Bad Girls

School’s out forever…

School Hall Slaughter

filming the trailer

This week, we ticked ‘star in a horror film’ off our coffin list. Ok, it wasn’t on our list, like ‘swim with sharks’, ‘learn to scuba dive’ and ‘world domination’ are, but it was a lot of fun. We’re not actors. We’ve never acted, never wanted to act. Drama in school used to fill us with a cold dread usually saved for facing the gallows. Our faces are more suited to radio. We’re far more comfortable in the crew roles but Huw Lloyd (you may remember him from guest hosting on our radio show and us guest hosting on his Undead Wookie podcast) wanted us to be in his film, School Hall Slaughter so we agreed. Who doesn’t want to slaughter a load of people in the name of art? Plus good things exist outside comfort zones. You can still donate to help the film in its post production phase,

School Hall Slaughter

Huw teaching Cat how to kill

The first day of shooting got straight into the death scenes. Always the best part of any horror film and the first death was no exception. Filming is a long process. It takes hours to do a single scene, even if it’s only thirty seconds. Eight hours of working resulted in what will be two minutes of footage. The lighting has to be perfect, camera angles have to be right, sometimes you shoot it from different angles or reverse shots. Add mirrors into the scene and it’s a new world of nightmares. We took our laptop and books with us so while lighting was being set up, we read our books and edited our gothic horror novella, The Curse of Ravenhall. Cat was in the first scene, which we started shooting at 5 p.m., while Lynx wasn’t needed ’til the final scene, which didn’t start shooting til 10:30 p.m. We’re glad we only had two lines each and that was at the end of the film. All we had to do was be creepy. That is as natural to us as our dark hair colour.

School Hall Slaughter

tormenting Boole during rehearsals

We warned Huw that we wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves from taking on crew roles. By halfway through the first scene, we were cleaning up blood, taking behind the scene photos and continuity photos, teaching people how to use the clapperboard and take notes about each board, which take was good and make notes on the bad takes. By the end of the first day, we were also operating lights and holding a strobe light up as it kept trying to kill the DOP, Will Bradshaw. We’d worked with Will on Clownface, where he was Assistant Director, so it was nice to get the chance to work with him again. It took FOREVER to clean up the blood from the girls’ toilets. It looked like a slaughter scene. Which it was. Getting blood out of white grouting is particularly hard. Those toilets have probably never been so clean.

School Hall Slaughter

Lamby ready for his close up

The first death of the day was the Assistant Head Teacher. The blood went everywhere! Why buildings insist on having magnolia walls is a mystery. It just shows all the blood. It was a fun death scene to shoot. People will never look at a pencil in the same way. Anthony Price’s SFX makeup looked so realistic. The last scene was the one in the girls’ toilets. It was a tight squeeze having four actresses; Will; the sound guy, Wayne Bassett; Lynx as the killer and Cat in a cubicle operating the lights. How Will managed to shoot it is an incredible feat of space usage. Full credit to him. We pointed out the toilets were too nice to pass as school toilets. There wasn’t a graffitied penis in sight! And nothing to keep us updated on who fancies who. The teenagers were all really good actors. They were about 15-20 years younger than us and all so much taller. We were old enough to be their mothers and yet there we were, in school uniform, butchering them.

School Hall Slaughter

cramped filming conditions

Day two started earlier, with copying footage over from the SD card to the hard drive. We took over that duty while Huw and Will set up scenes. We took our resistance bands and did glute exercises and flexibility work while the footage transferred then continued editing our novella. By the evening, we were having our hair and makeup done. This was a new experience for us. We cut our own hair rather than face the awkwardness of going to a hairdressers, and having someone close to our faces is incredibly uncomfortable for us. But Rhiannon (makeup) and Hollie (hair) were so lovely that they put us at ease and we were happy for them to do it. And we looked so different!School Hall Slaughter

School Hall Slaughter

Rhiannon doing makeup

We’ve had the same hairstyles for years now. In our younger days, we could age our photos by our hairstyles as they changed every year. Hollie combed it all back, pinned our fringes to the back of our heads then backcombed it. Rhiannon did beautiful dark eye makeup and was excited she finally got to use her red lip pallet. She successfully managed to make our 36 year old faces look 16. People have told Cat that she looks like Fairuza Balk (Nancy from The Craft). We’ve never seen the resemblance. But after the hair and makeup were done, she was almost the spitting image of her, even down to the wide demonic grin. So if Hollywood is reading this and you want to scrap The Craft remake and do a sequel with Nancy’s younger twin sisters, we are available. We also practise witchcraft, so y’know, we got this.

