Occasionally on Blumhouse.com we like to get first-hand set reports from horror film actors, actresses, and production crews. This week, we welcome actor Curt Lambert who gave us a set report for his two upcoming films VALENTINE DAYZ and THE FIANCE.
“It’s a chilly December night in the middle of Topanga Canyon, out in the boonies between Los Angeles and Malibu, California. I’m coated in blood, fragrant from its maple syrup base, missing my left ear and freezing. Blood is cold when they pour it on you! Not to mention it is a few degrees above freezing. Did I mention I am cold? Oh, yeah, I am on the set of the indie Bigfoot horror/thriller film THE FIANCE.
I play Jerry, the best friend/lawyer to the leading man, who also happens to be the film’s director. Mark Allen Michaels is his name, and he is laying out what is to happen in the scene we are about to shoot. Now I have been an actor for years, but this is only my second horror film, and it’s just a movie and there is a crew standing around, a camera pointing at me and Craft Services, with its vat of delicious Red Vines, is only yards away – how scary can it be? Turns out…LOTS!
“Ok, a dazed, bleeding, earless Jerry will stumble to his feet, whimper, spin around and come face to face with…the monstrous Sarah.”
Oh, yeah, Sarah, the leading lady, is Carrie Keagan. She plays the title role and, well, Carrie is gorgeous. But not tonight. Tonight she is a growling, seething, bloody and horrible…creature.
“Sarah will charge Jerry. Jerry will freak, scream and run into the woods.”
No, Jerry! Don’t go into the woods!
So the camera rolls and with blood oozing from where my ear used to be, I stagger to my feet, wobble and whimper, spin around and YIKES! There is this bloody, ugly, charging monster coming right at me and I am scared. Really scared! No acting required. My heart is instantly racing and adrenaline is flooding my veins. I scream, leap in the air, turn-tail and run for the woods. No, Jerry, don’t go into the woods!
“Cut! Great, really nice. Let’s do it again.”
Can we let my heart get somewhere near normal? Yes, horror fans, it’s just a movie, but those actors you see on your screen can actually be frightened sometimes. Playing pretend replaced by real terror. It surprised the…heck out of me. I sure wasn’t expecting it, but I felt real terror filming that scene. When I laughingly told the director later, he said, “Now that’s acting!”
Little did I know that back in college when I was walking slowly through that dark, creepy concrete tunnel deep beneath the theater building and bumped into the mysterious, handsome stranger who had recently arrived on campus, he would someday be directing me in not one, but two Hollywood horror films. Mark Michaels and I have been dear friends for years and I have had the joy of acting in four of his films – playing a police detective, his sister, yes, that’s right, his sister, and recently his best friend/side-kick in two horror films. THE FIANCE is being released this fall (FireBreathing Films and INDICAN Pictures) and we just completed filming the zombie horror/thriller VALENTINE DAYZ, also a FireBreathing Films production.
Remember me freezing on the set of THE FIANCE? Well, we filmed VALENTINE DAYZ in the desert surrounding Palm Springs and in the hoity-toity city its-self. And it was hot. 116 degrees hot. However, it did drop to 100 degrees after dark. Fire and ice – appropriate for horror films, no? Yes, it was hot, but it was a blast. Probably the most fun I have ever had making a movie.
Confession time – I was frightened while shooting a scene in this film, too. Haha! Perhaps, I am just Mr. Chicken (insert homage to Don Knotts and THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN – now that was a scary, fun movie), but I admit I was frightened while filming a bloody, night time scene in the desert hills outside of Palm Springs.
VALENTINE DAYZ is a zombie film. A scary, different kind of zombie film, written and directed by Michaels. It’s a love story too. Chocolates, flowers, and…hearts. And it has a very scary villain named Dark Eyes, played by Robert Mukes of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and SLAUMBER PARTY SLAUGHTER fame. Robert is 6 foot 10. Curty-boy, me, is 5 foot 10. So do the math. I am a slender chap, and Robert is a mammoth, linebacker type. So when the director says, “Action!” Well…
Del, my character name, walks slowly to his car. Worrying about his Mom in danger back in the city, he pauses at his car door to light a cigarette. Suddenly, in the reflection of the moonlit glass of the car’s window, lurks the savage, deadly giant…Dark Eyes. Del turns and the towering zombie attacks! Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!
Bigfoot, zombies, and buddies, oh my! Oh, yeah!
THE FIANCE can be seen on all streaming platforms and DVD on November 15, 2016.