ByAlan G. Forsythe, writer at
Alan Forsythe is a Vancouver based journalist turned playwright/novelist/filmmaker.
Alan G. Forsythe

There will always be horror. People like to be scared, from suspense to a good jump-scare

-Tristan risk

The Fangoria Chainsaw Awards are upon us (see article) and we caught up with one of the nominees, Tristan Risk (American Mary) to ask her about being included in the awards, acting in horror films, superheroes and a bunch of other stuff.

So first off, how do you feel about being nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award?

It's pretty much better than being called up for an Oscar, and I'll tell you why, the Academy Awards are all nominated by and voted on by this inner circle, with something like The Chainsaw Awards it's largely fan-controlled. So it's what the people who know and love the genre enjoyed. The whole thing feels more honest and reflective of what is happening in the genre and where it's developing as its own entity. So yeah, I'm wearing a perm-grin right now that's threatening to become an even more permanent feature.

In American Mary you're pretty much unrecognizable for the entire movie, what was it like acting with a lot of prosthetic obscuring your face?

I used to do a lot of mask work in theatre, and having a background in dance helps a lot. Beatress wasn't just her face it was eyes, body and voice so I didn't feel it was a hinderance. I felt like it was a help to get me to develop her into the creature you saw in the film. But I have a lot of respect for folks like Ron Pearlman and Doug Jones who frequently portray memorable characters when they are often in suits or complicated FX make up.

As a fan what's your favourite horror flick?

Jaws. I love sharks.

Sharks aside do you consider yourself a zombie girl or vampire girl?

Oof. If it's a Haitian zombie, then voodoo zombie all the way, though not in the vein of Angel Heart, otherwise Team Fangbanger.

Do you plan on getting away from horror films any time soon?

Not planning on it. I'd be open to other styles, but horror is my first love, though flirting with sci-fi and fantasy… I'd be willing to have a menage a trois with those genres as well… and if BBC mysteries ever had an opening I'd be there quicker than a fox up a rabbit hole.

Still, super hero films are big right now, so do you consider yourself a DC or Marvel girl?

Marvel. Because my hands-down favourite hero is Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat. She's got her mutant ability but she also trained as a ninja, was a skilled hacker, had a pet dragon from outer space, and yet was still a socially awkward dork. How can you NOT love her?

You might not be playing a superhero in the near future but if you could be a superhero who would you be?

Probably either Death (Sandman) or Rachel Summer's Phoenix.

Ok so back to your first love, Horror. I think a lot of people really want to know, what's it like acting or performing while covered in blood?

Well, um, sticky, obviously. Forget taking a bathroom break with fake blood all over your butt. The toilet seat will not be forgiving. But I don't mind, maybe I'm a closet splosher and I never knew. It's a relief to know though that we FINALLY have a use for corn syrup other than making that diabetes-making, GMO-saturated gloop otherwise known as food stuff. Because 'stuff' is exactly what it is, and in lieu of putting it INTO your body, putting it ON your body creates art. So that's a happy compromise for both the corn industry and the horror industry.

After working so much in the Horror genre we have to ask, does anything freak you out/get under your skin?

Well, for the longest time I had a thing about bugs in general, spiders in particular. Then I had a series of arachnid encounters the last year and I think I'm over it. I'm even entertaining the idea of getting a tarantula but I've yet to find a tarantula rescue adoption program just yet. … but monkeys… yeah they make my blood run cold. And the Northern Lights, don’t ask me to explain it either.

Why do you think horror films have such enduring appeal?

There will always be horror. People like to be scared, from suspense to a good jump-scare. It's the way we are. And as long as humans want to face their fears, there will be a market for horror. Not to mention that there is an AMAZING community with horror fans that’s where a lot of artistic support lies. It's not a bad place to experience a lot of personal growth that way. It's a community, not a scene.


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