Jennifer M. Kay Talks Career, Horror Creativity

Jennifer M. Kay is an Actress, Producer, Writer. According to IMDb Kay has nineteen (19) acting credits spanning over the course of six years. Kay portrayed the role of Grace in the  Action, Thriller The Dark Military to which we provided a review. Aside from her acting credits, Kay has five (5) credits as director and producer and four (4) writing credits.

One of Kay’s Drama, Thriller themed projects is the full feature film, The Stall. Kay wore many hats in this production. Not only does Kay star in the film but she also served as director, Producer, and writer. Read our review of The Stall.

The following interview questions were composed by DecayMag Content Contributor Rebecca Kolodziej.

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Jennifer M. Kay, Photo by Mike Arrison Photography

Rebecca Kolodziej: Hi Jennifer! Hope you are doing well! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your drama/thriller film ‘The Stall’ can you tell us how the idea for the film started?

Jennifer Kay: I was continuously being cast as the funny airhead character based on my previous work in comedy. I really wanted to play a dark, strong and intelligent woman who could talk her way out of a dire situation. The Stall was originally written as a short film, the climax of the movie with Jezebel in the barn. I then decided it would make a better feature and I wrote the beginning and end around that scene.

Rebecca Kolodziej: The whole aesthetic of the film was based on Mental illness a topic that I feel very strongly about. Mental health is a universal topic and has been used in many horror/thriller films throughout the years such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Can you tell me why you decided to focus the theme on mental health?

Jennifer Kay: Depression and loss was something that I am very familiar with. I was trying to come up with a reason for what would compel Jezebel to turn into a vigilante, and I was drawn to the idea that she suffered a major loss that caused her to change the path of her own life.

Jennifer M. Kay, Photo by Martelli Photography

Rebecca Kolodziej: As February has been Women in Horror Month (WIHM), How does the filmmaking industry compare women directors to male directors?

Jennifer Kay: Regardless of who I work with I still receive a lot of condescension on set, even with the same experience as a male counterpart. The male opinion always seems to be more relevant and valid, and I have to fight harder to get my point across.

Rebecca Kolodziej: Have you experienced any negativity in your chosen profession or has the community been welcoming?

Jennifer Kay: I think as a female director and filmmaker it is more difficult to be taken seriously in the industry. You have to work 10 times as hard to prove yourself as a serious filmmaker. People are less likely to give you deserved credit without an underlying insult. With that being said, the support I have received is amazing and I am very grateful that I am able to inspire other women writers, actors, directors, and producers with what I’m doing and that support inspires me to keep pushing forward despite the challenges and negativity that come my way.

Jennifer M. Kay, Photo by Andrey Andrey, Still from Flaesh

Rebecca Kolodziej: What inspired you to not only write and direct your own films but to act in them too? Is this challenging for you as a creator to adapt to three roles?

Jennifer Kay: When I write something, the intention is not always for me to be a part of it, but through the process, I fall in love with one of the characters and it is hard for me to see anyone else portray them. The same sort of goes for directing, the vision is in my head and it’s difficult to find a director who connects with the vision the way I see it.

Rebecca Kolodziej: Something I enjoyed the most about ‘The Stall’ was the strong-willed wit of Jezebel. It was relieving to finally watch a horror/thriller film where the female protagonist was just as malicious as her killers. Who inspired the character of Jezebel and why?

Jennifer Kay: Strong women in general. The characters written for women in the film industry are really stereotypical for how society perceives women, the girl next door or the scorned wife, or the ditsy friend. I really wanted to have many strong women and no dependency on a male lead, no boyfriend, husband or love interest. Just focus on women and their lives and their struggles and strengths.

Rebecca Kolodziej: What was your favourite part of the movie and why?

Jennifer Kay: I really like the relationship between Jezebel and Ilene, Ilene is a strong woman who takes Jezebel under her wing and teaches her there are ways to fight the evil in the world and help others.

Rebecca Kolodziej: The stall is a very female empowered film. Is there any particular reason as to why the women run the show or were it just the direction that you wanted to go in?

Jennifer Kay: Basically the same answer as earlier, I want to empower women and create strong roles for female actresses to portray.

DecayMag.com Jennifer M. Kay
Jennifer M. Kay, Photo by Earl Stepp, Screen Grab, Without You Feature Film

Rebecca Kolodzie: How do you feel about how women are cast in Horror?

Jennifer Kay: I dislike it, they are almost always naked, or getting naked, almost always involved in sexual situations and almost always portrayed dumb and ditsy.

Rebecca Kolodziej: Do you have a certain leading lady/director/writer that inspires you to create in the film industry? If so who and why?

Jennifer Kay: Tina Fey, 110% She writes, directs, produces and acts, and does every aspect extremely well. She has been a role model and her book actually inspired me to do this in the first place.

Rebecca Kolodziej: How would you feel about creating a ‘typical’ gory horror film?

Jennifer Kay: Personally it’s not my style of writing and not the genre I feel comfortable creating. I am definitely more a psychological thriller type or writer. I like to make the viewer think and pay attention rather than go for shock value.

Rebecca Kolodziej: What are your thoughts on horror films in general?

Jennifer Kay: I understand the genre and the fans, but it’s not necessarily my type of movie. My favorite type of movies to watch is comedy, I scare easily, which is funny considering I enjoy writing psychological thrillers.

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