Derek Easley’s 31 Nights of Nightmares is here again, with looks at “Scream Queens” on FOX (over-the-top fun), “Aftermath” on SyFy (interesting premise, but needs time to develop), and the film “Krampus” (which was delightful in every way!). But first, I caught up with my dear friend Chrissy Lynn Kyle, who is an amazing cosplayer (famous for her Catwoman & Rogue cosplays) and a talented makeup artist for film, viral web videos, and spooky live events. She gets in the Halloween spirit by covering her friends in blood and prosthetics, styling crazy natural hair and wigs, or conjuring spells as Mary Sanderson from “Hocus Pocus”.
We’ve known each other for years through the comic-con and film circuits, and she did an excellent job in 2015 doing make-up and acting in a Star Trek fan film I directed (which also starred the legendary Stan Lee!). I recently captured her in my Den of Nightmares to answer what I like to call my “13 Contemptible Questions!”
1. Tell us about your horror industry credentials.
Hah! Ok, well I’m a long time horror and sci-fi fan. I’ve been doing SFX makeup in the industry for quite a while. I have worked on several web series including the zombie series “8.13” as well as assisting with Black Box TV, YouTube’s #1 scripted horror/scifi channel.
2. Why do you like the horror genre? Why do you think it’s endured so long for the fans?
Humans are fascinated, albeit, obsessed with death! I however am not obsessed as more fascinated with the macabre culture of it all. I currently work for a company that is all things macabre, horror, Victorian, romantic, Gothic, you name it! It’s called Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and we specialize in scents that capture the above descriptions. I have always adored the sexy behind monsters and ghouls and the mere fact that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!
3. Tell us more about your most recent project you were involved in.
The biggest thing I am working on right now is not horror actually, but a “Jem and the Holograms” fan film. You can find more info on that on the YouTube channel, Chickbait. In other news, as a makeup artist I’m always doing something editorially here and there that requires a darker look.
4. Tell us a story about something that you saw or experienced on set or at an event that was gory, gruesome, or strange…
In the early production stages of our series “8.13” we based it on Hitchcock’s birthday being August 13th, then we realized the date we’d be uploading the first episode was a Friday the 13th or August, so then we got curious and looked further into the meaning of 8.13, the bible actually, Romans 8.13 read “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Which was really freaky… but we loved it! The series even won a few awards.
5. Talk to us about the state of the horror industry today. How has it changed and where do you see it going?
Well, we keep rehashing stories, trying to revive the found footage trend that started with the “Blair Witch” hype back in the 90’s. We traded out practical FX for CGI, then started a hybrid of them once the reality shows showcasing SFX like Syfy’s “Faceoff”, etc., became popular. We still have Guillermo Del Toros, Rick Bakers and J.J. Abrams popping up left and right bringing us what we love about practical FX. As far as original stories go, the last amazing horror film I watched was “The Orphanage”. The last underrated film that was not supposed to be much a horror but a Victorian Gothic romance was “Crimson Peak”.
The other good thing is the horror conventions that keep popping up where Fangoria died, Monsterpalooza took its place spawning Son of Monster Palooza. Shows like Scare LA spawned Midsummer Horror Fest which I LOVED! And now we have several haunts to visit during the months of September and October. I will say this Universal has done pretty well for themselves as far as haunted attractions go. But having visited Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary recently, I am sick of this whole clown shtick. It’s not scary. Period.
6. Tell us a real-life ghost story, paranormal experience, or creepy happening that you have witnessed.
I have them often, very small, could be the light trace of a cigarette smell in a smoke free room with no windows open, from a deceased ex stopping by to say hi. One I’ll always remember many years ago; I was sleeping, it was morning I awoke to my boyfriend at the time coming home from his overnight shift, watched his silhouette walk in through the room and out into the hallway then closed my eyes and fell back to sleep. Later awaking to him calling me on the phone saying he was on his way home from work. Then finding out the woman who owned that condo had her husband die in it just years prior. Well that certainly was not my boyfriend the first time!
7. What are you most afraid of?
What I cannot see.
