Sunday, October 26, 2014


Think I gotta make having the interview subject drenched in blood a running theme, right? Plus, she looks so happy!

There are way too many avenues to go down when you are trying to introduce Tristan Risk. She's pretty much everywhere and does everything and is probably one of the most charming people alive, and I got all that just from an e-mail interview! She catapulted onto mine and a lot of people's radars playing Beatress in American Mary, but that is the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

Basically, this introduction'll never be able to capture anything, so I'll let her words do it from here on out.

There are a million different things I could open this interview
with, as you wear an incredible amount of hats -- burlesque artist,
model, scream queen, writer -- so let's start with the basics. How
does Little Miss Risk define Little Miss Risk?

Tight lacer, troublemaker, magic tricks, swizzle sticks, voodoo kicks,
and a urban myth. When people ask me what I do I tell them I
entertain. It's the broadest blanket statement I can make without
running through a litany of skills and employment I have, and it's the
truth. I used to do it to just amuse myself as I'm an only child and I
didn't have many friends growing up. I later made friends because of
this, and now it's been the most consistent driving force in my life.
So whether I'm doing an old school strip tease, writing a blog
practicing a ridiculous circus trick that should be doing me
aggravated bodily harm, the root of it all leads back to wanting to
create an escape for people.

I reached out to you primarily because American Mary is one of my
absolute favorite horror films of the past decade. I know there has to
be a great story of how you came to be in that flick, as well as
plethora of on-set stories. (god this question is worded badly, but
i'll fix it when it goes up.)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I was going to fix this question in post, but then that compliment wouldn't make sense, and there is literally no way I am cutting out people saying nice things about me. Also, journalistic integrity?]

You're adorable. I got into American Mary by a mixture of strange luck and
coincidence. But I'm a firm believer that coincidence if the fabric of
magic, so it was a very organic origin. I knew the Soskas through a
mutual friend (Kevvy Mental of Fake Shark Real Zombie) and I had seen
Dead Hooker in a Trunk when it first screened at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver. Of these
two seemingly innocent incidents, I wound up talking to the Soskas
online and they offered to let me read Mary. I was hooked! They asked
to bring me on as a dance coordinator and when we met, we got to
talking. They hadn't cast Beatress yet (but not for want of trying)
and then had said, "It's too bad you don't act," to which I replied
that I did. They asked if I could do voices, which I also to (to a
fault at times, when drinking) and they knew I had a background in
dance so they let me audition for the role. That's pretty much how the
madness got started.

When, you're talking American Mary, you gotta talk the Soska
sisters. Now, I follow you three on twitter, so I know you cats still
pal around. What's it like working with them? And, more importantly,
what's it like to party with 'em?

We're the best of friends. Making a movie with them is never work, and
I am happy that they know there is nothing they can't ask me do to
artistically that would hit my boundaries. I have none. With this in
mind, I'm confident being the avatar of their creativity and know that
when we combine our efforts we provoke quite a response. You either
love what we do or you hate us, but you never find yourself
ambivalent. I'd sooner people hate my work than be indifferent to it.

When we throw down, though we have a lot of fun. Usually we turn into
a little hurricane of fun, since whoever is in our vicinity gets kind
of sucked up into the flow and having a good time with us. This month
I'm taking them to a rave with my friends in the West Coast electronic
scene and I can't wait… I have a feeling we might be spending the
evening being the opposite of boring…

Moving along, you're in a lot of upcoming flicks that're making
rumblings in the horror scene. You've got The ABC's of Death 2 and
House of Manson, both of which look great, by the way, and even more
in various forms of development. What can we expect from the upcoming
outpouring? Any surprises we might not necessarily know about?

Tricky, tricky! There are two unannounced features happening in
November and while I'm not yet at liberty to mention the titles, I CAN
say there are two people I've recently worked with involved with them,
that I'm looking forward to getting back into the saddle with! I just
finished filming Save Yourself with Ryan M. Andrews in July, and prior
to that I had shot both Fetish Factory and Mindless with Jennifer
Blanc Biehn, with whom I'll also be shooting the sci-fi Fembot with.
December I'll be travelling to Ireland to shoot Ground Floor in
Limerick with Patrick Murphy as part of his trilogy, and I get a
chance to dance with the devil… something I'm always keen to do,

This month sees me shooting a reboot of a film from the early 80s.
Normally I'd be hesitant, but the script is excellent, I'm stoked to
play my character, and the gentleman who is doing the redux is the
same who did the original, so I'm uncertain on a scale how meta that
is, but I'm game for it. So there is definitely some action coming
down the pipe, and I've not even started on what's going down for
2015… but then that gives us another reason to reconvene at a later
time, no?

