photo by Shimona Henry at Pin Up Perfection
makeup by Teresa Bussey of Dead Heaven Make Up
In recent years, you have had quite a bit of success in indie horror
movies - so is horror a genre at all dear to you, and what makes you want
to be in the movies you're in? And how do you enjoy the horror scene as
Horror was dear to me from day one. I have always been fascinated with
the dark side and the things that scare us. I remember as kids, we'd
gather up a bunch of kids and sit in dark attics, crawlspaces or in the
woods reading scary stories to each other. I can only imagine my
friend's parent's reaction to opening the crawlspace to find a drill or
something and finding six preteen girls reading Stephen King to each
other and trying to scare the shit out of each other with Pet Semetary
To be able to be part of the media that helped me keep it together in my
formative years is a dream come true. I never forget how lucky I am that
my first films opened the doors to so much work. But I've had the most
amazing time being able to work with so many different filmmakers and
their casts and crew. I feel pretty spoiled. I have so many favourites
in different subgenres of horror that I want to be like the Pokemon
Master of Horror - I want to collect them all!
A project with a title that goes rather well with
indie horror as such is your current webseries Straight to Video: The
B-Movie Odyssey - so do talk about that one for a bit, what can you
tell us about the shoot, and how did you get involved with the series
James Bickert and Tristan shooting Frankenstein
Cody Kennedy, who's brother is Matt Kennedy
from Astron-6 (proves that talent is in their basic DNA sequence), got in
touch with me. I was introduced to the House Of Heathens-crew, who are
some of the funniest guys I've ever worked with. Lots of fun, and reminded
me of all the funny dudes in the theatre class I liked hanging out with in
high school. They shot me the teaser script and it was super funny. When
in Edmonton filming the teaser, I went to Kevin's video store - the last
of its kind in Edmonton - and saw the movie posters, all the familiar
titles on the spines of the DVDs and that crying dog black velvet painting
and thought, 'I'm home'. I'd performed in Edmonton for years when I used
to tour through and I never knew that magical slice of sass from heaven
was even there.
The House Of Heathen dudes have put out a
series of their webisodes online, and they gave me a DVD of the
collection. Did I laugh? I soaked the seat. After watching it, I KNEW
these guys got my aesthetic, and I love their appreciation of the
era and grindhouse. All of the yes.
Jill Sixx, Tristan
You're also in the wonderfully titled Frankenstein
Created Bikers - so anything you can us about that movie and your
character in it yet?
I just wrapped filming in Atlanta, where
Walkers are known to roam. I play Val - a badass with a penchant for
blowing up cops, rival bikers, and who commands an unusual army. This is
the follow up to James Bickert's Dear God No! [James
Bickert interview - click here] and it's likely the last
independent film shot on 35mm film. However, even if you've missed Dear
God No! (and if you have, shame on you - you need to check it out) it's a
pleasure and a joy to be around this cast and crew and I'm so ridiculously
proud to be involved. I'm able to spend time on set with my friends Ellie
(Church), Jill (Sixx) and Laurence (Harvey) which is nice, since we so
rarely get a chance to see each other. I find making cool art such as this
is perfect, since then we can have a blast, and then share it with the
I had such a blast working with these cats and
I fee like I've made some incredible friends. The cast and crew worked
like rented donkeys and there is so much love going into ever facet of
this film. If I snuff it, I can die happy knowing I was part of this
movie. It was a wonderful experience and I'm seriously considering moving
to Atlanta or at least spending a good chuck to time there so I can pester
the cats at Silver Scream FX labs and watch movies at Jimmy and Lisa's
backyard drive-in (for real) and drink beer with Jett. I think all the joy
we had making this film will shine through when people watch it. I'm a
grindhouse girl for life.
Another future project of yours is
the British Redacted - so what drew you to that project, how did
you become involved?
I basically bullied Andy Stewart into hiring
I kid, but I first was familiar with his work
from Dysmorphia, when it played at the Rio Grind Festival in Vancouver. I
saw someone in the audience pass out, and I was fan from then on. I
followed his work with Split and Ink, all amazing body horror shorts.
While I was in Ireland shooting Ground Floor
with the SpadeLion boys, we got to talking on Facebook, and I sort of
coerced him into letting me read the Redacted script, and again, it was
pure Andy Stewart brilliance. It wasn't a body horror, but it was grand. I
might have sort of said some words that some people might have taken as
threatening, but Andy has a good soul, and saw I genuinely wanted to
participate. He also was good enough to bring on my partner-in-genre-crime
Laurence Harvey - this will be our fifth project together - to make this
My role is non-verbal, though all my dialog is
body language. Coming from a dance background, this was something I was
excited to experiment with. I won't look familiar in a way anyone would
recognize me, and I hope that if Ron Perlman, Doug Jones or Camden Toy
see it, then they approve, all being phenomenal suit and makeup actors
themselves. Being able to lose yourself in the make up and be something
unlike anyone would know you as is an alluring concept to me.
Yet another future project of
yours, Dark Continents, seems to hold a lot of promise - so you
obviously have to talk about that one!
Yes! I'm looking
forward to this one. Dark Continents features four travellers sharing
stories about their experiences and the pasts that they are fleeing from
with a good dose of Lovecraftian strangeness that ties all the stories
together. I'll be playing the role of Bianca, who travels to see her
sister, who has gotten involved with a strange cult. I love Lovecraft, and
enjoy the high gothic sensibilities of the concept of four lost souls
commiserating their strange experiences...
