Lori Lethin was a mainstay of episodic television in the 80s, appearing in everything from The Dukes of Hazzard to Hill Street Blues. But it was her genre work that earned her cult status (although her role on Charlie’s Angels was pretty dang cool too!). Lori Lethin’s pretty and petite girl-next-door beauty may have ensured her a place in television and film, but it was the vivacious persona she exuded that made her such an irresistible force in the pantheon of 80s horror. Lori somehow always managed to grace her characters with a sense of wit and confidence, and most importantly, she looked like she was having a blast. She made three excellent forays into the world of slashers: Return to Horror High, Blood Birthday and of course the ominous killer gypsy flick The Prey. She’s a fan of horror, which may explain why she was just so damn compelling in her movies – even The Prey where the actors weren’t allotted a ton of depth.
After 1989, Lori disappeared from the screen until ten years later when she appeared in Brokedown Palace. Since then, another ten years have passed and Lori has not added any film or television work to her filmography, leaving a lot of fans wondering what became of one of their favorite horror actresses. I caught up with Lori recently and she was gracious enough to take some time to answer a few of the burning questions I had about her career, especially The Prey, and afterwards.
Retro Slashers: In the 80s your feature film work was predominately in horror. Are you a fan of the genre?
Lori Lethin: I am. 80’s horror films are so fun to watch… especially the obscure low budget films.
RS: In Bloody Birthday you worked with both Michael Dudikoff and Joe Penny before they became famous. Do you have any stories about them?
LL: I was in Vince Chase’s acting class with both of them. I did not know Joe too well but Michael and I did some scene work together. He was a hoot! I remember I had a very hard time even getting through the scene because I was laughing so hard!
RS: Birthday was also your first role as a lead in a theatrical. How’d you get the part?
LL: I auditioned for it.
RS: I asked Jackson Bostwick this same question. What year did you film The Prey? There are varying dates floating around.
LL: I can’t be sure. It was so long ago.
RS: What do you remember most about making The Prey?
LL: Being outdoors and my own stunt when I get killed… now that was fun!
RS: Your character has great camaraderie with Debbie Thureson’s character. She only has one IMDb credit. Do you know what became of her?
LL: I don’t know what became of her but I hope she is doing well.
RS: Also, I interviewed Jackson Bostwick in 2005 and he was hilarious. Was he as fun to work with?
LL: He was fun to work with and a really nice guy!
RS: Did you ever see The Prey after its release and do you have any opinions on it?
LL: I thought it was a great little low budget horror film.
RS: Return to Horror High is a fun movie. You got to work with some great talent (Brendan Hughes, Alex Rocco and George Clooney). Was it as fun to make as it is to watch?
LL: This was a blast to make. Alex Rocco is one funny dude. He kept me laughing!
RS: You worked in a lot in episodic television. Is there a difference between shooting a weekly series and a low budget feature?
LL: Money…money …money!
RS: Here’s another question I asked Jackson… Either loved or hated, The Prey has endured. Does its popularity surprise you?
LL: It does. I thought this film would come and go but it has endured!
RS: Edwin and Summer Brown only made one non-adult movie. What do you remember about working for them?
LL: They were a great team and were sincere about doing something different other then porn.
RS: You haven’t done any film or television since 1999. What have you been up to?
LL: Just finished school, getting my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
RS: Do you have a favorite performance or project?
LL: My favorite project and performance was in a movie for television I made called The Day After. Now that was intense!
RS: For nerd’s sake, I’m a huge Magnum P.I. fan and you were in a wonderful episode called The Big Blow with Sondra Currie and James Doohan, among others. Did you enjoy filming that?
LL: You bet! What could be better then Hawaii?
RS: Finally, what would you like your fans to remember most about your work?
LL: That I had fun and enjoyed every minute of it.
Read more about The Prey here: