2018 Films

2018 was a busy year for me film wise and I admit, I was rubbish at keeping you all updated so here’s a little recap of my year in film.

I started the year by going down to Southampton to finish off my scenes for Darren Ward’s Beyond Fury, not technically a horror, more of a crime/thriller although my character certainly has some horrific things happen to her.

This film had been a long time in the making, partly held up by me as my hair colour changed from dark brown to red about mid way through and I was red for around a year before going back to dark brown again, then the peroxide and red dye mixed with the heat of hair straighteners left my ends frazzled so I had to have a lot cut off and had to wait for it to grow before I could finish shooting.

These are the problems with shooting a film over a long period of time though rather than in a block, there’s bound to be problems with continuity.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this one turns out, if the directors previous films are anything to go by, it won’t be for the faint hearted!

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I had a bit of a gap after finishing Beyond Fury, I was busy working all the hours in my online casino presenting job but I left that in June and in the second half of the year my schedule was packed.

I went down to Poole in Dorset to film Harvest Of The Dead – Halloween Night, as the title suggests, it’s set on Halloween and is a true, unapologetic horror genre film.

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I’d never worked with the director, Peter Goddard before and I have to say the whole experience was a joy (well, apart from having to get the train back to London a couple of times with  hoards of drunken football fans).

A really relaxed set and a fantastic, efficient skeleton crew, I was always amazed by how many scenes we managed to fire through on each filming day.

I had a lot of fun on this one.

Then I was off to Birmingham for a little cameo in Alex Bourne’s Clownface, I met Alex on the Banjo set and was delighted when he wrote something in Clownface especially for me, a role that plays a loose homage to Courtney Cox’s character, Gail Weathers in one of my favourite films of all time, Scream.

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Next up was a road trip to Snowdonia for Maria Lee Metheringham’s Party Of Valice.

Maria cast me against my usual type for this one and I loved the character.

We shot and lived on location in a 18th century mansion, I loved it, I really felt quite at home there, I think there’s a  definite chance that I lived somewhere like that in a past life . . . The only thing I couldn’t get to grips with though was the lack of phone signal or Wifi, anybody who knows me, knows that I’d probably rather lose a limb than be cut off from the world without my phone.

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On one of the mornings, myself and another of the actresses decided to go for a run to the nearest village, we figured we could get our exercise done for the day and find signal, two birds, one stone, well, who knew that it’s much harder trying to run at a high altitude? It was not only up in the mountains, it was also blowing a gale and right by the sea. We must have looked so comical and out of place that an old man who was out walking his dog offered us a lift, we gratefully accepted, only later did we think it probably wasn’t the cleverest idea getting in to a car with a stranger and his dog, whilst being away making a horror film, I mean, that’s totally a cliche plot for a horror film in itself right?

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It was great being reunited with some of the cast and crew from Pumpkins, I love working with them all and Maria is a force to be reckoned with, she gets an idea, she shoots it, edits it and then on to the next! I do find myself feeling inspired when I work with her.

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Finally it was down to The Newforest for Terrence Elliot’s, Devil In The Woods, I’d met Tezz on Harvest Of The Dead and he and Peter Goddard reversed roles on this one, and it was great working with them both again.

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I moved to London over 11 years ago for work and I love it here but none of the films I’ve shot this year have been in London, they’ve been up and down the country, and well, actually, Wales is a different country.

I can only hope that 2019 will be as exciting, I already have a couple of things in the pipeline so I’m hopeful.

I also have some script ideas that I’ve been sitting on so in my down time, I want to crack on and get them written up and of course I haven’t forgotten about Bad Moon Rising still being in edit, it is also totally my fault but I’m on it!

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Hammer Glamour

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to be booked by a photographer who is fast becoming one of my favourites to work with for a Hammer Glamour style shoot at the iconic Bray Studios in Windsor.

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What an amazing experience shooting in a location so rich in horror movie history. 

Hammer Horror occupied Bray Studios from 1952 to 1966 unleashing a whole new era of horror and pumping out numerous titles such as The Curse Of Frankenstein, The Horror Of Dracula and  The Reptile.

Hammer launched the careers of both Peter Cushing and Sir Christopher Lee but their films also featured an array of scantily dress, glamorous young women many of whom went on to become stars such as Joanna Lumley, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Valerie Leon, Ursula Andress, Stephanie Beacham and Kate O,Mara, the list goes on and it’s these women who were the inspiration behind the theme of my shoot.

