Once dubbed Queen
of the super eight B movies
, Ellen Sandweiss was born December 30th, 1958 in Detroit, Michigan
. She was a friend of Sam Raimi
and Bruce Campbell
back in their high school
years, and one of the first talents Raimi believed in enough to feature her in his earliest films. Some of the early Raimi films she starred in include Shemp Eats The Moon
and Within the Woods
, where she played Bruce Campbell's girlfriend. Perhaps most notably though, Sandweiss portrayed the part of Cheryl in 1981, in the film The Evil Dead
. The plot? A handful of people find themselves lost in the woods. Then the forces of evil are unleashed and, well you get the idea.
Cheryl was one of five principal characters in the film, and the one of the five not paired up romantically. Cheryl's the one that wanders off into the woods, and is consequently raped by them. Yeah, you read correctly. She's raped by the woods
, I kid
you not. Perhaps one of the earliest, most risque and daring scenes of its kind in horror filmmaking
. Then Cheryl goes mental, gets possessed by evil forces, floats in the air (conveniently next to the window), stabs another girl in the Achilles' tendon
, and is then trapped under the cellar door
for about a third of the film. By that point it's pointless to describe further, because Sandweiss is no longer playing the role. There's so much makeup and costuming that many fake Shemp
s played the role for the rest of the film and most are not able to tell.
After her performance in The Evil Dead, Sandweiss kinda fell off the radar
of cinema. Rather than continuing to work in film, she enrolled in the University of Michigan
and earned both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in theater, the latter focusing on theater management. So her career has been largely behind the scenes with occasional stage work, voice over work, and singing gigs for night clubs. She's known to have a magnificent singing voice. Her favorite role however, has been that of loving wife
and devoted mother
. It is perhaps a role she'll never win an Oscar for, but any loving wife and devoted mother would perhaps agree that she should.
In 2004, Sandweiss returned to cinema
, by playing the role of Paula for the motion picture Satan's Playground
. The plot? A handful of people find themselves lost in the woods. Sound like it's up her alley.