Christopher Lombard

Women In Horror Month 2020 Spotlight: Kate Davies-Speak

Women In Horror Month 2020 Spotlight: Kate Davies-Speak

As we celebrate Women in Horror Month, I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with the phenomenal actress Kate Davies-Speak, an up and coming British Scream Queen similar to the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver. Kate was born and raised in Bristol, England. Check out what she had to say about her acting career, martial arts, taking time off recently to have a child, Women in Horror, and much more.

Monster: How did you get your start in film and what originally drew you to acting?

Kate: I’ve been a working actor for 20 years. When I finished my A-Levels in college I got involved in a production of ‘West Side Story’ and I fell head over heels in love with it. I played the part of Anita (she’s such a cool character). I loved her sassy manor and I remember battling self-confidence to get up on stage and bring the part to life. Receiving high praise from everyone really motivated me to want to do it a lot more.  I remember people stopping me in the corridor and telling me that I should keep pursuing acting and try for further productions. I was bit by the acting bug, as I’d always been quite shy at school and was mainly just associated with drawing cartoons and keeping myself to myself. So to be praised for performing really woke up a new passion with within me.  After that, I landed my first professional role at the age of 22 and I went off to tour for three months throughout the UK – a production of a musical called ‘Something’s Afoot’ (a murder mystery Musical!). I worked alongside people that had been  in the television industry for many years. I had such a great time, and again it just reinforced how much I was falling in love with acting and performing.  Over the following decade, I went on to be a support worker, helping other people to learn to act and dance and help people with special needs within the subject, but I was always aching to get back out and do some more performing work,so I joined the English Theatre Company and I was working mainly based in Sitges (near Barcelona). I was touring throughout Europe, mainly in Spain and Portugal, and that’s where I met my husband Steve and acting just became a huge part of both of our lives. During my theatre tours I was performing roughly four shows a day, every day of the week, which although I loved it, when I came back to England in 2012 I wanted to try something quite different, and that’s when I started looking more into doing screen acting. Screen acting itself is such a different type of acting but I kind of found a whole new passion for it. After that I just really hammered away applying for any TV and film productions that came along whether it was in student films, indie features, or even people just wanting to experiment with new cameras. I just wanted to be part of it so I could try to learn the craft. I’ve always found I learned through getting up and doing things.

Monster: You’re a certified fitness instructor and a practitioner of combat fighting techniques that you utilize in the roles and with characters that you portray on screen. Can you tell us a little more about that and what exactly it is that you do? 

Kate: Health and fitness is always been a huge part of my life I think I take after my Mum for that. I was always running even when I was a little kid, and I took quite a little passion into keeping Fit,  running,  playing sports; basketball, dancing and eventually in my teens I got into doing more martial arts. I just really enjoyed it. I started off doing a bit of boxer-size and then found out was maybe a little bit too aggressive and I wanted to learn more about specific martial art styles, so I took up Tang Soo Do Korean Karate which I did for quite a few years. During drama training at college, I trained in screen combat, which was a lot of fun for me and I loved seeing how you could make things look more aggressive than they actually were, tricking the audience into believing we were actually hurting each other. I qualified as a personal trainer about five years ago I often experimented on myself in terms of what I could do with my physique; so I’d train my muscles to try and look more ripped. I’ve always inspired by Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 and how her body transition really brought the character to life and made women admire her as an icon. I loved her as a really tough iconic female in film, and I wanted to have a little flavour of that myself, so it was always a motivation for me when I was hitting weights and in training outside, and even when I train other people I just enjoy motivating and being motivated. Even at a very young age, when I was a little girl, I looked up to you tougher women. When I’ve taken on roles for the screen, I would make sure that was my vibe as well.  Working as a fitness instructor is also really cool because it means I’ve still got the time and freedom to go away and take acting projects when they come up. It’s not not easy for actors to have the second job but I wanted to make sure that I had one that worked well with acting and I’ve been quite lucky.  On some sets I even offered to do some fitness routines with some of the other cast and crew just to get psyched up before we shoot. Everyone seemed to enjoy that. It’s good to kind of approach role with mind body and soul.

Monster: How did you find your way into horror and what do you love most about the genre?

