FANGORIA Presents: “SIN REAPER” actress says her prayers
Any fright fan, no matter how casual, would be hard pressed in saying that slasher films are easy experiences for actresses. Stories of startling on-camera reveals and unexpected FX trickery to achieve the proper depiction of fear only add more to the weight already carried by these overtly physical, and sometimes thankless, roles.
However, gender politics aside, many prolific actresses got their big break from starring roles in fright flicks, whether it be Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN, Jennifer Aniston in LEPRECHAUN or Patricia Arquette in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET III: DREAM WARRIORS. And although she may not have been the lead, Hazuki Kato definitely leaves her mark with one of the more memorable performances in SIN REAPER, now available under the FANGORIA Presents banner (see here for details; to find Fango’s Comcast collection on your VOD channel, search this way: Movies > Movie Collections > Fangoria).
Kato, who plays the provocative Jenny in the film about a masked stalker at a former German convent, says her experience on SIN REAPER changed her perspective on the genre in general. “I was born and raised in Japan, which has a lot of very popular J-horror films,” she says. “But I was too scared to watch them, so I have not really watched many horror films. But after actually being in SIN REAPER, I found it so exciting. It blew my mind. I am now a huge fan of horror!”
Despite not having a background in horror movies, Kato was attracted to the role for many reasons, “When I read the script for SIN REAPER, out of all of the characters I wanted to play, my first choice was Jenny,” she says. “I was always a fan of adolescent movies, and I’m particularly fond of party girls in these types of films. So, a mutual friend introduced me to [producer] Nico [Sentner], and I was fortunate enough to audition. I was so happy when I got the part, but I thought, ‘This may be too good to be true,’ so I didn’t believe it until I got my plane ticket to Germany. It was very special for me that the first time I traveled to Europe was for SIN REAPER.”
Furthermore, Kato’s inexperience in the fear field lent itself to an educatory process in the role. “When I was cast in SIN REAPER, I was super excited, but at the same time, I was worried too because I never had any experience of people trying to kill me. But I always enjoyed seeing blood in movies, and I was also curious about how they shot slasher or bloody scenes, so I was more excited than worried.
“I focused on playing Jenny as naturally as possible,” Kato continues. “I didn’t follow any typical images of female characters in horror films nor did I try to break the conventions of women in these types of films. I translated my impression of Jenny from what I felt from the script. Thus, for my character or her role, I did not really have any objections. Although, if I were Jenny, I wouldn’t be just scared and run away from her situation. I will fight him as much as possible.”
Kato also credits the work of director Sebastian Bartolitius for achieving her intended performance. “It was an honor for me to work with Sebastian,” the actress says. “He is very creative and has an interesting vision toward his world of film. He let actors perform freely, so we can bring what we wanted to express in this movie. He gave us the perfect atmosphere, gave us advice and motivated us to feel real.”
But delivering an effective performance is more than the work of one singular actor or director; SIN REAPER’s global performers were equally responsible for the feature’s playability. “The co-stars all spent a lot of time together. Our role was that of a group of friends, so it was helpful for me to be close with them in real life,” says Kato. “We had a lot fun together behind the scenes, so we started to become friends in real life, which made my acting more natural as well. It was a very interesting experience for me to work with an international cast.”
Kato also claims that by taking the role, she constructively tried to embody the character through method acting and justification. “I read the script over and over to understand this character and tried to have a deep connection with her,” Kato says. “Jenny was a party girl, but she was also naive and insecure, and always looking for real love. When I play a role where I love someone, I actually really do love them. Just during the shoot, though, but I’ll find one part of their physical attraction and hypnotize myself so we can have real chemistry during the shoot.
“I have some similar characteristics to Jenny, so I tried to personalize these similarities,” she adds. “I tried to feel the moment and atmosphere as being real, so then, [chase scenes] became real to me and it’s so scary. From this movie, I found things to improve as an actress so I am making every effort to improve them right now. This movie gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration as an actress.”
So with SIN REAPER now firmly in the horror lexicon, what’s next for Hazuki Kato? For one, she’s appearing in SIN REAPER producer Sentner’s directorial debut, the actioner ATOMIC EDEN. “ATOMIC EDEN was an amazing experience as well!” Kato reveals. “I’ve been training in Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai and Kali, and I love martial arts and action. It was an honor for me to work with Nico again for his first movie as a director. It was also wonderful to have a lot of scenes with Fred Williamson. He was super funny, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Also, I was so lucky to have a fight scene with Mike Möller, who is a great German action star. I’ve never seen anyone move like him.”
In addition, in regards to her ATOMIC EDEN character, Kato reveals, “I played Reiko, who is the heroine in the movie. She has a strong sense of justice but she is also a very human person. She always tries to be tough, but she can be a vulnerable little girl. It was also my first experience with firing a machine gun. I can’t wait to see the movie!”
SIN REAPER is currently available for rental at Blockbuster, and you can buy the movie on July 23. See our previous SIN REAPER article here.