My mama always told me to find something I’m good at and to then apply it in my day-to-day life. I’m one hell of a screamer. Throughout the years, I’ve developed a decent name for my screams on stage with my music, but one day my dream happened. A good friend of mine, Joseph Bishara (Rasputina, Marilyn Manson, 16 Volt, etc.) walked up to me after one of my band Satiate‘s shows and asked, if he paid me, would I let him record me, audibly, for some horror movie work. His exact words were “how’d you like to get paid to puke?” I immediately was into the idea for a multitude of reasons. One, I’m a huge horror movie freak. Two, I’ve always wanted to work in horror movies. Lastly, how awesome would it be for someone to ask me what I do for a living and I can go “I get paid to puke and scream.” From this one conversation a few years ago, I get calls from time to time to come down to the studio and track vocals, screams, eerie voices and, yes, weird noises, like gurgling, gargling and yes, puking. Most of my work is featured in movie trailers and TV commercials, some of the more “known” work in my resume is: The Village, Amityville Horror (remake,) Silent Hill, and The Grudge 2. One of my latest treks into the studio was for the After Dark Films Horror Fest, 8 Films to Die For, The Gravedancers.
It’s very challenging work. The first half of the session was vocal pieces that range from simple choral to intense and powerful operatic type vibratos. I recorded pieces in several rooms with different microphones to get different natural analog textures. Then, I also was selected to do the voice for the ghost of Emma, the homicidal wronged lover hell-bent on revenge from the grave. A few of those takes consisted of me mic’d by sitting on the floor and pushing physically along my stomach. Then, comes the hard part, adding in the textures and the free run of ideas. This is the area that Joe tosses me a sound idea and we brainstorm and try to figure out how I can create it. Where the only rule is, the more unnatural sounding, the better. On the recording for this session, we mic’d me in his bathroom gargling first a watered down vanilla yogurt (which looked like a bukkake film gone wrong when we were done,) then beer. It was interesting to know that while moaning during the gurgling of the yogurt, you can get a wet slap of sound, and then while doing it with the beer, you got a hissing foam texture. Both pieces made it into the score to give the actual finished product this uncomfortable sensation.
Now came the hard part, waiting for this movie to come out. There were initial screenings, which got killer reviews. I got to see the work I did placed in the movie, finally. The movie opened and it had such a wonderful cast of characters. Three friends have a friend die. Two of the friends used to be lovers, and one of them is currently married creating tension between the two. The other one is flippant comic smart-ass. After the funeral, they go get drunk and notice a mysterious note telling them to dance for the dead. They blast their little boom box and start dancing, on people’s graves. Well, turns out, it’s a curse. The ghosts of the three graves the friends danced on are super pissed and proceed to haunt the living for a full turn of the moon (that’s 30 days people…) As time passes, the ghosts get stronger. The three ghosts belonged to three people buried in the “crazy” part of the cemetery. One ghost is a pyromaniac child. Another is a physically and sexually abusive man. The last one is the one I did the work for, a woman who’s married lover wouldn’t leave his wife for her, so she butchered them both with an axe. The three finally discover what all the creepy and insane problems are coming from and get help from some paranormal investigators. If you want more, you need to get the movie, but yeah, you get the idea. After being disappointed by so many horror movies, I was glad to see one that actual had me jump in a few moments. It made me so happy to be a small part of it’s magic. So here is a great movie, but no distribution.
Finally After Dark Film’s, Horrorfest 8 Films to Die For, was born. The Gravedancers hit the screen. Emma, what I consider my ghost, is now turning up in places I’d never expect (like in random MySpace pages and message boards) and I’m grinning inwardly, because I loved being a part of this evil ghost, even if it’s only a few minutes of voice or vocals. I loved the idea that these independent filmmakers were coming together to get GOOD horror movies to the people. Something that should be prevalent over the thousands of HORRIBLE remakes and corporate takes on what they think a horror movie fans should love. It still amazes me, that bumping into random people around town, they will start talking about The Gravedancers and how they loved the evil ghosts, when the subject of current horror movies get brought up. Nothing better to see people scream and jump when they are watching a horror movie, even the trailer, when it’s your scream that scares the hell out of them. I love making my mama proud. I get even more sick satisfaction out of the fact when she brags about my work she goes, “Yeah, my daughter gets paid to scream and puke.”