Matt Mercurio stars in Halloween slasher flick ‘Hell Fest’

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His parents both come from Zamboanga, but they met in Florida.

His parents both come from Zambales, but they met in Florida.

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.

College student Natalie (Amy Forsyth) is visiting her childhood best friend Brooke (Reign Edwards) and her roommate Taylor (Bex Taylor-Klaus). If it was any other time of the year these three and their boyfriends might be heading to a concert or a bar, but it is Halloween which means that like everyone else they will be bound for Hell Fest — a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. Every year thousands follow Hell Fest to experience fear at the ghoulish carnival of nightmares.

But for one visitor, Hell Fest is not the attraction — it is a hunting ground. An opportunity to slay in plain view of a gawking audience, too caught up in the terrifyingly fun atmosphere to recognize the horrific reality playing out before their eyes. As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowds continues to rise, he turns his masked face to Natalie, Brooke, Taylor and their boyfriends who fight to survive the night.

Christian James, Roby Attal, Tony Todd, and Filipino American actor Matt Mercurio also star in the film.

“I’m a big horror film buff,” said Matt in an online video interview. “When I read the script initially I stopped, said woow woow, it’s just different, gotta do this.”

Matt is a theatrically trained stage and film actor. He plays Asher in “Hell Fest,” a character he described intriguingly as “the first one to make the mistakes.”

His TV credits include recurring roles on shows such as “Black Lightning” (CW), “The Resident” (FOX), “Life Sentence” (CW),”Sleepy Hollow” (FOX) and the Sony Playstation Network show “Powers.” His regional theatre credits include performances in the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Alliance Theatre, as well as the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The cast of ‘Hell Fest.'  Matt (at far left) is a horror film buff.

The cast of ‘Hell Fest.’ Matt (at far left) is a horror film buff.

A first-generation American, Matt’s parents both immigrated to America from the Philippines and though they were both native to the same province (Zambales) destiny aligned their paths to meet and fall in love in Florida, where they both were beginning their careers in the U.S. military. Matt is the youngest child and spent most of his formative years in Jacksonville, (Duval County) Florida.

Coming from an immigrant family, meant a strong emphasis was placed on Matt’s education and an unrelenting insistence of a more traditional career path. Having spent a portion of his childhood aspiring to be a professional wrestler, and the rest of it dreaming to be an actor, Matt always possessed an inherent theatricality and the playful spirit required to chase his inevitable artistic ambitions. In middle school, his class-clown antics and knack for mischief made sure Matt was a consistent visitor of the school’s administrative offices where faculty surmised his energies best be put to use in drama classes. From there he began excelling in acting and theatre, which became the passions that would consume his pursuits and paint his dreams.

Matt studied acting at Florida State College’s Theatre Performance program on a full-time performance talent scholarship and at the BFA Acting program at the University of Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance, where Matt was a proud member of the hip-hop theatre troupe, Signs of Life, as a performer, writer, director, and producer.

“Hell Fest” is directed by Gregory Plotkin. Seth M. Sherwood and Blair Butler wrote the screenplay from a story by William Penick and Chris Sey. Gale Anne Hurd and Tucker Tooley produced the film which CBS Films and Lionsgate will release on September 28.

© The FilAm 2018

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