Lydia Hearst was tearing around John Waters sets at the tender age of 4, where she was introduced to the strange and wonderful cast of weirdos that had surrounded her mother Patty’s movie career. For some, it may be difficult to tell that Hearst — who's a model and actor — harbors a love for the darker things. Her beauty may be traditional, but her childhood was anything but.

“As a little kid, watching a John Carpenter film was just a regular day. When I watched The Exorcist, I was in first grade. Things were happening, but I didn’t understand what,” she says. “I was looking at the makeup and the effects and just in awe of the craft. And I still am!”

Despite her love for the genre, she says she's yet to be actually scared by a horror film: “There’s moments with the new Rob Zombie movie remake of Halloween where I had to stop eating my popcorn, but I’m still waiting for that true scare to happen.” As ambassador for this year’s Screamfest, she’s hoping a gem in their slate of frightening flicks will change all that.

Lydia Hearst at the premiere of Insidious 3 — she apparently wasn't scared.; Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

Lydia Hearst at the premiere of Insidious 3 — she apparently wasn't scared.; Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

Billed as the “Sundance of horror,” Screamfest is the longest-running horror movie film festival in the United States and is responsible for launching the Paranormal Activity franchise. This year, who knows what could be the breakout hit? But here are some predictions.

Abigail Breslin, a star of camp-horror franchise Scream Queens, also co-stars in Fear, Inc., which Lydia Hearst is most excited to see at the festival. The film’s a horror take on Fincher’s 1997 film The Game, with a group of friends unsure if the company they’ve hired to bring their fears to life is on their side or if they’ve gone rogue and are out to kill them one by one.

The Master Cleanse stars Anna Friel, Johnny Galecki, Anjelica Huston and Oliver Platt, and if you know anything about horror, you know it’s good acting that keeps a ridiculous, implausible premise afloat. In this one, a down-on-his-luck guy embarks on a cleanse retreat, but finds he’s not just draining toxins from his body but a literal monster he must then fight.

Channeling James Whale’s 1933 classic sci-fi horror The Invisible Man, The Unseen follows a deadbeat dad who returns to civilization to find his missing daughter, only this isn’t just any deadbeat dad — he’s sequestered himself away to hide that he’s suffering from a disease that’s slowly been making him disappear.

Lake Bodom is a take on the classic teens-going-camping-at-murder-lake premise, only it’s Finnish and more dramatic than cheesy. Director Taneli Mustonen uses some master-craft-in-creepy backlighting in the forest and gets some genuine chills.

And finally The House is a Norwegian exorcism flick embedded in a WWII drama. In the dead of winter, two Nazi soldiers take their Norwegian POW into a house for shelter, but out of all the places they could hide, this is the only one where a malevolent spirit could get them before a bullet does.

Screamfest runs October 18–27, at the Hollywood TCL Theatres, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.

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