Known in the horror community as Women in Horror Month, February is the time of year when fans of the genre recognize contributions to horror made by talented women on all sides of filmmaking. In celebration of a month highlighting women in horror, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sadie Katz. Most recognized for her role as Sally in Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, Sadie has gone on to appear in multiple other horror titles including Blood Feast and Bus Party to Hell. This familiar face in horror has also explored other sides of filmmaking by writing, producing, directing and starring in the award-winning documentary, The Bill Murray Experience. Check out what she has to say about all of this and more!
Sadie Katz Hi, Sadie! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Sadie Katz: Of course! Have you always known that you wanted to pursue acting as a career?

Sadie Katz: Oh, yes! I’ve always known I wanted to become an actress. I’ve come to realize that it’s kind of a gift to know what you want to do and really go for it, because not everyone knows what they want to do or have the opportunity to pursue what they love. And I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t talking about acting. I was writing scripts when I was 5 or 6 years old and I was always involved in school plays. So, it’s just something I inherently had in me. I’m glad you were able to pursue something you love so much! Is horror your preferred genre in which to work?

Sadie Katz: The thing about horror that’s really interesting is that there are so many different subgenres. There’s comedy horror, gore, slashers and thrillers. And personally, I love sexy thrillers like Poison Ivy. Overall, I’m open to all subgenres of horror. What’s so great about the genre are the fans in the horror community. They’re so great and supportive! And the genre allows you to do a variety of so much and horror always has the craziest scenarios! It’s always life or death. And I think there’s something seductive about that. I’m also open to other genres as well including drama and actions films. But horror has a special place for me.

Sadie Katz

The funniest thing is when you get a script for a horror film and you’re thinking “oh, I’m actually going to have to do this.” (laughs) I have a film project in Italy coming up that’s pretty saucy. It’s like Hard Candy in a way and the things I’m going to do to this poor actor. (laughs) When you read in the script “and she’s screaming into the night covered in worms”…I’m like…are they? Yeah, they’re probably going to use real worms. I’m probably f**ked (both laughs). That sounds crazy! Can’t wait to hear what happens (laughs). So, most people in the horror community know you from Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort. How did you get involved with that production?

Sadie Katz: You know, I feel so lucky about that because it was so exciting! And Sally was such a f**king cool character to play. She actually had all this range and you don’t always get that as a villain and as a female. The Wrong Turn franchise basically keeps everything tightly under wraps. And the only information released was that a popular horror franchise would be shooting in Bulgaria and they wanted actresses who were comfortable with nudity and who had some good chops. And a director friend of mine called me up and told met that there was a role in the film that was perfect. So, without knowing too much about the project, I asked him to write me a letter of recommendation to send to the producers. And then I asked another director friend of mine to also write a recommendation and send it into the producers. I was hellbent on getting this part because it was a big opportunity since the filmmakers didn’t want to use union actors on account of shooting in Bulgaria. So, everyone was going for this. And when I got some information about the character, I fell in love with her! I had just written a film with a similar character so I felt like I understood her.

Poster artwork for Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort

So, I auditioned and I went all out spending a bunch of money on my hair, buying a new outfit and taking acting classes to prepare. By this time, I knew it was Wrong Turn only because someone told me and I wasn’t suppose to know. So, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. After the audition, I received a callback. And what’s interesting is that the producers on the project, who were amazing to me, originally wanted to use someone from the UK rather than fly someone out to location. All the other actors they ended up casting, other than myself and Aqueela Zoll, were from the UK. So, I was initially put on hold for a little bit. But I’ll tell you. Getting the final call telling me that I had booked the part was really thrilling! It was the type of phone call I got to where I sat down on my bed and cried. They treated us very well and we stayed in a big fancy place in Bulgaria. This was something very magical and special because I had been waiting for a bigger break. It was a very fancy shoot! I was so lucky that I got it and I’m so grateful! I definitely remember the film and you were great! What was your favorite part about filming Wrong Turn?

