A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Internet Celeb of the Month: Hannah Fierman

Despite the fact that it is becoming an overused film making technique, I am still a sucker for a well done found footage-style movie; especially when it comes to horror films. 

Maybe it's because of how personal and claustrophobic they can feel...or maybe it's because of how overproduced and stylized many horror films made today can look. But give me a movie shot from the point of  view of a moderately unsteady home camera (which can somehow also do wide angle shots as well as film in HD) and I'm at least interested in watching it.

That's why when I heard about V/H/S, a found footage horror anthology that featured four unique and terrifying tales, I was pretty excited. 

The early reviews made it sound very good...but then there were also those weird reports about people passing out during the screenings.

Was this just a marketing ploy, or was the film really so scary and visceral that it could make someone lose consciousness? When it became available online, I decided to find out for myself.

For any of you that are interested in seeing the movie (it's available on Netflix), I must warn you that while I did not pass out, it is pretty terrifying and fairly gruesome in some parts. The only part I didn't really care for was the wrap around story that connected the rest of the short films together. Otherwise, all four vignettes were very entertaining.

---------Spoilers for V/H/S Ahead--------
(But you really should have seen this movie by now)

The first one in particular, however, entitled 'Amateur Night', was by far the best of the bunch. It involved a group of three douche bags who were going out that night to find some girls to take back to their hotel room...and secretly film their raunchy activities with. 

To get around the whole "Hey, what the heck is that red light?" problem, one of the men had equipped himself with a pair of hipster glasses that also had a camera installed, making a recording of everything he saw...and giving a great reason to get around the whole "DROP THE CAMERA AND RUN, YOU IDIOT!" issues that plague the more intense moments of any food footage story.

The group heads out and picks up a couple girls. One of them, played by Hannah Fierman, is not at all what she seems. Sure enough, things go from drunken hedonism to people getting eaten and having their balls ripped off (yes, that actually happens) pretty quickly.

                                             photo by Kelly Blackmon     
Before consuming alcohol

After one too many wine coolers

You know things have gotten bad when you actually feel yourself sympathizing and even rooting for a group of douche nozzles as they are brutally slaughtered by a relentlessly homicidal succubus. Fierman's performance was so unsettling that it instantly made me regret watching the movie alone at night with the lights off.

What really struck me about her portrayal of 'Lily', however, was how much range she showed. While she was meeting the trio of men at the bar (before turning into an out of control killing machine) her character came across as some sort of alien being without the aide of any prosthetics or effects.

Her repeated whispering of "I like you" to the one guy she was able to restrain herself from eviscerating was also a little bit sweet and insanely creepy.

This normally means that your wing men are no
longer needed, not that they will soon die a terrible death

The film had a limited release in October, but it developed a large cult following online thanks to Netflix (and probably a fair share of illegal downloading). Most people loved it, some didn't, but everyone seemed to have been spellbound by "the 'I Like You' girl" from the first segment of the film.

I decided to look Hannah up and see what else she had done. It turns out that her young career is being steadily built upon her ability to transform completely into different types of characters (all with big, beautiful eyes).

Hannah's acting reel, which is embedded below, features her as:

-A terrified woman being stalked 
-An early 20th century aristocrat
-A comically homicidal redneck
-A dimwitted best friend with poor parenting skills
-A neurotic (and strangely voiced) admirer
-An illegal prescription drug dealer

I decided that RamblingBeachCat.com had to get an interview with her before she hit it big and was surrounded by a wall of agents and E! Network interviewers. Because she's awesome, Hannah agreed.

RBC:  How did you end up getting involved with V/H/S?

HannahDavid Bruckner (director of the Amateur Night segment) asked me to audition after a mutual friend suggested I audition.

RBC: For anyone who hasn't seen V/H/S yet, how would you describe your character?

Hannah: I'd say that she's the classic misunderstood monster.

RBC: What was it like having all those prosthetics done?

Hannah: It was very time consuming; 5 hours most days. Fawn Ortega, Blake Myers and Lisa Charter did the FX make-up.

They had to use a lot of alcohol and acetone in order to get the desired effect. It was chilly because I was nude most of the time. It was pretty much full-body make-up.

RBC: Nice...

[The room] wasn't very well ventilated either which made it all the more grueling.

The retouching of my feet (because it was silicone) also made it difficult to walk without messing them up. 

So basically, every time I got up to walk or do anything, I had to sit down again for 30 minutes for them to redo my feet that I had just messed up.

RBC: How physically demanding was the part (like when you picked up that guy and flung him into the air)?

Hannah: That was actually my stunt double, Elizabeth Davidovich. She's a contortionist, a stunt woman, a gymnast, and probably everything else....she's amazing.

For that scene, they used some type of pulley lift. Elizabeth was also the one who jumped on the guy after standing in that weird pose (because she can dislocate her shoulders).

