Sarah French [Interview]

Welcome to Day 16 of Trainwreck’d Society’s Annual Month of Horror Showcase! We have a fully loaded month of all things horror for you fine folks! October is our favorite month for this very reason, and we are so excited to share 31 full days of film showcases and interviews with some of the finest folks from the world of horror, just as we have been doing for the last 5 years. What started as a simple 5 day showcase, has now blossomed into a full blown month long event. You’re going to love this! Enjoy!

Folks, I know I say this about every interview we do here at Trainwreck’d Society, because I am….but I am REALLY excited about today’s words! Sarah French is another absolute legend in the world of both mainstream and b-horror. I have been following her career closely over the last few years or so, ever since I caught a glimpse of her genius in the work of our dear friend and former TWS Person of the Year, filmmaker Steve Sessions. She has a brilliant eye for sensationalism and really brings out the best of any character she is taking on. She is the ideal Scream Queen for the modern era, and we are so excited she is gracing our digital pages today.

We were so pleased with her responses as well, as we got to learn that French is even moving beyond the world of horror, which I always believed she should do and so happy to see her talents being stretched across all genres. Her success in this genre is inevitable and will definitely continue forward, but I am under the opinion that the more French the better! I’d love to see her in EVERYTHING! So, again, we are so excited to have her as a part of this year’s Month of Horror. Please enjoy some great words from the amazing Sarah French!

What inspired you to get into the world of film and television? Was it an early aspiration to do so, or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’ve always been a ham in front of the camera as far as I can remember. In high school my friends and I would make our own horror short films on a VHS camcorder… does that show my age?? Eventually we upgraded to an 8mm. I think I still have those tapes around here somewhere. I would write the scripts and do most of the directing. I knew nothing about filmmaking so I’m sure the scripts weren’t in proper format haha! I just always loved to create and entertain people, whether it was on camera or in person. I also did my fair share of backyard wrestling and promos on camera with my friends. For those of you who know wrestling, I would be the “Stephanie McMahon” of our backyard wrestling. When I was going to college for Criminal Justice I took a few theater and acting classes as well. One day I was at a metal concert and a photographer came up to me and gave me his card because he loved my look and wanted to shoot. Naturally I thought it was crazy, but a few months went by and I decided to shoot with him. From there on I grew confidence and wanted to give the movies a shot. Being a big horror fan my whole life, I was on a horror forum and saw an independent film was casting. I auditioned for a movie called, Pajama Party Massacre, got the part, and the rest is history. Eventually I quit college to pursue acting. How do you go from Criminal Justice to acting? Beats the hell out of me.      

 What was your very first paid gig you remember getting in the world of entertainment? And did this experience have any lasting

If I remember correctly, my very first paid gig was a Car Soup commercial that was horror related, because they were releasing it around Halloween. They picked me to do the commercial because at that time I had a few horror projects under my belt and someone in the industry recommended me. It’s the typical slasher style set up… a killer is running after me through a house then the woods. Eventually I come up to my car, of course drop the keys with the killer right behind me, but I get in the car and it starts up right away because it was a car from Car Soup. I drive away spitting up dust in the killers face. I had a blast shooting that. When we were done I got paid and went on my merry way. I remember at the time thinking about how cool it was to get paid to have fun… basically getting paid to play! From then on I wanted more and more.  

 You have appeared in two wonderful films that were written and directed by our favorite B Horror filmmaker, the great Steve Sessions. These would be Shriek of the Sasquatch and Zombie Pirates. We’ve spoken with several folks who have worked with Steve, and we always like to ask what it was like to work on a Sessions project? Was there anything about working on his very low budget films that was special or set itself apart from other projects you have been a part of?

I love Steve and had such an amazing time working with him on those films. Those films hold a special place in my heart. Steve is very passionate at what he does and is such a hard worker, he’s basically a one man army. When he wants something done, he gets it done no matter the budget, he makes it work. His attention to detail is impeccable. As you know these films were very low budget, with that being said, he didn’t skimp on anything. He makes sure to have great set dressing, lighting, wardrobe, props, and SFX. As we all know period pieces are very hard to do especially in the low budget world. Shriek took place in the 70’s, so everything had to be 70’s related. As you saw in the film, it is! Steve collected items over the year that were either from the 70’s or looked like they were. He even got an old newspaper and soda cans that were authentic 70’s items. Working on very low budget is different in many ways. For one, you have more creative control. You don’t have a bunch of producers and execs down your throat every time you want to do something. If you want something done, you just do it. You don’t need to ask anyone. Also it seems to be more intimate when you’re on a low budget set. Not as much hustle and bustle, not on Steve’s sets anyways. Like I said, he likes to take his time, talk to the actors, and make it as stress free as possible. Steve is very chill and still manages to get the job done!

 I am very intrigued by a project you worked on that is currently in post-production, and happens to be written and directed by another old friend of ours, one Rolfe Kanefsky. So, is there anything you are allowed to tell us about this project? What sort of character can we expect to see you brilliantly portraying on this film?

Oh yes, you are referring to, Art of the Dead! Let me just say, I loved working with Rolfe. I’ve known him for a few years now, and we finally got the chance to work together. He’s such a great director and knows what he wants. He takes his time with each shot and makes sure it’s done how he envisions it in the script. I also got to work with one of my favorite DP’s on this set, Michael Su, whom I just worked with on another feature earlier this year called, Automation, which Rolfe wrote the script for as well. Everyone on this set was amazing! It was also my first time working with the Mahal brothers who are powerhouses in the Vegas film scene. Art of the Dead is about a family who buys possessed artwork from a high end dealer and they have no idea what horrors they are in for. I had the honor of playing Heidi, who is a “high end” prostitute on the streets of Vegas. She gets targeted by one of the leads in the film, Zachary Chyz, who plays Louis, who is possessed by the artwork at this point. Heidi has no idea what she’s in for and has to fight for her life to stay alive. I had such a blast with this role. Let me just say this, this role had one of my most intense stunts I’ve ever done… you guys are in for a treat!

