Turning Forty and Becoming a Horror Icon
After attending his first horror convention, Lou Avilleira knew he wanted to dress up for the next one. He created a character he called Father Evil for his second “con” and was amazed by the positive feedback he got. So much so that he started attending cons regularly dressed as Father Evil and developed his own cult following among horror fans. Then things got serious. When he turned 40 he gave up his lifelong quest to fit in and decided to stop caring what other people thought. That allowed him to embrace – and become – this character, who is getting close to providing enough income that Lou can give up his day job and become “the Father” full time.
Father Evil comes from the creative mind of Lou Avilleira. He first came up with the idea of the Holy Father in 2009 for a Halloween party. He received such positive feedback from his character that he decided to take it a little further. Starting out at Chiller Theatre as one of many costumed horror fans, he soon rose above as one of the best. Father Evil is now well known amongst the horror community with an extensive fan following.
Lou Avilleira was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Born of Cuban immigrants, he was the first generation born in America. Having an early love of horror due to the influence of his mother, he’s always had a love for the dark side.
He is happily married to his wife of 15 years, Sarah, and has a son, Xavier. Lou currently resides in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.
The Birth of Father Evil
Lou’s character, Father Evil, was born in the ‘90s as a drawing that hung in a trendy coffee spot in Rutgers, NJ, called Indigo Jones. Lou saw that the shop hung creations from local artists and decided to submit one of his own. He created a cross between a ghastly, priestly looking figure, the Joker and Reverend Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. The figure had his hands in a prayer position and behind him it said, “In nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti,” “in the name of the father, the son and holy spirit.”
Lou has always been creative. In second grade, he memorized the pattern to draw Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and trained his hand to draw it. Growing up, he loved comic books, especially the X-Men.
Then, around 2006, a friend of his wife’s was going to a horror convention, a “con” in the parlance. His wife knew Lou loved horror so the three of them went. Lou fell in love and vowed to dress up the next time he attended.
Two years later, Lou made good on the promise. He was brainstorming on what to dress up as. He wondered what would scare people if they saw it in a dark alley. He discarded a clown, a vampire, a zombie – they’ve all been done before.
He landed on a possessed priest, because if it can get to a priest, what chance do you have? He thought it would be a one-time thing. He got a $20 priest costume at Party City. He already sported a chop-style beard (though less glorious than it is today!) and he could arch his eyebrows and make an evil face. He got a pair of white-out contacts, hung a huge cross on his chest, and he was ready!
I Think We’ve Got Something Here
The reception from other attendees was fantastic. People were asking to take pictures with him and he was loving it.
As he made his way into one of the rooms, an Italian horror movie director caught sight of him. The director had a line of about 20 people for autographs but stepped away to talk to Lou. He told Lou the costume was so original, simple, but to the point. “Oh my God. I never saw. This is so simple. It’s it’s bad, but good.”
He wondered if it could be that easy.
In 2010, he started going to the cons more regularly, always dressed as Father Evil. In 2012, the year he turned 40, he started to take it seriously. He got serious about his outfit and upgraded from the $20 Halloween costume.
Lou says he felt like a Phoenix coming out of the ashes. He says he found himself. Giving himself permission to embody and own this persona was a “Calgon, take me away” moment for him. Weightless. Zen.
Becoming Father Evil
In fact, Lou says that Father Evil has slowly taken over. The only people who call him Lou are his wife, and a handful of people at work. Most of the people he works with as an IBEW electrician call him “Father,” or “Evil” – even the clients.
Father Evil was created around Lou’s features, so nobody could ever portray the character but Lou.
When he turned 40, Lou says he “stopped giving a shit about what people thought,” and that allowed him to embrace and become this character. He gave up his lifelong quest to fit in.
Lou is the youngest of four children, the only one to be born in this country. His family emigrated from Cuba, coming from nothing. He says his brother slept in a potato sack and his sisters shared a hammock. He was a “celebratory” baby, arriving a couple years after his family did.
As he turned 40, he decided he was tired of fitting in. He decided to do what he wanted and that he didn’t care what people thought because he was doing it for himself, not for anyone else.
His siblings were not happy about the emergence of Father Evil. They told him it wasn’t nice and that it was against God and it wasn’t how they were brought up. He listened to their complaints and told them that they had every right to feel that way. But, he said, “I have every right not to give a shit.” He reminded them that he wasn’t doing it for them; he was doing it for himself.
Later, his brother came to one of the conventions and saw Father Evil in action. He couldn’t deny that Lou is very good at what he does.
Lou says that if he hadn’t gotten sober, Father Evil never would have been born. He was drinking pretty heavily and his wife gave him an ultimatum. She said she wasn’t going to have a family with a drunk. He knew he wanted to have a family so he knew what he had to do. He stopped drinking. He says he went to a couple AA meetings, but they weren’t for him. He just made a decision and stopped.
He calls his wife his rock, but also “a foreman you can’t get rid of.” She pushes him to do more with Father Evil, reminding him when it’s been too long since he’s made videos or other aspects of the business that need attention.
Once he was sober, crazy ideas started floating in his mind: “: Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I be the next face of horror? Who says I have to be in a movie to be famous?”
The Day Job
Lou worked in retail for many years, leaving Best Buy to become a tech for Verizon in 2006. He was doing installation and maintenance of telephone service when Verizon decided to cut 330 techs in New Jersey. He was among them.
His wife encouraged him to move over to IBEW, where her father was an executive. He made the transition and started his apprenticeship to be a low voltage electrician, which he still does “by day.”
