[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Slasher Season 1 and Slasher: Ripper episode, “Resurrections.]
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If Slasher‘s first season hadn’t been so delightfully bonkers and well done, we wouldn’t be five seasons in. If you’ve never seen it, get on that – and beware spoilers ahead.
Season 1 was anchored by a fantastic ensemble, which included Steve Byers, whose sweetly unassuming and maybe a little aggro OCD deputy Cam was revealed to be the killer. As I like to say, he was Camplicated™. While the series has subsequently included reappearances from many of that season’s cast (Jefferson Brown, Chris Jacot, Paula Brancati, and Sabrina Grdevich, in increasingly expanded roles), Byers hadn’t returned. Until now.
I was delighted to find out he’d be back this year, and even better, re-teamed with Rob Stewart, who played his dad in Season 1 and repeats again, although this time, there’s no patricide. It’s a super fun wink-nod to have Byers in the very buttoned-down role of Pastor Kevin May, Jr., who is way over on the side of right, while still simmering a bit that his father, Pastor Kevin May, Sr., was martyred and hanged as a Jack the Ripper-style serial killer in a flashback set 12 years before the action of the series begins.
Byers had a ball joining Season 5, which included old friends and high school classmates Jefferson Brown and Salvatore Antonio and director Adam MacDonald, who played his brother on a Canadian soapy western-type drama called The Wild Roses (which is streaming in its entirety on Tubi here).
“When I talked to [showrunner] Ian [Carpenter] on the phone, when he was offering me this part, he was explaining Andrew May, Jr. and gave me the general breakdown of him and what he goes through. And I was very intrigued,” Byers recalls. “It was also like going to a brand new show, because, other than [series creator] Aaron [Martin], most of the people working on the show [now], except for some of the cast, of course, were never involved in the first season. They were all a pretty tight family from doing the last three seasons, so it was interesting to be reinserted into that group. Most of the people that I was talking to didn’t even know I did the first season.”
“It was just nice to come back, and then getting to work with everybody that I had come to know and love in the past like Chris [Jacot], and meeting new people like Thom [Allison] and Claire [McConnell], who I had most of my scenes with. It was a really nice, easy set. That was an absolute silver lining to the whole thing. Adam does a fantastic job. He’s so passionate and he loves what he does.”
In “Resurrections,” Byers, McConnell, and Allison participate in a seance scene that finds Georges seeking counsel and a supernatural assist from Regina, while Pastor May is horrified about the prospect of communing with the dead. There’s a lot going on as the scene devolves into bedlam. Byers says that as bananas as it is to watch, it was equally, if not more so, to film.
“I’ve got to give it to the whole set dec[orator] team, the art team, everybody that was involved in creating that room, because it would’ve made a nun sing. It was unbelievable. The props and the artwork … it was very much a triple X store on the Hollywood strip for sure,” he laughs.
“That in and of itself set a certain mood, and then, of course, it was hotter than Satan’s bedroom. And we’re all in period clothes, so anytime there were moments when we were sweating through it, it was actual sweat. We didn’t need glycerin or anything like that.”
“In the scene itself, Claire was really good at the physical nature of things when she embodies [Terrence’s spirit]. She came up with some really great physical movements, which were awesome to see. There [was so much] to work through because it’s organized chaos and so much is happening all at once.”
“[There were] huge, crazy moments, and then there’d just be buckets of laughter afterwards because it was so bizarre and ridiculous, but so great at the same time. In these really chaotic environments, it’s sort of cathartic [because] you get to let go of a bunch of stuff.”
“We were also all very much following COVID protocols on that set. So, added into every element is that constant reminder that someone could be sick and we’re all wearing masks as soon as the cameras are off. But it was a small room and there’s all this shouting and there’s another demon in that scene that sort of exists and adds another element to it all. Nobody was possessed by COVID at that point, but there was always that risk of actual possession.”
Echoing what Allison said last week, shooting the party scene and the group photo gave Byers a chance to visit with cast members he didn’t otherwise get to work with, like Brown and Antonio. “It was such a great little high school reunion thing going on there. Everybody was there and again, laden with the threat of COVID, so everybody’s being monitored and making sure we’re not all up close to each other,” he recalls. “But it was still a nice reunion to be with everybody and have that moment.”
New episodes of Slasher: Ripper premiere Thursday at 3:01 am ET on Shudder and AMC+ in the U.S and at 9 pm ET on Hollywood Suite in Canada. You can catch the first six episodes on all outlets now. As a reminder, you can catch last season’s Flesh and Blood there, too. The first three seasons of Slasher are still on Netflix. And all our coverage of previous seasons is here. Programming note – next week, we get a twofer of episodes seven and eight for the season finale.
Photos courtesy of AMC Networks.