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When the director yells "cut" on this set, it

literally means another

slice of lethal action in a production that aims for new standards of horror

Terry Bourke, the hamburger-loving

director of the tear-dampened movie Little Boy Lost and the shriek-a-second horror Inn Of The Damned, stood out of camera range with a shovel raised above his head.

A moment later he brought the shovel down hard and Les Foxcroft screamed. A flock of rosellas shot terrified out of the trees above Palm Beach, a scenic snout of land north of Sydney.

'Okay," said Bourke, through his beard, "well do it once more." Another scream and Foxcroft died again. The howling was a scripted section of Bourke's new thriller, Lady Stay Dead.

Three television performers, Louise Howitt, from Young Ramsay, Deborah Coulls (ex-Skyways) and Number 96's Chard Hayward, have scored the lead

roles in the movie.

Hayward plays Mason, a neurotic gar- dener whose mind lights up "Tilt" when a TV crew wrecks his beloved garden.

The TV crew has been shooting a jungle-themed commercial at the home of Mason's employer, highly-strung superstar Marie Coleby (Ms Coulls).

After the crew have left, the now com- pletely loopy Mason snuffs out Marie's rather tinselled life. As Mason is dispos- ing of the body, the Les Foxcroft charac- ter surprises him, and he cops a bop on the head with a shovel for his trouble.

You'd think poor old Mason had enough problems, but suddenly Marie's sister Jenny (Ms Howitt) enters stage left, intent on spending a few quiet days at her sibling's isolated beach home.

Jenny discovers dead goldfish in the lounge, a stained carpet and a dead dog in the surf. Too late (yeek), she realizes that Mason - shudder - is after her.

Bourke's law dictates the ending must remain a secret. But what isn't a secret is the director's love of a good scream.

"Give us another shriek, Les," Bourke ordered, and the actor, who has recently completed the Phil Bull-produced movie Keep Your Boots On, lets out a yelp. The scene finally completed, Hayward emerged from his dressing-room to take the shovel and pose for a few closeups.

While Hayward was hefting his

weapon, Ms Howitt waited off to one side for her call. "At least Deborah has the bitchy role this time," Ms Howitt said. "I often get cast that way - in The Young Doctors I plaved the insecure Deborah


"Don't you think that bitchy women are insecure women?" she asked, pre- sumably rhetorically.

A confident young woman who ap- pears reasonably secure, Ms Howitt made her feature film debut earlier this year in the aptly titled, but as yet un- completed, Horror Movie.

One thing her latest film has in com- mon with her work on TV's Young Ramsay, in which she played veterin- arian John Hargreaves' assistant, is that Ms Howitt is again assaulted by a fellow cast member - although not quite in the

same way.

While working on the television series she was bitten on the behind by a don- key.

Just before starting work on Lady, Ms Howitt completed a role in the pilot of


1. A Nubian (Walter

Giles) with Marie Coleby (Deborah

Coulls), shooting in Lady Stay Dead.2| Les Foxcroft hugs Killer, the dog.3.H»,

gardener Mason (Chard Hayward).^

Marie on set. 5. Louise Howitt, a m

Photographs taken by Neville WaP'i

the proposed new TV cops series "'j. Squad, and also starred in an episode0 the bang-bang programme Bellamy.

"It's my first nude role," she said,*8 then qualified that by saying she wasi totally "nude," although she does F

sent a bare back to camera.

When Ms Howitts call finally ca* her co-star, Hayward, took his bre* Hayward described Mason, his chara* in the film, as "very sad, a ^oneT'¿jm.

And with that said, he went off to ^

rorize Ms Howitt. Jfr

_ - GREG FJ^j