Today, when the business agents send him to a job, they send pictures of Father Evil. the lines are getting so blurry at this point, it’s becoming difficult to tell the man from the character.
Lou became ordained and applied for copyright and trademark of a look, which he received from the Library of Congress.
A Cult Following
Father Evil has developed a cult following (pun intended) on Facebook and in the horror community. Most of them are men and women between 36 and 50 so he knows who to engage with when he’s performing. He likes to get in people’s heads. He will go up to someone he’s never met before and say, “do you know where I live? Under your bed” in his evil growl.
He’s encountered some people who take umbrage to him charging for photos but most of his fans have been incredibly supportive of his evolution.
One day, Lou wants to retire from being an electrician to pursue Father Evil full time. He attends multiple conventions each year as Father Evil but the big dream is to create Walk With the Father Ghost Tours in New Orleans.
He’s been to New Orleans a couple times and this idea has been calling him since his second visit when he did an impromptu photo shoot on Bourbon Street as Father Evil. People were eating him up. That’s when he knew he could make something special happen in New Orleans.
His goal is to do what he does at the conventions every day. In order to do that, he needs a steady flow of people. A tourist destination fits the bill and New Orleans has a long association with horror, voodoo and religion. It feels like the perfect mix for Father Evil.
He’s got the destination and the mindset and he’s anxious to get where he’s going. He cites the Henry Rollins quote, “No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as downtime. All you got is a lifetime. Go.”
So Lou continues to build Father Evil. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that Father Evil continues to chip away at the “Lou” façade. Lou says, “When I become him, he’s nothing Lou is at all. I know it’s kinda crazy talking about it, ‘cause it’s the same person. It’s just contacts and makeup. But when I put those contacts on, it’s literally the Clark Kent effect. I literally become him. He takes over from there.”
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Stephanie: I am very, very curious to dig into your story. When was Father Evil born?
Lou: He was born in the nineties. I would say '94, '95. At that time I was going through my artsy-fartsy phase is what I call it. I was hanging out in trendy cafes, like wait, like 10 years before Starbucks was a thing. Yeah, that's what I was doing.
Lou: And it was in new, in New Brunwick, New Jersey, Rutgers town, you know. So it was a college town. It was, it was hot, it was fresh. And then there was this, there was this place called Indigo Jones, if I remember correctly. And it was a very trendy coffee spot and they had artwork from all the locals all over it.
Lou: I'm like, you know what? I can, I'm gonna submit one of mine. My then girlfriend told me to do that. So I did that and I, I created like this cross between ghastly, priestly looking figure, a cross between the Joker and Reverend Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. And he had prayer hands, and then it said in the back of him, "In nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti," "in the name of the father, the son and holy spirit."
Lou: And I had cut the the, the, the picture in such a way to make it look like stained glass. And I burned the edges and stuff, and I put it in a frame, like an old parchment.
Stephanie: What was the medium. Was this something you painted or drew?
Lou: No, I drew it. It was the medium was #4 Staedtler Mars pencil, which is basically a thicker lead, a #2 Staedtler Mars pencil, which is a lighter lead, and graphite.
Lou: And with the, Tortillions stumps and stuff. I, I was very good at blending. A lot of people don't know. I have a very artistic background. I've been drawing since I was a child.
Lou: Like I, I remember in the second grade I memorized the pattern to draw Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And I literally memorized the pattern in my head and I trained my hand to draw it.
Lou: And I was literally like a human copier machine for my class in second grade. And I literally, they're like, 'can you draw me one Louis'? Sure. Just from memory. I had a talent. So they, you know, they encouraged it and stuff. I, I bought comic books. I was a huge comic book fan, especially the X-Men. Huge fan with Wolverine. Hello.
Lou: Then fast forward to the nineties, I came up with this character. Fast forward, many years later into the two thousands. I'm married. And I dabbled with the Halloween decorations and stuff, you know, like special effects props. And I was in retail and then I got into the union, into the IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Lou: I'm a union guy, electrician, low voltage electrician. I'm a data tech. Still doing it. This is slowly taking over, this persona. Well, it took over completely in my mind, and it's slowly taking over in my life to the point where it's going to carry us to the next level. I'm this close to getting there.
Stephanie: Nice. Nice.
Lou: It's the evolution. Anyway, though, the evolution in of itself was my wife had a girlfriend at the time, still very good friends. Her girlfriend was going to a horror 'con, Parsippany at the time. She's like, oh, Lou loves horror. Oh, let's all go together. So, boom. We all went and it was in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Lou: It was Chiller Theater and it's a very big 'con in Jersey. OK. It's one of the three bigger cons in Jersey. So I went there and I fell in love with it.
Stephanie: Do you remember what year that was?
Lou: I believe it was 2006 or '07.
Stephanie: Okay. So you're in your, like mid thirties at that point?
Lou: Yes. That's. Yes. So my mid thirties and I'm, I'm loving it.
Lou: I'm like, oh my, holy shit. You know, next time I come to one of these, I'm gonna come dressed up. Two years, maybe a year and a half pass or whatever. My wife said, you know what? Just do something basic. At that time I was working at Best Buy. I decided, you know what, they call me Evil Lou at work, cuz I could make this really evil face.
Lou: I didn't have my chops as big or more like closer to my face. More like a stylized version of this. Like anyway, so I said, you know, I can make it really evil face. I'm like, you know, what would scare people? What would really? I'm thinking. I was just brainstorming. What would scare people if they saw it in a dark alley? And I'm thinking a clown.
