Women In Horror Month: Sadie Katz “The Beast Inside”

Horror

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Sadie Katz is a force to be reckoned with in the world of entertainment, especially in the horror genre….fans know her from films “Wrong Turn 6”, “Blood Feast”. “Bus Party To Hell”, “Clown Fear”, “Megan”, and “The Amityville Harvest” among many others. Katz has now launched her production company See You Next Tuesday Films, who’s first feature “The Beast Inside” , directed by Jim Towns, just finished principal production. In addition to Katz, the film stars Vernon Wells (Mad Max), Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop), and Victoria DeMare with amazing supporting actors Anthony W. Preston, Danelle Von Visger, Pressly James Crosby, Denise Milfort, Kim Marie Austin, Ron Russell, Ben Stobber, William Christopher Ford and John Pasquale. 

The film is being scored by world-renowned composer Randy Edelman who is responsible for creating an endless cascade of many of the world’s most known soundtracks including: Ghostbusters II27 DressesWhile You Were SleepingThe Last of the MohicansKindergarten CopDragonheartXXXTwins, My Cousin Vinny, The Mask, Beethoven, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Anaconda, Mummy 3, Gettysburg, Billy Madison, Leap Year, The Whole Nine Yards, EdTV, Daylight and an endless array of others. The theme song for The Beast Inside was written by No Mansfield and performed by the San Francisco psyche-rock band Revolushn. 

What inspired “The Beast Inside?”

I’ve always been really intrigued by the themes of addiction and mental illness.  I have a close friend who has a schizophrenic brother, a manic-depressive sister and she has major depression.  She’s not even thirty-five and she had her tubes tied.  Her grandparents had mental illnesses as well as her parents, she didn’t want to take any chances.  Talk about demons.  I’ve portrayed a lot of crazy characters that I’ve tried to play as honest as I can- but I haven’t really told a grounded story while still dealing with those themes.  Jim Towns, our director and co-writer and I were just itching to tell a good story.  A mother having to battle her demon to save her son- to me as a mom was so relatable and terrifying. 

Since it is “Women in Horror Month” as a seasoned Scream Queen working in the horror film genre what statement would you make regarding that fact?

Here’s the thing- I love that it’s WOMEN in horror month. When I was a kid there really were mostly horror films with teen girls.  For years the title Scream Queen had a sort of negative connotation- this was a girl with big tits who ran through the woods and could give their speciality scream.  It’s funny because I don’t have a “scream.” I always feel like I cheated a little after I was cast in Wrong Turn. I’d get genre interviews and they’d refer to me as a Scream Queen.  I didn’t feel like I was that and I knew a lot of indie actresses who did a 100 films and I always felt like I was apologizing because I hadn’t earned that title.  In a way I feel like I accepted the crown as I became a woman.  I spent my thirties working on a lot of genre projects.  Horror fans are the best because they’re equally as supportive to indie horror as big budgets.  At the end of the day, I always wanted to be a working actress.  The horror genre has allowed me to do that.  I love that the role of women in horror is being celebrated.  Horror movies have been said that they can be degrading to women, however what other genre has more women willing to fight it out? To be brave? To have the last line? There’s a term- Passing the Bechdel Test… it means any film/book with two female characters that have names and speak to each other about something besides a man.  Believe it or not, only sixty percent of films pass this test.  It means in all modern films 40% of movies don’t have female characters who discuss anything together that doesn’t have to do with a man.  Obviously, the western film genre is the worst offender but here’s what’s really awesome…..second to musicals is the horror genre that has the most films passing Bechdal.  I can’t think of a bigger reason to celebrate! Damn it we need a flag! 

How do you think The Beast Inside, and having the lead female role tie in with “Women in Horror Month”, and do you feel the role of Anne empowers woman if at all.

Getting to act is always a gift, but it’s always in someone else’s hands.  You’re telling someone else’s story and you’re at their mercy for better or worse.  It’s an absolute dream come true for me to open up a production company- See You Next Tuesday Films, to tell stories I’m passionate about.  Talk about empowering!  As an actor sometimes I have a bit of a “stay in my lane” and I have to hold myself back from stepping on toes too much.  This experience gave me a HUGE load of responsibility but what do they say…with that comes power.  I’m hoping when the Beast is released it really shows what I’m capable of both behind and in front of the camera.  I love good writing.  A huge pet peeve of mine in indie film is that at times the script seems secondary.  As grateful as I am for some roles – others I wonder why the filmmakers couldn’t wait and find a better script? Like why this story? Do we need another cabin in the woods story?  Oftentimes the lead female is at the mercy of every man.  Like why?  You think doing indie films would allow you to tell smaller, more complex stories.  To take bigger risks… but we see the opposite. So much damn crying and sobbing. It’s 2022.  Women are powerhouses in real life – why are big budget movies reflecting bad ass females – The Conjuring, Halloween, The Quiet Place but low budget films still relying on tits and tears?  I think Anne is a flawed, complex, haunted bad ass. She’s not super-human, she’s not perfectly made up, she’s a fleshed-out character.  She’s chugging vodka, about to give up and then tries again. I think being empowered as a female is about not drowning in guilt and self-pity. I feel like that’s not the same issue with men but with women we’re constantly dealing with guilt.  I found Anne empowering because she’s flawed but she keeps on. I think Towns did a good job not judging the character but allowing her to survive on her own terms. 

