Deadlight District Doll: An interview with Characula!

Interview by Rich Leggatt

Beware all you unsuspecting fanboys! There's a new temptress of the night lurking in the shadows, ready to lure you back to her boudoir for a late night snack! I'm speaking of none other than Characula, a self–proclaimed dark rock goddess with the "desire of a woman... mixed with the blood of a she–demon."

Characula is the alter ego of Cheri Anaclerio, the product of this Southern Californian singer/songwriter's vivid imagination. My first impression of Characula was, in hindsight, a rather pedestrian comparison to Elvira: Mistress of The Dark. But upon closer inspection of her two videos: "The Mummy Dance" and a cover of Bad Company's "Ready for Love", as well as a more thorough listen to a handful of her memorable horror–rock hits on Soundcloud, it is clear that Miss Anaclerio is a connoisseur of both classic and b–movie horror culture – and that makes her an artist worthy of our utmost respect!

Characula is currently embarked on her "Circle of Lust Tour" across United Kingdom, starting in London. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to find out which town she will be descending upon next!

Without further ado, let's read what Characula had to say to Horror Metal Sounds...

HMS: Miss Characula you have a very interesting style. You remind me of a musical version of Elvira (Mistress of the Dark). What inspired you to create this horror themed persona of yours?

Characula: There is probably a dark, underlying psychology that accounts for my creation of Characula. Not knowing what that is I'll talk stick to the obvious! While in graduate school, I bought a synthesizer and started writing songs about a world inhabited by B–movie monsters as an escape. It was a perfectly surreal existence over which I had complete control and offered adventure far beyond the ordinary! The songs turned out to be very movie–like and were a lot of fun to write. However there was no way I was going to sing them under my name due to the far–fetched lyrical content and generous use of the word 'I'! I couldn't imagine any other female singer at the time – or even today, who would risk being institutionally committed either. Thus Characula was born as the perfect vehicle to get my music out. The songs are her and only she could sing them!

HMS: My favorite Characula single so far is "Deadlight District Dolls". I can't wait to hear more! When will your album be ready for release?

Characula: The album is almost complete. I plan on putting it out toward the end of the year after I've toured and introduced Characula to the public. The record is being produced by Dito Godwin and will come out in both CD and vinyl formats. All the songs on the album are over–the–top, catchy and horrifically "Characula"!

HMS: So who is your favorite rock n' roll idol – other than Characula of course?

Characula: I love Cher, especially in her days with Sonny. The costumes, the voice and the story songs... All were fantastic! In fact, I've always wanted to find a Sonny of my own to team up with. But I realized that if I wanted something to happen, I'd have to do it myself. No one was going to come along just like that. I had to have something to offer and I wasn't about to wait around for anyone.

HMS: What is your all time favorite horror film?

Characula: Dracula with Bela Lugosi. Lugosi as Dracula is very handsome and quite the ladies' man! I would definitely go out with him for a bite of the afterlife :) It's monsters like him [pant!] – charming, powerfully masculine and lecherous – that inhabit the imaginary world of Characula.

HMS: Love your videos. Any plans on maybe starring in a horror film of your own?

Characula: That would be nice! It would have to be of the Ed Wood/ "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" genre. I love camp and theatrical nonsense.

"There is probably a dark, underlying psychology that accounts for my creation of Characula."

HMS: I really like your version of Bad Company's "Ready for Love". What made you decide to cover this song?

Characula: While working on the album, I was advised to do a cover song in order to help break the door open for me, an unknown artist at the time. As a classic rock fan, Bad Company's "Ready for Love" has been on my radar for a while. It's very sexy with a great melody. I had the vision of making it heavier and performing it as a metal song with demon ad libs. Dito Godwin, the song's producer, had me do both the female and demon vocals myself, and then brought in a male singer to pay tribute to Bad Company's version. To top it off, Dito along with his son, Bernie, provided their own soaring keyboard and guitar riffs which added yet more flavor to the Characula cut! Personally, I can get never enough of the electric guitar.

HMS: Rumor has it that you are also a brilliant hardware engineer. Are you working on any diabolical contraptions that we should know (or be concerned) about?

Characula: I don't know about brilliant, but I do enjoy the profession! Engineers are paid to be logical as everything must be backed by numbers. Taking a nosedive into the diabolic and nonsensical, I am now working on bringing Characula to life with her "Circle of Lust" tour as a prelude to her album release. An undertaking that could be treacherous since Characula is not sane and is a known man–eater... literally! And the only number she's backed by is 666!

HMS: Any chance that we might be able to see Characula and her sinister band live in concert up here in Toronto in the near future?

Characula: I hope so! I will keep you posted.

HMS: Thank you so much for speaking to us Characula. We look forwarding to hearing more from you soon!

Characula: Thank you for your interview! I enjoyed it.

You can read more about Characula on her website.

Rich Leggatt, HMS

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About the artist(s):

Defying explanation and categorisation, Characula is a horror rock goddess with a flair for avante garde camp and over-the-top shows. Currently living in the underworld known as Southern California, she is neither a vampire, nor a werewolf, mummy or any other creature known from myth and folklore.

Social Media:

Music videos:

About the author:

Rich Leggatt is a multimedia artist and developer who, like Ken, graduated from OCAD in the early 90's. Rich has worked as a freelance illustrator, comic book artist, costume and prop designer, graphic designer for print and web, motion graphics designer and video editor.