Lou: Nah. You know, dime a dozen. Vampire? No. Zombie, been there, done that. I'm like, got it. A possessed priest, because if it can get to a priest, what chance do you have?
Lou: If it could possess a man of the cloth, the pious man, you are powerless. So that was. I wasn't planning to do a thing with it. It was gonna be a one time thing. A one time goof, a gag, whatever. Go to the con, have a good time. That's it. $20 costume from Party City. Still have it. And my wife got me a pair of white out contacts. It wasn't even the ones that I use now. Now what I use is mini sclera, but then it was just white outs. And I put 'em on and it looked freaky.
Lou: It looked like, wow. You're not supposed to see that. It had a big, you know, big ass cross on my chest. It was, you know, very campy and people were like, whoa, can I take a picture with you? This, this and that, and the other.
Lou: It didn't hit me until I walked into this one room. And it was an, an Italian director.
Lou: I forget. He, he does like, like Giallo style, like Score type of zombie horrors and stuff in, in Italy. Like over the top type of Argento-style. So I walked into his area and he was signing autographs. He had a line of about 20 people. And he looks at me for a second and he does like a triple take. Literally a triple take.
Lou: And he comes over to me. He goes, oh my God, this is so original. This is so, oh, simple, but to the point. You know, blah, blah, blah, but in a very heavy, thick Italian accent. He's like, this is beautiful. Oh my God. I never saw. This is so simple. It's it's bad, but good. Blah, blah, blah. He had this, his assistant producer take pictures of me. And I'm like, holy shit, is it that easy? And I'm like, wow, this is, this is a piece of cake, but I didn't see what they saw. A couple weeks later that I saw the pictures and I'm like, wow. But anyway, at that time I looked at my wife and I'm like, did this just happen? Like maybe I got something here.
Lou: I ran with it. And here we are.
Stephanie: So you started by just going to the conventions as a participant and people would just wanna take pictures with you. How long did you do that?
Lou: So, when I started to do something about it, like I started doing the cons more regularly, like around 2010. 2011. 2012.
Lou: 2012, I decided I was gonna take it serious. And I graduated from a 20 dollar costume into my my gown that I still wear to this day. I've had it for that long. I have a new one that I've been breaking out, but I still have the very same one I came out with back in 2012.
Stephanie: Not for nothing, that was the year you turned 40.
Lou: Yeah, it was a transition. It was like Phoenix coming out of the out of the, ashes. I found myself.
Stephanie: Wow. What did it feel like when you finally gave yourself permission to truly embody and own this persona?
Lou: It was a 'Calgon take me away' moment for me. It was oooooh-la-la. It's like sitting in the most relaxing, hot tub. And you're just relaxing and you get in that breeze. I, I, it's hard to put, but it's, picture that emotion, like just like, ahhhh, weightlessness, and just Zen.
Stephanie: So Father Evil for you is home.
Stephanie: More, almost more so than Lou.
Lou: He's actually taken over. The only people that call me, Lou, is my wife. And, I mean, maybe a handful of people at work. And I work in construction. A lot of guys say, yo, Father come here. Or Evil, get Evil over here. Who's on the team, Father Evil. Who's pulling wire with me. Oh, Father is. Get Father. You know. You know what they call me Evil, get over here, you know?
Lou: And it's, it's weird, it's kind of funny cuz , you meet a lot of people in construction.
Lou: Especially, we're doing the brand new airport in Newark and we're working in there and a lot of guys that were like from other trades, we're like, there's over like 3000 people at this site.
Lou: They're like, why did they call this guy, Father? You know? So they look it up, Father Evil. And they're like, holy shit, dude, that's you? And I'm like, yeah man. He goes, dude, you do that on the weekends and how is it? And I explained to everybody like. They're like, I'm like, listen, dude, it's literally, I got, you gotta speak jive to them.
Lou: Yeah. Like jive. And I'm like, yo bro, I'm getting paid for Halloween and I love it. And they're like, yo, that's so cool, bro. I wish I could do something like that. And I'm like, why don't you just do it? That's what I did.
Lou: And my features. , I created the Father around my features. So nobody can be him, but me. It was an arc. I, I created him in such a way that only I can be him.
Stephanie: I just want you to know that I, I actually got chills while you were talking just a moment ago. Just about you saying he's taking over. You light up when you talk about when you're him or, or about him. Why did it take until you were 40 for you to unleash your true inner self?
Lou: You, you want me to be Frank?
Stephanie: I do.
Lou: I stopped giving a shit about what people thought.
Stephanie: Why? Where did that come from? How, how did you decide that you, you didn't give a shit anymore?
Lou: All my life, I was always trying to, you know, just fit in. You know, just even with family, especially family. Oh, Louis, you should do this or Louis you should do that.
Lou: That's what I'm known to my family. And I was always 'little Louis'. And I'm the youngest of four. And I'm first generation United States. The other three were born in Cuba. So I'm youngest of four. So it was always, always 'spoiled little Louis', this, this and that and the other, cause I was born here. Like I had a choice, you know? I was, I was a celebratory baby cause my family got here in 69.
Lou: I was born in '72 /'73. So that was a party time, you know, during whatever. And, boom! Hey, I'm here! I didn't plan for that you know. And my parents, they came from absolutely nothing in Cuba. Literally there was a mattress on a floor, dirt floor. My brother slept in a potato sack and my sisters shared a hammock. Okay.
