|Interview with Lamia: Queen of the Dark
& host of Horror Hotel
By AL J. Vermette
She is as frightening as she is lovely. She is Lamia: Queen of
the Dark and the host of Horror Hotel. Keeping alive the long
tradition of TV horror hosts, Lamia each week intros classic
horror movies to viewers all over the USA. As a fan of her
show myself, I wanted to talk with her about both the Horror
Hotel TV series and their horror convention that runs every
June. The following is my conversation with this horror fan
that not only knows her subject but loves the genre as much
as I do.
AL: Please tell our readers all about the show Horror Hotel, when did it get started and how long
have you been on the air?
Lamia: Horror Hotel is inspired by many classic horror host shows, but it stands out in that I talk more in
depth about each film. I give facts about the movies, who made them, film trivia, and more. I like to think of
the show as Movie Macabre meets Turner Classic Movies. In addition to the classic horror pictures, I also
like to feature independent horror films and filmmakers as much as I can, with short films, trailers and
interviews. The show started out online and on mobile apps in 2013, then picked up a few independently-
owned stations in the Midwest, and we began airing nationally in 2016.
AL: How did the show come together and where did it all begin?
Lamia: Horror Hotel is the brainchild of my executive producer and show creator, Ray Szuch. Ray was
always a fan of the classic movie host shows like Ghoulardi. The initial idea of the show began after
starting The International Horror Hotel, an annual indie horror film festival and convention. It seemed like a
great idea to be able to cross-promote the show and festival together, getting interviews with filmmakers
from around the world at the fest to feature on the show, promoting the festival on the show, etcetera. The
show has developed tremendously since it began, and we often find inspiration for the show from classic
shows, though we always try to put our own spin on everything. I like to say that Ray is the visionary, and I
am the executioner.
AL: I love your co-host Lilith, your pet snake, please tell our readers
Lamia: Like myself, Lilith is one of the oldest vampires. She loves being on
the show and loves horror movies just as much as I do, but she's a bit shy
around the humans, so she tends to keep up appearances in her snake
form. On the show, she takes the form of an eight and a half foot carpet
python, but perhaps viewers will someday meet her in her humanoid form as
well. I have also recently started introducing some of the other creatures and
monsters who live at the Hotel, like Puff the Dragon and Medusa, another
snake. Viewers can expect a bit more variety in my “co-hosts” but Lilith will
always be my go-to partner.
AL: You show some great classic horror films, how do you decide on
what movies to feature each week?
Lamia: Thank you. I do pride myself in the selection of movies for the show.
There are a few factors I take into consideration. First, I try to stay away from
the very well-known films, as I want to bring viewers something fresh that they
likely haven't seen. Though I do feature some true classics and cult hits, I
mostly try showing films that are a bit more obscure or haven't been given their fair shake. I also want to
make sure the films I show are good quality films that will engage the viewer in some way, not just a campy
flick to entertain them for a short time or something “so bad, it's good”. Those films certainly have their
place, but I try steering clear of them when I can. I also try to stick to films that are fairly family friendly, so
that it's something for everyone. Sometimes, there are shows that aren't for the kids, but I always inform
the parents to lock the kids in their crypts for the evening when showing something more risqué.
AL: Please tell us about your staff and all the people that
make the show possible?
Lamia: Aside from me and Ray, we have a wonderful cast and
crew that contributes to the show. My producer, editor and writ-
ing partner is the lovely Kristina Michelle. We have had a few
different directors on the show, but currently, my director is the
wonderful John Fecek. Our director of photography, J Andrew
Thames, has been involved with the show since episode 3, and
he's instrumental to the visual aspect of the show. Another long-
time crew member is Rachel Carp, our assistant director. We
also have a wonderful original score for the opening and closing
animations of the show by Bulgarian composer Valyo Gennoff, and we've been lucky enough to work with
four outstanding animators: Jacob Drake, Rick Colon, Joe Fiorella, and Kelly Jensvold. Our show
photographer is the remarkable Scott Morrison of Discovery Photo.