Kate: I was always a fan of the horror genre when I was a child, watching horror films probably before I was old enough to do so. I specifically remember watching ‘Halloween‘ ‘American Werewolf in London‘ and ‘Terminator‘ and being terrified but also wanting to keep coming back for more, and it just became a bit of an obsession for me growing up. I’ve never been so scared that I’ve been unable to watch horror and I also always loved scary video games, they actually often terrified me more than films, especially ‘Resident Evil 7 VR‘. Working in horror in incredible fun. I remember shooting a film called ‘Beautiful People‘ (Italian horror film) out in Northern Italy, and we were shooting a scene and being chased by monsters and I turned to one of the actors saying “I’m literally living my dream here”. I also find the horror community is really supportive and those who understand in particular how independent films are made, are really incredible. It’s a real delight to share our work at events such as ‘Frightfest‘ and ‘Horror-On-Sea‘ because everyone understands the passion for the genre. They’ve seen a lot and they appreciate all the small things such as; practical effects and the gore, the homages to past movies and also that horror is something you can accomplish on the lower budget, still achieving some great results…and I love being part of that! I’ve met some brilliant people along the way.

Monster: As we celebrate Women In Horror Month, how important is it to continue to have strong diverse female leads represented in film, and what does WIHM mean to you?

Kate: I think Women In Horror Month is amazing! I always idolised women in horror, one actress in particular is Neve Campbell who played Sydney Prescott in ‘Scream‘ and to be part of that or to even be considered as a woman in horror (I love the term ‘final girl) is a true honor. Monster: Who are some of your inspirations and influences when it comes to acting and film?

Kate
: All actors have a mark that we want to make in something, and to be remembered for, and I’m more than happy for mine to be the horror genre. I think it’s great that some of the more recent horrors have really shown proactive, strong, tough females fighting back or even sometimes being a villain as well, and it’s something I really enjoy. Another favorite of mine ‘The Descent‘ by Neil Marshall. The cast were excellent and had such great, dynamic, brilliant acting, then the horror and monsters were thrown in and they were able to show what they were made of. I enjoyed this film because it’s important for me to see really credible fantastic actors working  in horror. You get it even more so now with the likes of ‘Midsommar‘, ‘Hereditary‘ and ‘Get Out‘. They all have terrific cast and performances that elevate the genre so much, and brings it into A-List territory. Florence Pugh is one of my current favourite actresses, especially when I saw her performance in ‘Midsommar‘ which I think she was incredible in. Not only is she an amazing actress and really charismatic, she really brings the best out of all the other actors around her. I could literally watch her in anything, but to be able to bring that level of performance into horror was really important for the genre because it goes against the grain of hammy acting, and brought a realism rarely seen in a scary film.  Toni Collete too for ‘Hereditary‘, her grief and pain were so real and so raw and really brought the trauma so incredibly and realistically- that’s exactly what I always try to tell people that professional actors working in horror still have to be good at what we do, and fill the drama and bring characters to life. Monster: What are a few of your favorite characters that you’ve portrayed, and what type of roles are you interested in tackling in the future?


Kate
: I was excited to play the character of Jessica in ‘Escape From Cannibal Farm’ and loved bringing her to life because her journey throughout the film just changed so much throughout the story. Starting out as a slightly bratty early 20-year-old sister/daughter who then evolved into a victim (portraying fear, trauma and resilience), and then who took that further into the realm of crazy before transforming into the quintessential ‘Final Girl’, I just really felt like I had this whole journey mapped out with that character and that’s what I loved about playing her. I also really enjoyed playing Kat in ‘The Barge People‘, which was written by my friend Christopher Lombard. She was to me the most realistic character I’ve played in a horror movie, trying to say and do believable things within the crazy circumstances. Although she was being pursued by monsters she was still at heart just a normal city girl, not an action hero, simply trying to have a break with her partner to rekindle a bond and relationship with her younger sister whilst dealing with the grief of losing her mother and protectively-struggling to hold her friends and family together.

Drama work that I have always have a hankering to play would be someone like a police officer or detective.  I loved the character of Deborah Morgan in the TV series ‘Dexter‘ and that’s definitely something that appeals to me, a woman who is intelligent and strong but certainly with more to her, a vulnerability and interesting back story. Monster: Do you have any special projects currently in the works that you’d like to share with fans?