Lou: They come here. This is what I heard about their stories in Cuba. My eldest sister also lived with my grandparents, cause that was a tradition. The eldest lives with the grandparent. So they came here when my grandparents got here. The whole family unit got here because my uncle came here and I think in the late forties. He joined the army and became a citizen, fought in Korea, did two years in Germany, doing his, you know, what reserve duties.
Lou: And then he applied a visa for his family. And that's how he got here. And I was born into that and you know, for my entire life, you know, it's like, it was almost like this, these, these things given to you. Like, dude, like I had a choice?
Lou: And I had a little bit of a rough upbringing in my childhood. Some trauma and stuff. All this stuff started building up and in my forties, I'm like, you know what? I'm tired of fitting in. I'm gonna do what I fucking wanna do. I don't care if you like it. It just, I stopped caring. I don't care what you think. It's for me.
Stephanie: And what has the fallout been, if any?
Lou: There was a fallout at first in my family. I remember it was at my sister's house, Miriam.
Lou: Miriam Marisa, Eric and myself.
Lou: We were all there at Miriam's house for Christmas. And they're like, well, Louis, we kind of, don't like this Father Evil bit. Almost like an intervention, you know, but it's not, it wasn't planned, but they were like, yeah, you know what?
Lou: That's not nice. That's going against God. But we weren't raised like that. And I'm like, you know what guys? You have every right to feel that way. You really do. And I appreciate that. And I appreciate you telling me. But you also have to understand, I have every right not to give a shit. I don't care. It's not for you. I'm doing this for me.
Lou: You don't like it. You don't have to like it, and that is your right, but I'm not doing this for you. And I don't care what you think of me, otherwise. You can either accept me or don't. That's on you. That was it.
Stephanie: And did they accept it?
Lou: They hated it at first. And then my brother actually came to one of my cons first and he saw me in action.
Lou: He's like, holy shit, I'm actually good at what I do, you know? And I was a knucklehead growing up. This Is what going through their head. You know, I was like knucklehead growing up. Like most kids are. I was pretty bad alcoholic. I still am an alcoholic, but I was a pretty bad drinker until I went sober in '07.
Lou: If I didn't go sober, none of this would've been ever been born at, all. I would've been drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking. I had an ultimatum for my. I remember she said something to me that hit my core. I'm not gonna have a family with a drunk. And it hit me. I'm like, wow.
Lou: And then I changed. I made a decision. And she's my rock. Yeah. She pushes me. Every now and then, even when I start getting lax with Father Evil, she's like, you know, you, haven't done a video in a while. You should get downstairs and get doing something, blah, blah, blah, blah. You should make new content. You need to do this. How about we promote this, this, that, and the other.
Lou: And I'm like, all right, relax, shoot. You know, she's like a foreman that you can't get rid of.
Stephanie: That's amazing. I love that your wife is so supportive and I wanna talk about her in a minute, but I wanna go back to that conversation you had with your siblings, because you're absolutely right that when you decide you don't give a shit, and you don't care what other people think, it's easier to consider you don't care about friends and people you work with and people, you know, but your nuclear family that's, that is a tough one.
Stephanie: Where did you find the gumption? Where did you find that nugget inside of you that allowed you, that empowered you to talk to them like you did?
Lou: I embraced my insanity, literally. Everybody has an insanity within them. I've always had it with me. That insanity is that dream. Why can't I be like that?
Lou: Why can't I do this? Why can't I be the next face of horror? Who says I have to be in a movie to be famous? I, I can do it, you know, organically right in front of you. I'm in the movie of your life. And I'm a character in it. Whether you like it or not. When you meet Father Evil, you're in his movie.
Lou: Whether you like it or not, whether you intended to or not, I drag you in and you never forget. I'm an experience. I could say that humbly with one hundred percent assurance because cold contacts are my favorite. Cold contacts are what I call new people. In Texas perfect example, 1800 miles from where I live. I'm popular here.
Lou: I'm 10 times more popular in Texas. Because of the new people that come into me and I give them a show. You know, I get into character, I get in their heads. If it's a Spanish family, I talk to them in Spanish. If it's an elder woman, you know, in a wheelchair, whatever, I, I, I walk around them and I'm like, I have a new name for you by child.
Lou: From this day forward, you shall be known as Hot Wheels. And they're like, they melt. Then they want a picture. And you melt grandma, and grandma wants a picture, the whole, family's getting a picture. Oh, you have merchandise? Oh, you have rosaries? Oh, this is lovely. Let me get a rosary, Johnny, you wanna shirt?
Lou: Blah, blah, blah. Yeah.
Lou: That's how it goes.
Stephanie: When you were younger, you said that you were a creative person, you liked to draw. Did you ever like to perform. Did you do school plays or anything like that?
Lou: Never. I was always too chicken shit.
Lou: Always too afraid. Worried what people thought.
Lou: You know, I might screw up. Oh my God. Oh no, no, no, no. So I was able to with, with the pen and paper, you can erase the screw ups and you can present the final product right there. You can't edit reality.
Stephanie: The drawing is on your own time too. You can take as long as you want with it.
Stephanie: Tell me how you became a union electrician. What were the choices that led you to that?
Lou: The last year I was at the Best Buy was 2006. I had just turned sober and I had applied to Verizon to be a you know, a telephone guy. And I took the test, very hard test. Basically, you get 60 minutes to do all these questions and it's timed and you're not gonna answer every question.