RBC: What do you think ultimately happened to that poor guy who you carried off at the end?

Hannah: I think she took him to her nest and he became her love slave.

                                                                       photo by Stefan Jeremiah

Not the worst fate in the world...

RBC: Have you ever been tempted to go out with your friends and freak out a guy with the 'I Like You' line?

Hannah: Well, since I wouldn't know if they had seen the movie or not, that could make things really awkward.

But after my agent saw the movie he called to say that he was now officially terrified of me. I responded by whispering back "I like you." 

He totally freaked out.

RBC: What were you channeling while playing the part of Lily to make her seem so alien and creepy?

Hannah: At first when we were just forming what the Lily character was going to be, David Bruckner showed me a picture of a bat. [The bat] was really kind of endearing, but grotesque at the same time.

I watched a lot of videos of bats and implemented that into the character along with bird-like and cat-like movements.

I just sort of mixed them all together and tried to make it subtle enough so that it wasn't really in your face, but so there was enough to be like "this girl is strange."

                                                                                                        photo by Stephen Gelb

RBC: It's really funny that we're talking about subtlety when your character eventually ends up murdering a bunch of people and ripping one of the dude's nuts off.

Hannah: Well, the guys were not respecting Lily's space, so the more defensive she became, the more creature-like she became. 

She'd been holding it in, but when they crossed the line, she had to retaliate.

RBC: Well, I must admit that even though I was pretty terrified watching what you did, it was still kind of fun watching that group of douche bags get what was coming to them...especially the blond haired dude.

Hannah: That's Joe Sykes. He's a wonderful actor and really great to work with; not a douche at all! In fact, none of those guys are at all like the characters they were portraying.

RBC: Is horror normally a genre that you gravitate towards?

Hannah: I think that horror is such a broad genre now. When people say "horror", they normally think of slasher films with lots of blood and guts. But it doesn't necessarily have to be that.

I do enjoy doing horror, but I don't particularly enjoy watching it because I get frightened really easily. I actually terrified myself watching V/H/S; I knew what was going to happen and it still scared the crap out of me.

What's really cool about V/H/S, though, is that there is something in it for every different type of horror fan.

RBC: What originally got you into acting and how long have you been doing it?

Hannah: I've been acting since I was three. I did my first performance and enjoyed it so much that I just never stopped. It's what I've always wanted to do and feels more like a calling than anything.

RBC: Do you still do a lot of theater work?

                                                           photo by Kelly Blackmon

Hannah: I love theater, but I'm more focused on film and television now.

RBC: Do you still get to sing? (scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Game Hound demo to see why I asked about that...she's really good).

Hannah: A little bit; I've done a few songs for films and soundtracks.

RBC: Most of the clips I've seen of your other work make it look like when you aren't mutilating men and turning into a terrifying creature, you're actually pretty funny. Do you think you'll be doing more comedic roles in the future.

Hannah: I hope so. I like to do extreme, quirky characters and I absolutely love doing comedy; it's the most fun I have on set.

                                                                  photo by Karla Jean Davis

RBC: Has V/H/S opened up more opportunities for you?

Hannah: Yes, it's been amazing! I've been contacted by a lot of directors and producers and been cast as the lead in five features.

RBC: Are you allowed to talk about any of them?

Hannah: I'm almost done filming The Unwanted, which is a modern day take on the novel 'Carmilla.' It's directed by Bret Wood and my co-star is Christen Orr (I play the role of Laura).

That is probably going to be the first thing to come out (or the first thing to be finished) that I've been working on lately. It's sort of a horror/drama/love story...it's interesting.

I'm also about to do a feature called 'Hold Me' directed by Teace Snyder. We'll be filming that in Canada in the next few months. I think that's the only two I'm allowed to talk about right now.

RBC: Any chance of seeing you return for V/H/S 2?

Hannah: No, I'm not in that one. But I've heard that it's really good, though. I think they had a bit more funding this time around, so they were able to really take it up a notch.

RBC: Besides directors and producers (or scum of the earth bloggers like myself), do you ever have any fans try to contact you with weird declarations/requests....like marriage proposals?

                                              photo by Kelly Blackmon

Hannah: I do! How kinky is that? A few have even been like "If you came up and tried to hit on me, I'd totally let you kill my friends." 

A lot of the contact from fans I have gotten has actually been profoundly personal. Maybe its because the character has broken the 4th wall. I don't know

I really do appreciate all the wonderful feedback I've gotten about my role as Lily. 

I wouldn't consider my character to be terribly approachable, but for whatever reason, people seem to have really embraced her.

                                                                              Photo by Emily Dryden

Make sure to follow Hannah on Twitter @ HannahRoseFierm, check out her website, www.hannahfierman.com and art site, www.hannahfierman.info, and LIKE her Facebook fan page.

You can follow me on Twitter as well, but I'm not nearly attractive or entertaining.

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