And speaking of having multiple projects in development, let's turn
right around to the beginning. How does a project begin for you? I
know you'd auditioned for American Mary, but at this point you are a
known commodity. Do people approach you? Do you approach them?

A little of both… for Call Girl, I saw Jill Sixx put out a call for
auditions on Facebook. I messaged her to ask if I'd be able to
audition for Mitzy and she was kind enough to let me stumble through a
nervous Skype audition. I've been to a few auditions in Vancouver, but
the body of my work comes with people seeking me out. I'm pretty
blessed since it's all been very cool projects, and I made myself a
promise I'd not to anything that I was indifferent to. It would be
fair to neither the filmmaker nor myself to do a role for the sake of
having a job. But luckily, everything has excited me artistically, and
I've not had to deal with that as an issue.

Okay, the internet is a dangerous tool, as nothing can really be
hidden any longer. Going by your IMDB page, you were in a short film
titled Crazy Dracula Spring Break Weekend. There would be literally no
way I could live myself if I didn't ask you to tell me every last
detail about it. It 100% sounds like something up my alley.

The Granger Brothers (Mikey and Matty) did a turn by me by both
appearing in a short film I cowrote and then starred in. Later, they
offered me a role as a zombie Amy Winehouse prior to her death. The
film sees Dracula having a midlife crisis and his other monster
friends, all with their own aging issues, all stage an intervention.
The Grangers write some funny stuff and I was pleased to have a chance
to work on both our respective films together… though mine is
superior, as you get to see Mikey's butt in my film. Just sayin'.

Now, a short film of yours I have seen, The Real Housewives of the
Magic Kingdom
, was pretty great. You wrote that one with Kate Kroll.
Is there any chance we'll see more shorts from your pen on the screen?

Quite possible. I've written a few film treatments and I've got a few
scripts in the process, though all of them are light years from being
anything I'd show anyone at this point, I'm still writing my blog at
littlemissrisk.ca and for both Huffington Post and Daily Grindhouse on
the regular as well, so I've not complete creative stagnation.

You still do photoshoots and you still perform shows along with all
your film work. So, first of all, when do you actually sleep?
Secondly, though, is how do you juggle all of this?

I'm mildly narcoleptic, so I tend to sleep everywhere. I'm pretty sure
I scared the bejeezus out of Sylvia when I made a 'nest' in a pile of
towels at a hotel pool and had a nap, and I snooze on set when I'm not
in a scene.… But I still love doing creative collaborative work with
photographers and so many of them are old friends so if one of us has
a crazy idea we don't have to pussyfoot around it, we can just go
right for the pitch. In terms of doing live shows, I'm not performing
3 - 7 times a week like I have in the past. It was great for getting
my stage chops, but I'm beginning to enjoy nights in now a little more
so not being obligated to do it to live is nice, but it makes it that
much more of a pleasure to hit the stage and engage the audience and
have our little torrid love affairs with one another. I don't think
I'll ever stop performing live completely, but it's definitely taken a
back seat to film this year.

What is the difference between the feeling you get on stage versus
seeing yourself on screen? How does it feel to switch between playing
yourself and someone else?

If I fuck up filming I get a re-shoot. No multiple takes when you're live…

This is a question, not really related to anything, but hey, it's
been in the back of my head for a while, and I might as well get an
answer. So, you make part of your living being beautiful/desirable
Naturally, you'll get a lot of compliments about how pretty you are,
etc. My question is, at any point does hearing it so much dampen it?
Make it into a white noise? Can it still have the impact it would have
if you've heard it time and time again?

It never does. Every kind word forges an armour that cements self
confidence and when unkind words hit you, they deflect off, because
you never took anyone's compliments for granted. Just my thoughts on
the matter.

To completely shift gears back, a question I ask everyone no
matter what genre they work in or really what they do for a living, as
I am a Cannon Group Junkie: what makes the perfect action scene?

