Over the course of the last few years, Sadie Katz has really begun to carve out her place in cinema. Not only is she a very talented actress, she’s a screenwriter (SCORNED), producer, and director. Ever since the release of WRONG TURN 6: LAST RESORT in 2014, her star has been on the rise. Her portrayal of the demented Sally Hillicker in that particular film has helped garner attention, leading to a string of upcoming and exciting films. As a director, Sadie is about to unleash her documentary THE BILL MURRAY EXPERIENCE which I’m sure will help to show the world she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s intelligent, talented, and hysterically funny, all which our evident in our latest conversation.
Corey Danna: When we had talked last, it was still a couple of months before WRONG TURN: LAST RESORT was released. Now that people have been able to see it, how has it affected your career?
Sadie Katz: It’s been really great, especially since it was an international film. I still get people looking me up everyday on Facebook or Instagram, so that’s kind of cool. A lot of people really liked the film and others have an opinion on it, they liked it or hated it, some people love to hate it. It’s cool to be a part of such a huge franchise! It’s this really weird thing where everyone likes to say that I’m a scream queen now. O.K., that’s pretty rad and I can’t complain. It makes Christmas with my family pretty exciting. They got to see me with my legs off, my boobs off, and my face all scarred up while I made out with my brother (laughs). And like every three days somebody from India will send me a message saying, “I love you so much, Sally!” and attach a picture of their penis so it’s cool (more laughter)! It’s just being in a film like this that was released all over the world. Some indie films might get released in Idaho, but they would never see it in Egypt. I actually think the WRONG TURN films are more popular internationally than they are here. I was lucky enough to be cast in BLOOD FEAST because the director Marcel Walz had seen my performance in it and cast me. It really opened up doors for other movies, I filmed in Germany and Columbia, so that was really cool too.
CD: Of all the WRONG TURN films, that’s the one most deserving of a sequel. Have you heard any rumblings about the possibility of another entry?
SK: I haven’t heard anything yet. I really would like to do a sequel, my character lived. It would be so rad to come back and do it and have like a peg leg with a melted face, that would be so cool. I’m certain that if 20th Century Fox has the rights they’re not going to kill the series. I heard that it made one and a half times more than what it was projected to make so I can’t imagine them not doing more, just from a monetary stand-point. I have no idea though if they would use me again or what the storyline would be.
CD: Were you a fan of H.G. Lewis and the original BLOOD FEAST?
SK: Uh, yeah? Alright, yes and no. I was aware of it but I had only really seen clips of it online, so when the opportunity to do the remake came up, I rented it and watched it. It was pretty campy and cool, have you seen it?
CD: It’s been a really long time, but yeah, I’ve seen it.
SK: Normally when someone says remake it’s like, “Ugh, why do they have to do a remake?” With BLOOD FEAST, it would just be really cool to do one. Some people call it one of the worst horror movies ever made and they were working with a really limited budget. One of his quotes was, and I know I’m going to mess it up but it was something to the effect of, “If you’re making films for any other reason than money, you’re an idiot!” I probably butchered that quote but he was kind of a kinky guy and Marcel knew him well. He made movies for money and he wasn’t ashamed of that, he cut some corners, had buckets of blood, and gave the audience what they wanted. It was just a bloody fun gore fest. When Marcel decided to remake it, he made this slick, beautiful, glossy bloodbath.
CD: What do you think sets this film apart from the original?
SK: You’ve got to see it! It’s really fucking great!
CD: I need to see it!
SK: Marcel really did something unique with the film. He follows the basic storyline but once we get to my character, Goddess Ishtar, we do something really different with her and I don’t want to spoil it. The film looks so beautiful, that’s something that’s different from the original. The effects are so much different, we have the gore, but this time they really look fantastic. It’s a gory, beautiful film and it’s really graphic.
CD: It seems like I’ve been waiting forever to see it.
SK: I saw an early screener and I was like, “Holy shit, this is beautiful!” At the same time it was disgusting and I had to cover my eyes and peak through my fingers. It’s really rad and I’m super proud of it.
CD: So How would you describe your character, the Goddess Ishtar?
SK: (laughs) Oh boy! She’s a flirtatious! It was a little intimidating portraying a goddess. I wore this long black wig and not much else. I’m naked basically but it’s very tasteful. We started to make her very playful. She’s the embodiment of beauty, sex, and fertility. She’s one bad bitch and she has to seduce Robert Russler’s character to do these things so we also made her very fairy like. There’s something very naughty and very evil about her and I really had fun playing her.
CD: Do you know when it’s going to be released?
SK: Sometime this year. It’s already been released in the U.K.
CD: The first time we talked you mentioned you had just started work on a Bill Murray documentary and now it’s finished.
SK: It’s done!! I’m so happy I can say that! If I couldn’t then I would be so sad. And there’s going to be a sneak peak at the Hollywood Florida Film Festival. The world premiere is going to be at AMDOCS Film Festival in Palm Springs in April. They’re both really exciting and I couldn’t be prouder of THE BILL MURRAY EXPERIENCE. It’s been a really big part of my life.
