Interview with Filmmaker Sarah French [Women in Horror Month 2021]

Please introduce yourself.
I’m Sarah French, an actress based out of Studio City, CA. I grew up in the Midwest. I spent a portion of my childhood growing up on a farm. I think that’s where my love for entertaining came from. We didn’t have computers, cell phones or cable TV. We had to be creative to entertain ourselves. I loved putting on plays for friends and family. As a teenager I found friends that were into what I was into and we all made short horror films together. I went to school for criminal justice but couldn’t escape my love of film, so I chose to focus on that. I’m a huge horror fan and love metal music. I enjoy hiking and being out in nature.

What is it that attracts you the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
It all started when I was a kid. I loved going to the video stores, sifting through the VHS movies and looking at the killer artwork on each of the boxes. That’s kind of how I chose the movies I wanted to rent. It was all horror. My mom was deeply religious and didn’t want my sister and I to watch horror films. She would never let us watch anything on TV or in film that had any kind of violence or gore. So naturally when your parents tell you not to do something, you want it even more. One day my grandma was babysitting us girls and she took us to the neighborhood video store.

One box cover caught my attention. It was Child’s Play. I immediately wanted to watch it. So somehow my sister and I tricked our grandma into renting it for us and that’s where it began. I fell in love with horror from that day on. I was about 5 years old and I haven’t looked back since. The draw was being scared. I loved that feeling and wanted more. In general, film is an important part of life. It gives you an escape from the everyday horrors, anxieties, stresses of life and lets you immerse into another world. It’s an escape and we all need that sometimes.

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
Most people would pick a celebrity or something like that, but for me it’s my mom. She is the toughest and hardest working woman I know. My mom was a single parent and raised 2 little girls on her own. That is no easy task! She taught us the life lessons of hard work and dedication. I also learned about struggle and to appreciate for what I have. I wouldn’t change my upbringing for anything, because it’s made me who I am today. I am very strong willed and have always worked hard for what I want in life.

Women in horror have made great strides, but it’s clear that a lot of work is still needed to make it a most inclusive genre. To you, what is the importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month?
I think WIHM has really shined a light on all the roles women play in the industry. As an actress, I’m front and center. We tend to get all the recognition. But there are so many people that work hard behind the scenes to bring a film to life. WIHM allows the world to see all the talent behind the camera. Women are directors, writers, producers, AD’s, etc. The sky is the limit.

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a women as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
We are in a new age. I think the playing field has leveled to a certain extent. Its all about drive and talent. You must work hard. Stay focused. Don’t give up. Opportunities will present themselves. You must see them and chase your dreams. At the same time, support one another. That doesn’t happen enough. It’s a tough industry and it’s easy to play the high school games. Don’t.

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
When I first started in the entertainment industry, I wanted to be that girl who was half naked running from some killer in the woods. Well, I got to do that, multiple times ha-ha! Then in a way I became type cast. I’m very comfortable with nudity, so I was kind of the go to girl for just nude scenes with very little character development. Before I got together with my partner Joe, we were close friends. He would always tell me that I’m much more than just someone who gets nude. He helped me to learn to value myself and what I bring to the table. He’s always been there for me and has supported me and helped me grow as an actress. I’m still okay with nudity, but it has to serve a bigger purpose. I’m now looking for very character driven roles with depth and emotion.

But it all starts with you! Do you want to be type cast; do you want to keep doing the same thing? If yes, then that’s fine! But that’s not what I wanted, so I changed my way of thinking, started to become very choosy with what roles I wanted and who I wanted to work with. For every project I do, I turn down 20. It doesn’t mean they are bad projects. Just not right for the path I’m on. I want to elevate with each project I do. So, my advice is to look deep within yourself, figure out what you want in life. It will take time, trust me, it took me many years to figure that out… and I’m still working on it. I always will. The point is to just keep moving forward.

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror?
There are so many great women working in horror. I think you should keep an eye on all of them. That’s the whole point of WIHM. It’s about the collective not the individual.

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I have a handful of films coming out this year along with a few in the works as we speak. We just finished post-production on “Pretty Boy”, which is the sequel to the film, “Blind”, which was released in 2020! The sequel is a very 80s style slasher and let’s just say… there will be blood and lots of it! It was such a pleasure bringing the Faye character back to life and I can’t wait to share more.

I also have two films I worked back-to-back on in Las Vegas last year, “Bloodthirst” which is a post-apocalyptic vampire film with Tara Reid, Costas Mandylor, Robert Lasardo, and Elissa Dowling. The other film is, “Death Count”, which is strangers waking up in individual cells with no memory how they got there. They soon realize if they don’t acquire enough “likes” they die by an executioner. I star in that one along with Michael Madsen, Costas Mandylor, Robert Lasardo, and Devanny Pinn.
Another film I worked on late last year with director/actor Joe Davidson from “Stranger Things” and director Roy Knyrim, owner of SOTA FX, is called, “Sorority of the Damned”. That one was a lot of fun because I was able to transform head to toe into an evil witch! The film is full of practical effects and is a lot of fun! Keep an eye out for all these films coming out later this year and lots more news to come on each! 2021 is going to be one hell of a ride!

Pop them links to follow your work here:
Instagram: @sarahfrenchonline
Facebook: @sarahfayefrench
Twitter: scarlet_salem

Photo credits:
Pretty Boy screen-grab: Silent Partners
Still photo: Randall Photography