Like The Raid, The Raid 2 and Ong Bak I LOVE long one-shots with
intense fight choreography. An upcoming film with Salma Hayek, Everly,
has some GREAT sequences like that. I adore the amount of skill and
work it takes to train to make it look so effortless and off of the
cuff. It's the exact opposite of that, but I still appreciate the work
that everyone puts it to make it what it is on screen.

To make this interview even more scatterbrained: I love your
feature on the history of burlesque on your site. Obviously being a
performer has something to do with the interest, but where did the
initial spark begin? And what is the coolest thing you've learned as
you've delved into the history?

I've always had an affinity for cities histories, particularly
Vancouver. My home town has a very rich and interesting history forged
in drugs, drink, sex, and myth. They taught us nothing about this in
school which makes it more rewarding to learn about now as an adult.
Being 'Las Vegas North' for so long as well, Vancouver was a stop on
the West Coast route for both performers and narcotics. With this
perspective in mind, it gives the relatively young city I call home a
different hue that I wasn't cast in before for many people's heads,
and I love being an introduction and tour guide to that world for

To wrap this up, and add a little twist: Is there anything you want to ask me?

Do you believe in magic?

I am so befuddled by the world around me, I'm pretty sure everything is  magic. But, on a more serious note, I just gotta believe there are things you'll never be able to explain that're gonna help or hinder you, and the second you let wonder drain from your life, you might as well just pack it in. 

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I realize this is a vain as hell way to end an interview and intend to use it all the time.]

Now, guys, hear me out: when I say when I say she's everywhere I mean it, You can read her writing at The Huffington PostThe Daily Grindhouse, and her own personal site.. You can see her in a plethora of flicks,, most importantly The ABC's of Death 2, opening in theaters on Halloween, but available On Demand from numerous different sources (you can watch the redband trailer here,) as well as in American Mary currently streaming on Netflix. And don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for House of Manson, coming soon. You can watch the trailer for it here! It's also a redband, so you know, keep that in mind.

If you happen to be in the area and want to see her live, she'll be in Whistler, BC here on October 30th, and Vancouver, BC here on Halloween. I highly recommend it.

Also, don't forget to follow her on Twitter. Follow everyone on twitter. Even me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


So, hey.

I know it's Saturday, and that is not Camp Counseling day, but I got a message for ya'll. Starting Monday, the little comic book that could EL CHUPACABRA: ACE DETECTIVE is going on sale. It was a labor of love and overcoming absurd, border-line Job-esque obstacles and a collaboration between me and a longtime compadre, Colt Hoskins. It ain't the prettiest child, but we are proud of it nonetheless.

What you would be getting is the first EL CHUPACABRA: ACE DETECTIVE story, titled Double Down on Murder. It is the simple story of a Chupacabra detective tracking down a gambler who has disappeared. Also, the Jersey Devil is there.

It's a digital download that includes the entire single comic book, the original script, creator commentary, and all kinds of sketches that we yelled back and forth about before we settled on the cool monster designs you'll hold in your hands. Well, not really. It's digital.You get my meaning, though.

But, I know what you're wondering. How much does it cost? Well, here's the kicker: you can pay whatever you want.! You can even have it for free if you're strapped for cash! It's Halloween, and everyone deserves to have some monsters in their life.

So hey, give it a look, maybe pass it off to some friends, whatever. It's our gift to you. Well, that and my avoidance of making a Monster Mash joke.



EL CHUPACABRA: ACE DETECTIVE, along with other comics by Colt Hoskins can be found here. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Look, you can't not lead off with a picture of your subject covered in blood, can you?

So, this is my new best friend James Cullen-Bressack. I've been shilling the hell out of his Animal Planet creature feature Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys for months, and naturally, he had to be my first get. He's got a damn impressive pedigree, with  his dad, Gordon Bressack writing for Animaniacs and his mom, Ellen Gerestell, being a voice actress in pretty much every cartoon you wax nostalgic for from the late eighties to the early nineties, and man he's got quite the back catalogue, which you can pick up on Amazon. I recommend 13/13/13 as it's got a pretty decent cult following and might fall into your wheelhouse or, if you're feeling that urge for brutality, Hate Crime. And the aforementioned Blood Lake?  Totally streaming on Netflix! 

