strong female figures, Lezlie Deane is the woman your daughters should be looking up to. In my initial appraisal, Ms Deane struck me as an intimidating and uncompromising individual. The kind of lady that reaffirms the insecurities of misogynistic men everywhere. As for myself, I was intimidated for different reasons. Considering the fact that I was about to call a bonafide rockstar, a moment of hesitation overwhelmed my fingers while dialing. I took a deep breath and nervously finished entering the digits. In the end, my apprehension proved to be ill-founded. Lezlie’s charming rock n roll candor was an instant icebreaker, creating a relaxed atmosphere for the duration of our conversation. The whirlwind story of Lezlie Deane is an ongoing serial of bare knuckled success. To share the chronicles of her life, is to share a portrait of unflinching resolve.
Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleader, may be three words that you find hard to associate with the contemporary Lezlie Deane, but rest assured this fact was confirmed. Early in her entertainment career, Lezlie was a member of the famous squad. Being an athletic and beautiful woman Ms Deane was a natural fit. However, in perhaps a foreshadowing of her career-long scrupulous conviction, our subject left the outfit after an altercation with a choreographer. This resulted in a clear horizon for Lezlie, ultimately landing her in front of the camera.
A series of television appearances would pave the way for her first feature film 976-EVIL. A horror movie from 1988 directed by Robert Englund. 976-Evil is an excellent example of the style of thrillers that populated theaters in the latter part of the decade. In our story of a malevolent 1-900 number, Ms Deane plays the supporting role of Suzie, a teenaged punk rock goddess. I hope she doesn’t mind noting her steamy love scene now committed to celluloid. To refrain from mentioning it is something my adolescent mentality just won’t allow . Lezlie goes on to say of her death scene “completely horrified phobic of spiders.” She was quick to point out that working with Englund, who is an actor himself, was “fucking amazing.” HIs understanding of the craft undoubtedly elicited the best possible performances from the cast.
Call it an omen if you will, the very next year a return to television would see Lezlie on the cult anthology series Freddy’s Nightmares. This syndicated and frankly hard to find series fell quickly into the annals of horror history. It’s premature cancellation attributed to after school time slots in conjunction with the ever growing power of the parentally concerned. In the episode Cabin Fever, Deane plays a flight attendant who unwittingly goes home with a passenger that may be a serial killer. Unfortunately I was only able to find a promo for the episode. Curse my limited resources.
This brings us to the role that Lezlie is probably best known for, Tracy in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. A phrase like “type-cast” can have a negative connotation. In this particular case, I believe Lezlie was the perfect choice for the job. Her lack of vulnerability explodes from the screen every time Deane is in frame. Making the character’s nightmare all the more powerful when it is finally shown to the audience. Tracey’s fate is uncertain but from her introduction you get the feeling that she isn’t going down without a fight. As a kid, I vividly remember my mom taking me to the local four screen cinema to see this film. It being infinitely important to myself to witness the demise of my childhood hero. I remember the 3-D glasses and their ad for the next New Line Cinema “House Party” entry. Most of all I remember Lezlie and the confusion she caused in five year old me. I recall being strangely attracted to her strong domineering presence in the film; my kindergarten mind unable to articulate freudian concepts like “submissive tendencies.” But enough about me, Lezlie’s performance came under the direction of Rachel Talalay, a woman who is closely associated with the entire Nightmare series. In response to my question about her experience working with Talalay, Lezlie said “It was great to work with a woman director cuz there weren’t alot of women directors back then, there’s still not alot of women directors.” She goes on to to say that Talalay got her flowers after the rather strenuous kickboxing shoot.
A change in career focus would find Lezlie Deane fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a musician. Deane was a member of Fem to Fem, a controversial group from the 90s that toured with acts like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. More recently, she is fronting the Texas based Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs. A hard hitting “glitter punk” outfit. Anyone who has seen the Nightmare on Elm Street documentary “Never Sleep Again” will recall the interview footage of Lezlie in the full Scary Cherry persona make up. The cathartic transformation from movie victim to monster now complete. A trip into the aggressive world of competitive roller derby earned Ms Deane and her team 3 first place seasons. Lezlie goes on to point out that she was not well liked by the league. Her competitive nature and intense commitment to athleticism didn’t sit well with officials.
As of late Lezlie is involved in the five star dining game, quipping that there is far more sex drugs and rock and roll in this world than she ever experienced being a musician. Her and Ze Ayala manage her social media accounts where she is extremely accessible to fans. Lezlie proved to be a delightful conversationalist, making my end of the experience so much easier. It rarely felt like an interview, just two people reminiscing. For that I am immensely appreciative. Thank you to Lezlie Deane for chatting with CCH it was a wonderful experience catching up. Check out Scary Cherry & the Bang Bangs on facebook for all the latest tour dates and information.
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