Lew Temple Interview: From The Villain to The Hero to The Bible

Ubiquitous Horror always loves getting the opportunity to creep into the minds of those in the horror industry, and this time we were lucky enough to sit down with the always impressive and wonderfully talented Lew Temple. While best known for acting, Lew Temple isn’t afraid to try his hand at directing, producing, and even writing. It’s his creativity and focus on storytelling that really helps him breathe life into his characters.

His Calling

Lew never focused his energy on trying to work within a specific genre. He wanted to help tell a story, which meant even when he was given a role that was difficult for him to relate to, he always found a way to give it his all.

He told Ubiquitous Horror, “I remember having a conversation with Bill Moseley on The Devil’s Rejects, about the horror genre specifically, and he referenced it was a place to be imaginative with your work. You are able to expand on the manipulation of the emotional content of the scene. I believe I find that to be true.” It’s a fantastic point. The horror genre allows those involved with a project to push the limits. Lew noted that the horror genre tends to have characters that are seen as outsiders, which allows for a lot of creative input on the part of the actors. “In the end, horror found me, I was not necessarily looking for it.”

Everyone Has a Favorite

Being someone who has acted in over 130 roles in his career, pin pointing the highlights of that career proved to be difficult, considering he truly enjoyed every role. However, Lew was able to narrow down his favorites to three roles in particular. Ned Oldham in the film Unstoppable, Adam Banjo in the film The Devil’s Rejects, and lastly, one of my favorites, Axel in the show The Walking Dead.

While he enjoyed that both Ned and Adam had a certain bravado that he was able to bring to the screen, Ned was faced with a race against time that helped drive the character forward. “Not sure he knew what was at the finish line, but [he] just kept going.” This is a drive that we see in many characters that bring True Fear to the table. When the actor/actress is able to capture that sense of urgency the audience can feel it too. When it comes to Adam Banjo, Lew worked closely with the director, Rob Zombie, to perfect the character’s arc.

Axel is a character that I consider to be one of the most lovable characters in a horror show. Lew brought a kindhearted innocence to the role, which we all quickly loved. When talking about Axel he said, “He was so gregarious and wore his heart on his sleeve. Often times he said what I think the audience was wanting to know. He also was likable, and that has become important to me in this part of my career.”

It’s Not Easy Being Mean

Knowing that Lew Temple is genuinely a kind person, many of his roles blew me away. I needed to know how he made the switch. How does someone so kind become the monster we’ve seen on the screen. According to Lew, it’s not an easy task.

Playing Noel Kluggs in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, was a particularly difficult role for him. Many actors and actresses must find an understanding for the roles they are playing, no matter how dark or twisted. They can even draw on their own experiences to help bring the character to life.

However, Noel Kluggs was horrible because of a horrible upbringing. This made things difficult because Lew stated that he had never faced that kind of ugliness on regular basis. However, a story needed to be told and Lew stepped up. “Rob asked me to be the worst version of me, and this is where I ended up.”

Psycho-Head in Rob Zombie’s 31 ended up being a very challenging role for Lew. “I found it very difficult to be so despicable for very little reason. I was really at odds with this character and was in a bad space while filming.” It’s truly a terrifying role that seems to enjoy torturing and killing his victims. It’s understandable why this would be a hard one for him to wrap his head around. However, he killed it. He did what he set out to do and brought us a character that made us feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Needless to say, Lew told Ubiquitous Horror, “I won’t be missing him…”

Becoming the Villain

Malcolm McDowell gave Lew some advice that he takes with him to every role, “You have a job that must be done to the utmost of your capabilities.” Keeping this in mind he is able to dive deep into his dark side for the sake of a role. A task that has proven to be too much for other actors/actresses. He went on to say, “It is not a place I like to visit, but to find a foundation of truth to the character, I find reason within my experience. I have never done or been exposed to most of the things I have done on film, however, I have been in some dark places to draw on. Everyone has. Avoid staying there if possible.”

Building a character takes a village. It not only depends on the writing but the acting, the directing, the costumes, the makeup and more. Lew explained that for the person acting, they have to help the audience see the depth of the characters, which means they have show us things that aren’t always written in the script.

“I always try to give each character I am building as much definition as possible… I suppose I would want to be the hero in every story, but that is not always the job that is requested.”

Actors and actresses have to be as unbiased as possible to allow themselves to see each role from a point of view that the audience might not understand. He went on to say, “I like to make my character to be well liked so in the case of Psycho-Head and Noel Kluggs, that was not the case, but again, that was not what was in service to those stories.”

Exploring the World of Writing

There are so many people that dabble in multiple different areas of the film industry and Lew is no different. “I love writing, not sure I am any good, but I enjoy the process. So yes, more than anything I would want to write.”

Being someone who knows how to wear many different faces, it seems only natural to transition from actor to writer. Lew told us about two projects he has written, Bud and Sponsor. Both of which he pointed out would be a great fit in the short film format and he’s even hoping they will end up on the future streaming platform Quibi. He even made a point that we here at Ubiquitous Horror have been noticing ourselves, “I think that the future in storytelling is in short bites.”

Outside of those two projects, Lew has three scripts that he wants to work on that are based on his personal experiences. While he does fear the relatability might not be there, they are projects that he is looking forward to building on.

Future Horror Projects

While both of these projects are still looking for the proper funding for completion, they are both horror films we can look forward to. The Castle is a story about a couple who decide to vacation in a beautiful old castle. Unfortunately, they find out that the history of the castle is dark and might cost them their lives.

