THOMAS JANE is a genre staple with few equals. His turn as Frank Castle in THE PUNISHER, combined with his performances in favourites such as THE MIST and THE EXPANSE, have made him an icon among fans of cult entertainment. Now, Jane stars in SLAYERS, a new horror-comedy pitting a group of social media influencers against a cabal of vampires. We recently caught up with Jane to talk about the film, his love of genre movies, and what kinds of offbeat vampire stories he’d like to see someday…
STARBURST: We loved the movie, but for those readers who’ve yet to see it, what can you tell us about Slayers?
Thomas Jane: It’s kind of an origin story of a vampire slayer, Elliot Jones, played by me. He starts out as an investigative reporter, a clean-cut guy who loves his job and just wants to get to the bottom of the truth. And then tragedy happens – he loses his daughter and because of that starts his own crime show on television. This is a homage to those shows back in the eighties and nineties where they do true crime investigative journalism. But really it’s a front to investigate the death of his daughter. The deeper he digs, the stranger stuff gets until he finally puts the pieces together: a cabal of vampires has been running the world ever since time began. It drives him a little nuts.
So when we meet Elliot, he’s got a big beard. He lives in his RV and he’s just relentlessly tracking down these vampires. And he gets tangled up with this stream team, this group of influencers who are young and obsessed with social media, the Internet, and all that garbage, which is diametrically opposed to who Elliot Jones is and what he’s about.
The movie certainly does a really good job of riding that fine line. Kind of piggybacking off your last answer, Slayers presents vampire hunts from the perspectives of these self-absorbed social media influencers – it’s a fascinating angle because the key to telling original vampire stories lies not in the plot, but in the perspectives through which you frame the concept. We haven’t really seen a vampire movie through the eyes of social media influencers before – it’s hilarious, because we can relate to that too. Spinning out of that, what other funny or unexpected perspectives do you think would lend themselves well to a vampire movie?
Well, that’s a good question. A lot of vampire mythology is based on how deep into history these vampires go and I think if you took a really good movie about – there hasn’t been a whole lot of these, Ron Perlman did one that was really interesting – but the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals versus the Homo sapiens back in the day. Homo sapiens basically wiped out the Neanderthal and became the only sort of sentient intelligent being on the planet. There’s only one, but people still carry around Neanderthal blood. We can find Neanderthal genes in the DNA of a lot of people, actually. And I think that if you added another group – vampires – that might be really fun to see the interplay between Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and vampires!
Wow. There’s so much story potential there! Let’s dig into the appeal of the vampire subgenre – what do you think makes it so popular?Well, you’ve got to have a connection with the unconscious. There’s a latent power that human beings have, and that is our intellect and our ability to deceive. The ability to deceive might be one of the defining characteristics of what it is to be human. And the shadow side, the dark side of human nature, this is what vampires represent, that’s what they explore and it’s sort of the unending power of that dark side and our confrontation with it. And that’s why it’ll continue to endure – our face-to-face confrontation with the darkest side of humanity.
SLAYERS is out now to rent or buy digitally.