To end WIHM I had the pleasure of interviewing Lamia Queen Of The Dark from the Horror Host show Horror Hotel. in this interview, the Queen Of The Dark herself spills the beans on life as a vampire host and her centuries-long passion for the Horror Genre! Enjoy!
You can catch Lamia and all her ghoulish friends over at Horrorhotel.net to watch the show!
- Happy Women In Horror Month Lamia! It’s a pleasure to have you here at HauntedMTL. Your show Horror Hotel has been on air since 2013; can you tell us what inspired you to create a retro horror show dedicated to cult classics such as 1950’s movies?
Firstly, thank you for inviting me to do this interview. It’s a pleasure for me as well.
As to your question, I did not create the show. That credit goes to Ray Szuch. I’ve been working with Ray for many years now, and in 2012, we created The International Horror Hotel Film Festival together. That year, we were brainstorming ways to further promote the festival and were considering doing an indie horror show: interviews with filmmakers, trailers, etc., which would tie in with the festival. It was similar to another project we had done in the past, but with a horror spin. However, Ray was always a big fan of Ghoulardi and other hosts, and he liked the idea of doing a traditional hosted horror show. I have long been a fan of classic horror, and so he asked me to do the show.
The way we incorporate the festival into it is by featuring interviews from the festival with filmmakers and indie horror creatives when we can, as well as specials where we feature independent films on the show. So it’s still a good cross-promotion between the two, but at its core, the show is very much about classic horror films. For me, the draw to classic horror is that it is where the genre began. People have long loved horror movies, but to see its evolution from its earliest days to what it is now is fascinating. Without these earlier films, we wouldn’t have what we know today!
It is also nostalgic for me because from the beginning of cinema itself, I have always been drawn to the darker pictures. They were an outlet for monsters like me, a place where we could be accepted. Now, more than 140 years after film’s creation, that still stands true.
2. As a Horror host can you tell us a bit about who and what inspired you into becoming a woman of Horror?
I have always been drawn to entertainment as a whole, but horror in particular. As a vampire, it’s quite natural to become a sort of show-person. People note that I’m a sort of “happy vamp”, and though that hasn’t always been the case, isn’t that the best way to draw humans into the fold? So I was drawn to entertainment, and later as it grew, horror entertainment and hosting came naturally. Though some of the most iconic hosts have indeed been women, the horror host community is in fact dominated by men. But I have been very much welcomed in that community.
3. The first original Horror host is generally accepted to be Vampira. Is it your goal as Lamia Queen Of The Dark to become recognized as the Modern Vampira?
I don’t necessarily want to be a “Modern Vampira”. I think it is amazing that having only had a short run on TV for a year or so, she is still so relevant and iconic to this day, more than fifty years later. Of course, any host hopes they may leave that same mark on the industry and on future generations of fans, but most of all, I want to contribute my own voice and my own take on what I do.
4. What are your thoughts on Vampira and Elvira Mistress Of The Dark? How do you think they’ve contributed to the horror genre?
So much of the feedback that I get from viewers is positive, but there are the occasional negative reviews I receive as well. One of the main themes I’ve heard in negative feedback is that I’m a “wannabe Elvira” who isn’t anything like Elvira. That’s the point. We don’t want to have a show that is like everyone else’s. I don’t want to necessarily be compared to Vampira and Elvira strictly because they are women. Each of them were fantastic at what they did and were very much important to the world of horror hosting.
Like I said before, the horror host community is largely comprised of men. Fans are so used to male hosts, and yet two of the most iconic are women. Though they had similarities in appearance, Vampira and Elvira had separate identities, separate shticks, and separate goals. But they cast a very large shadow, and that does make it difficult for the future generations of hosts. I have a different approach to what I do, and other female hosts on television or online today have their own takes as well. I recognize and respect both of their contributions, but so many people draw comparisons that aren’t there or aren’t needed.
5. WIHM is a universally celebrated month across the globe for women in the genre. Speaking from the point of view of a woman who contributes to the macabre has there been instances where you have been underestimated within the horror community simply due to your gender?
Absolutely. This goes for the entertainment industry as a whole, but I do think it is very relevant to the horror community specifically. Many of the hosts I know are fantastic. Many of the filmmakers I know are wonderful. The majority of fans are amazing. But two of the biggest things that I’ve witnessed and experienced as a woman in horror, and particularly as a female host, just relates to an underestimation and judgment of women as a whole.
