Matt McWilliams’ Chupacabra Territory is one of the better found footage horror films we’ve seen this year. The star of Chupacabra Territory, Sarah Nicklin, has taken the time out of her busy schedule to come talk to PopHorror for our Q & A!
PopHorror: What inspired you to begin a career in acting?
Sarah Nicklin: I love acting because I love figuring out what motivates and makes characters tick and why they do the things they do. Delving into someone else’s psyche and putting on their skin for a little while is fascinating and addictive. While that is what currently inspires me, that’s not why I started acting. I started acting because of a childhood crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I was convinced that if we ever met that we’d fall in love and get married right away, so I decided that in order to make that happen, I needed to become an actor… since, of course, all celebrities know each other. So I started doing school plays in middle school, high school, went to college for theater at Emerson, etc. Somewhere along the way, I lost my love for JTT and it was replaced with a love for telling stories.
PopHorror: What actors/actresses inspire you?
Sarah Nicklin: Gary Oldman has always been a favorite. His ability to completely transform and loose himself in roles to the point of being unrecognizable is amazing and inspiring. The same could be said for Philip Seymour Hoffman. I also really love Natalie Portman and am always amazed and inspired by her work and performances. Brent Sexton in The Killing will always stick with me as an incredible performance when he breaks down about his daughter’s death. There are so many amazing actors out there, but I think the things that really strike a cord with me and inspire me are the moments of complete vulnerability when a character is fighting so hard to stay strong.
PopHorror: What intrigued you about Amber that made you want to play her?
Sarah Nicklin: I’m always been interested in the occult and witch craft and cryptozoology, but it’s never been something I’ve really dived into or had time to get involved in. I’m fascinated by people who are trying to catch glimpses of mythical creatures on tape and the controversy that surrounds them. In another life, I could have been a cryptozoologist searching for the unknown, so it was exciting to get the chance to play this type of character in a film.
PopHorror: How did you prepare for the role of Amber?
Sarah Nicklin: I watched a lot of videos on YouTube about people who thought they had found Bigfoot or the Chupacabra or other weird occurrences caught on tape to get an idea of the excitement of the people making these films and how much they really believe in what they’re doing.
PopHorror: Was it difficult shooting most of the film in the woods?
Sarah Nicklin: I love being out in the woods and camping, so I was really excited that this was basically just going to be a big camping trip while making a movie. Originally, we were all supposed to be staying outside in tents and literally camping together while filming, but it was too cold to do that, so we all stayed in cabins instead. There are challenges that innately come when filming outside, such as not having electricity…. especially at night, covered in blood when it’s cold. The cold was probably the hardest part since I was running around in nothing but a tank top and skirt. But the production team was really good about having giant blankets on standby to throw over us in between takes.
PopHorror: What was the most difficult scene to shoot for you?
Sarah Nicklin: Pretty much the entire end sequence I think was the hardest. At this point, I’m running through the woods, trying not to fall for real, trying to not look like I’m freezing, trying to avoid rocks and branches and to be scared when there’s really nothing chasing after me. The last shot especially when I get dragged away took several takes to get it right since I was laying on a tarp – so I didn’t get scraped up when I get dragged – but the tarp needed to be completely hidden under me and the people pulling it needed to be completely out of frame. It took a while to get all of that set up correctly while laying on the cold hard ground covered in cold sticky blood, but in the end, it came out looking great.
PopHorror: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
Sarah Nicklin: I think the stuff earlier on in the film where we’re driving was some of the most fun. It was just the four of us in the car – with Matt and Chris stuffed in the trunk trying to stay out of the way of the camera – and we were pretty much free to improvisee and joke around and talk about whatever we wanted. It was just four friends hanging out and we were all excited to get started on the film, since this was one of the first things we shot. It just had a really great energy to the whole thing.
PopHorror: Would you work with director Matt McWilliams on future projects?
Sarah Nicklin: Absolutely! In fact, there are rumors of him doing a sequel.
PopHorror: Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! So far, both Sarah and director Matt McWilliams have stated there could be a sequel to Chupacabra Territory! Be sure to check it out now that it’s available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at Target!