His latest flick, soon to be released, is Pernicious, and I for one have hype. Check out the trailer here, and be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Okay, enough of the carnival barker act, let's get into the interview, shall we?

AJ: I'm just gonna jump right in and ask. how does a project start for you? Do you already have a project in mind or do people approach you with pre-packaged ideas?

James Cullen Bressack: Some of each really. It's a bit of both. I'm a hit man and a mob boss. Depends on the project.

So, something like Blood Lake (NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX), by The Asylum would be more a hit job than something you orchestrated?

Yes. I was a gun for hire on that one. Doesn't mean I love it any less, just means I spent less time dating it.

Hey, love at first sight exists, man.

I know it. I've experienced it, there has never been a woman or a project that I have met or seen that I haven't fallen in love with for 15 minutes or 15 years.

A damn good attitude to have. Now I mentioned The Asylum earlier as a not so subtle segue in to this. I just love those guys, as they have this brash and flagrant air to everything they do, from stuff like Transmorphers to Sharknado. How was it working inside that system?

When you make a film for Asylum you are making a film for Asylum. It is a very different way of doing things, but they have a mold that works for them. Those guys are geniuses. I've learned so much working with them and would do it again anytime. They know how to make a movie that makes money. In this business now a days that's impossible.

I look at a lot of what's coming out in the multiplexes now, and everything is super safe. It's like an inverse of the 80's. Nowadays pretty much anyone can make something look semi-professional. Much like what happened in when the home video market first opened up.

Theatrical took a big nosedive this year. Mid-range movies are gonna be phased out. Only massive scale ones and small indies. To be a filmmaker you have to go out and create. My first 3 features had a collective budget of $25,000 total. One was made for $500. I started to build a career off of that. Find your story and tell your story. Budget isn't an obstacle it's just a tool to tell your story

Exactly. And, honestly, creative ways to solve any budget hiccups re: effects always stand out more than just throwing money at a problem. Not so much in a noble sense, in more, it forces creativity. And being creative and breaking through whatever mold and hurdle you have is why I keep coming back to the indie genre scene.

I agree. People say my film Hate Crime is so brutal. There is literally no onscreen violence, just the aftermath. It's all about what you think you saw.

I like to call that the Texas Chain Saw Massacre effect. It's a great tool to use, because what is implied will always be worse than what you can show. Even if you're Salo or an August Underground flick. Even one of the Guinea Pig films, the mind will always freak you out more.

Yup. I heard they are doing a guinea pig remake series. I'm waiting for a phone call

Oh man I would sponsor that in a heartbeat.

Stephen Biro did the first one. I want to do one of the eight. Seriously though, I was born for that. Biro, if you are reading this, call me.

I will do my best to boost the signal so he sees it.

[Laughs] He distributed Hate Crime, so he knows me

I'm just picturing James Cullen Bressack's Mermaid in a Manhole right now.

I want to do He Never Dies or Devil Doctor Woman.

Interesting choices. I'm just stuck on aquatic creatures because A. Blood Lake and B. They seem to kill Christopher Lloyd a lot lately.

[Laughs] See Pernicious then you'll see why. Torture is my thing.

Torture's good, man. I got no beef with it.. But hey, let's talk about 13/13/13, the flick I first saw that turned me on to your stuff. You wrote that one, correct?

Yeah. I had three days to write it, but yeah. It's one of my films but it's for sure the one I like the least.

See now I just feel like the asshole.

[Laughs] Some people love it!

But as a dude with a degree in screenwriting, I gotta ask, how fucking crazy was writing a script in 3 days?

A bottle of Jack Daniels.  I think I have a vine where I'm literally losing my mind

That is nuts. I once had to write an entire screenplay in 18 hours, so I know the pressure. My poison was gin, however.

How many pages?

A hundred and twenty-three because cutting was just not an option by the end.

Jeez, was it any good?

It has moments? It was basically the story of a guy who fakes cancer in order to make it as a big shot in Hollywood. So, you know, the most cliched idea ever.

Sounds fun. Let's have him fight a sharknado.

You reading this, The Asylum? Although, actually, I think he'd have a better chance against Sharktopus, since he's fighting everyone this year. Gotta be wearing on him.

