20th Feb2018

‘Death House’ Interview: Cortney Palm

by Philip Rogers

With the anticipated horror Death House being released in cinemas on February 23rd 2018, I got a chance to speak with actress Cortney Palm about what we can expect from the film, her character Agent Toria Boon and filming inside the haunted Holmesburg Prison.

cortney-palm-new

What can we expect from Death House?

Death House is one hell of a ride. From start to finish the audience will be wondering what is going on and how the protagonists are going to survive. It’s more than just a bloody horror/thriller, there is depth to the Death House and characters beyond what you think you’re getting from just viewing the trailer. Think about what the CIA did in our history in regard to LSD experiments, and the meaning of Dante’s Inferno, that’s what you’re getting with Death House.

How did you become involved in the film Death House?

I got involved on a whim and I was truly lucky to have been called upon. The original actress had fallen through last minute. I was sent the script on a Wednesday and flew out that Saturday to start filming! Harrison had been a fan of mine and reached out and luckily, I was available to shoot. I loved the script, it was gripping and creative, I couldn’t say no.

Can you tell me a little bit about your character?

Agent Toria Boon is not your traditional daddy’s girl. He wanted a boy, she tried to be that for him. She follows the rules and is strict about her appearance. She is a fighter and begins to question what is going on around her at the Death house. She guards her feelings and is a heavy hitter, but also cautiously and quietly curious. She has been through hell and has lost deep emotional responses, until her character begins to unravel throughout her struggle to escape the high security prison.

What sort of preparation did you do for the role?

I did not have much preparation for the role, considering the short time I had to prepare. I reached out to familiar characters and drew from them: Sushi Girl, and Alice from Resident Evil.  Through rehearsal time and phone calls with Harrison I was able to develop a strong female character.

Did you bring any of your own personality or experiences into the character?

In all my work you will see a spark of my own personality in there.  It’s fun to play different people, but to lose yourself fully is actually quite a dangerous thing to do.

You have gained popularity in cult films such as Zombeavers and Sushi Girl, but how does that compare to being one of the pivotal characters in Death House working so many horror icons?

Working with Horror Icons was a joy. It’s so refreshing to be around talented actors who have worked on some of my favourite horror films. They are legends to some, but these people are friends to me. Coming to set you can feel the class, and you feel welcomed, there isn’t too much ego to overwhelm you as there is on other sets. Come on now, we’re all humans and we’re all here together to make art.

A lot of people said that they felt a presence when filming in Holmesburg Prison. Did you experience anything whilst you were there?

I know a few of us were challenged mentally and physically while working in that location. There were a few freak out moments and machine malfunctions that we could only blame the dead for (wink wink), but it was just draining to be there. It was cold, and dark and filthy. Everyone was wearing a face mask because the air was unclean to breathe, but us actors, couldn’t wear the masks, so it was quite challenging.  The camera department burned sage and Dee Wallace and I did a healing energy circle and it helped tremendously.

What do you think makes Death House stand out from other horror movies being released at the moment?

Death House is different in that is doesn’t cater to specific tropes or PG crap. It is raw and vicious, filled with Easter eggs only true fans of the genre will notice.

What was the hardest part of the film to shoot?

Each scene can be difficult in its own way whether, emotionally, or physically. I think the hardest ones to shoot were when the budget failed us. Making low budget movies, you have to limit yourself on what you can do. There were so many excellent scenes in the script that couldn’t come to full fruition due to the budget, but with practical effects and movie magic we made it work.

What was your favourite scene to film in Death House?

My favourite scenes were the ones with Kane Hodder. Each scene with him was so much fun to film. We did some improv and through that we grew the story and gave our characters more depth. The true joy of making movies is in the magic of solid scene work.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on at the moment?

Look out for Your Own Road and Sunflower, two new films of mine coming out soon.

If someone is looking to get into acting, what advice would you give them?

Run away. Run far away. Not joking. If you truly want to act, to make magic I wish you good fortune, but my advice remains the same.
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Courtney Palm Show Reel:

Death House Trailer:

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