Neve Campbell

Women In Horror Month 2020 Spotlight: Kate Davies-Speak

Women In Horror Month 2020 Spotlight: Kate Davies-Speak

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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
MonsterMania Con Review

MonsterMania Con Review

I ventured out 6 hours to Cherry Hill, NJ this weekend to attend Monster-Mania Con 42. Like all other conventions I have attended, I try not to be nit picky since it can’t always run perfectly but I’ll get into the positives and negatives shortly.

To start, they had a really good line up this year. Such celebrities include Danielle Harris (Halloween, See No Evil 2), Meatloaf (Rocky Horror Picture Show), All 4 cast members from The Craft (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, and Rachel True), Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Casper, Monster), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, The Expendables), and the “Heartbreak Kid” himself Shawn Michaels

Friday which was the first night is usually a hit and miss, sometimes it’s not too packed but boy did I underestimate how it would actually be. It was no where to what a Saturday looks like but it was a little close to it. First, what I normally dread is parking. It gets insane when you have to pay more money to park somewhere. The hotel was kind enough to run shuttles every 15 mins to a location where you can park for free, one thing to cross off the stress list. Now brings us to inside the building right at the start of con, some of the lines were unnecessary, those who already had wristbands could have been let in at the start time, there was no need having them linger in line with those who were waiting to get their wristbands, it started to cause confusion and blocked the entrances to where everyone was on top of each other or couldn’t walk by. 

What I liked was that they now scan your wristband each time you walk in, prevents from scammers which I have seen quite a bit of on the Facebook page with them selling or giving them away. They were also quick to come up with a solution for Fairuza Balk missing her first night. A lot of people bought The Craft group photo op they had to keep pushing the times back since Fairuza ran very very late. I think they handled it very efficiently, they posted about it in their new app and group page and offered a solution right away which was a refund or to have their op on Saturday or Sunday.

They had 2 rooms for the guests and 1 additional room upstairs just for Christina Ricci. In my opinion, if possible they should have spread out the major headliners in one room just so that the rest of the celebs had room at their tables. They had to form 2 separate lines one for Shawn Michaels and one for Neve Campbell in a tiny hallway where everyone had to stand in a file line to make room the best they could, they tried their best to be organized with it but it still had the fire marshals showing up with entrances being blocked. I know that they put all 4 girls from The Craft together for a reason so that when you meet one you have to meet them all, but they could of either been spread out or in the room upstairs with Christina. 

Now brings us to Saturday (which was also my last day here). It was jammed pack like usually but seemed a little more manageable. They capped the lines off when needed and the halls were cleared so there was a tad bit more room to walk by. The main room when you walk in was way too tiny to fit about 7-8 celebs in, it resulted into 3 big lines which went out by the main entrance. However, I will give it to the volunteers who kept up on everyone and did everything they could to keep the lines moving. Before leaving, I had to do at least one photo op. That was the fastest photo op I have ever done. The lines were taped off, everything went so smoothly. I actually enjoyed waiting in line for once. 

Highlight for me would be reconnecting with my “con family”, meeting Neve Campbell, doing the Twins bloody photo op, attending Q&As and just being a part of all the epic-ness. 

I honestly don’t have any other comments I can make, lines will always be a part of cons and it was so nice to see small changes being made to MonsterMania each time I attend. Definitely will not be my last time going.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, EVENT REVIEWS, EVENTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, 0 comments