It's the worst horror movie ever made - and I was the star desperate to appear nude in it
Joanne Good See original
14th September 2008
'Darling. How are you?' The rasping tones of my agent crackled down
the phone line. 'I've just heard of a fabulous casting. It's a feature
film and there's a part that would be absolutely perfect for you.'
'W-wow,' I stammered. 'What is it?'
called Killer's Moon,' Aida Foster replied. 'It's a horror film about a
group of schoolgirls in the Lake District. But ... how would you feel
about some nudity?'
'I suppose... if it's integral to the plot,' I said.
In fact, I was thrilled. I'd been desperate to appear naked on the big screen from the day I acquired my Equity card.
Naked ambition: JoAnne in the Seventies
I just wish - in retrospect - my debut hadn't been in what is widely considered to be the worst horror film ever made.
can't say I embarked on my acting career with any lofty ambitions. This
was the late Seventies and Britain's film industry was churning out
things such as Confessions Of A Window Cleaner.
promising my mother when I left home that I wouldn't shave my legs,
sleep in mascara or appear with Benny Hill, I had done all three in a
My agent's advice when sending me off to auditions was to
wear lots of make-up and lie about my age (a habit I've found difficult
I auditioned for the part of Mary, the youngest of
the girls, but had no idea that the clumsy and far from politically
correct script had been written by feminist author Fay Weldon. It
turned out she was the sister of our director, Alan Birkinshaw, and her
liberated beliefs were certainly well hidden.
The plot, such as
it was, involved a group of schoolgirls, four escaped mental patients,
a village wench, a country hotel, a pair of male campers, a
three-legged dog - and nudity.
I had already revealed half a
breast in a TV show and felt flattered that the public might be treated
to a bit more. After all, a bit of bared flesh had done wonders for
The problem for me was being separated from my
husband of three months: the shoot was in the Lake District. But the
offer was too good to refuse, so I kissed him goodbye and joined the
cast at a Cumbrian hotel.
There is something about putting on a
gymslip that makes you behave like a wayward adolescent - well, we
'schoolgirls' did, flirting outrageously with the male crew.
I was actually the oldest girl: the others were exceedingly glamorous, scantily clad and excitable.
Turkey shoot: JoAnne's debut movie
only worry was how quickly our characters discarded their gymslips for
nightdresses - and how soon we were 'accidentally' parted from those
The film suffered from a severe lack of funds. Unable
to rent out the whole hotel, we were forced to perform alongside the
paying guests. And to save on lighting costs, we filmed 'night' scenes
Then everything was delayed by the three-legged
dog, a doberman called Hannah who had lost a leg in 1974 while
defending her master during a robbery.
She was to appear twice:
at the beginning with four legs (the crew had made her a false one) and
later after 'losing' a limb to one of the maniacs. It took her ages to
get the hang of the extra 'leg', but then at last it was time for the
My friend Debbie Martyn was in the first: her
nightie got caught on a post - yes, that old gag. It was meant to be a
'closed set', but a set with only essential crew present is a myth.
Even the props guy found an excuse to be there as Debbie disrobed.
Jane Hayden, who played another of the schoolgirls, was to be raped and murdered in the residents' lounge.
it could not be closed to hotel guests, so the filming area was
screened off and Jane and her violators had to act out the scene in
silence, miming the expletives which would be added later.
As Jane suffered her terrible fate, oblivious guests munched cream teas a few feet away.
Ironically, as the actress who had been looking forward to baring all on film, I was never called upon to act naked.
My nightie was ripped open but hardly anything was exposed. It was a huge disappointment.
remember another scene in which an actor had to pour sultanas over a
naked girl and then eat them. He was obviously very fond of dried
fruit, because he became excited and salivated too much.
I called my husband, thinking he'd be pining for me. Instead, he said
he hoped I wouldn't be back for a while as he had painted our lavatory
seat red and it refused to dry.
But as the film progressed, we ran far over budget, so the actors were sent home as soon as their characters died.
problem was, how would they film the final scene, a bloodbath with
bodies everywhere? The director's solution was to use shop dummies
covered with sheets. The sudden appearance of the sheets on screen was
Once the film wrapped, there was little money
for a publicity tour, so it was left to Hannah, the three-legged dog.
Thanks to her real-life tale of derring-do, she got the film lots of
publicity - and upstaged all the actors.
When my husband and I
went to see the film, just after its release, there were no more than a
dozen other people in the cinema. I soon knew why: we all sat with our
mouths open in disbelief as the film played. I instinctively knew this
wouldn't be a role I would boast about.
Years later, I was in a
supermarket in Brighton when I looked across the meat counter and saw a
familiar face: the actor who had been too enthusiastic about sultanas.
We both started to speak, but then stopped. In fact, we couldn't bear to look at each other.