With a male host, he is judged on two things: his personality and the content of his show. Female hosts tend to be judged by one thing first, and that is their looks. This isn’t from everyone, but it is very much so apparent. The other side of it is, and I have heard this directly from a few hosts I have met over the years, is a sort of disrespect that a percentage of male hosts have for their female peers. It’s as though women can ONLY be successful because of their looks. You know, they make comments like “Well, of course, she has more fans than me. She has two talents I don’t!” if you catch my drift. I recognize that this is seen in any industry, but it is so unnecessary. If another man were doing better than him, that same male would chalk it up to his talent, or maybe his connections. But women? “It must be because they have boobs, and I don’t.”
Circling back a little to the underestimation of women, I have a little story that still amuses me. When we first went national in 2016, I saw a negative review from a viewer online. His rant was along the lines of “how can some despicable producer hire a teenage girl and put her on display as a host?” The funny thing is, I’ve been actively working in the film industry for the better part of 20 years. Yes, I look younger. Being a vampire has wonderful perks. But the funny thing is, I’m also the producer. I write, produce, edit, and host the show. This person automatically assumed that a woman couldn’t be running this type of show, and I just found it amusing that the person he was lambasting was actually the so-called “teenage girl” herself. Still gives me a chuckle today.
6. As popularity continues to grow for Horror Hotel do you have any exciting plans for the show for this year?
We are always continuing to expand the show and the world around the show. A lot of this relates to marketing and merchandise as well.
Currently, we are developing two comic books for our fans. The first one to be released this year will be “Lamia: The Zombie Slayer”, following the storyline of a film I did nearly a century ago that we featured on the show. People always ask when they will see more of me as “Lamia: The Zombie Slayer”, and since we don’t have more footage available and everyone seems to enjoy comics, we decided to flesh it out that way. After that, we will have a comic coming out about life at Horror Hotel, and how the hotel came to be.
We are also adding a few new elements to the show, and we have some more creative specials and movies that I’m very excited about coming in the near future.
7. Where would you like to see Horror Hotel in the next ten years?
I am amazed at how far we’ve come in the few years that we’ve been on air, but it seems to keep growing and growing! It’s wonderful. Currently, we have national syndication through both Retro Television and The Action Channel, but we are hopeful we will get more affiliates as well. Maybe a main network or a cable network. We are expanding outside of the U.S., and hopefully, we can find affiliates in other countries as well.
We have a Roku channel, and our Roku viewership continues to grow all the time. Currently, we have about 60,000 subscribers, and The Roku Guide picked us as a “Top 3 Horror Channels to Watch at Halloween” for both 2018 and 2019. But we are planning to expand to other streaming services as well, with Amazon being next on our list. That has been a long process, but we are close to being ready for that.
Last year, I was nominated for a Rondo Award for Favorite Horror Host, and I won runner-up. That was incredible. I’m nominated again this year, so who knows? Maybe I will win this time, or in the near future.
I am more than happy with where we are now, but I definitely see it continuing to grow and look forward to seeing what comes of it.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring Horror hosts?
My advice would vary depending on the individual. It varies on whether or not they have the technical knowledge to do it themselves or connections to those who can do it for them. There have been a lot of short-lived hosts that had a good idea, but without the right technical knowledge to produce and create a quality show, they didn’t go as far as they could have. If you don’t have any technical knowledge, find like-minded people in your area who do. Find local networking events to meet filmmakers. Meet student filmmakers at your local college. Build yourself a team that can help you and your show grow together.
Another thing that I think is important to any show is to always keep improving. We’ve done more than 150 shows now, and many of our earlier shows, we have re-shot and re-released, because the quality of the show has come a long way since we started in 2013. I always want to do better, give the fans a better experience, better quality, a better show. People often tell me one thing they love about the show is that they never know what to expect next.
As for the hosting itself, first, find your voice. Find your angle. Find what makes YOU and YOUR character stand out. There has been a big resurgence in hosts in recent years, and there is a lot of competition. There is absolutely room for all of us, but fans can’t watch them all. So why will they watch you? What makes you different? It’s nice when hosts pay homage to past generations of hosts, but it’s even more important that you don’t try to stand in their shadow. Whether it’s your character, your image, your personality, your format, your marketing – find a way to stand out from everyone else. Find your niche and your audience.
And once you develop fans and a following, engage with them! I love getting hand-written notes and fan mail, and whenever I do, I respond back. But more and more, people don’t write in. They tweet you. They message you. They “follow” you. I was so hesitant to be on social media in the past, but it is so important these days. And I’d much rather people “follow me” online than in person! Ha. It’s important to connect with your viewers on a more personal level. Show them you appreciate them and their support. They are the reason you are doing this, so don’t let them forget that, and in return, they will help you gain even more fans and even more supporters.
9. Who is your favorite Scream Queen?
I’ve met so many wonderful scream queens over the years, and I do my best not to play favorites!