There’s not a character in Death Scenes who undergoes more of a dramatic transformation than Janet (if you’ve not seen it, view this instant). From sweetly slumbering schoolgirl to snarling Lilith bitch in the space of five minutes – that’s some turnaround. Charlie Bond is the actress playing Janet, and here’s what she had to say about her Bloody Cuts debut.
Question: How did you get into acting? And what might fans of Death Scenes have seen you in previously?
Charlie Bond: I started in entertainment, working as a magician/illusionist, and doing a bit of fire breathing and burlesque dancing in between as I struggled to find my identity within the field. I’d always loved horror films, and I would base my stage performances around various characters from the old Hammer movies – with over the top, exaggerated feminine movements and plenty of fake blood. It didn’t occur to me until a couple of years ago that the reason I was so obsessed with these glamourous ‘Scream Queens’ was because I wanted to be one!
I experimented with roles in student friends’ short films and found a lust for working in front of the camera. My first film was the silly comedy/horror Strippers vs Werewolves, which was a lot of fun to make, as I got to work with horror icon Robert Englund (Freddie Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street).
Then I did a small part in an indie film called The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, which has been a big hit on DVD this year and opened up the world of British indie movies to me. It’s a great ‘scene’ to be part of, as you see how much people can accomplish with so little money but so much imagination.
After a few more film roles this year I was delighted to go and play Lucy in a West End stage adaption of Dracula with Primeval’s Andrew Lee Potts. As Dracula is my favourite story, playing the flighty and ethereal Lucy was a dream role for me. It was my first theatre role and I’m very proud of it – performing a monologue with huge fake fangs is no mean feat but I relished every second.
Q: What was your route to clambering aboard the Bloody Cuts horror train? Had you seen any of the films prior to getting involved yourself?
CB: As a huge British horror fan myself, I’d seen the rest of the episodes, including the absolutely breathtaking Suckablood and thrilling Mother Died, and was absolutely in awe. The actor in me was itching to get involved of course but the horror nerd within just wanted to be part of it!
The Bloody Cuts producer knew my other half (Jonathan Sothcott), who had mentioned how much I’d loved the episodes… A few weeks later I got an email from him asking me to come up and get involved. He actually didn’t think I’d want to do it as it’s a non-speaking role (apart from that great scream!) but the minute I read the script, which I loved, I was delighted to accept. How could I not come and play an innocent little vampire?
Q: Your character, Janet, is dispatched in pretty grisly fashion. How was that scene to shoot, and what was your reaction when you saw it in the finished film?
CB: The scene itself was fantastic fun – obviously it is all set in my bed so I didn’t have any standing around in between takes! The whole team were so warm and lovely, and even though initially it was very strange getting into bed in my jammies with all these strange, intent faces all crowded in very closely around me, they put me straight at ease and we had a great giggle.
I was actually very shocked when I saw the finished film as it looked really dark and intense – it’s a credit to director Joel Morgan that he made what was such a nice shoot look so utterly terrifying.
Q: Janet goes from innocent teen to vampire killer, all in the space of a couple of scenes. How did you like working with the Millennium FX makeup team? And what did you reckon to Janet’s vampire ‘look’?
CB: Ah I absolutely LOVED having my prosthetic ‘vampire face’ applied. It took ages, but I didn’t mind at all as I was happily chatting away to Richard Martin (much to his annoyance!) who applied the piece and dream team Alexandra Wathey and Freya Hargreaves who ‘coloured me in’ and made it look so realistic.
I’m naturally very pale and so the latex had to be toned down a lot to match me, but the girls took their time and at the end of it we had a really cool ‘Buffy’ style vampire look which fellow Joss Whedon fan Joel really loved. I’m really pleased with it – the team will tell you how I was dragging my heels when it came to taking it off, I would have loved to have caused a bit of havoc on the way home!
But the terrific Bloody Cuts in-house makeup team, the terrific Franklin twins, were incredibly soothing at removing the piece, which came off a lot harder then going on… I had an audition the next day and I swear I was still pulling little bits of latex out of my hair on the tube!
Q: What was your reaction to the final cut of Death Scenes? What’s your favourite thing about the film?
CB: It looks fantastic, first up, you would have no idea that it was shot on such a tight budget. Cameraman Peter Ford worked really hard to get fantastic angles – in my scenes he was practically kneeling on my chest to get such a great close up, but it looks fantastic so I’ll forgive him!
The rest of the film looks equally brilliant, and Robin Berry who plays ‘John’ gives a stunning performance. But my probably favourite part of Death Scenes is the incredible opening credits. They really set the tone for the film, and are a great example of a really important part of filmmaking – I was really impressed!
Between that and the fantastic soundtrack, it makes for the really strong foundations for a really strong film.
Q: Have you got an all-time favourite horror movie death scene?
CB: Yes I have – it’s the 1958 Hammer version of Dracula, which paints a picture of a world where Vampires are a terrifying monster to be feared, not lustful sparkling teenagers!
I’d seen most of the old Hammer movies on TV growing up, but saw this one for the first time at the cinema and fell head over heels in love with the epic-ness of it. Christopher Lee is the man himself, king of the vampires Count Dracula, and is fantastically thrilling in the role, but is defeated when the heroic Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) deftly leaps up onto surely the longest table in history, getting a good run up and launching himself at the sweeping red velvet curtains, pulling them down on his descent to the floor and exposing the sun to a shocked Dracula causing him to burn furiously and fatally in the sun.
For me, the thing that makes this my favourite death scene is not just the fact that I really do love the film with a passion, but the gorgeous irony that this monster, this terrifying evil that seemingly no man-made weapon can defeat, is powerless and destroyed before the life-force that we all thrive off, bask in, ancestrally worshipped -the great beaming sun. That, to me, is sheer cinematic beauty.
Q: What can we look out for you in next?
Next up I’ve got a film coming out early in the new year called The Fall of the Essex Boys which is centred around the infamous Rhettendon Range Rover murders. It’s a really unique take on the events, and I play a police officer who notices that there’s something a little strange about the conduct of the officer investigating the case.
I’m really proud of this one, as it’s been a step away from my usual sweet and light roles into something more serious, and it’s set to make a big splash for 2013 with some fantastic talent involved including Nick Nevern, Peter Barrett, Robert Cavanah, Ewan Ross, Kierston Wareing and Peter Woodward. It’s released in cinemas on 8th February.
I’ve got some intriguing projects lined up too, some really going back to my horror roots which I can’t wait for.