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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
Monster Exclusive: Phoenix Fearcon VIII 2019 – Sun Studios, Tempe Arizona

Monster Exclusive: Phoenix Fearcon VIII 2019 – Sun Studios, Tempe Arizona

We were recently gifted the extreme pleasure of attending the 2019 Phoenix Fear at Sun Studios in Tempe, Arizona. With such a wide variety of options and amazing horror content, the Fearcon was an absolute blast. There were so many fantastic things to choose from including films, filmmakers, panels, celebrity guests, performers and much, much more.

The Phoenix Fearcon VIII was an incredibly energetic and immersive event. There was a stacked array of vendors, along with nearly every kind of horror-themed items you could ask for. Fans were likely to go broke, turning out their pockets for all the wonderful, worthy merchandise available. It was a really excellent spread – enough to keep you occupied the entire duration. 

There were some fantastic musical performances by Aurelio Voltaire and the heavy metal horror band Chiron. The legendary locals, The Phantoms of Phoenix, were also in attendance, delivering a truly awesome set. However, it was the band Agents of Lust who seemed to steal the spotlight. They gave two jaw-dropping live performances and a spontaneous parking lot show that seriously slayed.

Phoenix Fearcon VIII put on a very diverse screening of horror shorts, with a few local directors in attendance. A talented panel of filmmakers answered questions following the screenings and was very informative. They dished out some really sound advice for anyone looking to step into the indie business.

A handful of the short films were very well done, including Undead in the West, Static Kinship, Casulos/Cocoons of Outer Space, and Lion. The 2019 feature film She Never Died also made its Arizona debut, and trust us when we say that this film is going to take the independent horror scene by storm, just wait and see. There was even a screening of the infamous 1970 film I Drink Your Blood, and a rare reunion of four of the original cast members, including Rhonda Fultz, Elizabeth Manor-Brooks, Tyde Kierney, and scream queen Lynn Lowry (uncredited).

Film awards went as follows, 

Best Film: She Never Died,

Best Director: John Woodruff, Animal Among Us, 

Best Short: Athena, Christian Stahl,

Best Local Short: Static Kinship, Adolfo Navarro,

Audience Favorite: Undead in the West, Tony Noyes,

Best Venue: Sun Studios

Special guests also included the legendary former professional football player turned actor, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, and beloved genre legend Ken Foree. Both gentlemen were charming and exceedingly inviting – I highly suggest meeting them if you get the chance. They even did a panel on the history of African American’s in Horror with indie filmmaker Dineta Willians-Trigg and Thomas A’mal. Listening to them tell stories from their past and watching them interact was absolutely priceless. It was, in my opinion, the highlight of Fearcon.

“An Intimate Evening with the Vampire of History” was a terrific and in-depth look at the history of vampires, by Brent R. Myers. Another great panel came from local author and filmmaker, Craig Chenery, focusing on his life and career in horror. The Zombie fashion show was quite exquisite and exciting, and the Uniporicorn Theater is something you just have to see to believe. 

The Phoenix Fearcon VIII was definitely a homely and horrific experience. With so many different options to choose from and cool things to do, it was impossible not to have a bloody good time. It had a little something for everyone and we’re biting our nails in anticipation of the next event. Thank you for having us. 

Posted by Donovan Smith in ART AND VENDORS, EVENT REVIEWS, EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, FAMILY HORROR, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, Horror Music, HORROR NEWS, Monster Exclusive, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
Bill Murray could come back for the new Ghostbusters movie if he were asked

Bill Murray could come back for the new Ghostbusters movie if he were asked

Growing up Ghostbusters was the greatest thing for me ever. That’s all I wanted to be growing up as a kid and even as an adult. The first two films were great and people wanted more. For years we had cartoons, toys and just about everything under the sun but a third film. Most of the cast was on board and some weren’t. One being Bill Murray.

Bill didn’t hate the franchise but just did his own thing for a while. With the new remake that happened recently, fans were very vocal about it. However, the cast came back for cameos playing different characters. The movie isn’t bad. Not perfect, but not bad. Silence came upon the franchise with no talks of a sequel even though the remake does leave the door open to one. Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, went on to say he’ll be doing a direct sequel to the Ghostbusters with the plot being,  “A family moves back home to a small town where they learn more about who they are.”   film coming out next year with filming to start this summer. From IndieWire. Bill Murray was quoted by saying,

“I did [the remake] and I would do this next one, This franchise paid for my son’s college,” Murray added, reflecting on the Ghostbusters franchise as a whole. “We made this thing. We are the caretakers of it. It’s a great thing and it was a really fun movie to make. It’s a real movie with some really funny stuff in it.”

So, it looks like it’s going to be a huge yes from Murray. No word yet on any other cast members joining, but it might be a possibility. Next Summer of 2020 get ready to believe again.

