Actor Damian Maffei (The Strangers: Prey at Night, Closed for the Season) took some time to talk with Horrornews.net. Damian has quite a few projects coming out this year. He will be starring in Wrong Turn: The Foundation, A Nun’s Curse and more. He will be doing the audio book for Cameron Roubique’s book, Kill River. It’s always an honor to be able to talk to Damian. He is smart, funny, he has a talented wife and three kids. Damian has a genuine love of the Horror genre and films in general.
Damian- Hi, how are you?
I am doing good. Thank you. How are you?
How did you get involved with narrating Cameron Roubique’s book Kill River?
Damian- Someone had recommended that book to me to read probably like two years ago. I bought it, I read it. This author named, Cameron Roubique, I really enjoyed it. At that point he had two books out, the other one was called, Disco Death Trap. They were both very eighties slasher books. I never really read a slasher book before. I like the movies but I felt as a book they’d be kind of dumb. That wasn’t the case reading his book because it’s a book and its longer. You get to go into it and the characters in it. It was a fun book to read, it was right up my alley. I had recommended the book to someone else and we Tweeted about it, tagged him and I had been in a couple of slasher films and he had seen them. I ended up talking to him outside of that. He said he wanted to do an audio book version of that and he wanted to know if I was interested and I was. I had listened to plenty of them, their great for long car rides and whatnot.
Wrong Turn: The Foundation is supposed to come out this year. Lots of excitement. Is there anything you can share?
Damian- Nothing too specific, I will say its nothing like any other Wrong Turn. I will say, if your looking for a different turn in the Wrong Turn franchise this will be for you. It’s a great group of people.
I was talking to Jeff Seeman and he said he would chat with me eventually. How did you get involved with On Location?
Damian- Jeff had worked on Strangers: Prey at Night, Haunt and Wrong Turn: The Foundation. I don’t remember him on Prey at Night, I don’t know if he was there when I was there? I was there pretty much every day. He was on Haunt for a little bit and then he talked to me about that movie while we were doing Wrong Turn. He asked if he could send me a script and I said, yes. I read it and I really enjoyed it. I finished it which is a new bar for scripts with me. I do look at them all.
How did you feel about everything that happened with Haunt? It was such a great film and just so much fun. Such a great response, you already have some folks who dressed like the Devil.
Damian- The feedback and the reception for Haunt has been incredible. It far exceeded my expectations for it. No one had really had anything bad to say about it. People have been reaching out to me to talk about it or to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I think in part was due to how it was released. I feel like expectations weren’t too high for it so that’s really the best way to hit people when they aren’t hyped for it. But, of course in the same way it doesn’t to get to as many people. People seem to be enjoying it. When it hit Shudder, people really started checking it out. We just hope that its something people want to revisit.
It is still featured on Shudder and that’s great.
Damian- Yes indeed.
How did you feel about seeing people create Devil costumes already? It seemed like it just came out and several people created awesome tributes.
Damian- There’s a couple of them. Its awesome to do something and then have people enjoy it to the point where they want to dress up or make figures of them. I’m waiting to see someone do the make-up.
That would be something else.
Damian- They probably wont though. Its great, everyone should dress up as the Devil.
What was it like working with Tommy Faircloth on A Nun’s Curse?
Damian- Tommy is awesome. He is a character. He’s great, he’s someone that reached out to me and I was getting a lot of “killer” offers… Offers to play killers. I’ll do that, its cool. But Tommy wanted me to play this non-killer guy, sort of the jerk. I instantly liked him, talking to him. That didn’t change when I went to meet him. He’s kind of what you see is what you get. He’s the genuine article, he does what he says he’s going to do. He’s a good guy. He does the Crimson Screen Festival which is pretty cool. We had a fun time.
What was it like working with the cast and Felissa Rose portraying the nun?
Damian- I hadn’t seen Felissa in a long time so that was a little bit of a reunion. It was fun. I got along with most of the cast very well. Felissa and I had a great time. It was a small crew, small cast and we shot in this old jail.
