‘The Midnight Club’ Stars on the Horror Genre and the Show’s Important Themes

All episodes of The Midnight Club season 1 are currently streaming on Netflix. At New York Comic-Con, I had the opportunity to interview Iman Benson, Igby Rigney, Adia, Aya Furukawa, Sauriyan Sapkota, Annarah Cymone, Chris Sumpter, and Ruth Codd!

At a hospice for terminally ill young adults, eight patients come together every night at midnight to tell each other stories — and make a pact that the next of them to die will give the group a sign from the beyond. Based on the 1994 novel of the same name as well as other works by Christopher Pike.

To start off, we discussed how it felt to share their show at NYCC and being at the convention itself. “It’s a lot, it’s crazy. I mean, this is only my second time in New York, and then to make it my second time here at Comic Con, it’s like, there’s so much. I wanna walk the floor so bad,” Annarah Cymone expressed.

“Just seeing the thousands of people that are here, the crowds, the energy,” Aya Furukawa said. “I’m a big nerd for cartoons, comics, anime, all this kind of stuff, so all I want to do is go to every one of those booths. Artist Alley is all that kinda fun stuff, it’s something I wish I could be a part of.”

Chris Sumpter explained, “I think at first it was crazy just that all of this was happening and now it’s crazy because it feels so normal.”

Sauriyan Sapkota opened about doing a panel: “I know it’s about to happen, but it’s gonna hit me when I’m on stage and I see everybody, and then I sit down with that mic and I’m like, ‘Okay, here we go.’”

“It’s been great, the response has been really warm. It just doesn’t feel real yet,” Ruth Codd added.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

While every member of the cast was excited to bring these stories to life, they were divided when it came to being fans of the horror genre. “I am absolutely a chicken,” Cymone mentioned laughing. “I’ve watched Hill House and stuff, and obviously it’s so beautiful, but I watch it because of Mike. It’s like horror, but he takes it to so many other levels.”

“I enjoyed actually portraying the horror side of things,” Adia remarked before adding that she is also a chicken as a viewer. “I can’t watch it but actually doing it and seeing how these jumpscares come together, how you do all of the special effect things, and acting with an imaginary sticker or whatever, it’s kind of cool.”

Benson emphasized, “I was really excited to immerse myself in horror. I hadn’t really worked in this world yet so it’s exciting. I love scary movies, but this was definitely a new adventure.”

“I love watching horror, never done it, didn’t ever imagine I’d be in one, but yeah, it’s weird cause sometimes you think something is gonna be really scaring when you’re filming it and you’re actually just looking at an X on a wall,” Codd shared.

Sumpter was quick to call his co-star a scream queen in real life. “Okay, yeah, I am always scaring people, but I love horror,” Furukawa revealed.

“Iman is honestly the easiest to scare. It’s fun. The hardest one is Igby. I haven’t scared him just yet, but that’s on my plans,” Furukawa voiced. “In terms of my favorite scare, usually you have a green room tent, so we’re all sitting in our like, director’s chairs, all congregated after a scene. But I’d often kind of rush off set real fast and be the first one there. I would hide behind the tents, find a crack that’s right beside someone’s chair, wait for someone to sit down, and shoot my arms out.”

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Mike Flanagan is known for creating projects that make audiences really think, providing characters that are easy to relate to in some way and The Midnight Club is no exception.

“I think Mike has an effect on all of his projects, throughout all of them, that’s why fans love him so much,” Sapkota told me. “But for this one, in particular, I feel like there’s the themes of love, friendship, and death, and how that stays and that lingers. If everything else goes, they still have love, they have their friends. Our characters live through our stories so even if one of us goes away or dies, they’re still alive in our stories and that’s what’s so beautiful about The Midnight Club. I hadn’t read that anywhere else and Mike does a great job of putting it onto screen.”

“I think you’re right. I think Mike has a great way of taking a story that’s so, as Sauriyan said earlier, veiled with death and using it to actually celebrate life and bring love to the forefront,” Rigney agreed.

“I think just the friendship is one big thing, the camaraderie of it all,” Cymone responded. “Going through something that is so devastating and having people hold you up is so important. I think that was something that was really important in the show and I think it shows.”

“I would say the same thing, the friendship and then also just living in the moment, being present— that was really stressed, really emphasized in this is the importance of being present in yourself, being here, and enjoying life while you can,” Adia expressed.

Benson said, “I hope that fans also take away the fact that even though we are terminally ill kids, we have imagination and we have lives and other problems that we deal with, and we’re not just that.”

“The biggest thing is that our characters have all of these diagnoses and everything, but on top of that, they have so much more to their lives than just illnesses, what they’re going through, and death. It’s so much about the lives, who they are, the relationships they built, the friendship, the humor, and the community,” Furukawa explained.

Codd replied, “I mean, reading the scripts, it’s not really like anything else and even though it’s horror, you care so much about the characters and you get so attached to them. I kinda missed my character. I’ve kind of viewed her as a real person so then when we stopped filming, I was like, ‘aw, I miss her.’”

Eike Schroter/Netflix

So after working so hard on the series, what are they most looking forward to fans seeing? “All of the stories we tell. A lot of them are so different from our actual characters and so, it was so fun to play,” Cymone stated. “I think they’re so out of this world, but they work.”

“I love the alternate universes, I think that’s gonna be really great,” Adia added.

“I’m excited for Christopher Pike fans to just see his work come to life on the screen, not only The Midnight Club, but his different books we get to tell,” Iman Benson shared. “So we hope fans love it.”

Sumpter expressed, “Honestly, every one of our stories. I think you get so much insight into our characters, who we are, and how we grew to be the way we are. We all tell them in such clever, almost coded ways and I’m excited for fans to figure out the truths from each story.”

There is one specific person that Sapkota had to highlight: Heather Langenkamp. “I feel like she just steals every scene that she’s in. She’s so grounded, honest, and true. We learned so much from her, even in the group therapy, there’s moments where she’ll like, twitch her eye and you can see Dr. Stanton a little bit differently. Oh shit, okay, you’re scared now. What’s Dr. Stanton hiding? But yeah, Heather is phenomenal.”

Eike Schroter/Netflix

The actors also told me what they were most excited to see the final version of after filming. “Probably from Kevin’s story, The Wicked Heart, Dusty’s mom kind of crawling on the walls and stuff. That’s pretty cool,” Benson expressed.

“The shadow looked really cool,” Codd mentioned. “I didn’t see that before the trailer.”

“We have consecutive jump scares in the first episode, which is just so much fun,” Furukawa remarked.

Sumpter pointed out that they actually hit a record for the scene: “I think most jump scares on screen in like a 15-second sequence or something.”

Eike Schroter/Netflix

With such a talented group and complex characters, there are so many great dynamics that stuck out.

“I would say me and Aya’s relationship is very intimate and something that we hadn’t explored before. We just kind of let it gradually play itself out. We didn’t put anything that wasn’t there and so, we just kinda found it there, just like how Amesh and Natsuki found it. So it was a little method in that way,” Sapkota shared with me.

The actor continued to say, “I feel like we all meshed really well together off the bat. We all had our little get-togethers and parties off-set, it was great. But on set, I feel like we all kind of bonded being a part of this whole thing together cause for most of us, it’s our first ever project.”

“You get a sense of Kevin and Anya’s relationship from my very subtle trying to cool the temperature down,” Rigney concluded. “Those are some of my favorite moments, I think they’re pretty funny.”