Kate: In terms of future projects, I’m currently working on two films; one is a werewolf film and the other is a more comedic spoofy ‘Ghostbusters‘ type of film.  I’m actually just getting back into it all after taking a year off to have a baby, so I’m seeing what kind of roles come my way and seeing what my newlife experience can add to my performance. I will be scouting about soon for further work and for the opportunity to connect and work with many different people, and of course re-connect with those that I worked with previously.

Thanks for taking the time to ask me questions, it’s really nice that people have taken an interest and I’m very proud to be asked things regarding Women In Horror. I think it’s wonderful and I’d like to give a big shout out of love to all the other amazing women in horror. Thank you.
Posted by Donovan Smith in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, Monster Exclusive, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
Horror-On-Sea Film Festival 2020: The Barge People 2018

Horror-On-Sea Film Festival 2020: The Barge People 2018

The Barge People is a 2018 horror film written by Christopher Lombard and directed by Charlie Steeds. It stars Kate Davies-Speak, Mark McKirdy, Makenna Guyper, Natalie Martins, Matt Swales, Emma Spurgin Hussey, Sam Lane, Carl Andersson, David Lenik and Kane Surry. A pair of couples vacationing on a barge find themselves in a fight for their lives as they battle a family of mutant fish people while traveling the beautiful British countryside.

This is what horror is all about. Its Wrong Turn meets Dagon in this gloriously grotesque masterpiece. I fucking loved everything about this film. The practical effects are top-notch and the makeup is excellent. The costumes are solid and the acting really helps sell the film. The directing is great and you get a sense that the filmmakers truly understand horror. Their use of angles and attention to detail is incredible.

The music is fantastic and really sets the tone of the film. It’s intense and impactful, and really amplifies the violence. Kate Davies-Speak is terrific as the final girl. Her performance proves she’s one to watch and definitely a scream queen on the rise. She navigated the film flawlessly, commanding the reins.

The Barge People is absolutely brilliant. It’s the perfect addition to the slasher sub genre. It’s a practical gore filled gem with franchise potential. Pure midnight movie madness, worthy of a slew of sequels. Do not miss this film. If there’s a screening anywhere near you, go see it.

Posted by Donovan Smith in Categories, EVENTS, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments

10 feature films you should be watching at Horror-on-Sea 2020

Horror-on-Sea will be returning to Southend once again in 2020 with its biggest blood-soaked line up of independent film as they celebrate their 8th Year. It remains one of the UK’s biggest independent film festivals and was originally formed to promote independent horror films, which are not normally given an opportunity to be played on the big screen.

Hosted at The Park Inn Palace Hotel (Southend-on-Sea) the festival will be running over two weekends from Friday 10th January to Sunday 12th January and Friday 17th January to Sunday 19th January. Screening over 36 Features and 62 shorts, with many of these being introduced by the filmmakers themselves.

Here is my list of 10 feature films you should be watching at Horror-on-Sea 2020

Nefarious – Friday 10th January 20:00

Director: Richard Rowntree

Writers: Matthew Davies, Richard Rowntree

Starring: Aaron Thomas Ward, Richard Rowntree, Jon Vangdal Aamaas, Tony Sands, Nadia Lamin

Darren (Buck Braithwaite), Lou (Nadia Lamin), and Jo (Abbey Gillett) are barely living each day unable to escape the fringes of poverty, and with a mounting debt owed to the local criminal organization, they live each day in fear of retribution. On the other side of town, the already wealthy Marcus and his disabled brother Clive receive a windfall in the form of a winning lottery scratch card. The two very different worlds collide with disastrous results when an attempted burglary goes wrong. The would-be criminals get more than they bargained for and will be tested to their limits in a desperate attempt to survive a predator of monstrous proportions.

Nefarious is the second feature film from co-writer and director Richard Rowntree, who follows up his folk horror Dogged with a unique take on the home invasion sub-genre. Having already won several awards on the festival favourite, this highly original, intelligent and thought-provoking horror has already become a favourite amongst the horror fans.