CD: What was it about Bill Murray that drove you to spend such a really big part of your life making the doc about him?
SK: Well basically I had just gone through a break-up, I was in a weird spot in my life, and I heard Bill Murray was going around and having these chance encounters with people. I kept reading on the internet about people having these once in a lifetime encounters with him, there were Bill Murray sights that were equivalent to having seen Bigfoot. He was popping up at parties, popping up on the elevator, autographing people on the forehead. I just recently heard about someone who wasn’t able to get a ticket to a Cubs game and he ended up getting them a ticket in one of the front rows. With everything happening in my life, I thought that I could really use a Bill Murray experience. To get myself out of the funk I was in, I decided to pursue a Bill Murray experience. Being an actor in Los Angeles, naturally my first thought was to do a documentary about how hard it would be to get an experience. He famously doesn’t have a cell phone and he’s an elusive actor and I couldn’t help but think about how cool it would be to track him down.
CD: When you decided to do the documentary, did you do any real planning for it or did you just grab a camera and start shooting?
SK: It’s a weird thing because with anything, you have to get money for it, a D.P., a sound guy, and I had never directed a film before. You have to go through the pitching phase where you go up to people and say, “Hey, give me money for my documentary!” Everyone kept asking me how I was going to get Bill Murray but that’s what the whole film will be about. People were so concerned with whether or not I would get Bill or even get sued even though that’s exactly what the film would be about. It was a really tough sell and it became a huge problem. Once these chance encounters with Bill Murray began to go viral, Rolling Stone, Variety, even CNN began to cover it and everyone I had told about these encounters started to call me and I could tell them, “I told you so.” Then people started to give me money. Documentaries are funny, mostly because they have a life of their own so it’s very different filming them than doing a horror film because with those, you know exactly what you’re going to shoot. Documentaries have a life of their own. You could be going to film a golf tournament because you heard Bill Murray would be there. Weird things can happen and things might not go the way you hope they do. Whatever does happen will become a part of the film, you have to set up interviews, and I interviewed Bill’s brother Joel Murray, we interviewed his STRIPES co-star P.J. Soles so being my first film I really learned a lot. Once you start editing, the documentary begins to take form and what you thought it was going to be about starts to shift and change. We ended up having some animation to it and it basically turned into a beast of a project.
CD: After doing this, would you consider getting behind the camera again? Not necessarily a documentary but maybe something else.
SK: Yeah, I would. I really like Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) and there were things I did on this film I wouldn’t have done if I’d known better. I was really passionate about Bill Murray before I got into it and I became more and more obsessed. It was really good when you’re an actor yourself and I had read a couple of scripts I really would like to direct. When you do it enough, you do want to get involved in the other side, I’m a writer as well. It might be tough, I’m not really in to taking pictures, I would have to have a good D.P. With this documentary though, it didn’t matter much to me because I was so passionate about doing it. I would direct again if it was something I found myself really passionate about. There’s so much work too. Even after you’re done you still have to deal with color correction, sound, and you still end up making last minute edits. Acting is so much different. You get your script, you film for the day, and when you’re finished you can go out and fool around. When you’re the director, you’re still freaking out and it never stops.
CD: I’ll be honest, I’m actually REALLY excited to see MOGGY CREATURES. How did you get involved with that one?
SK: Scott Frazelle is a genius! First of all, he’s an amazing writer. He wrote a short story first and turned it into a screenplay. Have you ever seen a hairless cat?
CD: I’ve seen pictures and videos but never in person. They kind of creep me out.
SK: They are sooo creepy!! I had never seen one in person until we started filming and they’re the perfect subject for a creature feature. Scott’s script was wonderful, creepy as fuck, then he created these puppets. It’s so great to have practical effects, CGI doesn’t look nearly as good and doesn’t have any weight or gravity. The thing about hairless cats is that they’re so reptilian, they move in such a fucking creepy way. When the cat came in I was like ,”Wow!” Cats are creepy enough but hairless, their ears, and when they move you can like see every bone in their body. They are wild looking creatures! What happens in the film is the cat the couple brings in has babies and it turns into a scarier throwback to GREMLINS. They sort of possess everyone that comes in contact with them and fucking mayhem ensues.
CD: Was it difficult to work with the animals? I thought I remembered reading somewhere that you weren’t exactly a fan of cats.
