Interviews: Lito Velasco Talks Horror, All Through the House, Composing Horror Documentaries, And Cosplay

TMS: So you previously mentioned to me your extensive involvement in music since the age of 4, attending some of the top arts institutions in the U.S., including the Children's Theatre Company, The Interlochen Arts Academy and Center for the Arts, The Juilliard School, and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. While attending those institutions, what were your aspirations or goals once you were ready to begin working? Did you want to be an actor or composer, both?

LV: First, thank you for this opportunity. You’re very kind and I’m flattered and humbled. Honestly, I don’t remember specifically what my career aspirations were at different stages in my education. But I do remember certain times in my life when I would pronounce certain intentions. When I was very young, my parents and I were watching a PBS program about The Juilliard School, and I turned to my parents and declared, “I’m going to go to school there.” At the time, I was already studying music, so perhaps that proclamation such a stretch for them to believe. And being as supportive as they are/were, they might’ve thought, “Maybe this precocious little guy has something there.” Who knows? You’d have to ask them. I do know I discovered the magic of John Williams after being captivated by the original Star Wars at age 3: the birth of my lifelong love affair with film, acting, and film scores. So, those things have pretty much always been on my radar, but so have many things, like makeup effects, visual arts, clowning, etc., all of which have, at some point or another, been a focus for me.

That’s the way it’s been throughout my life. I don’t set “Five Year Plans”, and perhaps that’s to my detriment. Instead, I think about what I’d like to do in my life at some point: a goal, a project, or an accomplishment. Then I just sort of walk the path that might help me towards achieving those things down the line: performing with an orchestra, acting, composing film scores, etc. That’s been my approach to life and, for whatever reason, it’s served me fairly well thus far. Some probably think that’s a “meandering” lifestyle or too haphazard of a way to live. And I’d agree that it’s got its drawbacks but…I have to do what I feel is right; I have to follow my heart. I see a vision of doing something and I hold onto it until it happens. Even if it takes years to get there or longer than some think it should; I don’t let go. I’m very persistent, stubborn, and starry-eyed when it comes to my dreams and goals. Some would say that’s foolish. To them I’d say, “I got into Juilliard that way. So, explain to me exactly why it’s foolish.”

TMS: You are credited with three short films from 2007 and 2009, were there any other filmmaking or industry jobs that you did before those?

LV: There are at least a dozen other projects that aren’t listed on IMDB for various reasons: the film wasn’t finished, student project, funding dried up, it’s not recognized as an “official” title, etc. Some of them did, indeed, take place before 2007. So the credits aren’t really a “complete” representation of my experience in this town.

TMS: What are some of your favorite horror films? Judging from some of your YouTube videos and FB posts it looks like you grew up as a huge fan of the genre?

LV: I’ve been a fan since my Father introduced horror films to me as a kid. Living in the Chicagoland area, every Saturday we’d tune into WFLD, Channel 32, to catch vintage horror flicks hosted by a vaudeville-style comedian: The Son of Svengoolie, now known as Svengoolie. [Side note: it’s cool to have grown up with Sven and watch him transition from a “local” entertainer to a nationwide personality. He’s always deserved that sort of fan base because he’s so damned good at what he does. He’s knowledgeable, passionate, and hysterically funny. In fact, he’s inspired a lot of the comedy bits in our fundraising videos, but I’ll get to that later.]

Larger-than-life Universal legends like the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster got me hooked on horror. My parents often took us to the library, which had these great books about the Universal monsters. I checked them out multiple times and read them repeatedly. A few years later, a babysitter made the “mistake” of letting my sister and me watch John Carpenter’s Halloween at a terrifically-inappropriate age. That rocked my world; many nights over the next few years were spent in dread of Michael Myers (“The Shape”). I imagined him everywhere. When the lights turned out. Walking up the stairs just outside my bedroom. When I dreamt. Like Loomis himself, Myers became an obsession for me. That character and film terrified my sister and me and yet…almost every time we rented films, we picked that movie. I had a strange relationship with that film that I grappled with for a while until I finally realized: I had fallen in love with the feeling of being scared. That cemented my fate as a horror film aficionado for life.

