Fright Rags’ amazing Kristy Jett is one of the coolest, most passionate independent voices for the horror scene – ever! (Don’t cross me on this one!) A regular on the mast head of Horror Hound magazine, Jett is, also, one of the galvanizing forces behind the upcoming Popcorn documentary and DVD release and a powerful proponent in the race to get a sequel to recent cult favorite Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon in front of the glorious blood fueled cameras of celluloid. Jett recently took a few moments from being Fright Rags’ lovable mistress of sass, to answer a few questions for this exclusive piece. Call Big Gay Horror Fan tremblingly honored as you read, breathlessly, on!
BGHF: So, Kristy, what threw you down the demented path of horror – A grizzled aunt who hummed you the Freddy chant from A Nightmare on Elm Street – all those hours spent as a teen watching the hot, serial killing vamp who moved in next door – WHAT?!?
KJ: I feel like I’ve always watched horror movies. But realistically I was 3 or 4 when I first got bit by the gore bug. I have fond memories of walking into our local video store and scanning the titles- the box art just pulled me in. My mom freely allowed me to rent horror movies though she never liked to admit this because she felt it made her a bad mother. Honestly, she taught me from an early age that it was all make believe which is what helped foster my love for this genre. I mean, how in the hell did they make this magic?! I was fascinated to say the least! Another little peek into my childhood; growing up, almost every single Saturday night my family would get together at my one Aunt’s house. All the adults would play poker, and my cousin and I would watch horror movies. I remember distinctly watching Night of the Living Dead (1990) and Sleepaway Camp 3 too many times to count. But from a very young age I was a Freddy’s girl, the NOES series was my go to. Freddy terrified me but excited me as well.
BGHF: Cool! As Fan is my last name, let’s discuss ridiculous fandom, for a moment. What has been your giddiness, geekiest fan moment of all time?
KJ: It’s so hard to really find one, but I guess the funniest one would have to be a few years back at Monster Mania in Connecticut. As anyone can probably tell you, The Evil Dead is one of my favorite films of all time, and Sam Raimi is my hero. The show had ended- and I had already had my nerd moment meeting the ladies of The Evil Dead. But now that we (my Fright Rags boss Ben and I) were back from dinner, having a little post-show relax at the bar, who should come and sit down with us? Oh just the ladies of The Evil Dead! They had just come back from seeing The Hangover. One of the ladies had said, “It was either that or some movie called Drag Me To Hell.” They had no idea it was Sam’s new movie which I tried really hard not to be twatty about! Ha-ha. But anyways we sat around and had drinks and Ben and I got to know the ladies; this ended up being the hang-out that later led to us doing a limited edition boxed set with the ladies. I digress. At the end of a few hours we parted ways. I got teary-eyed when hugging Betsy Baker, to an embarrassing point. I lightly sobbed, “I’m sorry, I just can’t believe I hung out with you. This was just so amazing!” To which Betsy hugged me again and then motioned to my empty glass, “I think that’s the long island iced tea speaking darling.” Ben still mentions that from time to time when he wants to put me in my place.
KJ: The quickest story is that I met Ben at Monster Mania in August of 2008. I was completely unfamiliar with Fright Rags, but one look at that wall of shirts and I was hooked. After talking for a bit we realized we lived in the same town (Rochester, NY) which made it all the more hilarious we had never met- running in the same nerd circles and all. I immediately told Ben to let me know if he ever needed any extra help as I had years of customer service and retail experience. And as any polite person would he “Sure, sure’d” me. Over the next few months I began hounding via social networking, emails and texts and in February of 2009 he finally started to bring me around, realizing he did need to bring another person on staff. The next month I joined him at the Fright Rags table at Monster Mania and sold the s**t out of some shirts. I was the first woman to ever grace the Fright Rags table and maybe that helped? By the weekend I was officially a member of the team and over the next few months I was working part time doing Customer Service. Within a year I was working there full time and I’ve never looked back! It really is the greatest job in the universe! I can’t imagine my life without Ben or Fright Rags.
