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Sarah Michelle Gellar

So what really scares Sarah Michelle Gellar ?

Friday 27 October 2006, by Webmaster

SARAH Michelle Gellar has encountered plenty of demonic beasts in her life. She stabbed horrid-looking creatures with wooden stakes as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hunted ghosts in the Scooby Doo films and battled blood-thirsty psychos in I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2.

Then came The Grudge, an evil Japanese curse with creepy black matted hair known as Kayako.

In Gellar’s new film, the sequel Grudge 2, Kayako reaps more havoc and manages to leave Japan, cross the Pacific Ocean and go on a killing spree in the U.S.

Sure, Kayako, vampires, ghosts and the other psychos are scary, but there is another beast that frightens the 29-year-old actress.

It’s a dude in a construction hat.

"Building contractors," Gellar said in Los Angeles.

"That’s who scare me the most.

"Never, ever, ever attempt to remodel your house."

Gellar and husband, actor Freddie Prinze Jr, live a bi-coastal life, with homes in LA and New York.

The construction work on the LA property began years ago and does not look like it will be completed soon.

"We live mainly in New York so I’m not here very often," Gellar said.

"So we left the builders to be.

"Don’t do that.

"Don’t live in another state and expect the construction work to be finished."

It’s her very own horror story.

"You should see my house," she sighs.

"It’s in shambles. There’s no doors."

The LA home may be an eyesore, but Gellar’s acting career is not in bad shape.

The Grudge, based on the Japanese horror film Ju-On, cost only $US10 million ($A13.2 million) to make but went on to be one of 2004’s most profitable films with a global box office take of $US187 million ($A245 million).

Gellar reportedly pocketed a nice salary to reprise her role as Karen Davis in The Grudge 2 and in the past year has worked on three films back-to-back, including with Andy Garcia on the drama, The Air I Breathe.

The Grudge 2 returns to the haunted Japanese home set on fire at the end of the original.

Gellar’s character spends most of her time during the sequel in a mental ward, although Kayako does not take long to track her down.

The evil spirit also has a new batch of pretty young things to terrorise, including American actresses Amber Tamblyn, best known for her TV series Joan of Arcadia, and Arielle Kebbel (Aquamarine and John Tucker Must Die).

The Grudge 2 was shot entirely in Japan and despite a traditional Shinto ceremony at the start of filming to purify the set of evil spirits, the cast and crew encountered a number of odd happenings.

"The ceremony is common on Japanese film sets for horror films because they feel if you’re doing a film about ghosts and the supernatural, you can invite evil spirits into your life and into your world," Gellar said.

"I don’t think it (the ceremony) worked because we had a tonne of injuries on the set.

"Ariel fell and broke her foot and she had to wear a cast and there were a couple of other scary things."

Gellar and her castmates raved about their time in Japan, although one cultural difference caused some friction.

Japanese film sets apparently do not have a smoking ban and The Grudge 2’s director, Takashi Shimizu, enjoys a cigarette or two.

"I banned it," Gellar said.

"Shimizu would see me coming so he’d hide his cigarette.

"That was my one thing.

"You could smoke outside, not inside."

Tamblyn said the cigarette smoke was often used instead of smoke machines.

"I did a scene and it was in a dark room and it was supposed to be a bit hazy," Tamblyn, 23, said.

"Shimizu basically instructed everyone to start smoking cigarettes because that’s how they were going to fill the room with smoke.

"I was like, `No. I’m going to have a panic attack’.

"That was always strange to me because Japanese culture you think is so advanced in many ways and very much about health, but they smoke and chain smoke so much."