24th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Eve Oliver talks ‘Mask of Thorn’

by Philip Rogers

Mask of Thorn is a throwback to the classic 80 slashers from writer and director MJ Dixon, which was been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Friday 19th January. I got chance to ask actress Eve Oliver about what audiences can expect from Mask of Thorn, working on set and what makes the film stand out in the slasher genre.

Eve-Oliver

What can audiences expect from Mask of Thorn?

It’s great fun! You can expect lots of blood and without wanting to give away too much, there are some really creative and gruesome deaths! It’s a slasher movie set in the late 80’s and we follow a group of teenagers as they break into their school at night to have a surprise party, and as it goes with all good slasher movies, the group gets separated and they realise there is a serial killer is on the loose!

Can you tell us a bit about your character?

Bethany Lovell is the archetypal ‘goody-two-shoes’ character.  She has had a really strict upbringing and she sees her parents as more domineering authority figures than her family whom she can trust. Her best friend Olivia is a bit of a rebel and her parents don’t approve of them seeing each other, so at the very start of the film, we see Bethany as quite an isolated, awkward girl trying to fit in.  As the film goes on we see Bethany being picked on by the school bully, Julia, and we start to understand even more so why she is a shy and quiet girl, and tends to keep herself to herself.

How did you become involved in the film?

I’ve followed Mycho Entertainment for years.  Once I had graduated, I started looking into local film and theatre companies, and Mycho was a group that really stood out for me.  They had such a distinct, unique style and I also loved that they used local talent.  I’ve loved following their projects through their Facebook / Instagram pages and in some of Mycho’s more recent projects I got in touch and started applying to work as one of their actors. After various messages to and from, they sent me through a first draft of the Mask of Thorn script, which I fell in love with and I’m so lucky to have been offered the role of Bethany.

What preparation did you do for the role?

I found it really useful to delve into the script, tear it apart, and start to build up the character of Bethany by creating a scrapbook of her life.  Bethany is very quiet and at the start of the film she is very isolated – writing in her diary every day, so in a way, creating the scrapbook really helped me to start focussing in on Bethany.  I realised in many ways she was very similar to my younger self.  Also, Since I was 14, I have been writing letters to myself each year (I know – cringe!). It’s meant that I’ve kept a record of my life by writing about what was important to me at the time, my biggest fears, my aspirations etc.  Being able to go back over those letters has been so, so useful, I was able to get myself into that mind-set and start to build the character from there.

What was it like working on the set of Mask of Thorn?

A-Mazing.  I genuinely had the best Summer spent with some incredible people.  Everyone went above and beyond all the time, it made working on set an absolute pleasure – and not feel like work at all! There were a lot of really long nights and lots of hard work of course, but you get stuck in and create something awesome, and what and talented, passionate group of people to share that experience with!  Everyone upped their game, not only helping to create something really special, but it also made for a great atmosphere one set. MJ and Anna were lovely right from the word go and all the cast and crew were fantastic too.  Seriously, I had the best time, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

What do you think makes Mask of Thorn stand out in the slasher genre?

I’m going to be completely honest here – I hadn’t seen much horror at all before I landed the role! I was always the one hiding behind the cushions when horror came on! But I started by watching much more modern horrors like ‘Sinister’, the ‘Insidious’ films and most recently It Follows (2014) (my absolute favourite) – and I’ve totally fallen in love.  When I landed the role, I started to go back and watch some of the classics – Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).  For me, Mask of Thorn stands out because it’s so different from the more modern films – it harks back to some of those classic horrors – particularly being set in the 80’s – it’s got the masked murderer, a few good jump scares and lots of gore!

What was one of your favourite scenes to film?

It has to be the rooftop scene.  We filmed that scene in one night and there was lots of falling onto crashmats and hanging off rooftops! I’d not really done stunt work as such before in films, so it was great fun to learn and throw myself into it! (literally) When we first started marking the scene through I was honestly really nervous, but as the night went on I had so much fun, I’m so glad I just went for it – and the end result looks awesome!

Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

Yes – I’ve just finished working on a feature film called The Brink by Hundy Gilbert Media –they are an awesome film company, and they are still in the process of filming at the moment – I can’t wait to see what it looks like! I also love to perform with a comedy improv group At the Drop of A Hat – we have a Facebook page and we’re on Twitter if you fancy taking a look for any upcoming shows! It’s ridiculously fun to perform in, and another great bunch of actors.  When I’m not filming, I love choreographing and directing, I recently finished Phantom of the Opera Youth Production – a sell-out run last month, and I’m hoping to be choreographing again in 2018 for The Hired Man.  Other than that, who knows what the future holds – I’m always up for a challenge and new adventures.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get into acting?

I’d say my best advice would be perseverance and patience.  You can go through months of applying and applying for work and not feel like you’re getting anywhere, and then out of the blue someone makes contact about a completely unrelated job because they remembered your application from months ago! Keep applying, keep in contact with people you’ve worked with and just be supportive of those around you. Trying to build a career as a creative is hard!  Also, never underestimate the power of networking – not only is it a chance to make contact with other people in the business, it’s also the best way to start some really awesome friendships.

Mask of Thorn screened at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Friday 19th January at 8pm.
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For more information on the event and to purchase tickets for the Horror-on-Sea please see the website for details:  https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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