Continuing with this week’s biggest horror release, we have another interview with someone from You’re Next. This time it’s LC Holt who plays Lamb Mask in the film. Armed to the teeth with weapons and assaulting a manor, he took a break from that to chat with us about You’re Next, a film he really loves, and his other projects. He speaks in the accent that you will hear in the film in a thoughtful way, there are no pauses but his speech is coloured with descriptions. He appreciates his work in the world of film and he wants to continue that path to go onto bigger and better things as well as move into writing and directing his own features. Below is the interview with lovely murdering psychopath. Well, actor, but murderer is catchy.
In You’re Next, you play a masked murderer. Is it kind of cathartic and fun to run around slashing people up?
Oh yeah! Definitely. Very cathartic. [laughs] It’s sort of fun because the characters that I play, in the movies that I’ve been in, including You’re Next, have all been people who are really… over-the-top psychotic, you know? When you play a character like that, it’s a great way of venting your anger in a way that’s very safe and very productive and that’s very fun. You know, I’ve never played a good guy, though I would love to. But to play a guy like the Lamb Mask in You’re Next is a blast. You get to do everything that you would never be able to do in life.
Is it a weird thing to go home and talk about, about your day at work?
[Laughs] It is in some ways, yeah. Of course everybody kind of knows what I do and knows the kind of characters that I play so it’s really just like ‘Ah, it’s just another day at the office!’
Have you ever had a family reunion go really badly too? Not that badly. Not bloodbath bad but bickering bad.
[Laughs] No, I’ve never had one go badly. Like you say, not that badly, because it goes pretty bad in that movie. [laughs] No, I’ve never had that.
For a lot of the film you have this mask. How do you go about preparing to play a character like Lamb Mask where the audience doesn’t always get to see your face? Is it a difficult thing to portray?
Well you will get to see my face in the movie. There are several points in the movie where you see my face. That’s a good question because when you have the mask on, it is an inanimate object, it has no expression which gives you a creepy vibe, a Michael Myers-esque vibe. Something that’s just coming at you without any emotion visible. The trick of it is making the mask come to life in a way. When you’re playing a character who wears a mask, it’s very easy – if you’re not careful – for it to become almost like a mannequin. You have to give it some sort of a life and some sort of energy. Of course, in this movie, the energy is menace. That’s sort of tricky. It’s also a fun challenge. Any movie that I go into, I face it as a challenge and this one was challenging. It’s physically challenging as well. I had to physically prepare because there’s a lot of running, jumping and falling and fighting. Of course, when you’re in the moment and you have to do it multiple times, you haven’t prepared enough. [laughs] Yeah, it’s a challenge in those two ways: bringing the mask and the visage alive, then the physical rigours of it.
Did you keep the mask?
I did not keep the mask. I have a mask from the movie. Actually the production company sent everyone involved a mask for Christmas which was kinda cool. The mask I wear in the movie, they had to keep it because we didn’t know if we would do reshoots and things like that. They were also very careful about things getting out before they wanted them get out. There was a confidentiality agreement, there were a lot of things we had to sign about not showing pictures and stuff like that until they’re officially released.
It’s been sitting on the shelf for two years now. Is it kind of weird to have a piece of your work just sitting around? Is it a little stressful?
The first movie I did which was with Adam Wingard was Home Sick which we shot six years before it came out. In a way, this is sort of easier [laughing] because with the first one you never quite knew when it was going to come out – or if it was going to come out! With this one, we knew it was going to come out, Lionsgate bought Summit so there was a little bit of a shuffle because now they had twice as many movies to put out. Pretty much from the day it was bought we knew there was going to be a delay but it was just a matter of time until it did. We always had that assurance that it may be two years but Lionsgate really going to push it when the time comes. They’ve done an excellent job so far. They’re fabulous.
And you only had to wait a third of the time, that’s not too bad.
Right, I have a little bit of experience, yeah of waiting.
In fairness though, Lionsgate have done a really good job with the trailer. I hope it doesn’t give away too much personally [I’ve since seen the film and it really, really doesn’t] but I love the song in it.
The song by… I forget his name, he was in The Velvet Underground. Any other time and I would know it! [It’s Perfect Day by Lou Reed] That is a beautiful song and it’s a perfect song for the trailer too. But, no, it doesn’t give away too much; there are a lot of twists and turns in the movie that aren’t even hinted to in the trailer.
That’s good, some trailers show too much. As I said, you wear the mask for the majority of the time, is it a bit of a thankless task?
I guess in some ways it is but, I don’t know, I don’t really look at it that way. We play such a pivotal part in the story. Obviously a lot of people look to the villains in a movie like this and see them in a light that’s… I don’t know, they give us a little more attention just in the fact that we are the villains, we are the creepy ones, the violent ones, the ones that are causing the action in the movie. I don’t know if I would think of it as thankless but I suppose if you never saw my face and I never got to take the mask off, I would feel a little bit more like that but, like I said, in the movie – when you see it – you’ll see me and the others. With the trailers and everything, they really wanted to keep that all shrouded in mystery. Build a mystique around the animals.
I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been wanting to see it for about a year now, I think. That’s when I first heard about it.
Oh yeah, I think people are really going to like it. It’s an audience movie. It was a movie that was made with that in mind. It’s really geared to entertaining and thrilling an audience. From when I read the script, that was obvious! It starts up and doesn’t let up until the end. I think it’s a really strong movie.
You said about reading the script there. Did you audition for it or were you offered the part?
