Salutations to all you hairy full-moon mongrels from Derek Easley’s “31 Nights of Nightmares”, and I have some fresh reviews for you covering SyFy’s “Channel Zero: Candle Cove” (not perfect, but worth checking out as it is creepy and has a lot of potential) and the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters” (featuring entertaining scenes mixed in with numerous problems). But before I get that, I want to introduce you to my friend, entertainer Mac Beauvais (pronounced Bo-vay), who kind of lives and breathes horror and Halloween all year round!
Thanks for chatting with me Mac! I have fond memories of us acting in a horror project together shot at YouTube Studios, where you played a mystic, and I played a detective. Watching you act was really something, I was captivated by your performance! Now that I have you in my Den of Nightmares, its time to answer my “13 Contemptible Questions!”
1. Tell us about your background working in the horror industry.
I’ve kind of woven in and out of the industry in every way that I’ve been able to. Over the years I’ve been involved with product licensing for horror franchises, worked as a scare actor, been a makeup model for the Monstrous Makeup Manuals, acted in horror projects, and a handful of other things. I just can’t get enough.
2. Why do you like the horror genre? Why do you think it’s endured so long for the fans?
I hate to get all philosophical, but I think the horror genre is really a reflection of humanity at its core. It’s not only the external manifestations of our fears, but also the internal. The questions we ask ourselves and the fear we might actually be the monsters. We’re inseparable from that part of ourselves and we’re just as repulsed by it as we are fascinated with it, so that’s why I think we continue to create media about it. As long as there is humanity there will be horror.
3. Tell us more about your most recent project you were involved in.
I actually try and bring horror even into projects that don’t necessarily call for it. I recently joined the cast of Phoenix: Dawn Command on the Saving Throw Twitch stream. Phoenix is a tabletop, card-based RPG, and when it came time to create the character concept, I saw the opportunity to sneak some classic horror in. In the game your character evolves to their final form of sorts every time they level up, so my character is slowly turning into a giant monster werewolf. It’s not only fun, but it gives me a chance to add some character depth as she struggles with the beast within.
4. Tell us a story about something that you saw or experienced on set or at an event that was gory, gruesome, or strange…
I had a kind of bizarre experience shooting my last episode for the webseries “8.13”. My character, Barb (no relation to the “Stranger Things” Barb), had just turned into a zombie and her boyfriend had to put her down. When it was time for him to stab her through the head, we swapped in a stunt head. (I know, what a cop out, right?) So I got to watch from the sidelines as he screamed at it and pretended to butcher my face. It was a little surreal when I really thought about it.
5. Talk to us about the state of the horror industry today. How has it changed and where do you see it going?
The horror industry is constantly evolving, as it always has. The real schism to me lies in film between mainstream and independent horror. I feel like the mainstream horror audiences are just looking for the most basic scares without the need for a lot of plot or character depth. I look at things like “Paranormal Activity” and “SAW”, and I just don’t really get the appeal. However, I think the smaller/independent filmmakers are digging in and making some great content. I think of how much I enjoyed “The Babadook” and “It Follows” and how those filmmakers told new stories that still resonate with modern sensibilities. Then I also think of how few non-horror buffs I’ve talked to have seen them. All that said, I see a bright future in horror on television. There’s a lot more horror content than before, and some of it is really fantastic. Though I was sad to see my favorite, “Penny Dreadful”, wrap up after only three seasons.
6. Tell us a real-life ghost story, paranormal experience, or creepy happening that you have witnessed.
Honestly, I have been super open to having some kind of paranormal experience, but despite my best efforts have yet to encounter anything that really made my skin crawl. The closest I ever got was a restaurant I visited in Washington state called The Oxford. It was supposedly haunted and they had a bizarre collection of items on display. The friend I was with and I went to sit downstairs, and as we were sitting at our booth I began to smell cigar smoke. We looked all over for a vent, a person who was smoking, anyone who had just entered or exited the room, but we came up dry. I still don’t know where that scent came from.
7. What are you most afraid of?
Sometimes I worry about going insane. I’ve had issues with insomnia all my life and have never slept particularly well. When I go through a rough bout of sleepless nights my mind starts playing pretty crazy tricks on me. I start getting paranoid, and every now and again it’s bad enough to make me question what’s real or not. Then when I try to sleep again I get some pretty bad hallucinations that are very much like stories you hear from people with sleep paralysis. It gets pretty harrowing at times.