Lou: It's impossible to finish this test. It's basically under pressure, under time, to see how you think. I'd say about a hundred people came, only 12 passed. It's one of those hard tests. Mm-hmm. And once you get to Verizon, it's a good gig in Verizon. They have fantastic insurance. And you climb telephone poles. They teach you how to climb telephone poles. You know, they teach you how to gaff, which are the hooks that they put in the boots and you can climb up the pole, whatever, do your thing. So I went through all that, became a tech. Did installation and maintenance. And then they wanted to make some cuts.
Lou: So they got rid of 330 techs in New Jersey. I was part of that cut. We're about to have a kid. My wife's like, dude, you need to talk to my father. He's like sits on the e-board. You gotta take the test and pass it and blah, blah.
Lou: So I went there, did the interview. I was already in the International cause Verizon, by contract, they have to have the union representative. So I was already in the IBEW for four years with Verizon. And so I transitioned over into the IBEW. I started my apprenticeship from there. And at that time is when Father Evil went from a $20 costume to a more serious outlook. I'm still doing that. But my name has grown within the Local, big time. For instance, when you go to a new job or if your time is up with one and you get laid off, you go back to the hall, the hall is what they call it. You know, basically they'll get you in the next job for your next tour.
Lou: And the business agents like to send pictures of Father Evil to the job site saying this is who you're getting on Monday. And they were like, are you effing kidding me? And I'm like, no, it is not gonna come like that. That's what he does on weekends. He's actually pretty well known. They introduced me like that.
Lou: So, so you tell me if Father Evil has taken over or not.
Stephanie: Right. The business agents for a union electrician are sending that one of your personas to your next job.
Stephanie: Did you ever know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Lou: Yes. But I didn't know how. I always wanted to be, you know, I'm not gonna lie. I wanna be rich. Yeah. What's wrong with that? I wanna not have to worry about money ever. I have a nice house. I want a nicer house. I want water around me, all around.
Lou: I'm a water baby. I I'm Cuban. I mean, hello. We need the beach. We need that salt water. I, it it's, it's Zen for me. It's so therapeutic. So I need that. So, you know See, I just lost my train of thought. When I just think of that, it just gets me there.
Stephanie: I understand. I asked if you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Lou: Yeah, I always wanted to, cause I wanted to own all the things. But you need money to do all that shit. You need lots of money. And it, it sucks that in the United States you need all this money but it is what it is. It's our reality. Deal with it. Sink or swim.
Stephanie: I remember before I started my own business, I mean, I'm talking 5, 6, 7 years before, the thought fluttered through my head. And I literally said to myself, well, what could I sell that anybody else would want to buy? I, I had no idea that I had value to give or to share, cuz I had always worked for other people. And then several years later I got laid off from a job that did not fit me well at all. And I started to do some freelance work.
Stephanie: I thought, oh wait. wait, I could do this. And now it's been 15 years. My, my marketing agency is 15 this year, so my baby turned 15. I'm curious because it's, it's much the same for you. You've started this thing where you unleashed your inner self, but you also started a business.
Lou: Other people were starting to like it. I started to getting what's, would be considered, pun intended, a cult following on Facebook. Yeah, because I posted cool pictures. You know, I took pictures. I know I taught myself how to do all those edits. Yeah. That you see my photos and I got better and better through the years.
Lou: And people have, you know, like, oh, and then they see me at a con and this, this and that and the other. And I give 'em a show, and I developed the following. So I said, you know what? Maybe people would like shirts or whatever. So I had a, my wife for one year, she, for Christmas, she got me my own website.
Lou: And then I became ordained. And then I applied for copyright and trademark of a look, and I got it. Oh yeah. I own this look.
Lou: I own the look.
Stephanie: That's amazing. Good for you.
Lou: From the Library of Congress, I got my piece of paper as Father Evil, blah, blah, blah, with the stamp, from the Library of Congress. It's legit. And literally on the look. But it's gotten to the point right now, I'm already established in the horror scene. It's done.
Lou: You could try to emulate Father Evil, but people will call you out. The fans will call you out. Look what they did with the remake or the reimagining of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre that they have on Netflix.
Lou: The fans destroyed it.
Stephanie: Oh, I didn't know that.
Lou: Destroyed it. Absolutely, completely and utterly destroyed it. There were some great kills in it. A picture like way most fans are with Obi Wan or, the Star Wars trilogy.
Stephanie: Now you're talking my language. Yeah.
Lou: Picture that with a chainsaw instead. I.
Lou: And the hero is not really a hero, he's a homicidal maniac that carve people in half with the chainsaw. That's our Star Wars, you know. It's
Lou: It it's effed up, but it is. Yeah. Up, even at the convention, in Texas, the one that I just mentioned, the Leatherface was there. And there was a fan who was on the elevator. He goes, you know, you did a great job but the movie sucked. Literally to his face, to his face. And the guy's like it's because you're, you're a Texas Chainsaw, elitist or purist.
Lou: You know, nobody's better than Gunnar Hansen.
Stephanie: And so your fans feel the same about you? They, they feel that commitment to, that love of that fandom of, your character.
Lou: They capture the essence. The essence is me. I am the essence.
Stephanie: Right. Cannot be re reclaimed or repeated.
Lou: It's the soul. It's the facial expression. It's everything. It's the ad lib that I do on the spot. Some of the stuff is scripted. Most of the stuff, isn't. What I mean by scripted. I see there's a couple things that I say to you.
Lou: First time I ever meet you, just to get into your head. Once I get into your head, everything is unscripted. And I go off of, you know, adlib.
Lou: I have this page, this Father Evil page, my main page for, for Facebook. Aside from my regular profile and it has these analytics on it and it tells me the ages of most of my fans.
