Exclusive: Natali Jones on Playing Dead Awake's The Night Hag + Behind-the-Scenes Photos - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Natali Jones on Playing Dead Awake’s The Night Hag + Behind-the-Scenes Photos

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Earlier this month, Dead Awake (review), the latest film from Final Destination creator Jeffrey Reddick, quietly landed on home video formats (Amazon). Well, we couldn’t let that slide past so we got in touch and not only got some behind-the-scenes photos of actress Natali Jones getting made up as the film’s villain The Night Hag, as well as a few modeling shots of the creature, but we also got a short interview with Jones about playing the character!

Dead Awake was written by Jeffrey Reddick and directed by Phillip Guzman. It stars Jocelin Donahue, Lori Petty, Jesse Bradford, Jesse Borrego, Brea Grant, and James Eckhouse.

Dread Central: The Night Hag character is described in this film as being rather timeless and has affected people throughout history (hence the Fuseli painting). How did her seeming agelessness play a role in your performance?
Natali Jones: Actually, thats an interesting question. Her being timeless actually didn’t play a role. I felt that she only knew the present and lived in the present to haunt and isn’t even aware of how long she’s been around. Her being more of a super natural being, time doesn’t exist. I do approach each character completely different though. I’ll create long back stories, sometimes I’ll go more method (just depending), but with The Night Hag, she organically came together.

DC: What challenges are present when you play a character that is so important to the film yet has no lines?
NJ: The Night Hag speaks for herself when she walks into a room. Well, crawls. You don’t know whats going to happen… if your dreaming or awake. I would say the main challenge was the contacts. The make up team at Hawgfly, (Meredith Johns, Jason Vines, Eric Zapata) were amazing and super professional! The make up was head to toe, face prosthetic, chest prosthetic, about 4 hours to put on, and and hour and a half or so to take off. But, we would have to put in the contacts first, because the make up was literally right up to my eye. I don’t normally wear contacts (knock on wood), but they didn’t either, so it was comical in the beginning when we were all trying to figure it out! I did not mind the hours of make up… I absolutely loved it and would do it over and over again!

Even though the contacts were the biggest challenge, they were the best thing that could’ve happen to the costume, honestly. They were light reflective, so if it was really bright or really dark, I couldn’t see, and everyone looked like shadows. But, for example, if the sun was setting, I could see enough to walk. I had to fully rely on my senses, which was super interesting and made her even more powerful for me.

The contacts created the world for my character! Phillip would give me my mark, before I crawled onto the bed and I would have to feel around for an object to use as my mark, or once I hit the carpet, count the number of crawls, before I reached the bed, couch, or whatever it may be, to climb up.

I had to re meet the crew, once I wasn’t in make up, because I only heard their voices, and didn’t know what they actually looked like! The crew and everyone at Hawgfly was great and made sure I was safe around set, even telling me what was for lunch because I couldn’t see what I was ever eating, ha!

DC: What inspirations did you draw from to portray the Night Hag?
NJ: Well, there is the obvious tons of online research, but what was amazing is how she naturally came together for me. In the script, it just says I appear and sometimes didn’t give much description, so a lot of times, Phillip would throw direction at me shortly before, or give me different directions last minute to play with and it all completely worked! Phillip also gave me direction on her movements, making her spider like in one scene, but he also gave me the freedom of playing with her more. She would be more spider like, but also giving her more snake like mannerisms with her lower body, so I actually drew from multiple things, but they all came together as one, once the make up was fully on and we started rolling.

DC: Did playing the Night Hag affect your sleep at all?

NJ: Ha! Nope! And don’t know if thats a bad or good thing, but I guess I have done more horror movies than anything, so I guess I’m used to it. But I also think thats why I was able to add more to her, not coming from a personal place to draw from. I was able to create more and add more to her individuality. I do have so many friends and been approached by so many people that do suffer from sleep paralysis, and it’s absolutely terrifying! And event hough they know me, they still are too scared to see it!

It was so great to finally work with Jeffrey Reddick, and Phillip Guzman, as a director, and such an talented cast and crew, and so thankful they brought me on board! Up next, I’m currently working on a comic book/ feature called MadCat and comic book to be released this fall of 2017!


Synopsis:
From the creator of the immensely successful Final Destination franchise comes the paralyzing thriller Dead Awake. Drawing on the well-documented and infamous affliction known as sleep paralysis, Dead Awake features acclaimed genre actress Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil) in a terrifying new addition to the horror canon as well as Lori Petty (Tank Girl, A League of Their Own, Point Break), and Jesse Bradford (Romeo + Juliet, Bring It On, Hackers).

Dead Awake

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Director Doug Liman Says Edge of Tomorrow 2 Could Be His Next Film

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I don’t know if you ever bothered to see the Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow, but if you missed out, you should make time for the stellar flick.

I kept putting the film off myself, but then when I finally peeped the Groundhog Day-style shenanigans contained within, I was a fan signed, sealed, and delivered D.O.A.

It is with this in mind I’m excited to share the news that Edge of Tomorrow 2 just might be director Doug Liman’s next film! Recently the director spoke with Collider and dropped some new info on the possible sequel.