Any other current
or future films of yours you'd like to talk about?
Yes! I've got the good fortune to be
travelling to Boston next week to work with Izzy Lee [Izzy
Lee interview - click here] and the Nihil Noctem
film crew to shoot her short film Innsmouth, which is Lovecraftian in
nature. It caters to a certain taste of mine and Lovecraft fans will enjoy
this hard and fast punch to the soul. Izzy herself is a major fan of the
master's works, and I know her homage will get the nod from others, too.
I'm also working on a little project with Gigi
Saul Guerrero and the Luchagore team at the beginning of June on a little
short that will have her likely disowned by her family for the content and
on a subject close to my heart. This will be part of Eli Roth's CryptTV,
so I look forward to making people squirm en masse with it. I've wanted to
work with Gigi for ages and and I can't wait!
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I did theatre in my youth. I had
done a few short films and music videos, but American Mary was my first
major project. I have always been a performer though. I love it and having
a camera and great stories and directors help to channel all that energy
into something productive.
horror, especially good loking ones, are almost automatically labelled as
scream queens - a label that at all bothers you, and your thoughts about
women in horror as such?
Not in the least. I'm proud of the title.
There was a time in the 80s when the label first dropped and it described
actresses who did horror movies and oftentimes were the victims. Known
for their screams as they were victims of crazy psychos and monsters, it's
where we started. But now with so many women in horror and people, men and
women, writing smart characters, not just chainsaw bait, now the
moniker is one that we've reclaimed. The women who are Scream Queens are
busy causing other people to scream - not doing the screaming themselves.
Consider this: In the 20s the term 'flapper'
was used to label women that society saw as fast and loose. They didn't
wear corsets, they had jobs, they drank, they stayed out. They did what
they want. Now we think it's cute and we gloss over the fact that it was a
derogatory term. Now it's no longer as such. The Scream Queen title has
similarly be rescued and is now celebrated. If I'm labeled a Scream Queen,
I wear that crown with fucking pride.
Your initial and main claim to
fame is though not as an actress but as a burlesque dancer - so what can
you tell us about that aspect of your career, and how did you get involved
in it even?
I did it as a gag for a friend's party many
moons ago... but since then it's taken me all over the world. Burlesque
has done me right, and though I have begun making more films and spending
less time on stage... the stage is my lover. She is tolerant though and
allows me to have the silver screen as my misteress, since she knows my
heart belongs to her.
I've read somewhere that you're also a fire
eater - so how do you even learn such a skill, and other skills of yours
you'd like to talk about?
I have a fairly wide catalog of
what I call stupid human tricks. Sideshow, magic, striptease. A lot of
these arise out of just messing around or a curiosity. It feeds into
research which leads to developing a skill. I love fire and always have,
but I got to do a fire show every night for six years in my touring days
so you get really good at it. Also, I should point out, ironically, the
only time I've been burned is with a curling iron or the oven when baking.
Make of that what you will.
You're also very outspoken
about third wave feminism - so please elaborate!
easily fill pages with my thoughts on this. The fact is, until women
everywhere have equal rights with men in all things, my work being a vocal
third wave feminist will never be done. No one has any right to dictate to
me about whether I have the choice to govern my own body, receive equal
pay, if female lives matter or to eat pussy. Until I don't have to fight
for these things anymore, then I still have an obligation to be loud and
call attention to the inequalities, especially for the women who don't
have that voice.
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
photo by Shimona Henry at Pin Up Perfection
makeup by Teresa Bussey of Dead Heaven Make Up
I have a very bad habit of
taking aspect of my personality and applying them to my characters. This
helps me tap into what I'm doing, and while I can slip into play easily,
sometimes getting out of it can be tricky. Method seems to be my modus
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
Where to being? Malcolm McDowell,
Brinke Stevens, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Doug Jones, Camden Toy, Ron
Perlman, and Barbara Crampton to name a few. The list is pretty wide and
long, since there are a lot of artists I respect. Inspiration gets drawn
from many corners, and I could sing you a dozen different names every day
for a week. I think it's a take from the idea that it takes a village to
raise a child... if that's true there is a stained glass window in my mind
of talent that makes up the mosaic of inspiration for me.
Your favourite movies?
favourite all-time film is Labyrinth. I love the combination of live
action and puppets. Being such a Jim Henson nerd, I totally loved it as a
kid and now as an adult appreciate it on a different scale. The same movie
wouldn't be made today unless it was an independent passion project, and I
hope they are out there, but it'd likely just be CGI-ed to death. The
magic was in the organic quality of the interaction between the actors and
puppets, and it also was the basis of why I did men in eye makeup and tight
and of course, films you really deplore?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
Suckerpunch. As a feminist it made me really
mad to see the way the women in it were portrayed, especially with the
barely legal angle. If they were going that route, I'd say go Tokyo Gore
Police on it and own it, but it was left with this NC 15 rating so all
the over the top craziness that could have saved it instead watered it
down and just left me feeling like it was one of those films I should just
try and forget happened so I don't get mad thinking about it and wind up
putting a hole in the drywall.
Seriously. I can't even see people CosPlay
characters without wanting to facepalm.
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