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Inside An Asylum Horror Picture - 666: The Beast
vampire lips
victoria_lane
I pointedly did not think about the name of this movie the moment I discovered the title. You see, the number and I have history, beyond the usual gasp inducing research as a kid while hunting around the pages of the bible thanks to the influence of heavy metal. Some time in my teens, my parents bought a massive house on a huge hill over looking Anaheim Hills. The address of that home was 666 Frontier Court.

I was shocked that my devoutly Catholic parents would purchase a home with that address. But they insisted it was just a number. And I trusted that. On the very day we moved in, strange things happened. The jacuzzi in the master bedroom somehow overflowed and flooded the living room via the chimney. My father's car randomly caught fire weeks later and burned down to nothing, after he managed to get it out of the garage. I will never forget that smell. They eventually had the address of the house changed and some blessings done by the pastor of our church.

I firmly believe that mere thought conjures energy. And while a number may have no meaning, the very power of thought can make it seem so. I've witnessed it happen in many instances. I also believe in accumulated energy or ghosts. Some places on earth are so full of misery or a potent energy, they affect the world in very real ways.

The set of 666: The Beast was no different.

When I arrived outside of the building in lurid Downtown Los Angeles, I was stunned. It was a place I was quite familiar with as only a few years ago it was the home of a member's only sex club I had frequented with my ex husband. I was instantly disconcerted about being there and walking among the ghosts of my personal history.

As I entered down the hallway toward rooms I've had an intimate relationship with, I started to notice it wasn't quite the same. To my relief, the sex club was no more, having been shut down by the city, and replaced with a studio. Now, the sex club had rented out to movies but mostly adult films and nothing remotely mainstream. The studio who took over the space had entirely redecorated. All of the pointedly sexual play areas had been gutted with very minor exceptions such as the stage with the stripper poles in the main club area. Regardless, the entire evening I felt like I was in one of those dreams where the setting is familiar but just the right bit of alien in detail to be unsettling.

Our holding area was a room converted into a classroom set. There was a chalkboard with the topic of American Imperialism written on it. The question 'Is America an empire?' sat stripped of random consonants but still clear enough to be read. Upon further study, beyond the random graffiti left by clever little wits out for a strange sort of immortality, was the following pronouncement:





When I entered the holding area, instinctively being able to find it after so many years on sets/locations, I met my fellow vampire vixens and devil worshipers who would serve as my whole world for the duration of the night. They were a fine bunch, though I was particularly taken with a French actress who was trying to forge a career in Hollywood after having success in her home country and a young woman who reminded me of myself over a decade ago.

Movie sets are chaotic places. And there is a lot of waiting around involved. So, we had plenty of time to do the adult, dirty version of The Breakfast Club within the span of time we had before even hitting makeup. When you put a bunch of actors in a room, they will tell you their life stories or give you the essence of who they are rather swiftly. The only quiet one among us was a young man who we joked would go home and write the next great American novel consisting of the rare insider view of female to female conversation.

During the five or six hours of nothing to do, it became apparent that the studio was harboring some very powerful energy. Because I had spent so much time in the past rather tipsy in the space, I never explored the strange feeling, though I do recall it always being there. With a far less crowded space, and sobriety, it was down right chilling. But I was more fascinated by how it affected everyone else, particularly the non believers of the cast. The worst spot in the entire place was an area far in a corner that was made up to look like a 1920s jail cell. The instant you walked over the threshold of that room, an energy immediately violated you with something I couldn't quite place. I, personally, stumbled when it hit me, looking around frantically for the reason. This pervasive energy made for a lot of incidents and a creep factor that most of us felt was appropriate for a horror movie.

In keeping with the chaos of production, we sat around doing very little until about three or four am when suddenly we were being rushed through makeup and hurried onto the roof. Getting to the roof was quite the hilarious situation. We had to take two sets of ladders up into the rafters and then out onto the roof through this tiny hole that had to be crawled through. Upon the highest point of the roof, there was a massive wooden cross surrounded by candles and blood red cushioning. Because it was so early in the morning, there was a thin layer of dew upon everything.