She Never Died – Saturday 11th January 17:30

Director: Audrey Cummings

Writers: Jason Krawczyk

Starring: Olunike Adeliyi, Peter MacNeill, Kiana Madeira, Michelle Nolden, Noah Dalton Danby

Lacey (Olunike Adeliyi), a socially detached loner is cursed with immortality and a never-ending tedium of existence. In her attempts to keep her compulsions in check, she seeks out the darkest souls humanity has to offer. Lacey must now face her own inner demons while simultaneously finding her next meal. 

I was impressed with Audrey Cummings previous sci-fi horror Darken (2017) which played at Horror-on-Sea in 2018, so my expectations were high when I heard she was directing a standalone sequel to the underrated cult horror He Never Died. Delivering a with a more fulfilling story than its predecessor and an emotive powerhouse performance from Olunike Adeliyi, She Never Died is one of the rare occasions where a sequel surpasses the original.

Exit (World Premiere) – Saturday 11th January 20:00

Director: Michael Fausti

Writers: Mathew Bayliss

Starring: Tony Denham, Michael Fausti, Billy James Machin, Leonarda Sahani, Robert Alexander

A seemingly innocent double-booking forces two couples from different backgrounds to share a London apartment for the evening. A night of drink, drugs, sex and new experiences follows. However, as morning comes, events take a sinister turn. Everything has a price and not all debts are paid for with money. What would you do to survive? Leaving; it’s harder that you think.

Michael Fausti has already proven himself as a director to watch out for with his critically acclaimed shorts The Ingress Tapes and Dead Celebrities, so naturally expectations are already high for his Brexit inspired feature debut Exit. Despite giving very little away very few details leading up to the premiere, there has been a growing interest for the film and I believe it could be one of the unexpected hits of the festival.

Day of the Stranger (World Premiere) – Saturday 11th January 22:30

Director: Thomas Lee Rutter

Writers: Thomas Lee Rutter, Mark Twain (based on the original short story by)

Starring: Gary Shail, Gary Baxter, Shelley Krasnowski, James Taylor, Richard Rowbotham

Caine Farrowood (Dale Sheppard) is a bounty hunter who works under the control of ruthless kingpin Loomweather (Gary Shail). One day a bounty retrieval goes awry, and Caine is left for dead. Just when he thinks his life is over, he mysteriously awakens back home to the comforts of his wife Christina (Maryam Forouhandeh). Baffled and confused by how he got home Caine insists on finding answers, but before long he is enlisted in the retrieval of another bounty. This one is huge and may cost Caine not his life, but his sanity when he finds himself pitted against somebody who may very well be the fallen angel himself.

A film which has been plagued by problems and 6 years in the making Day of the Stranger can be described as both a labour of love and film making nightmare. However as this is already credited as the UK’s first ever Guerrilla Acid Western, this a must see for fans of independent cinema and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.

I Scream on the Beach! (World Premiere) – Sunday 12th January 20:00

Director: Alexander Churchyard, Michael Holiday

Writers: Alexander Churchyard, Max Davenport (original story), Michael Holiday

Starring: Hannah Paterson, Dani Thompson, Reis Daniel, Jamie Evans, Lloyd Kaufmanm

In the small seaside town of Mellow Coast, Emily (Hannah Paterson) is trying to discover what has happened to her father, but as she searches for answers her friends start getting picked off one-by-one by an unknown killer.

Following the release of the trailer I Scream on the Beach! has continued to gain interest amongst the horror community, with tickets for the premiere almost sold out before the festival begins. A self-aware nostalgic tribute to some of straight to home video horrors of the 80’s, I Scream on the Beach! incorporates a mixture of bloody horror and brilliant humour. And based on the early feedback from critics it is is already shaping up to be a cult classic in the making.

The Psychics – Friday 17th January 12:30

Director: Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen

Writers: Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen

Starring: Lovas, Frank Thomas Holen Andersen, Oddrun Valestrand, Hannah Karine Giske, Jennie Sofie Lie Pickl

A documentary film maker has to fight against evil forces when she starts to investigate a criminal mystery as a part of her movie project.