You posted something cryptic collage (Damian starts laughing) on Facebook. Images of a fishing hook, a man and his son, a beautiful peaceful fall scene, and the beach. I appreciate puzzles and I have to ask, is there anything you can elaborate on? I am leaning towards The Mutilator….
Damian- I cannot say.
*silence* (If I was doing an in-person interview, I would have asked him to blink once for no or twice for yes but what are you going to do? I tried. He listened to me complain some more.)
Moving along, since that is a bummer. I watched it the other night on Shudder. Was The Mutilator one of your favorite movies growing up?
Damian- The Mutilator played a big part of my deranged youth. It was a movie that I would watch often with my friends. I remember I bought the VHS tape in a video store and I brought it home and I was watching it. I was like, what the hell is this because it was heavily cut. I mean, you cut The Mutilator and what do you have?
Damian- So I was furious about that. But yeah, I mean, it’s got that great poster, it got one of the greatest taglines in the subgenre, maybe in the world. So, it was a big part of my teen years. So, if they were to come along to me and say, we are doing The Mutilator 2, I’d have a hard time not doing it.
What about The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)? Is that sort of the same concept? Would you be a part of that remake?
Damian- Yes, I would have to do a Slumber Party Massacre movie, immediately. If someone is remaking The Slumber Party Massacre which they should. Why not! They should fork it over to me so I can hire the right people. I’ll make a really good movie.
With you playing Russ?
Damian- I’ll just put myself in there as Russ, hire a woman director and writer because that’s how it should be.
Sounds like a good plan.
(Please note: No one has said anything about a remake of The Slumber Party Massacre. Just throwing ideas.)
Did you grow up loving horror movies?
Damian- I was definitely always into horror movies. I’ve always had an affection for slasher movies. When I was a kid, we hadn’t been completely ensconced in zombie stuff. You had to work to find a zombie movie. Outside the Romero stuff and the Return of the Living Dead you had to go to the Italian’s to find your zombie stuff. That was a neat subgenre there, the zombies. I was into that. I was into anything. You get a good creature feature or something. I became known in some circles for being an expert on nature run amok films. You’ve got your Jaws, The Birds but then you’ve got the Slugs, Piranha.
The Birds is one of my favorites. I love that film. It is a stand out for Hitchcock.
Damian- Yes, its pretty great.
If you ever get a chance, check out Alfred Hitchcock’s An Unlocked Window (1965).
Damian- I’ll look for that. I just watched Rear Window the other day. I could go for some more Hitchcock.
Do you have any conventions coming up?
Damian- A couple conventions have requested me. I like going to the conventions and talking movies with people.
That is always appreciated that you do talk to the fans and talk us as horror fans.
Damian- I grew up enjoying this stuff. I like to talk about and I am lucky to be able to do anything in the business. There are a lot of hardworking actors that don’t.
I am excited for On Location. It was great to hear that you and Hannah Fierman (V/H/S, American Hell) are starring in On Location. Hannah is very talented.
Damian- I’ve known Hannah for a while now. How I met Hannah is one of the more heartbreaking things of our lives. She and I won an online competition in 2007. It took about nine months and there was voting, horrible stuff that goes on in these competitions. It was the cast of these feature film. It was a great opportunity but then it never happened. No one said anything to us but Hannah and I stayed in touch. When she did V/H/S that was a big thing and I was really happy for her.
This is random, if you could pick five movies on Shudder to watch now? What would you pick? No aliens landed. Just a random question. HAUNT is featured and available to watch on Shudder and On Demand.
Damian- Start with Haunt. Is Session 9 still on there?
I don’t think so but that’s a good one.
Damian- Tammy and the T-Rex (1994). Have you seen that one yet?
NO! I didn’t see that one yet.
Damian- It will change your life. It changed my life. It cannot be explained. I can’t say it’s good but it’s something.
Its different? Or not?