Initially, it wasn't that cold. Taking off my robe and doing a little blocking for the camera angle and our own benefit was not as chilling as I expected, though laying down on the wet cross did register in the vaguest of ways near the back of my mind. When I'm working, I don't focus on things that would normally freak me out. I am singularly in the moment and paying attention to what needs to be done. There was a great deal of joking going on, which is how anyone deals with something as hyper real and edgy as such a scene. At one point, someone mentioned that I seemed as if I had been crucified before. I was struck silent by that. Why yes. I have. But not in the way that was intended. It was the only sobering moment of the night and not the moment I expected to find difficult.

Even though I didn't get any face time on camera or will be remotely recognizable due to the blindfold, I had the better end of the deal from the perspective of an experience. Tied down to a cross, naked on a rooftop at night in Los Angeles while two girls kissed and caressed their way up from my toes may not be all that wild compared to the things I've done in my lifetime but it was worth the road leading up to the moment. Having an audience and a camera capturing it all certainly didn't hurt any.

When it came time to kill me, I was more than a little nervous about the weaponry. The dagger was very dangerous and, if dropped, would injure me seriously if not kill me. That made me nervous. I'm a control freak for the most part, though I can surrender to moments, but that was very difficult for me to navigate. And I will never get over blood that tastes like chocolate yet looks red. As I was sitting there with a mouth full of blood and letting it dribble out of my mouth as if I were bleeding internally for however many minutes the take took, I kept imagining dark brown fluid coming out of my mouth and pooling in my platinum tresses.

Incidentally, the DP on this movie was a woman. I've never run into a single female DP my entire years in Hollywood.

When we were finished, which was after perhaps twenty minutes of various angles and takes, I was covered in sticky red fake blood and two shades of lipstick. We climbed back down the ladders to the main floor. After one other scene for the vixens, we were wrapped just as the sun was starting to peer out over the city.

There is quite a bit missing from this story out of courtesy for others and out of my desire to have sacred territory. It was a meaningful night beyond the experience. At one point, there was a white bird perched upon the sill of the bathroom. It didn't startle easily and one could get rather close to it before it would feel threatened. It appeared just as I was making a discovery that felt as if it were the point behind the entire experience for me, since it certainly wasn't a career move (unless Asylum lets me read for a speaking role in the future).

Thankfully, I never once encountered the forewarned monkey fist.... just cockroaches the size of lizards. The set, though, was definitely haunted so the 666 legend continues entirely intact.

Wow. Just wow.

I've had several friends try to get me to go places that are rumored to be haunted because things seem to happen when I'm around. I prefer that they don't and refrain most of the time.

By any chance were there a lot of extras for the sacrifice scene? When I was checking casting calls for M I saw something that sounded an awful lot like what you described you'd be doing.

No, there were only four minions of the devil extras. It wasn't a paying gig for them so most people were savvy enough to not participate.

Two of the extras took the Greyhound from Bakersfield to do it.

Hmmm...still coulda been. I know it was not a paying gig. They asked for people with cloaks, but would settle for hoodies.

Sigh

It's very possible. They had them dressed in big black cloaks. I think they were expecting a larger crowd but actors in LA are tired of working for free.

You are too professional to be deterred by chaos that swirls around a small studio production or the dissonant energies that seemed to permeate this set.
The producer/director had to have been impressed by your attitude and performance.

In the end though I guess you get to take home a paycheck and a feeling of satisfaction from having done your best.

Well, there isn't a whole lot of talent required for what I did. I didn't even have to act, really, which is why it was disappointing to be the victim instead of one of the vampires. (Not to mention probably one of the reasons no one else was willing to be the victim, though there was rumored to be some issue with being tied down etc. I just took one for the team.) I was essentially a body. The only action I executed was leaking blood out of my mouth but that's something anyone whose ever played as a kid could figure out. It's just make believe. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to not shiver after I was dead because it was damn cold and wet.

Re: ..third time is a charm

theoldone

2007-06-28 01:30 pm (UTC)

I would have hoped that "someone" noticed that you took the "less fun" role of victim, lay in the cold, and lay still in the cold and wet.
It's the less glamorous parts of the job that set the prima donnas apart from the professionals.

Re: ..third time is a charm

victoria_lane

2007-06-28 05:30 pm (UTC)

That was the gamble. It will take time to find out.

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