“We’re just working on the script…,” Liman said. “[We’re no longer working on scheduling issues]; now it’s down to we have a window where we could go do it, and we’re frantically working on the script. It’s one of those movies that we’ll only go make if we love the script. It’s not one of those things where the studio is pushing us to make it and they don’t really care if it’s good or not. If the movie happens, it will be because Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise, and myself are passionate about making it, which is a great place to be. She doesn’t need this movie, he doesn’t need this movie, and I don’t need it. We’re gonna make it if we really believe in it. We have [a] story that the three of us love, so we’re working hard on the script.”

So when he was asked if the film could be his next flick, he said: “It could be. It has the possibility of being my next film.”

Good enough for me!

You can check out the trailer for the original film out again below; and for your own good, if you’ve been passing on the film for the last few years, give it a shot tonight. You will not be disappointed.

Synopsis:
When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Maj. William Cage (Tom Cruise), an officer who has never seen combat, is assigned to a suicide mission. Killed within moments, Cage finds himself thrown into a time loop, in which he relives the same brutal fight — and his death — over and over again. However, Cage’s fighting skills improve with each encore, bringing him and a comrade (Emily Blunt) ever closer to defeating the aliens.

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Ash Faces His Greatest Challenge Yet in the Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Trailer: Parenthood!

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The first trailer for the third season of STARZ’s incredible horror comedy series “Ash vs Evil Dead” has been released and it’s full of balls to the wall Evil Dead goodness! You’ve got creepy dolls, obscene amounts of gore, vicious iPhone cases, and a Deadite that just so happens to be as tall as a building! Oh, and you’re also introduced to Ash’s daughter, Sandy? Mandy? Oh, yeah! Brandy! You can watch the trailer below. Thanks IGN!

“Ash vs Evil Dead” season three premieres on Starz on Sunday, February 25th.

Synopsis:
Ash, having gone from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero, discovering that he has a long-lost daughter who’s been entrusted to his care. When Kelly witnesses a televised massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. But evil will learn to never get in between a papa bear and his cub.

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Brennan Went to Film School: Unlocking the Hidden Meaning in Insidious: The Last Key

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“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS FOR INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Blumhouse had quite a year last year, didn’t they? In addition to having three number one hits on their hands, the racial satire Get Out is their first horror entry to get awards traction thanks to its deeper themes. Now that everyone is starting to take the company and its work a little more seriously, it’s time to bring out the big guns and dive right into some deeper analysis into a much more unlikely subject: Insidious: The Last Key. The fourth entry in their tentpole haunted house franchise might not seem like it at first glance, but it’s the Get Out of the Me Too era, telling a story of women’s struggles while predicting the downfall of powerful, abusive men that started to occur during its production process with eerie accuracy.

No, seriously. Let’s start by taking a look at the villain. Unusually for this franchise, the baddies are both paranormal and human: halfway through the film it is revealed that the haunting victim who has called Lin Shaye’s Elise and her crew is also a sadistic killer who has chained up a woman in his basement. This is also revealed to be the very same thing Elise’s father did many decades before. The film implies that both men are being influenced by the key-wielding demon that inhabits the house.

Key imagery is very important to the film as a whole (I mean come on, it’s literally in the freakin’ title), and its themes of Elise arriving to her childhood home to unlock the secrets of her past. But there’s more than one meaning to that imagery, and understanding those meanings is the key to unlocking the subtext of the film, if you’ll allow me a really obvious pun.


The demon KeyFace might be influencing the men, but they’re still receptive to the idea. That’s because he’s awakening something that was already inside them. Keyface represents the pure male id; the unconscious, animalistic desires and drives that lay buried in the psyche. He’s not forcing them to behave in this way, he’s just unlocking their darker impulses.

It’s no coincidence that the demon’s lair is the bomb shelter basement. The house has now become a road map of her father’s mind, with his strongest emotions (and the literal place where he keeps his abused women secreted away) hidden in a sublevel that isn’t visible from the surface. This is the very same basement where he locked up Elise while punishing her for insisting that her visions were real. He wanted her to keep her psychic gifts locked away, probably so she wouldn’t discover his own submerged secrets.

Elise encounters a variety of keys during her journey that allow her to penetrate deeper and deeper into The Further, the house, her past, and the hideous truth about the men in her life. These keys unlock doors, suitcases, chains, and cages, but the most important unlocks the truth… and turns the attention of the evil upon her and her two nieces.

The probing of these women ignites the fury of Keyface and he takes her niece Melissa into the basement (another buried sublevel that must be unlocked), inserting a key into her neck and rendering her mute, then stealing her soul with a second key plunged into her heart. He is only vanquished when Elise and her other niece Imogen team together and use a family heirloom – a whistle – to summon Elise’s mother’s spirit.

On the surface, this seems like an inspiring story of three generations of women helping each other to face a great evil. This is certainly true, but now we have the key to understanding exactly what’s happening here. When a young woman discovers the abuse being perpetrated in her house, the figure of pure, wicked male desire literally steals her voice, silencing her. In order to restore that voice, another woman who knows the truth must very literally become a whistleblower.

…Did I just blow your mind?

At its heart, Insidious: The Last Key presents a world where women must rely on other women to provide them a voice and their very survival in a world dominated by powerful men and their ugly, dirty secrets. Secrets that they will do anything to keep locked away. There may be slightly more ghosts in Insidious than in real life, but that’s a frighteningly close parallel with the ugliness currently being revealed in Hollywood – as well as the world at large. It probably won’t tear up the Golden Globes next year, but this film is just the next important stepping-stone after Get Out in Blumhouse’s use of the genre to dig deep into the real life horrors plaguing our society.


Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!


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