Frightfest London interview: Hangman star Kate Ashfield Emily Stockham September 2, 2015 Editor's Choice, Film4 Frightfest, London, London Interviews 1990 Regular visitors to our site will know that one of the films that most took us by surprise at this year’s Frightfest was Adam Mason’s home-invasion shocker Hangman. We’ve already chatted to Adam himself about his found-footage-with-a-twist flick, so we were delighted when he arranged for us to chat to his leading lady, British actress Kate Ashfield. Here’s what she had to say about Hangman – and Shaun Of The Dead of course…. How did you become involved in Hangman? I met Adam a couple of times socially and then he got in touch through a friend saying he was making this film. He sent me the script and I was hooked and terrified. You’ve starred in TV and film that spans many different genres, would you say Hangman is your first foray into Horror in its truest form? I guess so. I did a poltergeist horror movie called “When the Lights went out” which I really enjoyed. I laughed so much as it is so funny when you have to pretend wind is blowing through the house and there is a props guy with a leaf blower aimed at you, and other people rattling the set. But yes I think this was the first pure horror. Some readers may be aware that you have an affiliation with ‘in-yer-face’ theatre and starred in Sarah Kane’s iconic play, Blasted – this style is usually confrontational, shocking and vulgar in varying ways – why did this genre appeal to you? The young British writers at the Royal Court were entertaining and ground breaking and suddenly theatre became trendy and young people were queuing for tickets. The plays felt important to be in as people were discussing them on Newsnight. It was a very exciting time and I felt incredibly lucky to have been involved. Do you think ‘in-yer-face’ has some crossover or similarities in terms of the emotions that you are trying to convey with the horror genre? I don’t think so, those plays were much more politically driven. There were shocking moments but not the kind of tension in horror movies. Your character Beth has the most near or actual interactions with ‘Jimmy’ in Hangman, how did you approach the role? Was it scary or unnerving to make? Most of the time it wasn’t scary at all. It was great fun in fact. We hung out for a while before filming to get to know each other. Jeremy already knew Ty and Ryan really well and they were all such easy going funny people to be around. Because of the way it was filmed with hidden cameras it was easy to forget it was a horror film most of the time. I found the scene going up into the attic a little scary as it was really dark and hot up there. Found footage and home invasion style films like Hangman have become very popular in recent years, why do you think that is? I think they plug into real fears, families at their most vulnerable in their own homes. You are arguably best known for playing Liz [particularly amongst horror fans] in the classic Brit comedy-horror Shaun of the Dead -do you have a favourite memory from making that film or a favourite scene? I have loads of great memories of making that film! It was a fantastic experience. The scene whizzing round in the car was great fun. I remember Bill Nighy covered in blood getting out of that scene and I felt sorry for him as the fake blood is all sticky. He said he had no complaints, it is an amazing way to earn a living. We seemed to be in the pub scenes for ages, but I loved all of them. I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoyed all of that time. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular comedy horrors of recent years and has become a real cult classic for Brits – why do you think Shaun of the Dead struck a chord with so many people? I really have no idea. I think it is probably down to the humour. I think it was one of the first movies to combine these particular genres, zombie romantic comedy and that was inspired and hugely successful. Lastly, are you a horror fan? What’s your favourite horror of all time? I am a complete coward and find horror films really hard to watch, I am the one covering my eyes, screaming! Psycho is probably my favourite. Although I absolutely love being in them, I just finished one here called “Welcome Home”. It’s about a house sitter who inveigles her way into a family. What are you working on next? Right now I am co- writing a TV pilot about a young psychopath, it’s great to be in control for once!