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A horror/comedy with a serious message, Kate Herron's Smear.
By James Whittington, Thursday 8th March 2018

Described as "One of the best horror shorts to come out of this year's Frightfest" (LoveHorror) and featured as 'One of the Best Shorts at the 61st London Film Festival' ("Gets more and more sensational with every watch... Pure Genius") by Flickering Myth. Smear is a lube-tastic horror-comedy inspired by Gremlins, Tremors and Little Shop of Horrors, about a woman going in for her first pap-smear test starring in the lead, Sophia Di Martino of the BAFTA-nominated Flowers and Nick Mohammed.

It also stars Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter), comedians Ben Target (Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year), Mariam Haque, Briony Redman and Katherine Bennett Fox of The Free Association.

Made by filmmaker Kate Herron (Screen International Star, BBC Hot New Talent List, Forbes 30 under 30), with her writing partner Briony Redman, together they are currently developing an original comedy series with comedian Tom Davis' (Murder in Successville) production company Shiny Button.

Smear is produced by Douglas Cox of Shadowhouse Films (Sundance short film Dawn of the Deaf). It includes a score by Emmy-nominated composer Patrick Jonsson (Virunga, The White Helmets), was shot by Nicola Daley ACS (8th woman in Australian history to be accredited into Australian Society of Cinematographers) and practical effects by BIFA-nominated SFX artist Dan Martin of 13FingerFX (High Rise, Free Fire). Fun fact the inside of the tentacle is the face hugger from alien, modelled on Giger's wife - that is one famous vagina!

But there is a serious message as to why this was made. Kate made the film to explore pap-smear anxiety, "My friend told me my first pap-smear would be the worst thing that ever happened to me... it wasn't" Cervical cancer screening has the lowest attendance numbers for women under 35 but is the most common cancer for women in that age-bracket. Nine women die everyday and two will be diagnosed every day with cervical cancer. Kate hopes the film will encourage more women to go, "Tentacles felt the most natural way to do this".

Festival screenings include: BFI London Film Festival, Upsalla, Flickerfest, Aesthetica, Citizen Jane, Raindance, Fake Flesh Fest, Lund Fantastic, Underwire, Morbido, London Short Film Festival and Encounters. It premiered at Frightfest.

SMEAR from Kate Herron on Vimeo.


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