Slayers: Lydia Hearst on Vampire Action Horror Comedy & Screamfest

Lydia Hearst is a lifelong horror fan taking every opportunity that comes her way on TV and film like SyFy's Z Nation, Saban's Between Worlds, and RLJE's Condemned. She also takes pride as an ambassador at Screamfest. Her latest project is Slayers, an action horror comedy about a group of superstar influencers drawn to a reclusive billionaire's (Malin Akerman) mansion only to find themselves trapped in the lair of an evil vampire. The only way out is to be saved by a famous online gamer (Kara Hayward) and an old-school vampire hunter (Thomas Jane). Hearts spoke to Bleeding Cool about the film, working with writer-director K. Asher Levin and stars Jane and Akerman, Screamfest, and the horror films she grew up watching.

Slayers: Lydia Hearst on Vampire Action Horror Comedy & Screamfest
Lydia Hearst and Jack Donnelly in Slayers (2022). Image courtesy of The Avenue

Getting to Know the Ensemble Cast of 'Slayers'

Bleeding Cool: What interested you in 'Slayers?'
Hearst: I was one of the first people to sign on to 'Slayers' back when it had a different name but the same writer and director. I loved the story's uniqueness and how it was a sort of modern take and reimagining of the classic vampire lore. As a huge fan and lover of the horror genre, it was really exciting for me to see such a refreshing and unique story like this.

How do you describe the set that Asher ran?
The set was amazing, and we had so much fun throughout. Asher is truly an actor's director. He wanted to make sure we were all comfortable and could put a little bit of ourselves into the characters. He also wanted to ensure we were comfortable with the content and everyone got to know each other, which helped especially working on an ensemble cast. We all made memories together, which always helps when working with nice people.

Can you tell me what it was like working with the ensemble and having Thomas and Malin lead the way and what their presence meant?
They're legends in their own right and so nice, fun, naturally funny, and quick with their wit. They made us all feel welcome, comfortable, and confident. That's important, especially when you're out in the middle of nowhere shooting on these epic locations but working long hours at night. We did have a lot of fun making the film. I hope audiences see that when they're watching.

Slayers: Lydia Hearst on Vampire Action Horror Comedy & Screamfest
Malin Akerman, Lydia Hearst, Jack Donnelly, and Ashley Reyes in Slayers (2022). Image courtesy of The Avenue

Hearst's Duties at Screamfest

You're representing 'Slayers' at Screamfest. What was that experience like growing up within the horror genre?
I love all things horror. I've grown up being a huge fan of the genre and cinema. I'm also a longtime lover and supporter of Screamfest, which coincidentally does happen to be America's longest-running horror film festival. It's currently in its 22nd year, and I'm fortunate to be this year's film ambassador. I'm there every night in support of the filmmakers and my fellow actors, and I'm helping introduce films and moderate the Q&A for the filmmakers and the talent alike. It's an incredible festival because it is true fans and artists who have come together to premiere and debut their work to the audiences and the fans, and everyone is there to support one another. It's an incredible experience and environment, and I'm thrilled to have 'Slayers' be a part of this and for the world to finally get to see it.

As the opportunities presented themselves with streamers able to help promote independent content, can you speak of the experience of how content creation is now?
It's exciting because there's a lot of content out there. Yes, there are a lot of platforms out there, but at the same time, it's giving so many more filmmakers and artists opportunities. People have opportunities to get their products not only made but seen by people who otherwise may not have ever had a chance to hear of them, let alone see them. It's remarkable to see how far the horror genre has come and how the fan base and audiences are growing. At the same time, at the heart of it, it's a community that supports itself and one another where especially at a place like Screamfest, you'll see other filmmakers coming out in support of their peers. It's the same thing with actors. Everybody's there supporting one another, elevating one another and the voices of the filmmakers, actors, and projects because we love what we do. There's a reason why we're there, and it's really exciting.

Slayers Dir Asher Levin on Howard Hughes and Vampires Inspirations
Cr: The Avenue

Was there any particular title that sold you on the horror genre?
I've been watching horror since I was very young, but at the same time, people forget horror is not just gore and slasher [genre]. If you look back on the old classic Grimm's Fairy Tale, there's always a story, dark moral lesson, where it's like, "Don't trust the strangers. Don't take an apple from an evil witch." As any other child, I was exposed to classic fairy tales and stories. I loved the lessons and the stories and creativity behind them, leading me to the 'Evil Dead' films, which I loved as a child. I made my parents play them over and over again. The one-liners from Bruce Campbell were epic. Horror is a lot of fun, and it's also a bit more forgiving than the other genres. With audiences, directors, and actors, you can play and enjoy yourself even if you're telling a crazy, wild story. At the end of the day, what always resonated with me in these films is that everybody looked like they were having fun, and I can attest to that as a performer.

The Avenue's Slayers, which also stars Jack Donnelly and Abigail Breslin, are in theaters, digital, and on-demand.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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