Did you have a favorite scene?

I really love every scene.  It’s crazy to have a film that I’m so passionate about.  I’m very grateful for all my roles but I’ve also played a lot of sexed-up psycho villains and a lot of that is rooted in nudity and sex.  It’s hard to not doubt yourself- am I enough without the sex.  I’m also getting older and for every nude scene I wonder when I stop doing nudity will I know longer be up for roles?  Did I pigeonhole myself? 

Laurene Landon plays Jessica, my mother in this film.  She’s also known for her saucy roles (Maniac Cop). The thing that was so damn fun and freeing was her lack of vanity and her willingness to “get ugly” for the role.  There’s a scene where Anne is visited by the demon through Jessica and it’s truly the most intense scene- I’m watching the rough cut and it’s so hard to remember to breathe Laurene is so damn brilliant.  She’s just wow.  I’m so excited for her fans to see this side of her. She’s so brilliant. And terrifying. TERRIFYING. 

How did you prepare for the role of Anne?

This character was such a gift to me because Jim Towns (Director/Writer) and I really worked the story together.  Towns cast me in my first horror feature “House Of Bad” almost a decade ago.  I really trust him and we have become good friends over the years.  If I’ve ever had a “work husband” I’d say I really have been blessed and enjoy creating with Towns.  Shout out to his fiercely fabulous wife Betty Lou for putting up with me!  I’ve done a couple films with Jim as well as worked with him as my editor on The Bill Murray Experience.  When I brought this story idea to Jim, we had initially decided to work together ten pages at a time writing it.  After agreeing on the story Towns went first – he sent me the first 15 pages and I immediately was Anne.  It was as if Jim crawled in my heart and wrote exactly who I saw Anne to be while also making her unique and a challenging role to play.  I had a taste of what it must be to work on a tv show with writers who know you well- waiting for the new pages was an amazing experience.  The role wasn’t me, but it was this split of me- a character written towards my acting strengths.  What an absolute gift.  While myself and my producing partners (the tenacious Jimmy Star and Eileen Shapiro) were scrambling to raise funds – Anne had already taken hold of me.  I found myself thinking about her randomly.  I really fell in love with her and ached for her but rooted for her to fight.  I kind of get choked up just thinking about her.  When I first started acting, I’d be in my trailer, green room whatever really prepping needing time to “get there.”  This was such a different experience I knew Anne. It was my story, but not.   I have a lot of mental illness in my family and the idea that I might pass that on to my son was in every way just as scary a demon to contend with.  My relationship with the priest mirrored a relationship I had with a family member- it’s so powerful to me that instead of prepping tears and such I felt like I would jump in and force myself in the scene to not fall apart.  It’s an indie film actor trap- to believe crying in every scene makes you a “good” actor.  I’ve done that.  I can do that, it’s in my bag of acting tricks.  But, to not lean into that was what I thought was beautiful about playing Anne.  I also have to say we had a wonderful casting director Kim Swanson who found some really talented actors….I believe that you can only be as good as the other actors you’re playing opposite. I was fortunate they were absolutely wonderful.   

 

Please give us a brief premise of the movie? 

A mother must fight a demon that she has inherited from her deceased mother before the demon destroys her and moves on to her young son.   

What were some of the challenges the film presented?

 I was starring in and producing that’s a blessing but also a challenge. It’s very right/left brain working.  I feel like most of the challenges had to do with securing the financing. You don’t hear filmmakers talk about it a lot but getting people to trust you, invest in your project is HARD.  Oftentimes the people that suck the most time from you are never going to come through on the money.  It’s a cruel thing. God bless Jimmy Star because I really wanted to quit. I was so exhausted by the ups and downs. The legal paperwork and film permits were so over the top. He and Eileen Shapiro are my friends and publicists and they were like just keep going, we’ll have it.  I was honestly sick about it because Jim was in prep for the film as a director and I was busy hiring crew , finding locations, and getting actors. It’s an insane feeling because people are relying on you to employ them.  The harshest conversation I had was with my manager when I requested days to “book out” of auditioning. He was adamant that actresses have their film project fall apart all of the time- that actresses always say they want to produce and nothing happens.  He actually refused to book me out – it was a huge thing.  I have my producing partners Jimmy & Eileen to thank and our amazing Executive Producer’s  John “SohoJohnny” Pasquale and No Schubert for trusting in me… and (my now former) manager nothing gets me riled up more than someone saying you can’t. 

What’s next for Sadie Katz?

I have a couple of really cool films being released this year- Night Carnage, a horror rom/com where I play a vampire hunter alongside Mike Ferguson.  State Of Desolation is finally getting it’s release. It’ll be worth the wait for sure. Jamie Bernadette is brilliant in it and there’s a lot of great faces people will love to see.  This spring I’m going to be directing my first feature film, a road trip comedy “Little If Any.”  I’m looking forward to doing another thriller through my production company come summer. 

Photo Credits: Evan Nisch

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