Carpenter’s Halloween is my favorite film of all time. Other horror favorites: Phantasm, A Nightmare on Elm Street, An American Werewolf in London, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Scream, Prince of Darkness, Hellraiser, Jaws, Psycho, The Bride of Frankenstein, Saw, The Shining, Carpenter’s The Thing, and, the upcoming All Through the House, of course!

TMS: Your filmography is filled with many credits within the horror genre and it seems from some research I did that you’re a big fan. Were the horror related jobs personal choices as a fan or due to the opportunities that were presented to you?

LV: Many of the jobs are the result of my fandom, friendship, and experience. Dan Farrands generously asked me come aboard Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy because he knew I was a fan- we met at a horror con. He and Thommy Hutson invited me to work on Scream: The Inside Story and More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead because of our shared experience on Elm Street. Gary Smart, one of the writers on More Brains, asked me to score Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser because he knows I’m a composer who is passionate about film scoring and the works of Christopher Young. We collaborated again on the forthcoming You’re So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night, another 80’s film and score that I adore. I was offered my role in All Through the House in large part because of my friendship with writer/director, Todd Nunes. He produced the first L.A. student film I acted in and is, like me, a big horror fan. He usually calls whenever he has another project, especially a horror-related one. My scoring experience and work on Never Sleep Again were catalysts for the offers to Elm Street projects such as The Confession of Fred Krueger and Don’t Fall Asleep. I also recently finished a top-secret score I was assigned because of my deep love for the subject.

Basically, all of these experiences came about because I try to follow my heart and pursue the things I’m passionate and knowledgeable about. I let the people I encounter know about my experience and expertise. Then, sometimes…things happen. I realize that could come off as conceited. Please believe me: that’s the last thing I want. That’s obviously not the intent. I’m just being honest about how I got to where I am…which is, essentially, “nowhere” in the grand scheme of Hollywood itself. LOL.

Bottom line is: my wife and I made a choice to leave a life of security in the Midwest and trade years spent with our family and friends there so I could follow my dreams. I don’t say this for pity or out of regret. I say it because I want people to know: no matter how much you make think someone “has it made”, is “lucky”, or has it easy…there’s always the reality that you may not be aware of. Not many people have it easy in this town. Believe me. We all have to make some sort of sacrifice. Has our choice led to some incredible experiences? Yes. Has the journey been “easy”? Never. But we made our choice and I walk my path. It’s the journey I’ve chosen to take. I let my experience, passion, and talents guide me along the way. Whatever happens from there is, in some ways, simply meant to be, I believe.

TMS: Are there any newer horror films that you love or would recommend?

LV: Hmmm…a few that stand out in my memory are Babadook, Hush, and It Follows. I really enjoyed Insidious: Chapter Two. The “snake eating itself” plotline was immensely clever and reminiscent of Back to the Future, Part II, which I absolutely adore. But I’ll be honest; I’ve been so busy during these last few years that my horror viewing has fallen behind. I have a lot of catching up to do. So, I wouldn’t consider me the go-to-guy for new-horror-movie recommendations. I’ll leave that sort of thing to my buddy, Matt Russell, who has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of films both new and old.

TMS: What’s up with All Through the House? Where can people see it? And what do you want them to know about the movie?

LV: After a successful, yearlong tour of the festivals, it’ll be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD on October 4th. Everyone who participated in the making of the movie is very proud of our “little film that could”. The response from audiences and critics are a result of the love, sweat, and effort put into it by everyone involved: from the talented actors and composer to the tireless producing team and dedicated crew. But really this film is what it is because of the vision, commitment, and talent of Todd Nunes. He came to this film with a vision to make something he’s longed to see since he was a child. Really, mostly because of him we have something we’re all very proud of.

