The Horror Revolution: What’s your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?
Katie Patel: I’m a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock. Although by today’s standards, they may be classified more on the psychological thriller spectrum, I really got into his movies as a kid. I was pretty affected by Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, but Rope has probably been the one that’s haunted me the most. It all takes place in one apartment, there’s no change of scenery, but it’s still one of the most terrifying films to me. I also watched The Shining a lot to prep for this movie.
THR: So you play the female lead in Pig Killer, which is batshit crazy and a super interesting watch. This is your first lead role, right?
KP: I’m glad that you enjoyed watching it! Yes, this is my first real acting role in general.
THR: I asked Chad Ferrin about this as well because I find the entire concept super intriguing: With seemingly everyone being interested in true crime nowadays, were there any concerns in regards to sensitivity with the film being based on real life events?
KP: Absolutely, and I appreciate you touching on this. This has been a big contention for me. Although this film was made in the spirit of a horror movie, the subject matter revolves around true stories and the lives of many (especially indigenous) women who were murdered, the lives that were affected, and the devastating impact this had on so many. It also deals with the subject of drug addiction, and vulnerable demographics.
Although I brought the topic of Robert Pickton to Chad, I don’t take credit for the script, and after reading it, I definitely felt at odds internally with how the subject matter is delivered – I conceded in the end to this being a somewhat kitchy and over-the-top horror movie in many regards, and was incredibly fun to make, but I still feel a deep responsibility to bring this movie around 360. Part of the proceeds from this movie will be going to the Missing Women’s Foundation in Vancouver where many of these events took place. If this movie can be further used to help a cause giving back to the lives affected, I am interested in how to go about that.
THR: You character is really interesting, with the contrast between the family drama and identifying, in some ways, with the killer at the heart of the film. Where did you draw your inspirations to provide such a fantastic performance as Wendy?
KP: Thank you for saying that. When I met Chad initially, I sort of threw out a couple of bones that he ran with. One of them was my character, Wendy. There are a couple of threads (though absolutely not all) are based off of my own life – one being a heroin addiction at one point in my life. Another one being naively falling for individuals who were not good for me. So I guess I drew from some of those darker experiences that have shaped me, getting into situations that are over my head because I hadn’t experienced the realities of not having a supportive family, and trusting people all too easily with my life.
THR: Mr. Ferrin is known for including a lot of black humor in his films, giving his movies a weird, almost artistically absurdist feel. Was it difficult to combine humor into a film about such horrific events?
KP: I honestly had no idea this was going to emerge as a movie with a prevalence of dark comedy involved until after I saw the first cut. I was very surprised with how it turned out. Chad definitely has a knack for being able to bring out the comedic elements in such a horrific story. I think that it ended up working out for the better; if it had been simply a dark horror movie, it may have been pretty unbearable to watch. I feel like this movie ended up covering a few genres, and a bit of a twisted love story to boot. I really liked how he kept us moving through the story, and the comedic elements had a lot to do with that.
THR: Is horror your favorite genre, or do you have others that you prefer to work in or watch?
KP: As much as I appreciate certain horror movies (and dark comedy), I’d have to say my favorite genre is more in the dramatic arena. I love a movie that moves me, makes me cry, adds something elemental to my psyche, which are usually all dramas. I would love to play in a character – driven role in a deeply thoughtful and intensive, complex drama involving a storyline led by a great deal of depth, tension and emotionality.
THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Oh my gosh, what a question! I’m hard pressed to choose, but to act with, Marlon Brando. To me, he’s really the epitome of a great actor, where his strength lies in his vulnerability and sensitivity. What a gift to be able to work with such a person. Also, Maggie Smith I think would be such an honor to work with, she inhabits such quality of character and it still seems that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. As for directors, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Oliver Stone, and Stanley Kubrick. I know some of Kubrick’s approaches towards his actors (especially in the Shining) were controversial. However, (and it may sound off kilter) I deeply appreciate undergoing rigorous and intensive methods for performance.
THR: You and Jake Busey had to get super up-close and personal a good bit during the film. What was it like working with Mr. Busey?
KP: Jake is a fantastic actor, and incredibly wonderful to work with. He was so easy-going and brought a lot of chill vibes to the set and the whole experience. I was super nervous, it being my first time, and I working face-to-face with such a talented and seasoned actor as himself. He really made me feel at ease and gave me confidence, and made the scenes exciting and a lot of fun.
THR: I saw that you had directed a documentary feature as well that sounds absolutely fascinating. Did you enjoy your time behind the camera as opposed to in front of it?
KP: Ha yeah, if you’re talking about the documentary on dumpster diving, that originated as a project for my Master’s thesis in Canada. I ended up making a documentary (as well as doing a written thesis) on the subculture of dumpster diving, and it turned out to be a really cool little film that broke some stereotypes and provided a small window into the world of dumpster diving and the people that do it. I’m currently working on another documentary on mental health (a big topic), where I’m also behind the camera. To me, making documentaries is a completely different world than when I’m acting. For the documentaries, my sole purpose is to provide an arena and platform for people to tell their stories, which I don’t necessarily get nervous about. With acting in front of the camera, there’s a vulnerability and excitement in the unknown, something very personal that I get to explore, and since I am quite shy, involves a great deal of courage that making the documentaries doesn’t necessitate.
THR: What’s really great about the horror industry is that if you can get a role in a movie that somehow defies the odds and becomes a hit, you basically never have to work again and can just spend your time touring conventions and fan gatherings. Is this something you could see yourself doing?
KP: If that were to happen, I would probably end up being a massive disappointment to my fans. As incredible an experience The Pig Killer has been, and as thrilled as I would be to do another horror movie, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for not exploring as much as the world of acting would have me explore before I leave this earth.
THR: I ask this of just about everyone because it’s such a divisive topic within the horror community: what are your thoughts on remakes? Is there a horror film that you think desperately needs a remake, and would you be the one to make it?
KP: I’m pretty old school in my overall thoughts on remakes, although I can’t say I’m well-versed in them, especially when it comes to the horror genre. I don’t think any film “needs” a remake, per say, as each has something to offer in it’s own right. However, a remake of The Shining could be quite interesting…
THR: What’s next for you? Any interesting roles in your future?
KP: At the moment I’m sort of still riding the rollercoaster of my first film, and learning a lot. I’m also incredibly grateful to be involved with the Actor’s Studio now. I’m learning absolutely everything I can from the masters of the craft. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for that. There are also a couple of roles that I’ve been looking at, so we’ll see what transpires.
THR: And finally, if you ever came across a real serial killer, what would your plan be to get away?
KP: This is such an interesting question for me, because part of my nature (and part of what has led to some darker times in my life) has been trusting people so readily, and trying to see the good in everyone. So naturally, I’d have to say I’m not inclined to plan an escape. However, I’ve also never been in a situation where I’m about to be killed, so some kind of survival instinct may kick in. I don’t like leaving on bad terms, though, so I might have to get over that.