Scottish born Marysia Kay has been one very busy actress since she broke into films with 'Forest of the Damned' in 2005. Since then she has appeared in a slew of British and European horror movies including Johannes' Roberts' TV miniseries 'When Evil Calls' , 'Ouija Board' , 'The Witch Sisters Trilogy' , Ivan Zuccon's 'Colour from the Dark' , 'Zombie Women of Satan' , 'Karl the Butcher vs. Axe' , 'The Scar Crow' , 'Blood + Roses' , etc.

Marysia is one amazingly talented actres... but she is also a skilled stage-fighter as well, having trained in such types of stage combat such as rapier & dagger, sword, unarmed, knife, broadsword, quarterstaff, etc. In other words, if she wanted to Marysia Kay could probably kick your (at least my) ass! Luckily, I remained on her good side throughout this exclusive Racks and Razors interview.



Marysia, why don't you start us off with a visual and describe the room or place where you are answering these questions?

I'm in my living room which takes up the whole top floor of our house. It's a very old house, sash windows and dodgy parquet floors. If someone threw about ten thousand pounds at it I'm sure it would be stunning, but instead it's distinctly quirky. Lot's of mismatched furniture, past their best rugs, random pictures and way too many books.

Marysia - you are wonderfully skilled in various forms of combat - unarmed, knife, quarterstaff, rapier, broadsword, etc. What initially attracted you to master all these forms of weaponry?

I kind of instinctively knew sword work was something I would enjoy. When I saw the initial class at the school I was studying acting at I knew I had to take it. I signed up for a two week intensive to get the basic qualification the BASSC (British Academy of stage and Screen Combat) provides, ten full days to learn the basic techniques in unarmed and rapier & dagger combat finishing with a final assessed performance of a five minute dramatic scene with fight incorporated. It nearly killed me, it was one of London's hottest summers and although I always looked as if I must keep fit I generally didn't. I would collapse in a heap in the corner in between sessions. But I loved the challenge of it, the technique of the sword work, the opportunity to build the upper body strength that women tend not to have, how convincing a completely faked punch looks even when you know it's not real. So I just kept going, took advanced rapier & dagger over half a year of evening classes and went on to do all the other weapons the BASSC train in. I love that a woman can challenge a man on equal footing in a sword fight in a way that isn't really possible in a lot of other disciplines. Strength is just not an issue, at least once you've built up the basic musculature to control the sword, it's all about speed and timing and focus.

You have amassed so many horror credits in such a small amount of time - 'Colour from the Dark', 'Zombie Women of Satan', 'Karl the Butcher vs. The Axe', 'Forest of the Damned', 'Ouija Board', 'The Scar Crow', 'When Evil Calls', 'Blood + Roses', etc. Did you have a moment in your career when you decided, I'm going to take the horror route and make a name for myself in indie fright flicks?

Not at all. It was a combination of two things that led to my working on so many horror films. First off the first film I applied for and the first audition I had were for a horror film that would go on to get worldwide distribution including a special metal covered edition in Germany (ha, I bought a copy on Amazon Germany, apparently it has extra scenes!). Needless to say I got a part in that film, 'Forest of the Damned', which raised my profile in the low budget horror movie scene. The second factor has been the sheer number of low budget horror films that are made, the directors and producers well aware that there is a market for low budget horror that there just isn't for any other genre of very low budget film. Probably 50% or more of the feature films I apply for are horror films not because that's what I'm choosing to apply for but because that's what's being made.

Do you have a favorite of your films?

Of the films that are completed and premiered my favorite is probably 'Colour from the Dark', I'm very proud of the production values and look of that film and it's had great reviews. There are other films I've worked on coming up that may take over the mantle, like Unwelcome and Made in Dagenham, but for the time being that's the one. I'm also very pleased with The Scar Crow (DVD release Sept 2010) and short films 'Short Lease', 'Record & Erase' and 'Passenger X'.

What differences, if any, do you see in the indie horror world between the US and the UK?

I've never worked in the US, only the UK and mainland Europe and I don't see many low budget US horrors. So I really couldn't say. What I do see is the difference between the UK and mainland Europe. I think European directors are more visual, they also seem less concerned with auditioning people but use show reels and headshots to find the people they want. I am going to be filming a short in Germany next month and also another Italian feature at some point this year, but the dates are not yet set.

Is it true you are also going to be stepping behind the camera and directing as well?

