We all love to get scared. It’s kind of an odd human condition. It’s the reason we like to go to events that replicate a horror experience and it’s also why we love us some horror films. It was only a matter of time until one hit that kind of melded the two things together. That’s exactly what we get with Hell Fest. It’s a film where a horror-themed amusement park becomes a little too real for our heroes.
Needless to say, a film like this works best when the talent enjoys the genre itself, and that’s the case with Matt Mercurio, who plays Asher in the flick. LRM had a chance to sit down with him, and in our interview, we discuss the film, his love of horror, and a bit about his upcoming projects.
Hell Fest hits Digital tomorrow on December 28, 2018!
LRM: Well, let’s get to discussing “Hell Fest.” Matt, please, tell us about your character in the film Asher?
Mercurio: So Asher is definitely the party guy of the group, and he’s always wanting the good vibes and good vibrations to spread amongst his counterparts. He wants to make sure that his friends have the best time, especially at Hell Fest, because Hell Fest is the event that he looks forward to every year. He wants to make sure that everyone enjoys it like him, and so he’s making sure that everyone has drinks and is laughing and is really scared. So he’s doing what he can to make sure everyone has a good time.
LRM: He sounds like the perfect host.
Mercurio: I guess so. Yeah.
LRM: So for this film, what in particular attracted you to this film? Apart from it being something up your alley, you know?
Mercurio: Yeah. When I initially got the script, it was after my initial audition. It was after the callback, or when I got the callback, I was given the script because initially I was just given small parts of the script to audition with. So then I sat down and I read the script, and I was just intrigued by some of the things that it did differently from a classic horror, from a classic slasher film.
‘Cause obviously this is a slasher film with some classic tropes. But there’s a lot of things that it does differently, and that was what I was drawn to when I was reading the script. I sat down and read from front to back in one sitting. While that’s not, sometimes you might have stuff to do. I was riveted by what was happening, and what was gonna happen next, and I had to finish it in one sitting.
After I finished the script, I knew that this was a story that I wanted to be a part of telling, ’cause it had a chance to be something different and we had a chance to give audiences a different experience and have fun at the same time. I was lucky enough to be selected to be a part of telling the story.
LRM: Where was the filming? Where did the filming take place?
Mercurio: We filmed in Atlanta. We filmed a couple weeks at the Six Flags location there, in Atlanta, then a couple weeks in studio.
LRM: Do you still see theme parks the same way after filming there?
Mercurio: I mean, if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be in an abandoned theme park or a theme park after it was closed. I always thought that it was a really, what a cool experience it would be, and it was. It was fun to be able to know that I was going to work every day in a theme park, and then also a little bit creepy. ‘Cause you know, there’s all these horror elements all around. There’s like these scare pieces. These statues and these scare actors and everything is dressed up and there’s fog everywhere and it’s cold, so it makes it a little more eerie.
It helped to add all those elements to make the park itself another character. You know, when I sneaked away to use the restroom. The restroom was a little further, or the trailers were a little further. Whenever I’d be walking by myself, away, I kind of you know, I’d have to look behind me because there’d be moment where you’re like on alert at all times. You’re kind of creeped out. So that was a fun little thing.
LRM: Did you have a favorite costume in the film?
Mercurio: A favorite costume? Let’s see. Or a favorite costumed character that was there? Oh man. There’s just so many. There’s probably like hundreds of different costumes. No costume was the same. There was werewolves and giant winged creatures and like, skeletons and things like that. I really can’t pick a favorite. I think the eye just has so much to look at in the film, just ’cause there was that many costumes.
I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t really pick a costume at this time.
LRM: Okay. Well, that’s a good thing. So like I said before, I do understand you’re a fan of the horror films. Is there one that like has been your all-time favorite?
Mercurio: Because I’m such a big movie fan, like if you asked me on a certain day of the week what my favorite movie is, I could maybe tell you a different movie every time.
LRM: Gotcha. This week?
Mercurio: I can throw you some of my favorite horror films. So besides Hell Fest? Hell Fest of course. I love It Follows. The Shining. IT. The new one that just came out, obviously, not the TV version.
Mercurio: IT was a lot of fun. The original Ring. The first time I watched the original Ring.
Mercurio: I was very young. Super creeped out by it because it’s a lot of imagery. I remember, I was just thinking about the video over playing when I was in my bed. I was younger. I was in my bed. I’d just think of the images over playing in my head. That creeped me out.
And like, the images you know, there’s nothing happening there. They’re just creepy images.
Mercurio: I think that’s, that was really strong. Did I say The Shining?
Mercurio: The Shining. The original Halloween. Yeah, those are some that come to mind.
LRM: Okay. What did you think of the recent “Halloween”? Right now, that you’ve mentioned.
Mercurio: I loved it. Yeah. Yeah. I loved it. A friend of mine, Dylan Arnold, was in the movie. He played the boyfriend. I did a movie with him up in New York. He’s one of my buddies. Yeah, I thought it was fun, and our movies came out right around the same time, so that was fun. You know, it was a little bit of a different type.
You know, one is the classic slasher with the masked killer and then the other one is, you know, ours is, the theme park is a character in and of itself, and you don’t know where it’s gonna pop up. So that was cool to have both coming out around the same time.
LRM: Well, if I’m able to ask if you could share anything that you may have coming up soon, or maybe something about “Lady and the Tramp” that you could share?
Mercurio: Yeah. I can’t. I don’t know how much I can talk about Lady and the Tramp, quite yet, just ’cause I’m not certain how much we can talk about it. But in terms of what else I have coming up. I just finished a play, so I’ve got that coming up, and then I’ve got a couple of TV things coming up. I’m on an episode of Star, coming out. And then what else do I have coming up?
I’m producing and directing a short film of mine that’s coming out. A medical drama, and I’m doing that. Yeah, I wish I could tell you a bit more about Lady and the Tramp. I’m just not sure what I can tell you about it.
LRM: I completely understand. Well, it sounds like you’re gonna have a busy, exciting 2019. Wish you the best, and happy holidays, and thank you for your time.
Mercurio: Thank you so much. Same to you. I appreciate it.
Hell Fest hits Digital tomorrow!
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SOURCE: LRM Online