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My shoots precise location was ‘sound stage 3’ (which was originally stage 2 back in the 50’s) where I believe Frankenstein’s lab was filmed in 1957’s The Curse Of Frankenstein. The big door at the front is even the same although the sliding mechanism could do with a dash of WD40 these days!

I made a trip to Beyond Retro especially to purchase some vintage Hammer style, sheer night gowns (as if I need an excuse to shop) for the shoot and I finally managed to find a reason to wear a 1960’s wedding dress I bought from Judy’s Vintage Fair earlier this year. I have to say I’ve come back feeling very inspired after spending the day on hallowed Hammer ground.

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In 15+ years of modelling, this has got to be my favourite location to have shot in.

Unfortunately, the old house, Down Place which was built in 1750 is now pretty derelict even though the sound stages on site are still used by the film industry. 

I often feel like I was born in the wrong era, film wise, fashion wise, music wise and just general lifestyle and I’d love to have been around doing what I do now way back when Hammer was in its hey day, somebody bring me a time machine!!!

Seriously though, I’d love to see horror movies being made again with that old classic Hammer style. 

I was also spoiled after the shoot with a tour of the WHOLE studio lot and an amazing vegan vampire lunch at Oakley Court which was also used for many a Hammer film and might also be recognised by fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Horror On Sea 2018

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Horror On Sea is one of my favourite yearly events, organised by the wonderful Paul Cotgrove and set in Southend On Sea, the festival at the Park Inn hotel pulls in film makers and avid fans of the genre from up and down the country and is a great platform for indie horror films to premiere.

I’ve been lucky enough to have films screen there for the past four years running. In 2015, ‘Serial Kaller’ and ‘Axe To Grind’, in 2016, ‘Banjo, in 2017, ‘Zombie Women Of Satan II’ and this year, Sunday 21st January 2018 saw the premiere of ‘Pumpkins’

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Written and Directed by Maria Lee Metheringham, and edited, VFX’d and scored in lightening speed by a very talented bunch, principal photography only wrapped in October and the festivals submission cut off is in November, this was the first time most of the cast and crew had seen the finished article.

We shot mainly up in various locations in Yorkshire so for most that are based near there it was quite a distance from Southend but that considered there was an amazing turn out, one of the actors I think even had a 500 mile round trip.

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The hotel bar next to the function room is always a great place to meet like minded horror freaks and catch up with friends you’ve made over the years, like team Mycho whose film ‘Mask Of Thorn’ screened on the Saturday so I’m yet to see it and Mark Rathbone and the main reason I come to the festival every year (other than that I’ve had films screening each year) Marks ferrets! Their little faces though, too cute!!!

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Team Pumpkins – some of the cast/crew

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Jelly the ferret

I also missed Eileen Daly whose film ‘Witches Brew’ screened on the Saturday.

Every year I say that the next year I’ll do the full weekend but then January seems to come out of nowhere and I’ve ended up working but next year for sure, I’m going to do the full weekend!

Even though I was only there for the one evening, I still left feeling inspired, my friend John, also in the industry came along with me and we bounced a few ideas around in the car home so maybe we’ll have something to screen at the festival next year . . .

 

 

Pumpkins

Being a horror actress, Halloween is my absolute favourite event of the year, granted I’m definitely a little pink and sparkly and ‘I love unicorns’ for a horror actress but nevertheless, as soon as Autumn hits and those pumpkin spiced soya latte’s are advertised in all the coffee shops, I can’t help but get a tingle of excitement.

So imagine the excitement when fellow actress/directress Maria Lee Metheringham asked me to  join the cast of her Halloween themed eightiesesque horror film, Pumpkins!

What’s better than your every day horror film? A horror film set around Halloween!

OK, so it’s not Autumn yet here in England, in fact it’s meant to be Spring but it’s been raining so much, I think someone forgot to remind the weather gods! Anyway, last week I made a little road trip to ‘not so sunny’ Skegness for filming.

We shot over night in a very ‘Country’ pub, such an old building that as soon as you walked through the door you literally couldn’t get any phone signal, 4G or even 3G through the old walls.

In between filming we lived in caravans – because that’s what Skegness is famous for, I shared a room with Marcella Edgecombe-Craig (Panda), we hadn’t actually met in person before, but after a couple of days as roomies, accidentally keeping everyone else in our caravan up all night with our giggling, we’re literally friends for life!

Even our drives to set were eventful, with rainbows, bunnies and a group of very friendly cows, I do love the English countryside.

It was lots of fun filming, a great cast and crew and I’m looking forward to another days filming to finish off later this year.

For updates, please go to http://www.facebook.com/featurefilmgame

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