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DARLING: DELICIOUSLY DARK & DEADLY


DON'T stare at these eyes for too long, you have been warned!
Lauren Ashley Carter, actress, producer and lover of Bagels and star of DARLING, an American Psychological horror, you know one of those that really messes with your head and gets you all kind of jumpy. When we got asked if we wanted to speak to her, we were that excited that we drew straws to see who got to ask the questions and the one with the shortest lost, (to Andy in the office "LOSER"), first we asked her to write her own mini bio, we did not expect what happened next.... 


"I’ve been pregnant with both my father and my brother’s babies (The Woman, Jug Face), been bear clawed by Sean Young and burned on the thigh with her cigarette while she checked to see if my hymen was intact (Jug Face). I’ve been strung up and whipped and shot in the head by Larry Fessenden (Jug Face, Pod), had my throat slit (Jug Face), my knee blown out and ran up hills in pussy-deep snow with nothing on but a turtleneck and a pair of stretchy jeans (The Mind’s Eye). I have dragged a 200 lb man across hard wood floors and into a porcelain bathtub where I squatted over him for hours as the fake blood fused our bodies together and tore our skin as we slowly separated after we wrapped (Darling). Talking to Haunted Magazine would be a piece of cake, yes?" 
Hi Lauren, thanks so much for talking to Haunted Magazine. Thank you for having me!

Firstly, we’d like to say Darling by name but certainly not Darling by nature, what first drew you to Darling? To us it’s very Polanskiesque,  WOW I think I have just created a new word. Mickey and I both had the post-moviemaking blues after we wrapped Pod. While he was editing, we were texting and emailing about how we wished we could be making back-to-back films, lamenting and all that. I said how badly I wanted to play a villain. I wanted to be the one that people were afraid of, but I didn't feel like anyone would give me the chance, at least not for several years. We went back and forth about Polanski's apartment films, and I was begging him to come out to NYC to make a film, and through this banter, he began writing Darling. Polanski is obviously a huge influence, as were the films Ms. 45 and That Cold Day in the Park. 

Apparently, you’re a massive fan or horror movies, would I be correct in saying that? Yes, sir. 

Choose my TOP 3, aarghh! What are you doing to me?
If that’s the case, can you tell me your Top 3 horror movies of all time and tell me why they are so? I really dislike listing favourites of anything. I couldn't even tell you my 3 favourite things to eat, because moments later I would scream aloud to an empty room, "NOOO!!! I FORGOT TO TELL HIM ABOUT THE STRING CHEESE!!!" I hate to leave anyone or any project out, and they are all so special to me in very different ways. It's like Sophie's Choice, you see?  

There are films that left such a mark on me that I can actually never watch again, or at least not now, like Martyrs. I loved it, but it really fucked me up for a week or so. Then, there are others that I can watch over and over. As a child, my favourites were Hellraiser, Sleepaway Camp (the trilogy, 2 being my favourite), Puppetmaster (I was 7, so, obviously), Halloween, The Shining, Death Becomes Her, Serial Mom (I've heard a lot of arguments about what genre these fit into), and Frankenhooker. 

I don't have a list because if I did, it is endless and constantly evolving. Staring at my movie collection right now, I see My Boyfriend's Back (so underrated, I fucking love Bob Balaban), the Evil Dead series which I didn't see until I was in middle school, and then I was obsessed, forcing my poor choir buddies to watch a woman be assaulted by a tree. C.H.U.D, Society, Basket Case, Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance, Drag Me to Hell (I've seen this almost as much as I've seen Death Becomes Her), Alien, Aliens, Fright Night, Teeth, Elvira (that was huge for me. I always thought when you got your period you'd just look like that) The Host, Don't Look Now, High Tension, Thriller, Big Bad Wolves .....and there are so many more that I already feel guilty for not listing them. So, you see, this is a game that no one will win. Just like Sophie's Choice. 

The Woman, Jug Face and Darling are deliciously dark and deadly, is that something that appeals to you big time? They are terribly dark, yes. Good writing and new characters appeal to me more than anything. All three of these scripts had very concrete worlds. The characters are separated from the rest of the world and society because of unorthodox circumstances, and that appeals to me. I enjoy being able to read a script and feel the atmosphere immediately: immediate tension, high stakes, complicated relationships. I either say, "Hell yes!" or "Fuck no." And that also has to do with whether or not I know I can bring something to the project. If I'm not confident, I know my work will suffer and so will the film. 

What’s it like to be the main character in a movie like Darling but not have that much dialogue, is it completely different to the other way around, having shit loads of words but not playing a pivotal role? Well, I've never had loads of dialogue in film, to be honest. In Pod I had much more, but Lyla is such an asshole, ha ha ha. I absolutely love not speaking! I would have been a fantastic silent actress. It's a ton of fun to be able to really use my face as a mask. When I audition for television or naturalistic indie dramas, I am constantly being told to make sure I don't widen my eyes too much, "You're eyes are big. Like, they're, like, really big." No shit. And I'm being told to tone everything down so much that I feel like I'm on Nyquil. I love genre films because I'm not too big or too much. I know this language, and these giant eyeballs can help tell the story.

You’re becoming a bit of a horror icon, is that something that you like or are you ever worried that you’ll be typecast? The only thing I worry about is people not wanting to see me in films anymore. I'm in love with the genre, and having worked on such wonderful films has been an absolute dream come true. As long as there are great scripts and I can portray new types of characters, I don't care what the genre is. But let's be honest, horror fans and horror films are simply the best. 

