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Katey Sagal Compares The Amount Of Blood Used For Blumhouse’s Torn Hearts To The Brutal Sons Of Anarchy

WARNING: Spoilers for Epix/Blumhouse’s Torn Hearts are in play. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back around and find something else we’ve got to offer on CinemaBlend. 

For most of director Brea Grant’s upcoming movie Torn Hearts, the terror is on more of a psychological level. As Katey Sagal’s faded music star Harper Dutch puts two young girls through their paces in the name of giving them their shot at fame, events escalate towards more physical nightmares. This culminates in an ending that has the splatter you’d expect from a Blumhouse horror movie, a lot of blood is shed.

Surprisingly enough, enough fake gore was involved that it reminded Sagal of her time on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy. Attending the press days for Torn Hearts, I was able to learn this from her firsthand, as watching that final act was quite a bloody affair. Here’s what Katey Sagal told CinemaBlend about her latest experience in the world of fake blood: 

No, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with that much fake blood. I mean, we had fake blood on Sons of Anarchy. Even though I got beat up pretty good on Sons of Anarchy … but there wasn’t as much blood as bruises, so yeah. No, I think this was the most blood that I’ve worked with. I think that’s absolutely the truth.

Before we go any further, I have to set up Torn Hearts’ finale a little more. Those of you who have seen the film can consider this a refresher course. However, if you haven’t watched Brea Grant’s tragic horror thriller, consider yourself warned. From here on out, it’s all about deep spoilers.

Throughout Torn Hearts, we see Katey Sagal’s Harper tortured by her past. Killing her sister after a disagreement, she becomes a recluse and lives alone in the decades after that murder. When the young duo of Jordan (Abby Quinn) and Leigh (Alexxis Lemire) come to visit, it’s one of Harper’s rare interactions with the outside world; and it awakens something in her. Both her competitive drive and a harsh taskmaster attitude become part of the picture, eventually pitting Jordan and Leigh against each other.

Which brings us to the splatterific conclusion of Torn Hearts, as Harper has turned Jordan and Leigh against each other. In a gun-involved standoff between Harper and Jordan, the younger woman shoots her idol dead. Not too long after, Leigh shoots Jordan, securing herself “the story” that her career needs to really take off. Completing the circle of tragedy, a staggering Jordan shoots Leigh, resulting in one final burst of blood. 

It sounds like a lot, and watching Torn Hearts only confirms the massive amounts of blood involved. Director Brea Grant is no stranger to blood, as she discussed that making her previous films Lucky and 12 Hour Shift involved quite a bit of the red stuff. However, as I spoke with her in another interview, Grant revealed something she went through in one of the Halloween movies that exposed her to what was probably her bloodiest experience: 

Oh, no. I don’t think so. I mean, I was an actor in a lot of horror movies for ten years, and then I’ve shot and directed horror stuff. I mean, I will say I’m in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, and was killed by [Michael] Myers. I would say that might be the most blood, because I was wearing a corset that was rigged to shoot blood. But it’s so dark in the movie, that you don’t see it. But I’m like covered in blood in that movie, and you have no idea.

Experiencing bloodshed on both sides of the camera, Brea Grant’s talents land the bloody and heartbreaking finale of Torn Hearts with great effect. Shepherding stars like Katey Sagal and Alexxis Lemire through this tide of red liquids flying through the air, you can tell that she’s a champion of working with the image of life leaking from tortured souls. Backing that claim was none other than Lemire herself. Previously making a name for herself as one of the breakout stars of Alice Wu’s pseudo-autobiographical romance The Half of It provides the last section of this bloody tale:

So I’ve worked with fake blood before, but actually not on me personally. It was interesting. It was definitely really cool, really sticky. But no, that whole finale scene was such a kind of an intricate scene to shoot, just because as you know there are so many moving parts to it. But yeah, fake blood is, spoiler alert, really sticky … especially once it’s on you, it’s everywhere. Everywhere. I had to shower on set when we were done, like it was a whole thing. You get like sticky from head to toe in places you would never want to be sticky.

Perhaps the cherry on top of this whole story involving these gruesome final moments in Torn Hearts is something else that Lemire highlighted in her account of this day on set. The bloodletting was as methodical as one would think, and it probably worked in Alexxis Lemire’s favor, as well as the favor of everyone else. As she reveals below, there was a ticking clock on this bloodbath that make the final result all the more impressive:

Mind you, I had one take to do that. Petrifying. I remember I was shaking because I just didn’t want to eff it up. I was like, ‘Aah!’ … When we got the shot, everyone was just clapping, and we were so excited, because we were like, ‘Ha! We did it!’

One take of bloody, country music glory is all that Torn Hearts needed to put a violent button on its story. As the wing-shaped pattern of blood flies from Leigh’s back, the tragic fate of our core trio is sealed. Bringing home the message of how women are pitted against each other in a male-dominated industry, the only recording of the song that Harper, Jordan and Leigh recorded falls into the hands of a male singer, giving him “the story” to make it a hit. 

In actuality, it’s the dedication of the women of Torn Hearts that wins in the end. Through one bloody ending, everyone involved in making the movie landed a chilling, but bittersweet ending that close out this horror show on an appropriately down note. The film is currently available to rent or own on VOD, with more Blumhouse/Epix collaborations on the way. Finally, when you’re ready, you can take a look at the roster of upcoming Blumhouse horror movies should the mood for more gore strike you.

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.