This is the plan, eventually. I'm very interested in both scriptwriting and directing. I have two completed feature length screenplays and another five that I'm working on. I've directed plays in the past and a short film and worked as a 1st AD and a casting director on small projects. I think I have a pretty good grasp of what's involved in making a feature film, it's not something to be taken on lightly. I'm not interested in acting and directing at the same time unless it was just a small role, I don't think it's a good idea to split yourself that way unless you're really experienced.

What sort of things have you learned in front of the camera that you will be sure to put into use with directing?

Pre-plan everything. Storyboard everything. Scout your locations thoroughly. Write for your budget. Make sure you have a really good sound guy and a really good DoP. Don't skimp on the details and the extra shots because you want to get it done. Unless you are planning to come into a much bigger budget, no, you will not be able to fix it in post. Make sure your actors understand the overall feel of what you want to achieve, don't use them as lighting stand ins if they have an emotional scene coming up. Cast a name, unfortunately. It would be nice to pretend that it wasn't a cardinal rule, but it's enormously hard to pull of a success without adhering to that one. Have a good 1st AD unless you're really good at telling people what to do while remembering everything else at the same time.

In smaller budgeted horror movies some very interesting things can happen on set. What is the craziest, scariest, or simply most unusual thing that you've ever witnessed on a movie set?

The craziest is the DoP putting his camera where he was warned not to and it being splashed by a wave on the beach. To which he reacted by stealing all the equipment and footage and demanding 10,000 Euros from the director to return it. But that actually wasn't on a horror film; I won't tell you which project it was. The scariest thing I think I've done is lie right in front of a car while someone who didn't have a driving license reversed it away from me. Low budget films sometimes take a lot of risks they really shouldn't, especially since they often don't have insurance.

Marysia, you're considered a top scream queens and I am sure lots of women would love to follow in your stilettos. If you were to run a school for > future scream queens what sorts of courses would they need to take and what would you have them do as a final exam?

I find it strange that I would be considered a scream queen, since for a start I don't scream well. I have a naturally quite low speaking voice and I always trash my throat if I try and do one of those traditional high pitched girlie horror movie screams. The main things you need are the ability to stay awake all night, no allergies to prosthetics or fake blood, a lot of self confidence in your body and a sense of humor.

Do you have any other upcoming projects you would like the readers to know about?

I'm just doing a few more scenes to finish off on Unwelcome, which I shot in France last year. It's a fantastic film about the danger of letting strangers into your home, I play the lead role. Also The Scar Crow, in which I play the eldest of three sisters who are cursed by their father to remain trapped on their family farm for eternity and try to use witchcraft to escape. That comes out on DVD in September.

Zombies, werewolves, vampires, witches, creatures, aliens, psychos --- what does it for you horrorwise Marysia and why?

The supernatural definitely. The less defined it is the more scary it is. Vampires and witches I don't find scary although I do like movies about them. I guess I find ghosts and unnamable creatures scariest. I'm not so much into slasher films, and zombies just aren't quite my thing, a zombie movie has to have something special to catch my eye.

What was the first movie you saw that scared the shit out of you?

'Ghostbusters'. The ghost librarian at the beginning terrified me.

Okay, we're pulling the car into the Marysia Kay Drive In. What three horror flicks are on the triple bill for tonight and what goodies are they going to be serving up at the concession stand?

'Poltergeist', 'The Company of Wolves' and 'Planet Terror'. And toffee popcorn all round, I love toffee popcorn. I could eat a sack of the stuff.

Do you have a horror dream role?

I'd love to play a sword wielding vengeance demon. Or a really kick ass heroine like Milla Jovovich in 'Resident Evil'. Perhaps if we could take Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill and put her in a vampire film.

What is the best Halloween costume you ever had?

I think the best costumes I had were as a kid, because I'm too lazy to make a really awesome costume these days, but back then I had my Mum to help. I think the most impressive was a crow costume; we made a big papier-mach'e crow's head.

Do you have any collections, obsessions, or true loves?

Not so much any more. I used to go from obsession to obsession. Star Trek to Babylon 5 to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings with all sorts in between. I think eventually I'd just done so much of it I ran out. These days my obsessions are my friends and my family. As to true loves, I'll keep that one to myself.

What scares you in real life?

The unknown. I'm not afraid of real life stuff like plane crashes and axe murderers. I'm scared of mysterious noises in the night and not understanding what people want... I'm also kind of scared of getting run over, but that's cause I ride a bike in London and if you do that and aren't scared then there is something wrong in your head.

Thanks Marysia, and all the best to you. For the latest info about Marysia Kay check out her site