I want audiences to know that this is a horror film that has a surprising amount of heart and brains. It also has a great sense of what it is, from start to finish. It’s a movie that will make you laugh, cringe, scream, and maybe even hide your eyes. To me, that’s a recipe for a memorable horror movie. All Through the House isn’t like a lot of holiday slasher films in that it’s not exactly “by the numbers”. Sure, there tropes that are both familiar and expected from a “slasher film”: masked killer, gorgeous girls [BOOBS!], and gore aplenty. But there’s also an interesting story at work. I think it’s going to surprise and delight a lot of people who might go into it expecting “just another holiday slasher”.

TMS: How did you end up being cast as the Santa slasher in All Through the House?

LV: Basically because of a friendship and work relationship with Todd. Over the years, Todd’s helped produce “Haunted House” attractions in the L.A. area and when it came time to cast parts in those productions, he’d ask me to inhabit one of the villainous roles. He knew of my experience appearing as The Shape for official Trancas and sCare L.A. Foundation events and my enjoyment portraying those sorts of roles (I’m not afraid of getting in touch with the darker side of myself). Add all that up and when the time came for him to select an actor to depict his Santa, he immediately thought of me. It’s both delightful and disturbing to know Todd said, “You know who’ll be a great slasher? Lito!” But, to paraphrase one of my favorite films: this is the business I’ve chosen.

TMS: Can you talk a little about your background in Greek theater and the pre-production conversations that you had with director Todd Nunes about the character? Did you spend a lot of time before production began working on how you would physically portray the character?

LV: In my youth, another Chicagoland icon was Bozo the Clown. I LOVED that show and actually wanted to be a clown “when I grew up”. So one of the disciplines I studied in acting was clowning. The instructors taught the art of Greek Mask acting and the importance of being able to convey character through solely physicality. We were required to: stay absolutely silent, wear masks with two very small holes for our pupils, physically “become” one of the archetypal characters, and convey all intent, emotion, and motivation through physicality only. I took a lot out of those lessons… I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve had some success portraying Michael Myers over the years. Not only did I study the work of Nick Castle and Dick Warlock (I emulate their walks and physicality to the point of precision that one time Rick Rosenthal, director of Halloween II, thought I actually was Dick Warlock under my mask), but, as incongruent as it sounds, I was able to channel those lessons learned from clowning into my take on The Shape.

I bring that approach to physicality to every role, asking, “If I had to portray this role without speaking and still tell my story, could I do it?” Since Todd knew my background and methodology, he asked me to consider taking the role. I read the script and then we discussed the physicality. What do you envision? How do you see this character moving? We then just took it from there. Really, what made the experience so very rewarding is the trust Todd imbued within me. He felt he hired the “right” guy for the role and he let me really run with it, bringing what I could to the character. And I’m happy to report that I don’t think there was ever one time where Todd said, “No, I don’t like that choice.” That made me feel very good about what I was delivering.

TMS: What was it like having to wear the Santa suit and perform in it?

LV: I’ve always had a great respect for actors like Castle, Warlock, Chris (Halloween: H20) Durand, Dane (Scream) Farwell, and Jason Voorhees performers like Richard Brooker, Ted White, C.J. Graham, and Kane Hodder. But I’ll tell you, after wearing that suit and mask for 12+ hours a day, performing my own stunts and fights, and being asked to emote that entire time, that respect level skyrocketed. We shot this film entirely in California, in places like L.A. and Mammoth Lake. It was sunny. It was hot. There were powerful lights. We were sometimes in cramped spaces. Once you put on that mask and suit, you instantly start sweating. Luckily, my history portraying Myers and Ghostface helped me deal with the heat better than some other performers might. But after a couple takes of really physical scenes, you’re spent. Granted, this is absolutely a First-World Problem. And, I realize, to under that “duress” on a film set is better than to be under those conditions in a steel mill or at war. But, hey…give Santa a break, okay?

TMS: Low budget film productions have been historically known for being difficult and demanding. How was this production on the cast and crew? Any challenges or funny stories?

