FrightFest Interview: Shawn Roberts Serves Up a Heap of Gore and Laughs in ‘Here for Blood’

The horror star talks about his career, influences, and favorite moments up to the present.

by J.R. Waugh
Shawn Roberts Here for Blood
Image: Last The Night Films Inc.

Here for Blood is a Canadian independent horror film that’s so much more than scares and gore. It promises to serve up a splatterfest along with laughs in a clear homage to Evil Dead while remaining distinctive and original. Fortunately for me, this film is screening at the Glasgow Film Festival’s FrightFest 2023 event. Even more fortunate, I was granted the privilege and pleasure of interviewing the star of Here for Blood, Shawn Roberts.

What is Here for Blood?

Here for Blood is an action horror comedy film, heavy on the gore and entertainment factor rather than relying on cheap modern jump scares. Its lead role is that of Tom O’Bannon. The actor portraying the role, veteran Canadian talent Shawn Roberts, has a much bigger resume than simply his part in Here for Blood.

Shawn Roberts on Meeting Fans, and Interactions with Co-Stars

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  • Shawn-Roberts-Edge-of-Darkness
  • Shawn-Roberts-Degrassi
  • Shawn-Roberts-Heartland

I opened our discussion with an anecdote where the theater I was working in had a Resident Evil promo car conspicuously parked outside, remarking on how cool it is to see the franchise become so popular.

Attack of the Fanboy: The movies, along with the games and other media for Resident Evil, are now part of the popular horror zeitgeist. How do you feel about being part of such a huge franchise for horror fans, myself included?

Shawn Roberts: I mean, it’s an honor, but to be honest, because I have such a small part in it, it’s not something I deal with every day. A few years ago, when I walked into a McDonald’s to get breakfast, I was working at my buddy’s tire shop; I’m all grubby and everything. The kid behind the counter, the cashier, just stood for a moment and stared at me. I wondered, “Do I have something on my face? What is this?” and he goes “You’re Albert Wesker!” It was really validating, but it’s really nice to see how excited the fans get about it. It’s not about me personally, but the franchise, the brand.

You’ve got quite a few credits under your belt at this point, and you’ve got plenty of exciting opportunities ahead of you, especially with continuous international attention, franchise credit, and positive critical reception for recent work. When you were working on Resident Evil, or George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead franchise, or any number of projects, did you have any true fanboy moments where you’re just like, “Oh my God, I get to work with this guy?”

One moment I could recall breaking the moment was in Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson, we’d been filming action scenes all day. We’re down in the basement, in the scene where we’re talking, and there’s one single light, hanging on the wire between us, very dramatic. There’s a lot of lines, back and forth, and halfway through it, I stop and realize I’m looking into Mel Gibson’s baby blue eyes, he’s so close: “Oh my God, it’s Mel Gibson!

Here for Blood is Coming to Scotland at GFF FrightFest 2023

Image: Last The Night Films Inc.

In Here for Blood, instead of the more serious roles, he’s occasionally taken, Shawn Roberts gets to churn out the laughs and gore in equal measure. The actor has done his fair share of comedies over the years, including Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

This sort of comedy is more in line with that of the Evil Dead franchise, with a blend of action and absurdity. In Here for Blood, instead of the more serious roles occasionally taken, Shawn Roberts gets to churn out the laughs and gore in equal measure.

Shifting from Resident Evil and other horror films into Here for Blood, this one is more of an action-horror-comedy. What I was thinking about all the while, was the comparison to the Evil Dead franchise. I’m thinking to myself, “Hey, what about another comedy icon to draw upon in terms of the action realm, Bruce Campbell?

Absolutely, that was probably one of the most influential movies growing up, watching Army of Darkness. I just couldn’t grasp it: “What is this movie, what is going on here?” It was fun! [Regarding Here for Blood] That was the thing, the world’s a dark place, everything’s terrible, can we have some fun? That was nice to see, it was really nice to make a silly movie.

One of the other things is the cast that we got, and how dedicated they were. We were in the middle of a global pandemic, so to have actors with jobs was a blessing. The dedication and commitment really made a special moment, and that’s where the production value shines through, in how committed everybody was to it. Hopefully, that translates.

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With how self-aware this movie is, it feels like a modern horror flick but with one eye still glued to the classics.

There’s no real reason why I should have been picked, other than I happen to be here. Luckily there are some guys in Hamilton who run The Butcher FX Studio, all the special effects. These are my guys, and we’ve worked together for the past 15 years quite a few times. They heard about this wrestler movie and I guess there are not too many people that work out as much as I do, so I got the call and wanted to read the script.

You’re a well-built actor in a movie about a pro wrestler fighting off supernatural intruders. You’d call this role one you took particular ownership over, one tailored to the type of presence you had on screen, it sounds like.

Yeah, which was nice. They always say, a little bit of yourself in every role. For the longest time, I sort of wanted to just have the character be that, and have my own life be separate, but to bring in a couple of elements here and there of “shit, I would say that!” To get back into comedy is something I’ve been trying to do in the last couple of years because I want to work and I want to laugh. Why not, right?

It helps inspire joy in your daily life, whether you take it home with you, or just make sure the people watching it get to enjoy themselves beyond just scratching an itch.

We wrapped our talk shortly after. There’s a lot of excitement and passion that came out of our discussion during the interview. GFF will hold their FrightFest screening of Here for Blood on March 11, 2023.

- This article was updated on March 7th, 2023