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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Scary babes speak out
By BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas
Life can be tough as a Hollywood sex symbol, says former Baywatch babe Carmen Electra.
The 28-year-old actress finds stereotyping and lack of serious roles have hindered her career.
But now she's the main attraction of the teen horror spoof Scary Movie, she also admits there is little reason to complain.
"When I did Baywatch - and posed for Playboy - it was my choice. I knew it would be hard for me after and my agent tried to dissuade me.
"But I really wanted to do Scary Movie because it sounded insane, crazy and such a lot of fun," she enthuses.
Scary Movie is a take-off of the likes of I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch Project and Scream.
Electra opens the film as high school beauty Drew Decker in a parody of the Drew Barrymore scene from Scream.
She is taunted on the phone by a blood-thirsty stranger, pursued and stabbed to death - but not before losing most of her clothes and being sprayed with water.
It has been a surprise hit in the US, and is tipped to do the same in the UK as well.
Electra wasn't put off appearing in the film by her role being a straight parody of her Baywatch part.
"It's great to be able to make fun of yourself. People think I am really stuck-up or that I don't have a good sense of humour," she explains.
"I've worked on so many sets where it's so uptight, like Baywatch, and everyone takes it so seriously.
"But all you want to do is trip up or hit someone over the head with something to make fun of it."
Although Electra's contribution is no great Shakespearean performance, it opens Scary Movie in the hilarious and very rude vein in which it goes on.
Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, the movie focuses on the absurdity and cheesiness of teen horror movies.
The characters in these films - usually 20-something white actors - consistently do what no one with an ounce of grey matter would in real-life - and are slashed to death as a result.
So it is too in Scary Movie. But to make their behaviour seem more ridiculous, the deranged murderer is also depicted as a bumbling fool.
Dressed in a cheap Halloween costume, he hides behind sofas only to leave his feet sticking out, while his bottom and glinting meat hook also get in the way.
Shannon Elizabeth plays Buffy, the most attractive girl in high school who believes no shirt is too low cut and no boy is off limits.
But Buffy is also "painfully stupid", which paradoxically was the biggest attraction of the role for Elizabeth, who made her name in another bawdy hit, American Pie.
"I don't like spoofs but when I read the script for this it was the first time I had found anything spoof-related funny," she says.
"Buffy is so much fun to play because you can say or do anything with her and it's never over-the-top."
Elizabeth also has the dubious honour of being the victim of Scary Movie's most memorable, prolonged murder scene.
Buffy just laughs and taunts "Mr Nasty Murderer" as he comes at her with a knife.
She sustains a series of appalling injuries until she is decapitated - but even that doesn't stop her screaming.
Elizabeth revelled in the action and laughs heartily when calling it to mind.
"It was my favourite scene and Keenen used it to audition all the girls' roles because it was so physical," she recalls.
"I wore a blue 'vanishing' suit to pull off the gag. They also made me up a prosthetic head - which I now have at home in a glass case, greeting people at the door."
Despite the hilarity of the final product, Scary Movie was, say Elizabeth and Electra, hard work.
Wayans made the film a family affair, involving brothers Shawn and Marlon as actors and co-writers.
"They were the nicest guys and I never saw them get into a fight. Keenen is very Zen like, really calm," recalls Elizabeth.
Elizabeth - who has signed a three-film deal with Miramax - is confident she was not just cast her for her looks.
"Keenen wanted a blonde for my character but in the end compromised because he preferred to have the best actress for the role," she says.
Electra, who has just worked on movies Perfume and Getting Over Alison, now has a music career in her sights.
"I really am a dancer who fell into acting by accident and although I enjoy it, I really want to get back to music - it's my passion."
Scary Movie is showing across the UK now.
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