My "motley crew" on the show, who always insists on annoying me and interrupting your viewing
experience, consists of Lil' Zombie, Big Zombie, Spot, Lupo, The Permanent Guest, Skippy & Zippy the
evil clown brothers, the occasional human appearance, and some other bit characters. Our recurring cast
has included Philip Saad, John Fecek, AJ Walker, Danny Waz, Jason McCallister, Rex Baker, Joshua
Petty, Jeff Korn, and others.
AL: How did you become involved with the series and what’s it like hosting a weekly horror TV
Lamia: Ray asked me to. It was honestly as simple as that. I saw the vision he had for the show and
agreed that together we could make it something successful, which is now proving to be true. I'm thrilled
that people are now able to see the show on a weekly basis. It's a lot of work, but the fans are proving it is
worth the effort. We've gained a wonderful following, some of whom have deemed themselves “Lamia's
Army of Monsters”. It's great.
AL: It’s so good to see horror hosts like yourself keeping the genre alive. What would you like to
say to horror fans out there who would like to host a show of their own some day?
Lamia: I've not touched the surface when it comes to the influence of so many of the horror host greats, but
I'm happy to contribute to the future of the genre. I think anyone who wants to do it should go out there and
do it. Simple as that. They need to first find their voice and what they have to contribute differently. There
has been a huge resurgence of the genre in recent years, which is great, but to be successful at it, you
really have to offer something different. Whether it's your character, your personality, your format, or your
marketing, find a way to stand out. Secondly, never neglect fans. Your fans are your growth and the future
of your show. Appreciate them. Talk to them. Thank them. They'll be your biggest marketers. Finally, start
small. Whether you start your show on the web or on a local community access channel, start small and
always continue working to improve your show. No matter how successful a show becomes, if it is not
continuously improving, it can grow stale.
AL: I would love to hear all about your event the International Horror
Hotel Film Festival and Convention.
Lamia: The International Horror Hotel Film Festival and Convention is a four
-day event held every June at The Clarion Inn & Conference Center in
Hudson, Ohio, which is located just outside of Cleveland. It's a merging of
two audiences: the independent filmmaker and the horror fanatic. Many
genre festivals and horror conventions focus either on the filmmakers or the
fans, but we work to bring both together. Each year, we run competitions for
films, script and film scorers. At the event, we have live competitions for FX
makeup artists, Scream Queens, and Scream Kings. We generally show
over 100 films from around the world in four days, with the opportunity to
speak with and meet many of the directors and producers of the films. At
our 2017 event, we had filmmakers attending from all around the world,
coming in from as far as Scotland, China, and numerous other countries,
not to mention throughout the U.S. The fest also features two days of panel
discussions and lectures, a convention, special guests, networking parties, an outdoor classic car show
(Stars & Cars), and outdoor drive-in style screenings. It's a wildly good time, and 2018 will mark our 7th
year of the event.
AL: Please tell our readers and your new fans about some of the upcoming movies that you will
be showing in the next few months?
Lamia: Upcoming movies depend on where they are viewing, as our viewing schedule varies per viewing
platform. For our national broadcasts, viewers can visit www.horrorhotel.net/show-schedule.html for current
schedules and upcoming shows.
AL: I watch your show on Retro TV, are there other networks our readers can find your show
Lamia: On Saturday nights, we broadcast over the air on Retro TV to over 72 million homes and over 68
additional cable systems. The time varies per station. Typically the following schedule applies:
Eastern Time: Saturday at midnight to Sunday at 2am
Central Time: Saturday at 11pm to Sunday at 1am
Mountain Time: Sundays from 1am to 3am
Pacific Time: Saturday at midnight to Sunday at 2am
On Sunday nights, we're broadcast nationally over-the-air to 22 million homes on The Action Channel at
10pm EST. We also broadcast on Saturday nights on WOBZ TV-9 in London, KY, two or three times per
week on Cable 9 in Northeast Ohio, and on MATA in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to that, shows can be
viewed on www.HorrorHotel.net, and we are also on Roku. Hopefully, as time goes on, we'll have even
more ways you can see the show!
AL: Thank you Lamia for this interview with myself and Blood Moon Rising. I look forward to
watching the show Saturday nights at midnight for a long time to come.
Lamia: Thank you so much for interviewing me, and I certainly hope to keep you all entertained on the
show for a long time to come!