I was offered the part. Adam asked me if I would be interested in playing the Lamb Mask. I read it and I thought it was great. It’s such an interesting blend of horror and action. When I read the script, also, it was almost as if I could visualise the movie, then, when I saw the movie, it was pretty much the script. Some tweaking here and there but they really had it thought out, planned out and plotted in such a way that it came off the page. I was really pleased. I loved the script and now I think I love the movie even more. Sometimes things get lost in translation, through the rigours of production, but with this movie it really is what they envisioned. It really came to life.
Did working on the set and having that script to read, is that preparing you for yourself because you’re a writer-director yourself?
Yeah. Yeah I’d say it is. When you’re working with someone who’s talented it rubs off in a way, you learn things, you sorta learn things from each other. Adam and I, we started out together, his first movie that he directed was my first movie I acted in and had a significant part. I had done things before that but nothing significant or a pivotal role. I think we’ve kind of worked with each other enough that I’ve learned a lot from him – I don’t know how much he’s learnt from me because this guy is talented, Wingard’s the real deal. I think that is true, there is a good give and take. Surrounding yourself like Simon Barrett and like some of the others, we’re all artists that worked on this movie. It’s very beneficial.
You also worked with Simon in V/H/S/2 in the surrounding Tape 49 segment. Was that a weird experience as well? The majority of the time you’re sitting in front of a laptop.
That’s unusual because you usually have an interaction with a person but again it was a fun challenge and that’s the way I approached it. It’s essentially a monologue piece. Simon has written this sort of monologue and I have to perform it. I have to bring it to life without having the benefit of a partner to play off of. It was a lot of fun. Then later in the movie there’s the make-up appliance which is always a little trying but can also be fun if you approach it that way. That’s another movie that I was really proud of the way it turned out. I was like ‘That’s an intense movie!’ I was really blown away by how good it was and, dare I say it, better than the original…
No, I agree. I liked the first but it was better than the original. [This next bit is a SPOILER if you haven’t seen V/H/S/2 yet so look away if you don’t want to know what happens] Was it weird holding a gun to your face and shooting yourself haha?
[Laughs] It was weird. I’ve had to do that before in a movie so I did have a little experience with it but the gun we had wasn’t something that fired at all. It looked great, it was a gun, but it was a modified gun and you never had that concern. In the movie, I put it to my chin and pull the trigger then all of the rest is CGI. Sometimes I have mixed feelings about CGI but that explosion of my face, I thought really looked awesome. Then afterwards it isn’t CGI but the gunshot was. It was just a matter of pulling the trigger, falling backwards and I thought it played well with the effect they put in there.
How long did it take to get that make-up on?
There’s a story I can tell you about that make-up. [laughs] That make-up took about 2, 2 and a half hours. It was very trying because there were problems with the make-up in the adhesive. It turned out I actually had a burn on my face from it and I had to re-apply it for 2 or 3 more days on top of the burn. It was a completely innocent mistake and the guy who did it is really, really good. It was a total accident but it definitely puts you into the frame of mind of ‘OK, I want to kill these people’ when your face is on fire. [laughs]
Sounds a bit like method acting then.
Are you going to become a horror writer-director yourself? Are you working on a feature right now?
I am working on a script for a horror film and right now it’s something like an anthology horror film. I can’t really say too much because I’m in the early stages, things are still pliable. But yes, I would love to. For example, if V/H/S would like to continue that franchise then I’d love to direct one of those. Absolutely, I would love to write and direct for horror. It’s fertile ground, you can talk about so many things in the guise of horror – real world things. You can make it entertaining in a way that sometimes that drama might be heavy, dark and deep and offputting; in a horror film, you can talk about these things and they can be fun, entertaining, because you have those horror tropes to work with.
Would you ever think about doing The ABCs of Death 2 because that’s already been confirmed, hasn’t it?
I’m not sure. Absolutely I would. If they want to make it then I would absolutely love to do a segment for that. I think it’d be a great way of cutting my teeth a little more.
Who would you say are your influences when it comes to the horror genre?
In terms of directors: I love John Carpenter, particularly his early work; I love Romero; I think Wes Craven is a hit and miss kind of guy but when he hits it’s great. That’s what I grew up watching. Guys my age who you grow up with in ’80s, ’90s horror, that’s where I go back to when I think about it.
When it comes to acting, my influences are really varied. There are some great horror actors that I like. I got to meet Bill Moseley and he’s a great guy, we did Home Sick together, which was my first movie – the one I was telling you about with Adam. I admire his work very much. There are people outside the horror genre like Warren Oates, Anthony Perkins in Psycho and some of the other films he did. Guys like that have influenced me.
This is a bit of a weird question but you’re friends with Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Ti West, James Wan and so on, it’s like you know all of the up and coming filmmakers in horror – they’ve made it really. Can you see that being of aid of you in the future when it comes to making your own feature films or even starring in theirs?
It could definitely be an aid in terms of acting. I think when you’re making your own stuff, you’re kind of on your own. Whether it be Adam or Ti, they all kind carve their own niche. I think that’s important because you have to do your own thing and making it your own signature style because that’s the thing that’s remembered. The guys that are admired are the ones who did it and did their own way and it was different. In terms of acting, yeah, it’s always great to know some great directors.
Have you got anything confirmed next?
Yeah, a couple of things. Again, it’s sort of in the early stages. There’s one that could be really exciting but I can’t talk too much about it because you never know until the ink dries. I’m looking forward to the future and doing different kinds of stuff, playing different kinds of characters, and also working within the horror genre.
So you’d be working again in the horror genre?
You’re Next is out now and V/H/S/2 isn’t yet out in the UK but its original, V/H/S, is on Netflix for you to watch now. We wish LC Holt the best and are grateful for him giving up his time.