BGHF: Brilliant! You are, also, involved in so many projects –getting classic 80’s horror Popcorn a proper release and helping to bring about the sequel to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Is there something that is closest to your beating heart at the moment?
KJ: One thing I can definitely say is that at any given time and on any given day I am working with almost all of my side-projects. Every day there’s something little to say or do with all of them. Popcorn is close to having a release date announced. I’ll be producing the retrospective documentary which will be directed and produced by Michael Felsher and his company, Red Shirt Pictures. I’ll also be moderating a commentary! This one is probably nearest and dearest to my heart because Popcorn is pure nostalgia for me. It’s a poster I saw hanging in the video store throughout my youth and it’s a definitely comfort food movie (no pun intended). As for the proposed sequel to Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon– we’ll get there, some day. Sadly, our Kickstarter didn’t get funded so now we’re pounding the pavement looking for investors. It WILL happen! It’s just a matter of when.
BGHF: No doubt! Now, for something a bit more personal! As a gay man, struggling with his weight, in a community where appearance is so important, I have long felt that self loathing is one of the greatest real life horrors. You’ve been very vocal on Facebook about your struggles to conquer and make friends with your weight. If you don’t mind, what has this journey been like for you and how has the very frightening reality of self-hate played into your own life?
KJ: I have been fat my entire adult life- hell all of my adolescence too. I have never been comfortable with it. But the truth is I had a lot of personal horror to deal with from my own childhood. It took me ‘til I was 28 to even go to therapy to conquer that, and it took me a year or so after that to really start to address the fact that I was unhappy with my weight. I really feel like that’s the first thing you have to do. I’m not saying you can’t be fat and happy- lots of people are. But I’m not, and I had to admit that to myself. Then it was “Ok, well what are you going to do about it?” I spent a few months exercising every day and watching what I ate (roughly 1200-1400 calories a day), and I dropped 43 lbs. Over the last couple of months because of travel and a back injury I have slacked all over again and it’s disheartening. But I keep reminding myself I will get back on the horse. I won’t give up. I may never be rail thin- and I’m not sure that I want to be, but I’m sick of being fat. My body is sick of carrying around the extra weight too. We all have it in us, the question we have to really ponder though is, “How are we gonna do it?” Then attack it like a facehugger!
BGHF: Perfect, my friend, perfect! I’m taking that to the gym! Now, I, always, hate it when people ask me what my favorite horror film is. But, I’m gonna ask you anyhow – but with a twist. What are some your favorite genres within the massive fields of fright and then throw out a few of your favorite films of all time, as well!
KJ: I LOVE slasher films! With a passion! Slashin with a passion! That’s really my favorite genre. I love killer kids too. I love movies set in movie theatres (HELLO POPCORN!) or stage theatres. I also love found footage films- though I only really love a couple of them. I watch all that I can find but most blow so hard it’s not even funny. I am really not a fan of monster movies which I am sometimes given s**t for, but I don’t care. Slashers all the way for me! But to answer as to my favorites; May, Martin, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead2, Re-Animator, Day of the Dead (1985), Return of the Living Dead, Popcorn, Stephen King’s IT, NOES3: Dream Warriors, NOES4: The Dream Master, NOES5: The Dream Child, FT13th Part5: A New Beginning, Dead Alive, Tales From The Crypt, The Living Dead at The Manchester Morgue, The Blair Witch Project, The Last Broadcast and about 50 billion others!
BGHF: I think the masses have just added a few more to their lists with that! Thank you, darling! Lastly, any words of wisdom (IE: Never agree to volunteer at an old theater showing 50’s shock films – especially if you are related to Dee Wallace Stone), future plans and/or links to where we can keep track of all your amazing work? And thanks – this has been better than battling zombies in an abandoned mine shaft with Lori Cardille any day of the week!
KJ: Work hard. Never give up. When someone tells you that you can’t tell them you’ll do it anyways. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Save all your emails for future proof. Don’t give up. Don’t use people and don’t abuse connections. Treat celebrities like human beings because they are. Never give up. Work hard and don’t expect ANYTHING to be handed to you.
BGHF: Except some loving from me! Jett girl, you’re the best!
And – until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE! BGHF