LV: The most difficult aspect of the production for me was the time factor. We shot as quickly as possible, careful to never sacrifice quality for time. Todd was able to do so because of the trust he instilled, his excellent choices in cast and crew, and our dedication to the process. But…we were shooting around 6 or more pages a night. That’s a LOT of filmmaking. And there were times when lack of sleep, dehydration, or exhaustion made it tough for me. But, again…how much can I really complain? I was acting in a film, and a horror film, at that. First World Problems, right? All I asked was to be allowed to sleep in a little later the day after a particularly rough night.

The cast and crew got along really well. We had some true “rock stars” on that production: Ashley, Kelsey, Ryan, Jessica, Natalie, and Jason just to name a few. I knew was always willing to go the extra mile for Todd because of our history and my faith in him and his vision. But it was heartwarming to see that confidence in everyone involved. And when you can feel that on a show it makes you want to give it your all.

As for funny: Natalie Montera was terrified of me when masked. And that made me laugh because granted, it’s creepy, but she knew I was a normal guy with no psychotic tendencies. And Ashley Mary Nunes (the film’s talented star and Todd’s sister) and I go back a bit, so she had no qualms or worries. But poor Natalie…every time I donned that mask and got close…she’d whimper. It certainly wasn’t my intent to torment Natalie, but it did make me chuckle inwardly when she’d whimper quietly before our takes. Another story: one of the female actresses, my friend Kelsey Carlstedt, had to do an absurd dance scene that, unfortunately, got left on the cutting-room floor. It was one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever seen; she was making out with inflatable Christmas elves, making them fondle her breasts, etc. And while she’s trying to maintain her “Fuck me” face, the rest of us are watching, laughing our asses off. Poor Kelsey. That she was able to keep a straight face is a testament to her great acting.

TMS: In my review of the film I said that “the actor Lito Velasco that portrays the Santa killer is excellent, creating a unique and nuanced character through just the use of his physicality. It is the type of character that makes a horror picture memorable.” During the production did you ever feel like you were creating something special, a character that could possibly live on and be remembered

LV: I can’t and won’t say anything specific because I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen the film. But, believe it or not, sometimes a lot more goes into embodying a “simple” slasher than some people may think. I know, I know: Carpenter told Castle, “Nick, just walk.” But part of me believes Carpenter chose Nick not just because of friendship, but also ‘cause of the way Castle moved. He had a fluidity and grace. So, in that vein, I didn’t want to overthink what I was doing. But at the same time, Todd and I wanted me to bring something unique this role

I never thought about creating something special. I focused on what was required of me in each moment. Sure, I could feel the emotions I was conveying through my body and eyes. I could see the reaction of Todd and our wonderful DP, Ryan. I’d get feedback from other actors. And all those things made me feel like Todd made the right choice. Like I was making interesting, truthful choices that did justice to the story. I could feel myself bringing a real character to life. I wanted my movements, eyes, and walk to convey the story of this character as well as beats within scenes. At the same time, I tried not to think about it too much. It’s a tricky balance. All I could do is my prep work and exist in the moment. I hope I pulled it off. Reviews like yours make me think maybe I did.

TMS: I read that you were going to be involved in Todd Nunes next film, any news that you can provide on that?

LV: There’s a write up on the piece on Fangoria that I highly suggest reading; it gives some great scoops from the man himself, Todd. Death Ward 13, is a remake of one of his favorite old films, Don’t Look In The Basement. I’ve read the script and it is wonderfully for of dementia, depravity, and, of course, DD’s. I’d expect nothing less from a Todd Nunes film. And my character is quite a bit different from that of House. It’s going to be another fun role but…a different kind of fun. And that’s about all I can say for fear of Todd or Stephen [Readmond] coming after me!

TMS: How did you end up becoming involved in the horror documentaries, starting with Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy  and then moving onto Scream: The Inside Story? And then transitioning from miscellaneous crew to composer?