SK: It’s not that I’m afraid, O.K., I am a little scared of cats. I have a dog and I don’t think cats are a trustworthy animal. You can tell when someone has a cat as a pet because they will always have scratch marks on their arms. You never see a dog owner walking around with bite marks now do you? Cats do their own thing and they will let you know, they’re like women, they’re moody. A cat will let you know if they like you or not and that’s why they’re great for a horror film. They’re just not super trusting creatures. Cats are typically pretty wild even when they are domesticated and there’s something to me when you go to someone’s house and they have a cat. When they come up to you they will circle your legs, start purring, and you always have to ask if the cat is nice. I have befriended a couple of cats though. I used to have this roommate who had a calico cat and they’re super smart. This cat was always in its own world of stalking, it always looked as if it was stalking something. I would come out of the bathroom and the cat would be there waiting to swat at my feet. It was a very cute cat, very smart, but it would probably jump out at you in the middle of the night. I actually did like that cat but all in all, cats just aren’t all that trustworthy. The cat they brought in for the film was a really smart cat but we knew right away it wasn’t going to play by our rules. We really had to allow extra time for it to do what we needed it to do. I mean, animals and kids can be tough to work with and you have to allow them that extra time. I had to rub sardines between my fingers just to get the cat to stay with me. It has those pointy teeth, the claws, and I’m like, “Oh my God!” We got some shots and I was really thinking it was pretty wild because I knew I would get scratched up a little bit.
CD: You don’t get a real good look at them in the trailer but what you can see of the puppets, they look freaking great. What were your thoughts on them and working with them on set?
SK: It’s cool because they have somebody working the puppets and they pretty much moved really well. The material that Scott used was cool because when you hold the cat it was pretty heavy. If you were going to play with it, it would move with you. The ears flopped around when you touched them and it was rather creepy. Sometimes you get these props and they’re not always made very well but these were amazing and I was really starting to get into it. My character starts to become obsessed with the cat and treats it like a baby. As an actor you begin to bond with the prop and you start to use it more when you get into character. I might lean in and give it a kiss or pet it. You see some of these big films and you just wish they would get rid of all the CGI and just do practical because you can tell when someone is working with a real prop. You can just see it in the actor’s eyes. The imagination is such a great thing and if the prop is right there with you it makes a huge difference. On the official MOGGY CREATURES website you can see all the cool stuff they did up. Scott actually took one of the puppets to Monsterpalooza and people were in awe and taking pictures with it. The real actual cat has a slimy appearance and almost looks like a big, crinkled penis (laughs), so I’ve heard.
CD: What can you tell me about your character Anna?
SK: She’s my favorite kind of character to play. She’s very broken and also very much in love with her husband. She’s really rooting for him in his job and they’re at a point in their marriage where they’re really trying to patch things together. Scott does a really good job at writing multi-dimensional women and it’s not just a creature feature with creepy cats coming in and killing everyone. You get that with so many horror scripts where the women are just devices to be tortured, which is fun too but not as nearly fun to play. After losing their baby, her husband has a new job, they have a new home, and are really picking up the pieces to put their lives back together. This cat then comes into her life and fills the empty hole. I always look for characters I can relate to and Anna is that every-woman with the maternal instinct, like most women after the loss of a child, having a pet can be therapeutic. But with Anna, that does happen but she begins to fray, so there’s this Hitchcockian aspect to her character.
CD: Any idea when we can expect a release?
SK: I do not. I know they are working on funding to complete it. I’ll tell you when anyone talks about crowdfunding a film I’m kind of against it. There’s just so much of it going on and I’m sure you know about it, I’m just unsure. With this particular film, since it’s so unique, I really want to get behind it and support it in any way I can. It has some really cool incentives and people should really support a film so reliant on using practical effects. I would really encourage your readers to visit the official MOGGY CREATURES website and follow the film to see what happens with it.
CD: I recently worked as a publicist for a concert documentary that was trying to crowfund their post-production costs. The campaign didn’t succeed but because of the publicity the campaign did receive, a private investor took notice and offered to finance it. So the campaign itself didn’t work out but because of it, the financing did come through.
SK: That’s exactly what we are hoping for. I didn’t do crowdfunding for my Bill Murray documentary and everyone said I should. I was a little worried that if I did it, the idea would be out there and someone would steal it. I didn’t do it for that reason alone. In hindsight, maybe I should have, it would have brought in more followers, but I didn’t. With MOGGY CREATURES, it’s such a unique film that maybe someone will come along and put up the rest of the money. It’s tough trying to get financing for a movie but the whole process can be very exciting.
CD: Besides all the projects we just talked about, you still have a ton of stuff still in the works. Do you have anything you would like to give a shout out to?
SK: STATE OF DESOLATION is going to be coming out with Jamie Bernadette who works non-stop, who I adore. Craig Stark is also in it. It’s a really cool apocalyptic film directed by Jim Towns. You can follow THE BILL MURRAY EXPERIENCE on Facebook you can find me there and on Instagram as well. I have some other things in the works I can’t really talk about yet but if you follow me on my social media you’ll be able to learn about those soon.
CD: Thanks for talking with me again, it’s always fun!
SK: Thank you so much! It was nice talking to you again as well!
To learn more about the MOGGY CREATURES crowdfunding campaign, you can visit the official MOGGY CREATURES Indiegogo page. There’s still time left to help out so get a move on!