School Hall Slaughter

Hollie working her magic

Despite getting to set at two p.m, we didn’t start filming until 7:15 p.m. Our first scene of the day was the last scene of the film where we sit there looking all innocent after we’ve just slaughtered six people. There wasn’t a dolly on set so Will was bundled onto a trolley and wheeled back and forth to get the smooth zoom in shot. That scene took so long to light due to daylight coming in through the glass doors and windows as it was shot in the building’s foyer. It was probably the most awkward scene, lighting wise. It took hours to set up and about ten minutes to shoot the scene! Lynx’s eyes reacted to the smoke and watered the entire time. It’s so hard trying not to blink when your eyes are stinging and weeping. It was the only time they reacted to the smoke.

School Hall Slaughter

Cat tormenting Boole again

The final scene that day was one of our favourites to shoot as it involved action on our part. We’d actually rehearsed this scene a few weeks ago to make sure we got the timings right. Lynx stabs the victim in the back while Cat leaps on his back and savages him. The actor, Bool, is a lot taller than us, so she needed a run up. Cat had to have a blood-soaked sponge in her mouth to emulate blood seeping down her victim’s wound then smear it all over her face, psycho style. Sitting in blood wasn’t overly pleasant. It was sticky. Her fingers got stuck to her face every time she touched her cheeks on the drive home. When filming, you get used to scenes being cut, changed, added and you just wing it. That is how we like to work, so it suits us. And films never run on schedule. Two of the three days overran by an hour and a half, which isn’t bad. We didn’t get home each night til 1:30 a.m. and got to bed around 2 a.m after cleaning all the blood off and feeding our cats.

School Hall Slaughter

Lynx waiting to torment Boole

Day three was a 9 a.m. start. Full credit to Rhiannon for managing to hide the fact we’d been running on about three hours’ sleep each night. We were surprised when we found out it was the first time she’d done makeup on a film set, as she was so good and professional. Hollie tweaked our hair, which had managed to stay in place. That’s impressive. Our hair is wild and does what it wants but she managed to tame it.

School Hall Slaughter

deadly reflection

The first scenes of the day probably took the longest. They were classroom scenes and we were shooting in an actual school. Cat amused herself by reading dinosaur books in between takes. Pretty sure they drew the raptors wrong. This day, we were fully immersed in the crew roles. We were on clapperboard duty, note taking, holding reflector screens, cleaning up more blood and we provided fruit for the cast and crew. It was the longest shoot day – thirteen hours in total. During a break, Will found exercise equipment in the yard so we abandoned our squats and dashed out to do some pole poses on the high pull up bars. We weren’t in a lot of the scenes until the end, which is why we took on so many crew roles.

School Hall Slaughter

behind the scenes

One scene we’d rehearsed weeks ago, was an action scene involving a sledgehammer. Cat broke her finger when she accidentally slammed it against the wall. That was on the very first practise. She had to redo the action over and over. A month later, she can’t bend the top knuckle. On this day, we were meant to be shooting that scene, but due to previous scene changes, the sledgehammer scene got cut. But at least she has a memento of filming, even if it is a permanently misshapen finger.

School Hall SlaughterHuw wanted Lynx to twirl her machetes while walking down the corridor. Unfortunately, she completely failed at it, whereas Cat was really good, so we switched roles. Cat would twirl the machetes, Lynx would use the sledgehammer, but that scene was then cut due to timing.

School Hall SlaughterThe final scene was our fight scene with lead actress, Amber. Again, we’d rehearsed this one and it hadn’t gone too well. Cat got backhanded across the face for real when she didn’t duck in time. So for this one, she and Amber were very conscious about it. Cat felt her performance was awful in that scene, but hopefully it looks good on screen.

School Hall Slaughter

Anthony and Rhiannon doing Boole’s makeup

We finished on time on the final day then spent a while touring the school, scouring for any blood that needed to be cleaned up. We loved every moment of the shoot. The cast and crew were all lovely and we’d love to work with them again. We’re a lot more comfortable and confident being on a film set now. When we first joined Clownface, we had no idea what we were doing and spent our free time sitting far away from everyone. Now, we know what to do and just get on with it. Though admittedly, we do still spend our breaks on our own. Our first time in front of the camera went smoothly, though we’re glad we got to play creepy killers, as it was an easy role for us. Have we got the acting bug? No. We’d still much rather be crew but if needed to don the role of murderers again, we would say yes.

After all, we are the weirdos.

School Hall Slaughter

The makeup and hair team. Fiann, Anthony, Izzy, Hollie and Rhiannon

1 Comment

  1. It sounds like a lot of work but a lot of fun! The reflected image in the “blood,” eek!


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