On the set of Scream: The Inside Story with Wes Craven and crew

LV: My involvement on the horror docs stemmed from my fandom. The transition to composer came during More Brains. I asked my buddy, producer Thommy Hutson, if I could contribute some music to the venture. I’d served as Music Supervisor on the previous doc we collaborated on, Scream: The Inside Story, and during, became good friends with the composer on that show, the talented Sean Schafer Hennessy. Thommy thought me exploring that venue was a great idea and Sean proposed that we co-compose the main title theme. And I just took off from there. I was lucky to be able to contribute some music to other films such as the award-winning horror film, Found, directed by my college friend, Scott Schirmer, as well the titles I mentioned before.

It started because I studied composition at Interlochen, Juilliard, and Indiana University and have a lifelong affection for and deep knowledge of film scoring. My friends knew this. They believed in me. They took a chance on me. Thommy was kind enough to give me a nudge and nurture that talent and love. From there, it was simply a matter of trusting my education, knowledge, and training.

TMS: You’ve worked on multiple horror documentaries; can you provide some details on how you’ve had the opportunity to be involved in so many interesting horror projects?

LV: Being at the right place at the right time, meeting the right person, bringing passion, drive, knowledge, and (hopefully) talent to the project. And, again, that might sound arrogant, but it’s not my intent. It’s just how it worked and the reality of the situation.

Take, for instance, the book written by Thommy Hutson, “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy – The Making of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street”. We’d worked together four times before we began working on that book. I was hired as the Research Supervisor before being offered the job of Editor. Thommy enlisted me because he needed a dependable team that was passionate about the material, had a deep love for Wes and the character of Krueger as well as the series, and that he could count on to help him create his passion project. I was honored to be asked help create such a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite directors and films. Like I said…follow your heart. And hopefully, the rest will just “take care of itself” to some extent.

TMS: When you were initially working on Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, did you know that it was primarily going to be released in the UK? How has that impacted its exposure in the U.S.?

LV: Great question. I wasn’t part of the crowd-funding or publicity team for Leviathan. Aside from mentioning it repeatedly on my own social media accounts, I didn’t really know how wide their reach was or where their efforts were directed. I knew the team was based in the U.K. and that they got some great coverage from genre websites. But because of my involvement in previous crowd-funding efforts, I was keenly aware of that fact that even the most widely publicized and advertised crowd-funding project doesn’t always reach its intended audience.

I’m not trying to be disrespectful, obviously, but take, for instance, Thommy’s Elm Street book. He hears wonderful things about the original, hardcover version whenever a fan encounters it for the first time. But, sadly, he often hears, “Man, I wish I’d known about this during the campaign!” Or take the highly anticipated Friday the 13th game: I’m still encountering like-minded horror fans who haven’t heard of the thing. In each case, all I can think is, “With all the forums and social media outlets available to us…how is that possible?”

Sadly, there are still many people who are unaware of Leviathan, which is a shame because it’s an outstanding project put together by people who adored what they were doing because they’re fans. They assembled a strong team and went to great lengths to conduct interviews with every possible person they could find who was involved with the creation of the film in order to make a tribute that was memorable, loving, and wonderful. The fact that the target audience- other diehard fans -aren’t hearing about these types of projects makes me sad. I know a great deal of stateside Hellraiser fans who haven’t even heard of the film. I just hope that the abridged Blu-ray cut of the doc will find life at a place like Scream Factory so it can be released in a boxed set or Special Limited Edition version of the seminal first film. It deserves that sort of audience.

TMS: How much freedom do you have when you’re creating the score? How does the process work? What musical influences impact the scores that you create?

LV: That answer is probably the same for most composers: the amount of freedom is dependent on the project. Sometimes a director has a “temp score” that they want used as inspiration. Other times a meeting takes place with the composer and we concoct an approach collaboratively. Other times the director says, “I hired you because I trust you; go knock it out of the park” and aside from a spotting session [the director and composer determine where music is “needed”] they let you do your thing. After spotting, you begin scoring to picture. I’ve also worked on projects where I’ve had to score “blindly”: with no footage. Usually In those cases you’re asked to evoke specific moods with each track. I’ll be honest; it’s tough and definitely not my favorite scenario.