Posted by Jai Alexis in CAST AND CREW NEWS, COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls LIVE, S01E01

House of Tortured Souls LIVE, S01E01

House of Tortured Souls LIVE

Sunday, 17 July 2016
Season 01, Episode 01

It's the very first episode of House of Tortured Souls LIVE! Join our hosts, John, Andrew, and Dixie as they talk horror. We are horror all the time. It's the first show and we are still working out the kinks. Did someone say kink? Okay, back to horror. In this first episode we do introductions, then we move on to talk about the new Ghostbusters movie. Who are you gonna call?

After that, we talk about the upcoming Scares That Care Weekend 3, and the Scares That Care charity itself. If you are anywhere near historic Williamsburg, Virginia on July 22-24, 2016, get your ass to the Double Tree Hilton for Scares That Care Weekend 3.

Finally, we send a special salute out to a living legend of horror. THE master of horror who finally gets some just recognition. Who is it? Listen to find out! Most of all keep coming back. The gang has great chemistry born of friendship and a mutual love of horror. Tune in, and turn it up!

Special thanks to Rocky Gray for our opening music and our artwork. You the man, man!

Posted by Allen Alberson in FEATURED CONTENT, PODCAST, 0 comments

STAFF PICKS: FAMILY HORROR

By John Roisland

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Remember the old saying " it all starts in the home"? Well it's true, and what we teach our kids at home is what will shape them into the adult we hope they will become. Such simple life lessons as hygiene , manners, and horror!! Tired of seeing your little angels do nothing but take selfies, watch videos on YouTube, and play bad video games like Mindcrap? They are growing up so fast, and nothing you try to do with them ever works, because you're an adult...you're a parent...you're a giant nerd- bucket to them!

Well fear not! This Halloween season I've personally made a list of movies (my Family Horror list) that you can all sit down and enjoy together! Family safe, and will still help mold these little bastards into the horror loving freaks that we all are!! But parents...I know what you're thinking ...and no. I'm not going to make you watch Smurf's Halloween special or any shit like that. If I wouldn't sit through it, I'm not going to suggest you do either! To hell with that!

Now I've compiled  this list from my own viewing with my own kids. They're not really in order, but let's just say they would be my top 10 family Halloween movies.

GHOSTBUSTERS – Made in 1984 and starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three scientists who open a ghostbusting company in the heart of  New York. It's total chaos, and tons of fun!

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Casper – This 1995 film was inspired by the original 1930s cartoon series and stars Bill Pullman as a single father and a young Christina Ricci as his daughter. The two move into an old, abandoned house and soon learn that they are not alone.imagesRTSSF0GE

Monster House – 2006 film about three young kids who believe the house across the street from them is haunted. On Halloween night, the three decide to take matters into their own hands. Stars Steve Buscemi, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard.  This, by the way, is also one of my favorite films!

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The Addams Family – 1991 film based on the classic 1960s  TV series. In The Addams Family, the Addams family fortune is in danger of being taken by an Addams impostor. This film is awesome, an all around well done production! It stars Angelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd, and the late Raul Julia.

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Igor – This 2008 animated film focuses on Igor, the mad scientist's assistant, who aspires to be a scientist himself! Stars John Cusack , Molly Shannon, and Steve Buscemi .

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Hotel Transylvania – 2012 animated film of a castle turned into a hotel. A hotel for monsters! All is in jeopardy when a human boy  stolls through the door and falls for Dracula's daughter! Stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Sandberg, and Selena Gomez.

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The Witches – 1990 Disney film that actually got a lot of bad press (I, for one, was fine with it. I hate Disney, but love this film... Hmmm) for being "too violent "and scaring kids in the theaters. I will admit The Witches isn't a typical happy-go-lucky Disney film; there actually is a dark feel to the film. It stars Angelica Houston as the Supreme Witch who is hosting a conference with other witches to rid the lands of all young boys and girls.

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The Monster Squad – 1987 film about a group of young middle school boys who join forces to rid the town of the monsters that have been taking over! Stars Andre Gower and Tom Noonan. "Wolfman's got 'nards!"

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ParaNorman – 2012 animated film about young Norman who has a gift to see the dead. This gift comes into play fast as the town soon becomes overrun by an evil that is bringing the dead back to life. Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Casey Affleck.

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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – No Halloween list of family favorites could be complete without this 1966 Charles M. Shultz classic. While Snoopy braves The War and the Peanuts gang go door-to-door trick-or-treating, Linus and Sally await the arrival of The Great Pumpkin in the middle of the most sincere pumpkin patch!

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So... grab some popcorn, plug the iPhones in to charge, and plant yourself next to your kids for a few hours of Halloween family entertainment! From our family to yours, Happy Halloween!!!

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Posted by John Roisland in STAFF PICKS, 0 comments