Lou: Most of them are males between 36 and 50, and women between 36 and 50. So I look at that, I'm like, okay. So I know who to mess with at their certain age, whatever. And. Especially Southern women. They, they have this Southern belle type thing to them. And I'll walk up behind one of 'em like, "I saw you sitting last night. Please continue." And they're like, oh, you know. Just, they just melt. And like almost every Southern woman that I've done that to, they're like, ooooh. You can see them. And then I just get in their head.
Lou: One of my scripted lines is I'll go up to a kid or to a woman. And I'm like, "do you know where I live? Under your bed."
Stephanie: Yeah. That's one way to get in somebody's head.
Lou: And that's one way that I do it. I mean, like that's the voice that I use or I'll use this for a big dude. Biggest dude you can see, this is my go to line for them. "It's time to come home child. I love you. I love you more than Christ." When I say that, like, oh. "We've been waiting for you. We've always been waiting for you. Come home. Come home."
Lou: And the first time you see a guy with possessed eyes dressed like a priest with these bushy sideburns and this cross and this music that's playing around him. Cuz I play church music as I'm walking around. You experience me.
Lou: And the first time you see me, you're like, like holy shit and I gotcha. I gotcha.
Stephanie: I can attest to it. Cuz I went to my first horror convention in March and that's where we initially met. Our mutual friend Corey introduced us. And you create an entire scene, an entire setting. You move with your own, it's almost like a bubble of your own scene.
Lou: I bring you to my world.
Lou: You're in it. The instant our eyes look, you're enveloped. It's done. You're in it. Now you're in it. Now you're in my personal hell and I'm going to torment with you and deal with you the way I see fit.
Stephanie: It's amazing.
Lou: Yeah. So 10 years now been doing it and some people took some umbrage, you know, like they were like, like, oh, well, you're, you're charging people for pictures now.
Lou: I'm like, yeah, I am. You used to take it for free. I know. Used to. That's the key word used to. Oh, I'll just go out somewhere. Good luck finding another Father Evil. Only one, baby.
Stephanie: What has to happen for you to go from where you're at now to giving up Lou and electrician and
Lou: Well, let me get to that. Like, my goal is to New Orleans ghost tours.
Stephanie: Oh, wow.
Lou: Walk with the Father. My goal now is to become a tourists attraction in a very unique, mysterious dark, yet incredible city, New Orleans. It's been calling me ever since my second visit. My, my third visit we did a show down there for HAuNTcon Nola. And we went down there and I did an impromptu photo shoot on Bourbon Street as Father Evil.
Lou: And the crowd that I drew was pretty intense. And people were loving it. I'm like, okay, I know I can do it here. I know I could do a ghost tour. Walk With the Father ghost tour. I even have the picture already. It's gonna be something similar to this where I'm taking my hand out, reaching out to you.
Lou: You walk with me and I will tell you the story of the spirits standing around you right now, at this very moment. You know, and I know how to sell a story.
Stephanie: You sure do.
Lou: I know how to sell a story. I know how to get into your head. And once I do that and just telling you the story, I'm, you know, it's the same story everybody else tells, but my flavor.
Lou: And I know I could do a killing down there because every person that I've told that to who's from the area, say it without a doubt, you're gonna make killer money if you bring Father Evil to New Orleans.
Stephanie: For sure.
Lou: The goal is this, to do what I do at a convention, every day.
Lou: How can I do that? How can you have a steady flow of people around you? Like a convention? Hmm. Go to a touristy area. Where, where? Hmm, let me think where. Oh, it involves horror, horror lore, voodoo, religion. Huh. New Orleans.
Lou: Perfect. Perfect. Done. That's the goal.
Lou: I know for a fact, I will succeed at that.
Lou: It's it's this attitude, this force, this possession, if you may, that drove me to this point and it got me here. It cemented me here. I am in the scene. I've made waves as far as Hollywood. There's some people in Hollywood who know who I am. Not gonna mention names cause there's certain all names, but yet certain people within the horror genre know who I am.
Lou: I made enough waves and I made enough noise where I'm at in Jersey, that people are looking. Hey, who, who the fuck is this guy? And that grew organically amongst the people, and people love that. You know, cause I grew it around them. They're like, I've loved you since you were in a $20 costume, dude. Keep on going.
Lou: They feel like a part of your story.
Stephanie: Yeah. True. The folks who've known you a long time are, are rooting for you, are doing everything they can to facilitate and help you.
Lou: Everybody loves a feel a good story.
Lou: Everybody does. And they're like, wow, this guy was a drunk and look what he turned his life around to.
Lou: It all comes from a decision. You know. You have to reflect yourself. I gave up one demon for another one.
Stephanie: How was it giving up drinking? I know you said your wife put her foot down and, and gave you the the ultimatum, the impetus, but how, how was that for you? What was your thought process around stopping?
Lou: Yeah, it was easier than I thought. I'm like, you know what? No, I want a family with her. You know? I've always wanted a kid.
Lou: Always did. Always, always, always, always wanted to be a father. She's right. I gotta straighten out. And I did. It wasn't tough. What would be tough is losing her. And I went to three AA meetings and I'm like, I really don't need this.
Lou: I could do this on my own. You know, I have strong enough fortitude. And she even offered, , you know what if you want me to go sober, I'll go sober too, just for us. And I'm like, why am I gonna punish you for my weakness?
Lou: Wow. Keep on drinking. I don't care.
Lou: I can deal with it. And that was it. It's been our lives ever since.
Stephanie: That's fantastic. Tell me how you feel about aging, as a guy looking at 50.
