Photo Credit: Ninedoors Photography
The conversation started with a simple question: “Where should we begin?“
Considering everything that’s happened for Tristan Risk since her scene-stealing performance in The Soska Sisters‘ AMERICAN MARY, it’s a legitimate question. After turning heads and gaining cred as the body-modded Betty Boop doppleganger, Beatress, Risk has been making a name for herself, including appearances in THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 ( in the Soskas’ T IS FOR TORTURE PORN segment) and Astron-6‘s THE EDITOR. And she hasn’t taken a break since, racking up a number of recent back-to-back projects.
For starters, Risk has been making the rounds (cinematically, at least ) on the festival circuit, with Izzy Lee’s INNSMOUTH as the first one out of the gate. “Without giving too much away, this is my second film with Izzy, and this is based on the Lovecraft story, The Shadow over Innsmouth.” What makes INNSMOUTH interesting is its gender-flipped (and decidely un-Lovecraftian) approach. “This is a very female-centric cast, as well as most of the crew, and I am interested in how people will react to the… ‘special thing’ in this particular film, and with such a female-specific bent, how people will look at it. So far, all of the response has been very, very positive. I play Alice Marsh, the town’s matriarch, and she’s guarding her town’s secrets very jealously. That was a really fun project to be a part of. I’m sure this is going to get me either loved or hated, one of the two. It’s probably going to be the most “GIFed” thing in my career.”
Following completion of INNSMOUTH, Risk moved onto her next short film, Luchagore Productions‘ blood-soaked (and just a pinch blasphemous) MADRE DE DIOS. “I’ve been trying to work with (Luchagore) for two years, and it’s taken this long because we’ve both been so stupid-busy doing all of our projects. It’s just like shooting laser beams across the universe at each other. Finally, the stars and the planets aligned, thankfully, and we were able to get together. Gigi (Saul Guerrero) came to me and said would you be into reading this and what do you think.” Both Risk, and Luchagore, are expecting a little bit of religion-backed “outrage” with this one, as it blends sacred and the profane in equal doses. “Now, I should stress here that I am not Catholic. So, certain things are going to upset some people more than most. I, myself, didn’t think that this was a particularly offensive script, although I was assured by other people that they might be excommunicated for it. I think it’s a beautifully shot film. The art department took it to the next level. And just watching this team work together was really, really cool and gratifying. So I hope to be able to work with them again in the future, but I have enjoyed all of their projects up until this point, so it was really nice to be part of one of them now.” The film also marked a continuing ‘familial’ thread for Risk, too. ” The fun part of that for me was that there’s a snake that appears in it, and it’s actually my boyfriend’s snake, Indigo, so that’s kind of like “oh, look it’s our snake-baby in there, too! She’s getting work!” There was another time that I had a pet in a film was AMERICAN MARY – her bird, that was in the cage – that was actually my parrot. I have this trend in films where I sneak my pets into them, somehow.”
Up next on the release schedule? FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS, James Bickert‘s follow-up to his oh-so-un-PC bikers vs. Bigfoot sleaze-terpiece, DEAR GOD NO!. “As of today, (BIKERS) has officially wrapped all of their filming now, they are going into editing now, so this was the last day – Boom! It is done. So considering it started filming in June, and being that they are filming on 35mm film, not digital, that’s incredible. I am so proud of them for doing that, so good on them for sorting that out. I’m excited to see it, I’m excited for everyone who was involved with it. It was definitely a labour of love.”
Unlike many of her previous roles, Risk got to have some straight-up Russ Meyer-vixen fun with firearms and explosives in this outing. “I play Val, who leads a rival biker gang, and other special interest groups against the lead bikers. I have a penchant for blowing things up with ever-present grenades. I love it. I didn’t think I would love it, but I did.”
With more film work under her belt, Tristan’s next project returns her to roots in stage magic and burlesque. Starting this month, British Columbia will get their first look at The Carnival of Creeps. Hearkening back to the heyday of the travelling sideshow, but with a very modern sensibilities, The Carnival is a collaboration of many hands, spearheaded by Risk and Burns The Dragon, a Vancouver-based sideshow performer/juggler and snake handler. “This happened because Burns came to each of us in the troupe and said ‘ we all have these different skill-sets and we have these really cool acts. We don’t do anything together in town and it’s a bit hard, because it’s a bit of a saturated market in Vancouver right now, so do we want to take this one the road?’ And we all agreed – it would be cool. So we have a great variety of performers -burlesque dancers, magicians, acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, fire performers, sideshow freaks. All people who have been doing their own thing for a quite a long time, coming together and collaborating. It’s very exciting for me to be doing this with fresh faces. We are all excited to do this tour. And it’s all in the week before Halloween, so we are able to bring all of our more dark and creepy circus stuff, because it’s just the perfect time of year for it.”
While the initial run is limited to BC, the long-term goals are much more intercontinental. “The ultimate plan is to have a full touring circus. When we get to that level, we would be interested in touring Canada, The USA, Europe. Potentially Mexico and, if possible, New Zealand and Australia. Just kind of doing what Hellzapoppin’ (Circus Sideshow Revue ) does, where they have the circus show that they travel with, and then have local talent join them up on stage to round it out. As a collective, we’re able to swap out members if not everyone can tour at the same time. Some tours will be larger, some smaller. So we’re really excited to get our brand and our name out there.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes: A taste of The Carnival of Creeps’ sideshow magic.
” It’s exciting. Burns went and bought a bus that sleeps seven and it says ‘The Friendship Express’ on the front, and ‘Seven Dudes, One Bus’ on the back. This is going to be a blessed voyage.”
After the dust settles for 2015, Risk is already eyeing the next item on her to-do checklist. Only this time, it will be from behind the camera. With tentative plans set for 2016, Risk is preparing to shoot her first short film: an adaptation of her short story, CAT LOVER (originally published in Malevolent Magazine). “It’s a thing. It’s going to happen.”
In the meantime, Tristan Risk will be joining the list of guests for this weekend’s HORROR-RAMA Toronto and while there’s no concrete plans for her to perform, that doesn’t mean she’s not game for trying. “We all know – let’s be real, here – that if there’s a party, there may be an unscheduled performance. It all depends on how many libations I have prior to that. I know myself well enough that I will pack a costume, because you never know.”
HORROR-RAMA takes place on October 17th and 18th at The Hyatt Regency, Toronto.
INNSMOUTH and MADRE DE DIOS are both currently playing on the festival circuit.
FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS‘ release date is TBD.
THE CIRCUS OF CREEPS hits the road October 21st, with stops in Merritt, Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton.
For more of the wit, wisdom (and occasional bouts of literary scribbling) of Little Miss Risk, make a point of checking out her blog, HIGH BARBED WIRE WALKING, while you’re at it.