Damian- Yes, it’s different but inexplicable and very gory. Definitely watch Tammy and the T-Rex. Black Christmas is on there and The Exorcist III.
Do you have any other projects that you are working on that you can talk about?
Damian- There is a (project) I am working on with L.C. Holt. I can’t talk about any specifics.
He was in You’re Next.
(L.C. Holt www.imdb.com/name/nm1417657/ @LC_Holt on Twitter.)
Damian- He was, yes, he was indeed. He’s a good actor, he’s a good guy, he’s smart and a good writer. He and I are kind of doing our own thing. I’m throwing it out there. You tell people about it so then you’ve got to see it through. There is a really fun thing Felissa and I are on the cusp of. There will be some of the “Damian” face and voice that’s been so lacking.
That’s good. I think the world needs that. I watching VFW, Joe Begos directed it and Stephen Lang stars in VFW and his voice is calm and cool and gravely. You have that. The calmness and the gravely cool.
Damian- Thank you.
(I am not sure which one of us was laughing and snorted, probably me. Damian is a professional. I’m just the writer. That question went south but I tried to get the point across. Let the man talk!)
What was it like working with the director Mike P. Nelson?
Damian- Mike is great. I love Mike. He’s a huge horror fan. It would be worth it just to show up and see what shirt Mike would be wearing. He had a Black Christmas shirt on that I’d never seen. He knows what he wants, he is a force to be reckoned with. He is a pleasant person.
What do you want to say to the fans? The people that are watching the films you do and the people following you on social media?
Damian- Anybody that is enjoying anything I am doing out there to the point where they want to talk to me about it. That is incredible. Coming from being a horror fan as a kid and then being here sort of on the other end it, that’s pretty wild. It’s very heartwarming. Obviously go on social media and talk about me non-stop. Get that going, use the #DamianMaffei No, just kidding, stick with me and see what I have coming out. I try to do things that I would want to watch. If you have watched one thing I was in and that alone made you want to watch something else I was in. That’s incredible. I really appreciate that. That means a lot to me. Thank you.
We will start the campaign. I do want to say thank you because I have been through a lot of horrible shit in life and horror movies have been an escape so I do want to say thank you. Not to show my heart or anything. Gross. Haunt for example, it was a great film. Lots of fun.
Damian – Haunt was a team effort.
Did you have a favorite moment from Haunt or an on-set memory?
Damian- It was all good times on Haunt. I did punch Katie in the nose once, it was just a little boop. We had fun there. It was good.
Is there one piece of advice that has always stuck with you or that has worked for you? That you would want to share?
Damian- I show up on time and I’m friendly. I do the work and I put in work beforehand. Whether you put in the work that’s up to you but don’t be a dick. Show up, you could trace it all back for me. There’s a movie called Ghost Lake that I kind of shoved my way in to. I auditioned for it and I didn’t hear back so I jumped on a bus and took an eight-hour bus ride and showed up to where they were filming and auditioned again. It was a small movie with maybe four cast members and three crew members. It was shooting in Upstate New York. I was just out of acting school and it was a movie. I knew the effects artist and I showed up which is not recommended. I did everything on that movie. I waved a tree to create shadows. I stood in for the sound guy and they rented a boom and I held that f*cking boom. I did everything. I was funny and engaging, I made people laugh and kept it light. I filmed the behind the scenes too. The director Jay Woelfel who I’m friends with now, he talks about all the hats I wore. That made Jay want to work with me again and in 2007 he was putting together a movie which had a bigger budget and he wrote the lead guy with me in mind.
Was that Closed for the Season?
Damian- Yes, that was Closed for the Season. I got that movie because I was a team player and did everything. I had a much bigger part and I show up, do my part.
I thank you so much for taking the time to talk with Horrornews.net. I thank you Damian. I wish you all the best.
Damian- My pleasure. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Damian Maffei IMDB www.imdb.com/name/nm0535541/
@damianmaffei on Instagram and Twitter