A situation which will be worryingly familiar to many women, Kate Dolan’s revenge horror short Catcalls at least provides us with the cathartic experience of seeing a sexual predator find himself on the receiving end of some gruesome feline justice. One of the stand out films included in last year’s We Are The Weirdos touring programme of shorts from feminist horror film collective The Final Girls and now available online, watch Catcalls below after which Dolan takes us through the film’s horror inspirations and cat monster creation.
Where did the idea for Catcalls come from?
I had been working on a short horror script back in 2016 that played on the idea of women as predators, then one night my muse came in the form of a creepy guy. A friend and I were walking home and this guy pulls in to ask us for directions and then… there he is masturbating in his car. We got his license plate and the police said when they called to his house to call him up on it he was crying. I found the idea of a predator who was so intimidating to us in a moment but could then be so pathetic and vulnerable really interested me. So, Catcalls was born. The themes around street harassment had been something I wanted to make something about for a while and I feel this story really captured that perfectly.
I loved the homage to Halloween at the beginning, were there any other films or filmmakers that inspired Catcalls?
John Carpenter was a massive one for sure. Myself, the Production Designer, Emma Lowney, and the DP, Piers McGrail, used Gregory Crewsdon’s photography as a reference for the look too. The 1942 Cat People was a big influence too. Also, I feel like Ana Lily Amipour’s movie A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night was a film we would always reference too. Oh and Under The Skin!
The themes around street harassment had been something I wanted to make something about for a while and I feel this story really captured that perfectly.
How did you go about creating the look for the cat creature, was it inspired by anything in particular?
I have two myself, so I am pretty obsessed with cats. I love their body language and the athleticism of them. I used a lot of references of hairless animals, bears, big cats, and emaciated animals with their spines showing. We had originally wanted to create a whole suit for our actress Cesca to wear but we didn’t have the money or time so we had a prosthetics artist, Vincent Lam, create a spine, ears, and one claw (we could only afford one) then our make-up designer, Audrey Corrigan, and costume designer, Jaime Nanci Barron, came together to find a way to put those prosthetic pieces together with a black morph suit, some PVA glue, black make-up and hair. It all came together really well and I love the fact we have so much practically there on screen. We then added glowing eyes and a tail in post.
What are you working on now?
I am currently writing two features, one of which is part of the Screen Ireland POV scheme. They have chosen six projects with female writers and/or directors, then three will be greenlit, with a budget of up to €400,000 each. That project is You Are Not My Mother, produced by Dee Levins of Fantastic Films. Then my other project is a creature feature/coming of age story in development with Fastnet Films.