In the great tradition of Vampira and Zacherley, Stan The Mechanic is a new, queer TV horror host set to haunt the airwaves just in time for Halloween 2020! This week on the Bear World Podcast, we invite the actor, writer and comedian who will be bringing the character of the “Satanic Mechanic” to life, John Hernandez!
As an out and proud New Yorker of Puerto Rican and Italian heritage, and a self-identified Bear, John is pretty thrilled to be representing LGBTQ people, people of size and people of color in the horror genre. As a long-time horror fan, he is thrilled to bring a new Horror Host, Stan the Mechanic, to life for a global audience.
“When we pitched the idea of a new ‘Bear’ Horror Host to Here TV last year, we really didn’t know what they would say. That they took about a nanosecond to say yes to the idea was thrilling, and then the exciting journey of bringing Stan The Mechanic to life began” said Executive Producer, Richard Jones. “John A. Hernandez has worked tirelessly to create a fun yet different Horror Host, and represent the elements that make him the only Bear, Latino Horror Host out there!”
Here’s a snippet of Kyle’s interview with John Hernandez on this week’s episode of the Bear World Podcast.
Kyle Jackson: Can you give us a brief overview of who Stan is?
John Hernandez: Stan is a hairy, homosexual horror host! He also happens to be the one and only Satanic Mechanic. He keeps his workshop in Brooklyn, New York and fixes automobiles for the supernatural community. He is also commanded by Satan to inflict mischief and mayhem upon mankind by using their cars!
So, for instance when you run out of gas on a dark deserted road it was probably Stan; or if you find yourself suddenly stuck in a traffic jam with ten minutes to get to work, it was definitely Stan. He loves doing that.
He’s not all bad though; I mean he is a demon but he’s a nice demon, and super funny too, if I do say so myself! He employs a revolving cast of demonic playthings that are sent to him by the Devil as part of their punishment. This season we meet two of Stan’s regulars.
In his downtime, he likes to watch horror movies with his buddies that come and visit him at his workshop.
KJ: How did you come up with the idea for the character?
JH: Well, I’ve always dreamed of being a horror host. As a kid of the 80s and 90s they were a huge part of my childhood. My favorite movie of all time is John Carpenter’s Halloween, so I knew I wanted the character to be wearing coveralls. The mechanic aspect of the character was there from the beginning.
It didn’t really crystallize until June of 2019, though. My husband isn’t a huge fan of horror but to make my birthday special he joined me at Scare-a-Con last year. I was geeking out meeting some of my favorite horror actors like Heather Langenkamp and Felissa Rose, and then it happened!
We had our meet and greet with Cassandra Peterson, also known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Well my dork heart exploded and I was floating on air! After that we had some drinks as horror fans sometimes do at these events and we started riffing on the horror host idea.
We were thinking about the possibility of spooky mechanics and then we recalled the lyrics to “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show where Frank N. Furter tells Brad and Janet he’d call them a ‘satanic mechanic’, and from there the character developed pretty quickly.
KJ: With the lack of POC and LGBTQ presence in horror cinema, how does it feel to be representing the Puerto Rican and LGBTQ communities?
JH: It’s an amazing honor to me, and I don’t take the responsibility lightly. I am a huge horror fan. I love the genre but it’s not without its problems, just like anything else in the world.
With respect to my heritage, I am a proud biracial man. I am Puerto Rican and Italian. In terms of American horror, there are not many Latino names that spring instantly to mind with the exceptions of Guillermo del Torro, George Romero and Robert Rodriguez, but they operate behind the camera.
The only regular horror actor in the genre I can think of is Danny Trejo. That does not mean there aren’t any other latino actors that have appeared in horror films; I am speaking strictly of genre regulars. So, the impact is not lost on me. I am immensely proud to have this opportunity as a person of color and as an out gay man.
Horror has also had a bit of a rough relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. In the past, if there was any queer representation at all in a horror film, we were often the killers. It was never a flattering representation. That tide is beginning to turn though, and I am glad to ride that wave of that positive change. Fangoria and Shudder are leading the way on this front by reporting on and showcasing queer horror in a way that has never been done before.
If I’m really honest, I think the most controversial thing about me with respect to a leading role on a television show is my size. I am a big man — Not big boned, not beefy, but fat — and that is still a thing universally frowned upon in our culture. I am so proud of Here TV for having the forward-thinking vision of taking my show onboard and giving it a platform. It’s a dream come true!
To hear John and Kyle chat about more fun, spooky topics, listen to this week’s episode on the player below! You can also listen to the Bear World Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever good podcasts can be found!
All photos by Catalin Stelian