Sadie Katz: One of my favorite scenes that I did was when I suffocate one of the victims in Sally’s lair. It was shot with a huge dolly-crane, which was a first for me. And the director, Valeri Milev, who is a very enthusiastic, lovely man, let me have some fun with that scene. And having this giant dolly-crane swooping in with the camera made things feel like a giant production. Also, you don’t always get to show your chops in films because your filming so fast. But with this film, I had to center myself, take my paces and build up the tension. And there was something very rewarding about it! Another great scene to film was outside when it was snowing in the middle of the night with all of these people carrying torches. There was something about that which made me feel like I was actually in this f**ked up crazy world that was made for the film! And I had to play this really evil, crazy character! There was not one scene that wasn’t pretty intense or insane. (laughs) I think the film I’m shooting soon in Italy, which is called Secluded Lodge is the first role that truly is as dynamic as that character. Every scene in Wrong Turn was just a mind trip! And then we got to go back to our beautiful hotel. We had a big cast party two weeks into filming and everyone just had a great time! By the time Aqueela and I left, tears were rolling down our faces because we knew that it was just a really magical time we had there. So, the whole d*mn thing was my favorite (both laughs)!

Poster artwork for Bus Party to Hell That sounds like you had a blast! I’m glad you had that experience. A film you were more recently in was Bus Party to Hell, which I personally loved! How did you become involved with that production?

Sadie Katz: My manager was contacted by the producers, Michael and Sonny Mahal. And before I even read the script, I thought to myself “What a great title! I’m in!” So, when I agreed to do Party Bus, they wanted me to do a cameo. I was originally meant to play a character in the opening scene. And I remember telling them that they needed to get someone like Tara Reid…which is funny because they ended up getting her for that part before casting was finished. I told them that I wanted to play the part of Joan. They said they didn’t really see me as Joan the bus driver. And I said “f**king trust me.” (laughs) I sort of thought that Joan from Bus Party, Sally from Wrong Turn and The Goddess Ishtar who I played in Blood Feast were all these sexed up villains. I don’t embarrass easily and I would rather play the antagonist rather than the victim any day…although the last few films I did, I was the victim and it was fun since I hadn’t done that role in so long. (laughs) But I would rather play the villain because I think it’s a bigger challenge. And character arcs like Joan to where you start off a little weird, but then are revealed to be a psycho is an exciting challenge to me. And I loved how the role of Joan was written! Whenever you have a female villain like that, you know she has some real sh*t behind her. And if you’ve seen the film, you know that Joan is crazier than Sally in Wrong Turn. But when you’re filming characters like that, it kind of feels like you’re just jumping in and seeing what happens! Personally, I thought you were great in that role! What was your favorite part about filming Bus Party to Hell?

Sadie Katz: Oh, there’s this scene where I have to jump on Alan who’s played by Richard Hochman and bite a chunk out of his neck. And by this time in the shoot, we’re all friends. We’re sharing a big house in Vegas where the film was shot and working on set every day. ViDonna, Rich and I all became very good friends from that film. After spending so much time with each other, the day came to where I had to jump on him wearing nothing but panties, bite him on the neck and scream while he’s twirling me around. And there was something so hilarious filming such a ridiculous scene! Rich was such a good sport about it. (laughs) And since we shot on a actual party bus, there wasn’t a whole lot of space! So, it was a bit of a challenge to give a performance as Joan turning all demonic in like two feet of space. So, how do you not let that be boring? Some of it is having a good director of photography like Michael Su. But how do you keep this character interesting as the only immediate threat on the bus? So, I just went for it and tried my very best. I think that experience and challenge was very cool as an actor.

Poster artwork for The Bill Murray Experience And I think you succeeded, for sure! I’m also aware that you tried your hand with the other side of film by writing, producing, directing and leading the documentary The Bill Murray Experience. What inspired you to make this film?