Where is your bagel right now? You know this is a very sensitive topic for me. Luckily, we just had break fast a week ago for Yom Kippur, and some very kind friends of mine gave me so many bagels. But Yom Kippur has passed, and the hunt is on. 

(note: for those thinking why have you just talked about a bread based product in the middle of a really cool interview, well FYI Lauren has a blog page and you can click on it here http://www.wheresmybagel.com/ (check out the title, now HOW cool is that?)

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
I read somewhere that you like South Korean Horror, now I’ll be honest I didn’t realise there was a top notch South Korean Horror thing going down, what is it about it that you like? What's not to like? It's beautifully shot, the acting is some of the best I've ever seen, the stories are fantastic and new, and there is always comedy. No matter what the subject matter is,  something hilarious always pops up. I love that because that's how real life is. Even during the worst of times, people will try to find a glimmer of hope, or light, in all of the darkness. It's a completely human thing to do to search for joy. In all of the roles I've played, I try to find one thing that gives my character joy, even if I never get a chance to show the audience. It's that tiny spark that gives you the energy to wake up each morning during the worst circumstances. And South Korean horror does this so well.  Train to Busan came out this year, highly recommend it. That's a zombie flick. The Wailing also came out this year by Hong-jin Na, he also wrote/directed The Yellow Sea which I finally saw and is terrific. I think that South Korean horror is also a great way to introduce people to the genre that think all horror movies are big knives, big titties, and guts on the floor (not that there's anything wrong with that! Frankenhooker is a favourite for a reason, as well as Sleepaway Camp 2).  

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
Here's a list for any of you new to Korean horror. Like I said earlier, don't crucify me if I don't list something! It's because there's too much fantastic content. 

The Host, A Tale of Two Sisters, Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance (these 3 are called the Vengeance Trilogy), Thirst, The Wailing, The Yellow Sea, I Saw the Devil.

You’ve starred with some iconic female actors, Sean Young (twice) and Pollyanna McIntosh, is there anything that they taught you or you learnt from them? Both women were so lovely. Sean was very protective of me during Jug Face. She taught me that asking for comfort (a bathrobe during a nude scene, space and time before a dramatic take) is necessary and no one will think you're a diva for asking for it. Starting out, especially as a woman, I was and still am very conscious about what I ask for and how. But I know now that taking care of myself is okay and makes my work better. Pollyanna was game for everything. She had incredible endurance. She would work out every day even though she was shooting 12 hours straight and being brutalized. I was motivated to get fit after that and really take care of myself, not from a vanity stand point, but as a physical artist (which is what we are), our bodies is so important, and if you're out of shape, those long days can take a toll on you physically and mentally. They were both inclusive and got to know everyone on set. That kind of thoughtfulness is contagious, and humbling. Sean Bridgers also literally taught me during the filming of Jug Face. He would take time with me to look over the script, even for a scene he wasn't in, and work on scenes with me. He was basically my acting coach during filming, and I really owe so much to him for how Jug Face came out. 

SPOILER ALERT, look away now......
(SPOILER ALERT), there’s a fairly gruesome scene in Darling, that must have took ages to prepare and I guess has to be done in one take? I think we had literally 2 takes, but once I hit the artery, that was it. Brian Spears did a phenomenal job, he always does. They love what they do and they're very scientific and precious about it. The work that goes into it is astonishing. As long as you listen and follow directions, then you can go crazy once they put that saw in your hand! It was so much fucking fun. It was exactly what I wanted to do. I know, I'm not right. 


We have to ask this because you say no one else does, what movies have you turned down? HA HA HA! Well, you read the one story in my blog about the Berlin film. There are a handful of really awful ones I turned down that never got made, so my instincts were right. There was one that I'll write about someday, all I'll say is that before I read it, I was told my character, "....doesn't have sex. But there is a blow job scene!" Being told that before you even read a script is pretty depressing. 

Lauren in a past life, or should that be past death....
What’s 2017 got in store for Lauren Ashley Carter? I made a film with director/writer Natasha Kermani, Imitation Girl. It's a Sci-fi drama, and that should be out next year. We're in festival submission fun land right now.  I'm currently writing a horror-comedy novel that I'll self-publish and turn into a screen play with the help of people more talented than I. And I'm getting ready to direct my first feature: a drama titled Loveshy, written by my childhood friends Raina Semivan and Matt Ducey. And if you haven't listened to me reading Jackie Chan's autobiography, I just finished it! 
"I'm moving to Manchester, UK in February for about 6 months or so just because the opportunity arose and I love the UK, so I'm incredibly excited about that!"
You can listen on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/LaCarter ... It's a fan reading I do cold. It took me about a year! 70 chapters plus the epilogue. Now I'm moving onto a second one. I love doing voice work. Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid asked me to return to Tales From Beyond the Pale for a live reading at Lincoln Centre, and I had such a blast! I would love to do loads more in any capacity, but it's a very difficult world to break into, and not so much cartoon work here in NYC. These fan made audio books are a way for me to have fun and be creative in between jobs.



★ ★ ★ ★
“Fantastically stylish and deeply creepy”
SciFi Now

★ ★ ★ ★
“A trippy, hypnotic ride”
Bloody Disgusting

“Perfect…Madness has never looked so beautiful”

The Hollywood Reporter


A lonely girl’s violent descent into madness. 

Hired as the caretaker of a large mansion in New York, an unnamed young woman soon discovers its haunted reputation and troubled history. Bored and left to her own devised for extended periods of time, she slowly goes insane. A chilling black-and-white horror playing homage to the classics, starring Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Young and Larry Fessenden. 


OUT NOW on DVD

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