Then I deliver tracks and wait for feedback. I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to revise often, which I don’t say to brag. My theory is that’s because the projects have been good fits because of my experience, sound, passion, etc. Like Leviathan: Gary came to me because he knew I was an avid fan of Christopher Young and his work on the first two Hellraiser films and that I was familiar with those scores and their sound in every conceivable way.

I think all composers are influenced to some degree by musicians, compositions, and composers that they love. In some of my scores, the influences are subtle whereas in others, the influences are obvious. Take my scores for Leviathan and The Confession of Fred Krueger: for clear reasons, those scores are heavily influenced by Christopher Young and Charles Bernstein, respectively [let the record show: I spoke with each of them before I began working to ensure this approach was okay with them]. Every score I write has a nod to the master, John Williams. If you listen carefully, in most of my scores you’ll hear nods to various composers whom I consider to be “the greats”. But the most noticeable influence on my work is my “previous life” as a classical pianist and percussionist; I use them heavily in my scores simply because those are the instruments I am most comfortable and familiar with. Plus I really love the sound of a track with a piano lead. So…there’s that too.

TMS: Can you provide us with some details on the documentaries that are currently in post-production? Any scheduled release dates? Will they be available in the U.S.?

LV: As far as I know, You’re So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night is on track for a Halloween, 2016 release. Aside from that, I don’t really know much about the post-production process’ current stage. I’m pretty sure availability will be along the lines of the Leviathan doc. But, again, you’d have to ask those on the production team for the full scoop. I wish I could tell you more but I just don’t know. For more details, check out their Facebook page.

TMS: You’ve done some appearances at various horror conventions; do you do many?

LV: I’ve only appeared as an “Official” Guest once, at Days of the Dead, Indianapolis, 2011. I was so very grateful for the invite, especially because I’m not a known quantity. Despite the length of time I’ve been working, I’m still earning my stripes and trying to make a name for myself. And that’s perfectly fine. But the goal in that aspiration isn’t to do more con appearances. It’s so I can simply say that I’m working full time and getting paid to do the things that I love: acting, composing, and filmmaking. That’s the dream.

TMS: You are also involved in cosplay, how did you first get started doing it?

LV: I didn’t attend many cons until 2010. I went to occasional Fango or Trek shows and a couple of Star Wars Celebrations, but when I saw people in costume at those shows I didn’t know it was…”cosplay”. I’m not sure what I thought it was but I didn’t realize it was this whole…”thing” with subcultures, purists, and devotees. But at Comic-Con 2010…everywhere I looked were the most amazing cosplayers I’d ever seen; all my favorite heroes and villains come to life. When I returned home I told my wife about cosplay and asked, “Wanna give it a try?” To my delight, she said yes.

At this juncture, I should explain that I’m a very lucky man: I’m married to an amazing woman. She’s funny, smart, independent, witty, sexy, generous, gorgeous, caring, adventurous, and downright hilarious. When we first started dating and I found out her favorite holiday was Halloween, I was awestruck. Then I learned she was a natural comedienne. So one day I surprised her at the front door of my apartment with a pie in the face and she just laughed and covered me with kisses. That was the day I knew she was the one. I know that sounds ridiculous but…humor means a great deal to me. We have to be able to laugh at life, the world, and ourselves, otherwise we’re lost.

Since we started dating in 1999, we’d appeared as some incarnation of Joker and Harley at various Halloween parties over the years. So we easily agreed: our first cosplay should be Joker and Harley Quinn. We created our own take on Harley Quinn: one we felt could fit into the world of Christopher Nolan. And thus was born: Mad Lovers Cosplay. We started in 2010 and we’ve been going strong ever since.

TMS: What is your favorite part of cosplaying? What is the most challenging aspect?

LV: Well, we love it because it’s one way of staying in touch with your inner child, which we both very much are. We love it because it allows us to “become” someone else for a short period of time, be it a few hours or a day. As an actor, naturally, that plays to my strengths and strongly appeals to me. And my wife, although she won’t admit it, is a born actress and performer, so she easily slips into the role of Harley and is an absolute pro at inhabiting the character. We also enjoy cosplay because it’s helped us greatly in our fundraising efforts.