Lew described this film as “…a haunting from time gone by.” It’s a project he’s very much looking forward to completing and one Ubiquitous Horror is excited to watch.

Dirge is psychological horror/thriller based in the woods. After suffering a trauma, a couple must face the surrounding darkness as well as the darkness from within, all while holding the relationship together. Lew said this about Dirge, “It is very minimal with a big theme. I like it very much, and can see it being an Indy Darling, similar to The Babbadook.”

Other Projects

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove is a family friendly adventure film.

Limbo is a courtroom based comedy/drama focused on deciding the fate of a murderer.

Acceleration is an action film about a mom who is forced to complete some deadly tasks to save her son.

The Dream Roles

From Halloween and 31 to the Bible and Christmas time. Lew is truly a lighthearted person who would love to try out a few new roles. He told Ubiquitous Horror that he would love to play the role of Job or Paul from the Bible. Exploring the role of a noble character that is “tested” or “conflicted” by their faith.

Lew told us how much he loves Christmas. He said, “I would like to be in a Christmas film, where I am able to bring joy to a family, perhaps mine.” Honestly, Lew seems like a perfect fit for one of those Lifetime or Hallmark Christmas films, so we’re rooting for you, Lew!

Advice from Lew for Aspiring Actors/Actresses

“I think it is important to be you with whatever you do. I wish that I had been more aware of that when I got started. They just want to see who you are in the hiring process. Tell the story of YOU. No man or woman can walk out on their own story, so you should tell yours. I would look to be  a storyteller first, celebrity will come and go, but those who are adept at telling a story are always serviceable. Make horror smarter than you found it. Look for new ways to find thrills in your audience. Don’t emulate what you like, build something that is beyond. Bring your story to the party, it is helpful. Be loud when telling your story, we want to hear you.”

Lew’s Favorite Horror Movies

“Rosemary’s Baby. Perfect blend of psychological thriller and terror. I am always captivated by the subtext of this film. It just works for me. I love the old Hammer Films as well, particularly the monster films. There is so much, and new material that is really really well done.”

Keep up with Lew Temple

Horror – What’s Your Point?

Today we are doing things a little different with our first real article.

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and felt that build up towards figuring out who the killer was and why they were doing it, only to be let down by them having no purpose? Me too! It almost feels like the writer couldn’t think of a good enough reason for the killing spree so they robbed us of the big reveal. You may have noticed in many of my reviews that I talk about the why behind the killings. That’s because understanding the reasoning behind the antagonist is very important.

Every killer needs, and normally has, a reason. That goes for real life as well as the horror genre. It might seem senseless but in the killer’s mind, it means something. We don’t have to like it or agree with it, but that reason will always be there.

Let’s look at some highly successful horror movies. A Nightmare on Elm Street has Freddy Krueger bouncing from dream to dream slaughtering kids. This movie freaked me the fuck out when I was younger because I didn’t understand why he was doing it and he seemed unstoppable. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood what was going on. In life, Freddy was a pedophile who would kill his victims. When the parents of the neighborhood found out about him, they rallied together and burned him to death. After that he came back and began targeting their children. You killed me first, isn’t the best reason, but at least it’s a reason. The same thing goes for Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, they might not have the best reason to kill, but they each have a reason.

Out of the three of them, I think I like Michael Myers’ reasoning the best. His killing spree is based on a childhood trauma. This seems like a very realistic reason that someone would turn to murder. Don’t get me wrong, Jason Voorhees suffered childhood trauma as well, but he is a spirit that has returned, much like Freddy, and Michael is more of a psychologically damaged human. This realistic purpose creates more fear than the other stories.

Those reasons drive the killers to continue doing what they do best. It’s that drive or passion to fight for their personal cause that makes the killer that much scarier. Some other great movies that show purpose are You’re Next, Raw, Scream, and Carrie. Honestly, I could go on forever, but I have to stop somewhere!

There are many movies that lack a reason and because of that they become a disappointment. This isn’t to say that these movies were unsuccessful. But it’s like buying a really pretty balloon but refusing to fill it up with air. While it’s a nice balloon, it would be better with the air in it.

One movie I always complain about is The Strangers. This was a very popular movie, and one that I was very excited to see. However, it lacked a meaning, which just made me hate it in the end. I spent the whole movie freaking out and wondering why these people were being attacked like this, but in the end we are told, “Because you were home.” What a complete let down. Considering what these two people had to suffer, we should be given a better reason than that. That sad part is, ten years later The Strangers: Prey at Night was released and I refuse to watch it due to the horrible reasoning in the first one.

This same thing happened with a Netflix Original movie called The Open House. The story seemed amazing, but it was almost the same thing. The killer had no reason. We need to understand why these people are being tortured. Without that reason, a movie is ruined.

It’s important to understand that the reasoning doesn’t have to be major or talked about in a bunch of detail and it doesn’t even have to make a bunch of sense. However, it is important for the viewers to understand that there is something driving the characters, both protagonist and antagonist. We need to feel a sense of urgency from both parties or we will lose interest.

The Strangers could have been fixed just by giving the viewers a little insight into the killer’s background. For instance, they could have showed one of the killers being pushed around by the other two. This could have taken only a few seconds and it could be telling us that the one is only there because they are trying to fit in with the others or maybe they are family and they are just following orders. We don’t need a lot of details, but we do need something.

All I’m asking for is enough care to be put into the antagonist, so that we can understand why they kill. We need to feel their anger or pain or joy. That’s where the True Fear hides. That reasoning is what can make or break a movie, but without it, it’s instantly broken. A good horror movie will give us a reason, a great horror movie will give a reason without boring us with too many details.