Kyle Lowder (ex-Rex/Brady, DAYS; ex-Rick, B&B) will star alongside Sadie Katz in The Amityville Harvest, available on DVD, Digital and On Demand October 20. The official movie description of the intense horror film is, “While staying at an aging manor to research its liquor-smuggling history, Christina and her documentary video team interview their spooky host Vincent — but no one can capture his image or voice on video! After shocking dreams and bloody encounters, the crew members fall under Vincent’s hypnotic spell. Can Christina and her sister stave off Vincent’s dark magic and survive Amityville’s deadly harvest?” Check out a trailer. Here, Lowder talks about his first foray into the horror genre.
Soap Opera Digest: How did the role come about?
Lowder: “I’ve worked with the director, Thomas Churchill, on a film that came out last year called Nation’s Fire and he’s a really great director and became a good friend of mine in the process. I’ve also worked with the production company, Hollywood Media Bridge, and its owner, Phil Goldfine, and then one of the executive producers there, Binh Dang. I got a call from Phil Goldfine, who said, ‘Kyle, I’ve got a really cool horror project coming up. I think you’d fit the bill for this. Can I put you in touch with Thomas Churchill, who is also the writer?’ So I talked to Thomas on the phone and he told me all about the plot and the project itself and it sounded really cool. He said, ‘I think you’d be great as Vincent J. Miller, the lead villain.’ And it was awesome but it kind of took me aback. I said, ‘Tom, have you seen my resumé? I have never done anything remotely like this ever. I’m like the male soap opera hero.’ I knew I could do it and pull it off, but at the time I was unproven. But it meant a lot when he said to me, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘Kyle, I’ve seen your work, I know what you’re capable of. I know you personally. I actually think you could do really well.’ So he offered me the role, which put a little bit of pressure on because I knew they put the faith and trust in me to do this. I’ve never really done anything like it. But he gave me some homework assignments of some films to watch, like Interview with the Vampire, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula performance, and then Nosferatu. This film is not dated at all but it’s definitely a throwback to a classic, awesome horror film genre. The danger was not to make this character a parody or a charicature of itself, but to make this character be real and authentic and organic. And the Amityville franchise in general is something I’ve known about and been a fan of forever, so to be part of this Amityville name is really cool for me on top of that.”
Digest: What was filming like?
Lowder: “The process of shooting this film was unlike I’ve ever dealt with before. It’s common in the film industry, but it’s the first time I have gone through it. The entire thing was night shoots, which means our call time was 6 p.m. and we worked till 4 or 5 or sometimes 6 a.m. before the sun came up. I quite literally lived a Vampire-like existence for a couple of weeks. It was bizarre. You go to work at 6 p.m. and you work through the night fueled by Red Bull and caffeine and meditation and a nap here and there. And then I’m home right before the sun comes up, trying to get in bed like a vampire because if I see the sun rise, I won’t be tired anymore and not get any sleep. It was very fun because you’re up when no one else is and it’s a really fun group of people shooting this horror film, where you know that the end product is going to be creepy and scary and terrifying and all of that but as you’re doing it, you have a lot of laughs as well. Everything was a new first time for me, from the shooting schedule to the character I was playing, to the prosthetics I had to wear. It was the first time I had done anything like it. I’m proud of the film, I’m proud of my performance in the film. I’m really excited for it to come out and for people to see it.”
Digest: What was it like working with Sadie Katz?
Lowder: “I’ve known about Sadie for awhile; we have a lot of mutual friends, like Jessica Morris [ex-Jennifer, ONE LIFE TO LIVE], who was in the LADIES OF THE LAKE movies with me and A MERMAID FOR CHRISTMAS, so it was that situation where Sadie and I knew of each other but had never met. Almost all of our scenes are together in this film. She’s an awesome actress and human being. So, immediately, our chemistry, not romantic chemistry but actor chemistry, had to be there in order for this film to work. And as soon as she showed up on set, from the first day we met, not to be cheesy and cliché, but it was like we had known each other for years. She was really awesome. There had to be trust there, too. Not to give anything away plot-wise, but things get a little dangerous between our characters in the film. I just wanted to let her know that I’m a dad of a little girl, I’m the most mild-mannered, free-spirited human being you’ll ever meet. I’m not weird and creepy and dangerous, so when I put on the makeup and the teeth and start to go after you physically, don’t be scared. Her response was, ‘I’ve been around this business. I get it. It’s all good.’ So that established a really good tone. Everybody on the film really brought their A game. When you spend two weeks, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. with the same group of people every day, you have to like these people, and that definitely was the case. It was a great set.”
Digest: What was it like to see yourself made up to play the role?
Lowder: “It was really cool. It was the first time that I had worked with special effects makeup artists with credits that I’ve seen in other films. I had different stages of looks in this film. I was in the makeup chair on average for two hours with everything they had to do. I put some headphones on and would sit there in a meditative state while they would do their thing, but then I would open my eyes and it’s a total transformation. The camera gets really close up, so they had to make sure It looked real. It was really trippy. Side note: My call time was the first of the evening every evening because I took the longest to be made up, so for the entire two weeks, there were people in the cast who didn’t know what I looked like in real life. They’d seen pictures of me but didn’t know what I looked like in person without the makeup on. It was really funny. And then we’d wrap every night and people would go home at 5 in the morning but I had to stick around while they took all this crap off of me, so that was a funny experience in and of itself. On the day I turn into the full-fledged vampire, that took four hours. There were full prosthetics, and I had to wear these milky white contact lenses. I have a video of when I first got made up that I showed [daughter] Izzy and she was terrified. She got visibly shaken by it. I was completely unrecognizable and it was really cool to completely disappear into a character.”
Digest: What was it like to see the completed film?
Lowder: “It was really cool. This was the first time that I’m playing a character in a film and I’m watching it going, ‘Wow, this is completely new, it’s a first,’ and it was fun to see it with the music and sound effects and editing. I think the first thing that came to mind is that growing up as a fan of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, I think Thomas Churchill did a great job paying homage to the classic horror genre. To be a part of that in a leading capacity, carrying a film, I’m proud of it and I’m excited for people to share in that.”
Digest: Before we let you go, I have to ask: Would you come back to soaps?
Lowder: “Yes! Daytime drama is my home, it’s the birthplace of my career, it’s been everything to me in my career and the relationships I have with people, both in front of and behind the camera in the shows that I’ve worked on, unless I’m unable to do it, I would be absolutely thrilled to be part of that genre again.”