We took some of what I learned from clowning, applied it to the idea of the ALS Bucket Challenge, and created our own fundraiser called the “Be My Puddin’ Challenge”. Joker and Harley faced off against each other. Dollars equaled votes. Whoever got the most votes lost and got a 4-gallon bucket of vanilla pudding poured on their head. The campaign proved quite popular and successful. In fact, we had to keep adding Stretch Goals: pies and cakes in the face and buckets of Nickelodeon-style green slime. See more at YouTubeFacebook, or YouCaring.

The first fundraiser was so successful that we held two more. The last time, ten cosplayers participated, each ready and willing to endure pies, slime, pudding, cakes, all manner of slapstick humiliation for the common good of raising money for my family members in need. See more of the third chapter at GoFundMe.

So, those are my favorite things about cosplay. The most challenging aspect is easily putting the costumes together…because I’m a perfectionist and I want our costumes to be as close to screen or character accurate as possible. That’s usually somewhat costly and challenging. But that’s also part of the fun; you take pride in what you’re creating and you want to look good for yourself, your partner, and your audience.

TMS: What is the best part of cosplaying for you (choosing materials, putting it together, wearing it at a con or for a photoshoot, and so on)?

LV: Well, aside from being able to use it for fundraising, it’s a lot of fun to see the smiles on the faces of fans, kids, and other cosplayers when you’re dressed as one of their favorite characters. Photoshoots are also a blast but we really don’t engage in a whole lot of those because we’re still “working our way up” the cosplay “ladder”. On a selfish note, getting to see my gorgeous wife dress up as any one of the various comic-book or film characters that I’ve been enchanted by my entire life is a pretty great “plus” too. Be it Willie Scott, Harley Quinn, Ginny Fields, etc., it’s always awesome to see her don the gear and get in character. Call us immature, tell us to grow up, whatever. We love it. And I know she really loves her Indy and Han Solo just as much as I adore my Marion and Princess Leia. It’s harmless fun and something we really enjoy.

TMS: How many conventions do you typically appear at in cosplay during the year?

LV:  Normally around four to five. WonderCon, Comic-Con, Monsterpalooza, Son of Monsterpalooza, and NerdCon are our “regular” shows. But we’re looking to branch out more to shows like Long Beach Comic Con, NerdBot Con, ScareLA, etc.

TMS: I know you have a couple of characters that you stick with, but are there any dream characters that you would like to cosplay?

LV: Our “go-to” characters are: Joker & Harley, Indiana Jones & Marion Ravenwood or Willie Scott, Han Solo & Princess Leia, Michael Myers & Laurie Strode, Ghostface & Casey Becker, and Sackhead Jason Voorhees & Ginny Fields. We’re working on a few couples cosplays for next year that I am personally thrilled about. Jennifer’s agreed to do Lara Croft [I’ll either be Nathan Drake or Indy] as well as Black Cat to my Spider-Man.

One of my dream cosplays [pun intended] is actually one Jennifer and I have done before for one of Todd’s Haunted House attractions: Fred Krueger and Kristen Parker. The thing is, at the time I was borrowing my friend’s nice and quite expensive silicone Krueger mask. I have the right hat, glove, sweater and pants. But that damn silicone mask costs about the same amount as a really great Spider-Man cosplay. And, to be honest, I’d rather do Spidey and Cat since we’ve never done it before and…I wanna get into that suit before I get old and flabby. LOL. But…a man can dream, right?

In closing, let me once again thank you for this opportunity. I hope I’ve made some people laugh and think as well as gained a few more interested followers. At the very least, I hope people will check out my work and the upcoming All Through the House as well as follow the advice that I absolutely cannot state enough times…

Follow your heart; the rest will take care of itself. But first, “Follow” me on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram, and Soundcloud.

Peace, everyone.

So say we all! We thank Lito for taking the time to talk to us. All Through the House is released October 4th on VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray.