One of the most highly anticipated scary movies this year was All the Creatures Were Stirring (you can read our review here), a Christmas horror anthology written and directed by Rebekah and David McKendry. I was lucky enough to screen this film before its release, and now I was able to interview one of the cast, Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner series star Ashley Clements, who plays Jenna in the film. Ashley and I spoke about her inspirations, comedy in horror, and of course, horror movies.
All the Creatures Were Stirring is now available on VOD, DVD and Shudder!
PopHorror: I watched All the Creatures Were Stirring the other night, and I thought it was quite unique. I wanted to know what intrigued you to be a part of this project?
Ashley Clements: I was invited to be part of the project by one of the producers/writers/co-stars, Morgan Peter Brown, who is a good friend. I really trusted him, and of course, I was flattered that he wanted to work with me. I think Morgan was the only person I knew at the time who was connected to it. So I said, “Yes,” without seeing a script. I just knew that Morgan wanted me to come play. Then I met all of these incredible people on set!
PopHorror: It looked like it was a lot of fun to shoot.
Ashley Clements: It was! Obviously, everyone involved has a really good sense of humor.
PopHorror: I like that mix of comedy with the horror in it. I thought it seemed more Christmasy that way.
Ashley: Yeah, and it gives you a nice break, too, to regulate your emotions.
Pophorror: Exactly! With it being an anthology, what was your favorite segment?
Ashley Clements: Oooh. I think my favorite segment – I can’t remember what it’s the called – the second one with the van. I don’t want to give anything away.
PopHorror: Oh yes, I will be sure to remove any spoilers!
Ashley Clements: But that, to me, was a really perfect horror short that both scared and intrigued me.
PopHorror: Yes, I found that one quite creative.
Ashley Clements: Mmhmm. And again, not to give anything away, but I thought the visual of the scary element was really well done, too. I love that I know something bad is going to happen because I know what genre I’m watching. But you just absolutely have no idea what it is.
PopHorror: I had forgotten that I was watching a horror movie when it first started, and then that first segment… well, you know what I’m talking about!
Ashley Clements: Yes! I definitely jumped, and I know exactly what you’re talking about. And I jumped right out of my seat! I think it does a great job, and that’s what good about the comedy, too. You’re just enjoying yourself and then BAM! Oh that’s right, this is horror!
PopHorror: That’s what I liked about this film. How long did it take for you to shoot this?
Ashley Clements: My segment we shot in two days. They rented that theater for two days. They shot the on stage components before I got there, and I really worked about a day and half. We did all the in-theater stuff, and then the lobby stuff, and the street stuff that’s the very opening of the movie.
PopHorror: I also read that you had starred in an Emmy Award-winning web series called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and you also created your own series, Sona, which had a wildly successful Kickstarter. What do you find more satisfying, working on a web series or making a movie?
Ashley Clements: Well, it’s a similar process in terms of being on set and getting to make something. And that’s my favorite thing in the entire world. I don’t think there’s any better place to be than on set. That’s why I do what I do. But, there is something extremely satisfying about having creative control as well. When I created Sona, I wrote it, I produced it, I starred in it. So I had complete creative control. But that’s also a lot of responsibility. So it’s also really fun to show up on a set like All the Creatures Were Stirring where I only had one job and I didn’t have to worry about anything else. And I just got focus and play. So I think they’re both completely rewarding experiences, and I’m very lucky that my career has allowed me those kind of varied experiences.
PopHorror: I also read that your Kickstarter was funded in less than four hours. Is that correct?
Ashley Clements: That is correct.
PopHorror: Wow! That is impressive.
Ashley Clements: Thank you. I’m very blessed to have a really incredible online audience that was introduced to me because of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Just an incredible audience and support for my career. I’m incredibly grateful to them.
PopHorror: What do you have coming up next?
Ashley Clements: Right now, I’m working on writing another project. I think it will be a web series. We’re writing it where it could be stitched together as a feature or done as a series. So I’m deep in the writing process right now. But I can’t give anything away yet. (laughs)
PopHorror: If you could work with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Ashley Clements: Oh my gosh! I mean, long list. I know this is cliche, but Meryl Streep. She’s such an inspiration, really. And a great example of conquering the ageism in Hollywood that can really end a lot of women’s careers. I think when women are freed from the expectation that we are merely sex objects, our true power can really be embraced without any distractions and be viewed as people rather than, ‘Oh, I don’t know if she’s hot enough.’
PopHorror: Do you have any words of advice for someone just starting out?
Ashley Clements: Be patient, work hard, say yes to everything. You don’t know who you’re going to meet. Everything that I have done in my career, I just auditioned for. I was cast in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but since then, almost everything I have done has been because of personal connections I’ve made on set, in classes, or just from meeting a friend of a friend. I met Morgan through a group of writers, and then I got to be a part of his movie. And the more people that I meet, the more opportunities I get, because we all want to make things. So I just keep expanding the circle of people who I invite to come and play with me, and that’s entirely because I said, “Yes,” to some things, and I had no idea what they were going to be.
And sometimes what you get out of it is the experience that means the next thing that you do will be better. You learn more about being on set and what you need to do to take care of yourself to do your best work. You learn how to make things. I didn’t go to film school. I didn’t show up in Los Angeles and think, “I thought I was just going to act.” I didn’t think I was going to do any other aspect of filmmaking. And I learned those things on set, and then by doing them. I am always throwing myself into it and taking on challenges that I don’t know whether or not that I can do and really just challenging myself.
PopHorror: What’s your favorite scary movie?
Ashley Clements: I’m going to go classic and say The Shining. It was one of the first horror movies that I ever saw. I watched it with my brother during the daylight because we didn’t know how scared we were going to be. I also just remember it as a bonding experience with my brother because we were both absolutely terrified.
We want to send a big ol’ thank you to Ashley for taking the time to talk with us. Keep it tuned to PopHorror for upcoming news on Ashley’s upcoming projects, as well as all of your horror news, reviews and interviews!