Sadie Katz: I’m a big fan of Morgan Spurlock films and I’m also a big fan of the cute, sweet film My Date with Drew. Then, by accident, I became really interested in Bill Murray. I was going through a really bad breakup at the time. I was pretty depressed and I started reading all of these great things about Bill Murray. Stories of fans having chance encounters with Bill. I was in a weird place in my life and I asked myself why I haven’t met him. I wanted my own Bill Murray experience. So, I decided that a search for Bill would be a great idea for a documentary! Whenever I brought the idea up to anyone, they would say what a great idea it would be since he’s such an elusive actor. He was really difficult to get in touch with at one time. I think he’s easier to get in contact with now, but he use to not even have a cell phone. So, when I originally started filming the documentary, I wanted it to have a Morgan Spurlock vibe to it mixed with a little bit of Jackass. When I started out, some friends and I were basically running around with a shaky camera chasing Bill Murray. But then I got my a** handed to me about how this was the wrong way to make a documentary. (laughs) Try editing something that was filmed with a handheld camera and the scenes that were shot are all over the place. I ended up talking to so many documentary filmmakers that I took on a little bit different approach and it became something a bit more personal than I intended for it to be and I definitely lost my mind a little filming it. I was also doing a string of horror films at the time and I wanted to do something that was just kind and lighthearted. So, The Bill Murray Experience became my pet project on the side in between doing other projects.

Sadie wins Best Documentary The Bill Murray Experience at Hollywood Florida Film Festival I haven’t seen that documentary, but I’m going to have to check it out! So, pretty much having experienced all sides of filmmaking by now, what do you prefer? Writing, directing or acting?

Sadie Katz: I think acting is sort of my first love. I would like to try directing a scripted horror film, but I think that will be something I have to be totally ready for because it’s a tough job. It takes so much energy. And I’m currently writing something right now. Writing is great when you get in the flow and after it’s done, but starting it can be such a grind! I admire writers because it takes so much discipline to sit down at your computer and hope your brain can form the right words for the characters. Those aren’t as easy as some people may think, I’m sure! Are there any upcoming projects you would like to discuss?

Sadie Katz: I actually have a Sci-fi film coming out soon called Automation. I would say it’s more Sci-fi than horror. I play a character who plays the boss of a company who wants to replace the humans with robots and, of course, everyone knows it’s going to go wrong! And I have to tell you, walking around with an actor in a life-sized robot suit is actually really f**king scary! But I think the fans will get a kick out of this film. It’s very B-movie, but in the sweetest way! It follows more of the robot storyline, which adds a lot of cool, nerdy Sci-fi stuff. When I saw the screening, I nerded out on it! I wasn’t sure what to think before I saw it, but the director, Garo Setian, knocked it out of the park. It’s his first feature, but he has also been a Lionsgate editor for a long time. So, he really had a vision and the film should be released in a few months.

I’m also going to Italy to film the feature I mentioned earlier, The Secluded Lodge, in June. And that will be with Greg Travis who’s known for Starship Troopers and Watchmen, so, that will be exciting that he will be in that with me. Then I’m also about to shoot a film called Big F@#kin Rat, which is a fun, classic B-movie about a big rat terrorizing a forest ranger. So, I’m looking forward to both of those. And, another one I have coming up that I’ll be shooting is something along the lines of Amityville Horror with vampires. And I haven’t done a vampire movie yet, so I’m looking forward to that!

L-R: Nikki Kris, Augie Duke, Sadie Katz, Tiffani Fest and Courtney Akbar in Circus Road

And, currently in post-production, is a horror I co-wrote with Director Minh Collins called Circus Road. This is a fun story about a runaway bride who becomes stranded with her bridesmaids in a city run by clowns … of the creepy variety. I look forward to seeing these upcoming projects! Thank you, Sadie, for your time.

Sadie Katz: You’re very welcome!

Not only is Sadie a crazy wonderful person to speak with, but she is someone who has made her mark in horror, nailing every role she takes. She has also shown range and dedication managing to create a unique, fun, uplifting and touching documentary during a difficult time in her life (I have since seen The Bill Murray Experience). With several projects on the horizon, Sadie is sure to be a name we will keep seeing in entertainment and I’m excited to see what she does next in her continuous career!


Brandon Long
Brandon Long