8. Are young people desensitized today by the internet?
Can you captivate and scare modern audiences? I think so, I find the slow burn really does it for me, in a haunted attraction or a film. But kids these days thrive off of cheap jump scares…
9. What are your favorite horror movies and TV shows?
In no particular order, “The Exorcist”, “The Thing”, “The Fog”, “The Entity”, “The Orphanage”, “The Mist”, “Halloween”, “Paranormal Activity” (only the first one)… There are probably more.
10. What would you do if you came into contact with one of these Killer Clowns that is running amok out there?
Blow them a kiss!
11. How would you survive in a Walking Dead-like zombie apocalypse world?
I am very industrious, rational, reasonable and calm. All those traits will save my life. I also have a plan, everyone should have a zombie plan.
12. If you had an unlimited budget and resources, what is the horror movie that you would make?
I’d actually do a series of urban legends and true life stories from all over the world of the last 300 years as a TV series. Sleep paralysis is also very terrifying. However, I believe there has been a documentary on that one.
13. What’s coming up next for you, and where can we find you online?
I’ll be at LA Comicon this weekend dressing up and doing two live SFX makeup demos, you can also find me on Instagram at @MissChrissyLyn and facebook.com/MissChrissyLynn
Wow, great interview Chirssy! Thanks for your time, and excellent work!
And now…on to my reviews!
Night 7, watched the gory, fun, and absurdist #ScreamQueens Season 2 premiere on #Fox. The tone, pacing, editing, score, soundtrack, and pop culture references (from TED Talks, to a “Making a Murderer” type show on Netflix, to trying to borrow somebody’s HBO Go account) all make the show bubble gum bloody enjoyable. #JerryOconnell as an irresponsible partying doctor in the opening 1980s flashback is awesome, and #JohnStamos & #TaylorLautner are hilarious additions as modern day docs. Transforming the show from Season 1’s college sorority backdrop into a teaching Hospital run by #JamieLeeCourtis is a creative choice and it works. Putting the pieces together after a time jump following the mayhem-filled events of last year is entertaining (kind of like getting the band back together). #RyanMurphy & #BradFalchuk deliver the delicious goods once again, as #EmmaRoberts and the majority female cast chew up the scenery and the dialogue. I smiled throughout the episode!
Night 8, Watched the new series #Aftermath on #SyFy. A lot of things are going on during this version of the apocalypse (meteors, earthquakes, hurricanes, solar flares, zombies, otherworldly possession). The show focuses on a family, led by #AnneHeche as a tough-as-nails former member of the Air Force. Along with her professor husband (who is using his expertise in myth & archeology to make sense of the chaos), and their three teenage children, she sets off in the family RV, encountering “fever-heads”, people who are losing their minds, then becoming violently animalistic. There are some interesting ideas in this show, but it needs to find its footing and rhythm. Hopefully, we might actually end up caring about these characters, while dreading the danger they are in, rather than just watching scene after scene of our world falling apart without any emotional stakes.
Night 9, watched #Krampus, the hit horror film from December of 2015 by#MichaelDougherty (the mind behind 2007’s modern scary classic #TrickRTreat). I remember taking screenwriting lectures from Dougherty years ago (I was a fan his work on #X2 and #SupermanReturns). His latest effort is nothing but masterfully fun and entertaining! The cast is terrific, including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner, along with some impressive child & teenage actors. The film tackles the corruption of the Christmas spirit with greed, consumerism, pettiness, etc. Max, a young boy in the family, has his Christmas dreams squashed as cruel cousins come to visit and cause a chaotic uproar and family in-fighting. Ripping up his letter to Santa, the whole local community is beset by an ominous storm, and then attacked by Krampus, the anti-Santa Claus. The film has some incredible costume-work and creature effects with Krampus and his sinister elves and monstrous helpers (possessed toys and CG killer ginger bread cookies). The lighting, the pacing, the camera-work, the score, the editing, everything comes together for this film, which I hope will become a modern classic! It feels timeless.
NIGHTS 10-12 COMING SOON!
Derek owns a teaching and networking studio called LBAFA that can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/LongBeachActingAndFilmAssociaton