8. Are young people desensitized today by the internet? How can you captivate and scare modern audiences?
I don’t know, the comments section on most websites is pretty scary. But seriously, I think it depends on the person. We have more access to more content than ever before. For some people they consume so much that nothing phases them anymore, but I have to imagine some people find themselves a little too down the rabbit hole for comfort. I think the best thing you can do to better your chances of capturing an audience is one of two things: either you diversify because what scares you might not scare me and visa versa, or you focus on what you’re really good at and dig in. You have to be flexible enough to shake things up, but also be careful of trying too much to be everything to everyone. It’s tough because audiences are fickle, but that’s the nature of the beast.
9. What are your favorite horror movies and TV shows?
A list of my favorite films and television shows could go on forever, so I’m going to give you a top five from both. Movies: The Wolfman (1941), An American Werewolf in London, The Thing (John Carpenter), The Changeling, Lost Boys. Television: Penny Dreadful, Wolf Lake, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Moonlight (not to be confused with Moonlighting).
10. What would you do if you came into contact with one of these Killer Clowns that is running amok out there?
I’d probably try to hang around and observe. I’m not frightened of clowns, but there is a certainly glee in watching other people being terrified. Also, I am a terrible person.
11. How would you survive in a Walking Dead-like zombie apocalypse world?
If I were trapped in a zombie apocalypse my main priorities would be getting out of the city, finding a secure structure to hole up in, getting or making as many weapons as possible and stockpiling supplies. You don’t want to be somewhere densely populated when something like that is going down, so that’s got to come first.
12. If you had an unlimited budget and resources, what is the horror movie that you would make?
With unlimited budget and resources I would make a werewolf film with a practical-effects transformation scene every five seconds to make up for all of the crappy transformations that have assaulted my eyes over the years.
13. What’s coming up next for you, and where can we find you online?
I am easily found online by searching for Strange Like That. (I am especially active on my Instagram, @StrangeLikeThat.) Right now I am working on a number of projects, but the biggest is Typecast, a web series about monsters and Hollywood which will be Kickstarting soon. I’m also on the Saving Throw Twitch stream once or twice every week playing live tabletop games. And if you’re into Disney and booze, you can tune into the podcast I co-host called Disney Distilled.
Thanks for chopping it up with us, Mac!
Now, on to some reviews!
Night 12 Watched #ChannelZero #CandleCove on #SyFy. Was creepy, atmospheric, and world-building, where mysterious old murders in a small town come back to haunt the residents and it all seems connected to a scary children’s TV show with puppets! Definitely worth giving a shot. The creature covered in teeth and the pirate skull-man are great additions. Sadly, there are moments when the writing, acting, and plot suffer from constraints of budget or the format, but it recovers. Leaves you wanting more.
Night 13 #Ghostbusters starts bad but gets better. The first 20 minutes is so painful to watch, from the unfunny jokes to the cheesy dialogue. It pains me to say this, but I struggled to not turn it off. Thankfully, things pick up after their first ghost sighting, and the characters come together rather continuing to tease and bicker, sounding like 12 year-old boys rather than scientists. Some of bathroom humor and crudeness of supporting characters is asinine, as I remember the originals to be smart, funny, and scary. The CGI ghosts actually look better than I thought they would, so that’s one plus. And the 3D is pretty fun. #ChrisHemsworth is hilarious, and all the jokes making fun of millenials are solid. I enjoy each one of the female lead actresses (#MelissaMcCarthy, #KristenWiig, the scene-stealing #KateMcKinnon and #LeslieJones) , and root for them, but they sink with material that should have been better under the direction of #PaulFeig.
The main villain and his motivations for triggering earth-shattering events were weak at best. But once all hell breaks loose, there’s lot of exciting action sequences, especially where the ladies take on a horde of well-designed period piece ghosts in Times Square. There are numerous cameos from most all of the original cast and references to the first film, which puzzle me as to why it’s even a reboot rather than a sequel. Overall, the film is a mixture of very entertaining scenes with moments that just don’t work. I truly dig further franchise installments, but I just kept thinking while watching this 3rd Ghostbusters, “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should!”
NIGHTS 14 & 15 COMING SOON!
Derek owns a teaching and networking studio called LBAFA that can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/LongBeachActingAndFilmAssociaton