Lou: It's putting a rush on certain things, you know. It's putting the fire up my ass, cause I wanna be at a certain spot. Not gonna lie. Time's a ticking. And I wanna be at a certain position in my life. Yeah, it's gotten me this far. I never thought I'd take it this far, that fast.
Lou: But now I have the mindset. I know the navigation. I know the field now. I know where I gotta look and I know where I gotta go.
Lou: So it's time to make some moves. Let's go. Let's go. Move. Make this happen. Today. It's no more lollygagging. Not tomorrow. Tomorrow you'll be 60. Get going, dude, let's go.
Lou: It profoundly changed my outlook on life when I read this. Something snapped in my head. It was a quote from Henry Rollins. Basically. Long story short. There's no such thing as downtime. No such thing as part-time. All you have is lifetime. Go. There is no downtime. You're not gonna get that time back.
Lou: Do it now.
Lou: Why now? Why not follow your passion? Why not follow your dream?
Lou: Who's to say you can't. You don't know it until you try it.
Lou: And that's where the insanity comes in. Because if I was mathematically inclined or a little bit more sane, I'd be like, man, what are the odds of a nobody, with no movie becoming famous enough to be known nationwide and other parts of the world?
Lou: What are the odds of that happening? Just from generically taking pictures and meeting people and doing conventions. What are the odds of becoming somewhat famous and making a business outta that? Really, it's, it's stacked against you.
Lou: It really is. Horror people are very hard to please. Very hard to please, when it comes to horror. You gotta capture the imagination or else they're gonna call you out.
Lou: You know, you got to have something original. They need to be like, wow. And to me, horror means differently than to other people. To me, horror is unnerving. It's uncomfortable. You look at me like, oh shit, that shouldn't be there. That shouldn't be there. That's why Father Evil, a Catholic priest costume. I'm a possessed Catholic priest. The second biggest religion on the planet.
Lou: Okay. You're not supposed to see that. it's taboo. What are you doing?
Stephanie: It's jarring. Yeah.
Lou: That's what horror can be. It gets in your head. It gets in your head. It stays there. It's creepy. It stays. And it grows. That's what horror is to me and that's how, that's how I approach it. And that's why I've gotten to where I am.
Stephanie: You did say earlier that you got ordained. Tell me about the weddings.
Lou: 2013, I became ordained. Didn't do really anything with it till really the last three years. And now when I do a wedding, most of the times the it's the bride's idea, always the bride's idea. And I always give an interview to my clients and I'm like, do you, you realize that the wedding day is always traditionally and always will be the brides day. It's her day to shine.
Stephanie: Mm-hmm. .
Lou: Do you realize I'm going to outshine you on your day? Are you ready for that?
Lou: They're like, yeah, that's what we want. I'm like, cuz your guests will remember me more than your dress. Are you ready for that? You, you know how I am at a con. I'm gonna bring the same atmosphere, the same energy that I do at a con, but in a wedding scenario. And it blows them away. It's so funny.
Lou: It was a real deal wedding. Everybody suits and ties. The people were dressed nice. The scenery was magnificent. It was at a castle type environment in Pennsylvania, a Chateau type of environment. Rolling grassy hills, beautiful. You know, great for pictures and stuff. And here walks in this guy with his own music. And I'm walking around and I walk around with this scowl on my face.
Lou: And they're looking at me and I'm like, I just stare at them and I just give 'em a little smile. And I'm like, yes, I'll be doing the service. They're like, can we have a picture? I'm like, "come here, my child. Embrace thee." And then when I say that're like, oh, he's cool. I taking pictures. And all of a sudden everybody's taking pictures and then the ceremony starts and I go do my routine.
Lou: I go through my actual service, take pictures afterwards. Hang out at the reception if they pay for that. You know, just stare somebody down, you know? And they love it. And I turn, you know, taking pictures for free into a wedding. It's great. I mean, it's really great. This is an important thing and they're inviting me into their important day.
Lou: You better give 'em a show. You better give 'em a show because, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And if it's her wedding and you fuck that up, you better give him a good show, dude.
Lou: So give her the best show possible. Make her granny at, at the reception, you know, look at her granny laughing.
Lou: Oh my gosh, she's having a great time. Make that memory, you know, and they'll always remember that, you know. Now the little kids who were first afraid of you, now they're sitting on your lap, taking pictures and like, awwwww. You're making the scary faces. They love that. But that's what I do at the weddings, you know?
Lou: Once, once I break the ice, that's it. It's a wrap.
Stephanie: You said they love it. Tell me about how you feel doing it.
Lou: Oh God. When you're inviting me into your special day, what do you think? It's, it's a very sacred day for you, for the person, for the couple. Holy shit.
Lou: They're going through a serious thing and they're inviting you into it. They're actually paying you into it. It's a responsibility. That's the way I see it. It's a responsibility. I have to give them something memorable or something they'll cherish.
Stephanie: But you also, at the same time, get to give them your true self.
Lou: Yes. But I'm also looking at it at a business standpoint.
Stephanie: Of course, of course. You imagine you had to bring Lou the electrician to the wedding versus your absolute true self.
Lou: Two different, yeah, probably like actually is my true self, I guess, in a sense.
Lou: When I become him, he's nothing Lou is at all. I know it's kinda crazy talking about it. Cause it's the same person. It's just contacts and makeup, but when I put those contacts on, it's literally the Clark Kent effect. He takes off the glasses or whatever. It's the same thing. And I literally become him. He takes over from there.