One of the nights we shot right on Freemont Street in Vegas on a Saturday night and it was insane! By the end of the shoot we had a huge crowd watching us and asking for autographs and pictures. Such a great experience! I’m a big fan of creating a backstory for the character I’m playing.  I wrote a two page bio for Heidi in order to fully be able to step into her shoes.  

When it comes to the world of horror, you are hands down one of the most legendary figures in the genre. And this being our Month of Horror showcase and all, I am curious to know what it is you enjoy about working in the more frightening world of suspense and horror? What is it about this genre that has you so drawn to it, and yearning to continue having great success within it?

Oh wow… thank you! I’ve always been a fan of horror, as far as I can remember. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t want my sister and I to watch horror flicks, so naturally we wanted to even more! One day my grandma took us to a video store and we somehow convinced her to rent us Childs Play. From that day on I was hooked! As a teenager my friends and I would make our own short films, and they were all mostly horror related. I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of things. When I hit my 20’s I started out modeling then eventually started working in film. My very first flick was a short film called, Pajama Party Massacre. I had so much fun with that I was hooked, I loved every minute of it! I’ve always wanted to be that girl running in the woods, half naked, covered in blood… and it’s happened, more than once, haha! I love to be scared and do the scaring!  It’s just so much fun to step outside the box, experience other worlds, and basically get paid to play. As much as I love horror, I don’t just do horror flicks. This year alone I star in a romantic comedy called, Bryan, the RomCom with Vernon Wells, Felissa Rose, and Vincent Ward. I also star in a mobster film called, Booze, Broads, and Blackjack with Vincent Pastore, James Duval, and Felissa Rose.  I love all genres, though horror has my heart.

  What is your favorite scary movie? 

That’s always a tough one for me because I have so many I love. Scary wise, one of my favorites is the classic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  A few months back I went to a triple feature, 35mm screening at the Egyptian theater of Texas Chainsaw 1-3, with Caroline Williams introducing them. It was so great to see them on the big screen, such an amazing experience. The original TCM has such a gritty, uncomfortable, and realistic feel to the film. Tobe Hooper really knew how to get under your skin. When I watch TCM I feel like I’m in that house with Sally and Leatherface is after me. Because it feels so real, it scares me to this day and the film is 40+ years old! They just don’t make films like that anymore.   

What are you plans for the upcoming Halloween? Any kind of traditions you try to uphold each year?

I love Halloween! The whole month of October is special for me. I’m usually pretty busy working on projects or at conventions. But the last few years my boyfriend, Joe Knetter, and I would go to all of the Halloween filming locations… the Strode house, Myers house, Brackett house, the hedge where you see Michael standing next to while he’s stalking Laurie, the opening of the film when Halloween pops up, and we always have a drink at The Buccaneer, the bar from Halloween 3.  I love that movie and I’m glad it’s finally getting the respect it deserves. We make a day out of visiting these cool filming locations, it’s so much fun! This year I have a few things lined up but one thing I’d really like to try to make is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood! I’ve never done that yet and I live ten minutes from the park. This year they have attractions from Stranger Things, Trick r Treat, Poltergeist, Halloween 4, and more! I mean, you can’t go wrong!

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Always! The trailer just came out from one of my newest features, directed by Marcel Walz, called Rootwood, and is projected to be released before the end of the year! Horror Society quotes, “Combines the aesthetics of ghost films and the intensity of monster movies to create a unique horror experience with surprising twists and turns.” So be sure to check it out!! Also my mobster film that I mentioned earlier, Booze, Broads, and Blackjack, is set to be released before the end of the year as well, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! I was just in an art gallery show as a cover model for VHS covers from the 80s and 90s for Revenge of Slashback Video at the Mystic Museum in Burbank, CA. I had so much fun with this art piece. My photographer Ama Lea and I paid homage to Ken Hall’s Horror Workout, so we went full 80s! Spandex, big hair, leg warmers, you name it! It’ll be on display at The Mystic Museum till the end of September!

I’m really excited about Bryan the Rom Com.  It’s my first romantic comedy and I had an absolute blast working on that one.  I’m a huge metal fan so I’d like to plug the band Witherfall.  They are absolutely amazing.  I worked on the video for their song “Portrait”.  It’s totally badass.  They are all very cool guys.  I just shot a fun little part in Eben Mcgarr and Chris Ott’s slasher film Hanukah. Tons of cool people in that one.  Garo Setian’s film Automation is also very cool.  I think it’s amazing to be working on movies that I would be watching whether I was in them or not.  I’m just a huge horror nerd and love it.  I have a few more projects in the pipeline I have to keep under wraps, but let me tell you, this has been an amazing year and can’t wait to see what else comes my way! To keep up with me be sure to check out my FB fan page and my website at www.sarahfrenchonline.com  Or find me on Instagram.  It’s my preferred social media page.  That’s where I post the most and interact.

 What was the last thing that made you smile?

My amazing boyfriend, Joe Knetter. 🙂

Check out this trailer for Sarah’s latest film Rootwood, mentioned above, as well as a beautiful gallery of photos provided by Sarah French herself:

 

 

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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