I can understand why people may get sceptical when it comes to another found footage film, with the ongoing trend in recent years following the success of Paranormal Activity. Whilst many follow a familiar formula  with the sub genre seen as a cheap way to make a film, The Psychics is one which breaks the mould. Norway’s second found footage horror (the first one being The Troll Hunter) is a paranormal mystery-thriller which has been shot as a documentary. Building the tension around a brilliant script, engaging performances and some original twists this is easily one of the most original and entertaining found footage films I have seen in a long time.

UK Haunters – Friday 17th January 20:00

Director: Dan Brownlie

UK Haunters is the first feature length documentary to cover the Uk haunt and scare attraction scene.

Already proven to be a hit on the festival circuit UK Haunters is a unique vlog style documentary that takes a look behind the scenes of the scare attractions and looks to uncover some of the tricks of the trade. Inspired by the found footage genre the documentary the film takes on it own as a unique visual style, and in the end begins to replicate the industry it was initially looking to uncover.


Bite Night (World Premiere) – Saturday 18th January 17:30

Director: Maria Lee Metheringham

Writer: Maria Lee Metheringham, Will Metheringham

Starring: Dani Thompson, Maria Lee Metheringham, Mj Dixon, Rachel Brownstein, Marcella Edgecombe-Craig

‘Haunted Honeymoon’ meets ‘My Best Friend is a Vampire’ meets ‘Clue’. When three beautiful ladies manage to grab the attention of a group of punks with their enchanting voices. They become the lucky guests or rather victims of the house of Valice. However, the tables turn quite suddenly when the ladies realize they are in fact the unfortunate victims of the madness which they themselves created.

The multifaceted Maria Metheringham returns to Horror-on-Sea, with her latest film Bite Night. A 90’s style mystery thriller which looks very different to her previous film, the 80’s slashers Pumpkins. Not taking itself too seriously, Bite Night looks to put the fun back into the horror genre and from what we have seen so far it looks like it could succeed.

PandaMonium (World Premiere) – Saturday 18th January 20:00

Director: Mj Dixon

Writer: Mj Dixon

Starring: David Hon Ma Chu, Oriana Charles, Dani Thompson, Will Jones, James Hamer-Morton

The guys on Level 6 like to work hard and party harder, and that means the best booze, the finest drugs and hottest women money can buy. Unfortunately for them, the strippers they’ve just hired have come with an unwanted guest. Jacob Jakushi, the infamous ‘Stripper Ripper,’ with an oversized panda mask and a taste for exotic dancers has these girls in his sights and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. It’s now Strippers vs PandaHeaded Serial Killer as they fight to survive the office party from hell. The 9th feature from Mycho Entertainment Group and prequel to SLASHER HOUSE 2 and its infamous Panda-headed Killer.

Writer-director M J Dixon and Producer Anna Dixon have become regular fixtures at Horror-on-Sea and have become a cult favourites with horror fans thanks to their unique visual style and interconnecting stories in the MychoVerse. PandaMonium is their 9th Feature and once again delivers something different to the series. Whilst the film remains rooted in the slasher genre, it also delivers consistently throughout with some brilliant laugh out loid comedy which you wouldn’t normally expect to see. Mycho fans however will not be disappointed as it still delivers with the kills that you would expect, but once the screaming starts on the screen, so will the laughter in the aisles.


The Barge People – Sunday 19th January 20:00

Director: Charlie Steeds

Writer: Christopher Lombard

Starring: Kate Davies-Speak, Mark McKirdy, Makenna Guyler, Natalie Martins, Matt Swales

Set on the canals amid the glorious British countryside, two sisters and their boyfriends head off for a relaxing weekend away on a barge, unaware of the flesh-eating fish mutants lurking in the water, ready and waiting to feed.

Another film which has proven to be a festival favourite on the festival circuit and already gained a cult following is  The Barge People which will be playing on the final day of the festival.  An bloody old school horror which director Charlie Steeds has described as a “Deformed fishy mutant mayhem on the canal, in a retro B-movie throwback to the days where the best horror was found in tattered VHS boxes on the dusty top shelves of video rental shops”. It is not one for the squeamish, but definitely one for the horror fans.

You can find the full festival listing the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and purchase tickets for the event here

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