Stephanie: One of my very first interviews was with a colleague of mine. We've we've worked together for 11 or 12 of my 15 years. We've been together a long time. She started doing roller derby in, in her thirties. And of course for roller derby, you have to create a persona.
Stephanie: It's the costume. And it's the makeup. And it's the name. And it's all of those things. And she really found that creating that persona, it ended up being more her than the everyday her who was afraid of owning some of those more outlandish elements of her personality.
Stephanie: She had some transitions around 40 as well. But you know, these days, if she doesn't have pink or green hair or a full on, mermaid 'do, then she's due to go to the hairdresser. And I had forgotten that she didn't always do that. And so that was an interesting conversation, but it, it sounds similar for you.
Stephanie: It's like, you know, the persona that you start playing with in your thirties ends up being more you than the straight laced.
Lou: Literally look at my everyday look. Yeah. I don't get rid, this is not something you peel on or peel off.
Lou: Real. People are always like you have a very unique look.
Lou: I'm like, I know. If you know what I do on weekends, you don't understand. People who've never seen me before, or aren't into horror, they either think I'm a wrestler or in a metal band.
Stephanie: Sure I can see both of those. As I think I told you when we met in March, I, I was never really into horror.
Stephanie: I watched horror movies as a teenager. You and I are contemporaries, so, you know, Nightmare on Elm Street. I remember seeing those. But sometime in the nineties. I, I actually think it was the Blair Witch Project. I remember seeing that with a friend and it, it shook me. Especially things that are supernatural freak me out because I feel like there's so much of that, that I'm open to being real. That if it. If there's movies or stories about supernatural things going sideways and being evil and possession and all that stuff, I, I just can't manage it. So, so I'm actually not a, a horror fan, but my friend Corey said, you gotta come to this event with me. You know, come see. Cuz he is, as you know, 140% in and,
Lou: He's one of us.
Stephanie: He is for sure one of you. But what a wonderful community. You said it's a niche community, but it's niche but they are mostly zealots, right? They are mostly the, in, in any fandom it's like a, a mountain, right? And so it's like, there's, you know, some casual fans and then little bit more intense, more intense.
Stephanie: And in the top, the peak, the pinnacle of those fans, those most exuberant fans are a smaller portion of the crowd. Whereas With the horror community, what I've seen is it's an upside down it's an upside down mountain cuz you know, much of the community is just that incredibly exuberant super fan.
Lou: A hundred percent.
Stephanie: So you may have picked a niche, but
Lou: Perfect example, where you're saying that about the love you get within the community. Cosplay Jesus, who's with me. I had a historically accurate Jesus with me. What I mean by historically accurate, I don't mean white Jesus that you see all over. There weren't white people in the Bible.
Lou: There weren't any Europeans in the Bible. There weren't any Europeans in first century A.D. Middle East. He was brown. Let's be honest. So he's historically accurate Jesus. And he also happens to be Pentecostal and I met him in 2014. I met him in Monster Mania. He had long black hair, curly hair, and he was dressed as Jesus.
Lou: And I'm like, wow, it's Jesus, historically accurate Jesus. And we took pics and that was it. We didn't think much of it. We ran into each other again around 2017. And we took some more pics, more professional, and then it hit me. I said, we could do something with this. That was around 2017. And he's like, ah, I don't know.
Lou: And he was hemming and hawing. I dunno if that's something I wanna do and never thought anything of it. He moved to Atlanta, was studying to become a pastor within the Pentecostal community. Last year, he gives me a call out of the blue. Says, Hey, I'm moving back to Jersey. I was interested to know that offer you offered me back in 2017. Is that still on?
Lou: And literally what I said to him, I'll be at this date, at this place, at this time, if you're interested, be there. Click. That was it. He was interested. He got there. And then we started doing our thing. He would be like, "hello, my child." I'm like, "hello. sinner." You know, we'd just play on people.
Lou: And we would do the battle for your soul photo opp. And basically you're in the center and he's on one side and I'm on the other, or first we're taking pictures around with you and then you gotta make a decision. Would you choose Christ or the Father? And we put you on the spot. And they're like, when I get a picture with them, I do a certain pose or whatever.
Lou: Or if they pick Jesus, I'm like all pissy, you know. And it's fun and they love it. $5 photo opp. $5 with either, either of us by ourselves, or $10 with the both. And people love it.
Lou: Anyway, he made a lot of money with me in Texas the first time I bought him. More so than he ever did at any time. He's made more money doing this stuff, acting with me.
Lou: This is his own words and he said, he's never seen more love, more acceptance in the horror community, more so then the Pentecostal community or the religious community in general, which is so toxic that he had to leave. And here all these devils and like these, these murderous people who are into this stuff and they're welcoming you, open arms and say, man, you're one of us. You wanna hang out?
Lou: We're like that, you know. Hey man, it's cool. We're not judging you, man. We don't care about, we don't care if you're gay fat, skinny, black, white, Indian, Hindu, whatever. Be whatever the fuck you want. We don't care. What scares you? This is what scares me.
Lou: That's, that's how we interact.
Stephanie: I was really amazed and impressed with the event that I went to in March at just what a wonderful community it really was. Truly nice, welcoming, open people, you know, yourself included. I can see why Corey loves it. I can and why you love it. What a wonderful thing to fill yourself up with all those weekends a year.
Stephanie: I wanna thank you so much for coming and spending an hour with me. This has been an amazing conversation, and I just think the world of you. I'm so impressed with what you're doing. I'm so grateful that you found the gumption to be who you really are, and to bring this character to the world.