Ah that's [Roger] Corman, though.

This is true. I don't wanna start a SyFy turf war in this interview.


Okay, going through your IMDB credits, you've done pretty much everything but craft services at this point.

I should do that ASAP. 

It's like the low budget EGOT, I think.

I gotta EGOT.

You gotta, man. You're still young and spry. So, you've got a ton of stuff in various stages of production. Anything you can tell me about what's coming up in the near future?

I'm doing a music video for Riff Raff. Music videos are fun. I recently did one for Borgore. And then I'm kinda just waiting on dates on a few different movies

You know, I've never talked to anyone who's directed a music video.Walk me through the process, a little bit. I'm actually totes fascinated at how something with so many quick cuts is created.

It's like making a movie on crack. Basically,  think the drug scenes in Requiem [For a Dream], but that as a style without the drugs. You can basically do anything in a music video -- nothing is too weird.

That's gotta be super fun to fuck around with.

It's rad. I dig it

Now, I pretty much ask everyone this, as I am a Cannon Group junkie, and I don't care what genre you work in, so: what do you think constitutes the perfect action scene?

The Raid: Redemption. That movie is perfect action

No one could ever argue with that. I saw it in theaters twice. Once to see the movie. Once to watch people's reactions.

Anything like that is perfect. It pretty much changed the genre

That was just next level choreography. Like, I've always had a beef with modern action flicks having the camera be the star of an action scene and not the actor. Then Rama makes a fluorescent tube terrifying. But, naturally, we have to go into it. Dredd vs The Raid. Thoughts?

I dug both films. I think The Raid was better, but  still both films are fun.

Oh most assuredly. And now we have the American remake of The Raid to look forward to. Hopefully they lock down Tony Jaa for The Raid 3 to make up for it.

That would be rad! I shot in Thailand for three months on my film, Pernicious. It's by far my favorite film of mine

Alright, sell Pernicious to all the cats reading this. Mostly becuase I'm a terrible journalist and haven't seen it yet.


I always have some pretty extreme violence, but the stories are all rooted in the people; truly understanding and caring about the people that are going through the inciting incident. At their core level, all my films are about people trying to hold themselves together while falling apart. The more we humanize a victim and the more we humanize evil, the more it feels like it can really happen. I feel like Pernicious is a unique journey that I think everyone will have some fun with. Although dark and gritty, the film is very cinematic and beautiful. I worked extensively with my beyond talented DP, Seo, to develop a look for the film that I feel opens it up just enough while still keeping a claustrophobic feeling. Trust me, it’s my most cinematic film yet.

I would say that Pernicious is not only my scariest film, but also my best film and by far my most violent.  I wanted to have ultra realistic and disgusting FX in it, so I made sure we hired Jermai Cruise from Toe Tag, the genius behind the FX in the August Underground movies. I promise this, if any, is the film of mine to see.

See, you had me at August Underground. I even mentioned them earlier! Alright, I like to wrap these things up with questions that goad into a good exit line. If there was one scene, in all of horror, that you could say was your creation, what would it be?

Any scene in my movies. I don't wanna make other people's films I want to make my own
Their films inspire me. I grew up on film. I want to have my films inspire others. We have to continue to create and thrive or all is lost. It's a cycle. The ones reading this will one day be the ones writing it.

And, there you have it. You can't really probe and pry when you get such a perfect closing line, can you? You should definitely check out everything James is putting out. He's got an enthusiasm that oozes throughout his projects. He'll be a force to be reckoned with in the near future, just you wait.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Oh hey, readers.

Kinda forgot to keep you in the loop, didn't I?

Well, rest assured Camp Counseling's rebirth is happening and has a firm date. October 19th. That's next Sunday! The first person spotlighted is James Cullen-Bressack. His personal website is under construction, but I urge you to give this cat a follow on twitter.

And, to completely shill for James, my new best friend, be sure to check out his film Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys, which is now streaming on Netflix. It's got Shannen Doherty and Christopher Lloyd in it! If that doesn't sell you, there's a scene where a lady kills one of the many killer lampreys in the shower with her curling iron. It's kind of amazing, and it's right here.

So, campers, keep your breath baited as you wait, because I'll be damned if you aren't in for a fun ride.