I’ve mentioned before that Michelle Nessk is one of my favorite horror ghouls on this planet and yes… that still remains true. Although we’ve done interviews before this is a special one since it’s for Horror Pride Month.
Michelle Nessk is very vocal in the horror community about representation and why it matters. And she doesn’t just speak about it, she acts on it by making sure her films are diverse and realistic. Learn more about her thoughts on representation, upcoming films, and more!
PopHorror: Happy Pride Month, Michelle! What does Pride Month mean to you?
Michelle Nessk: Happy Pride Month to you and all of your readers as well! I love this time of year, seeing so many be out and proud. An outpouring of love and support in the face of tyrannical puritan scrutiny. It inspires me. It makes me feel Brave. I think about the beautiful people who lost their lives at Stonewall. How far we’ve come as a society and how much further we have to go before we have true equality. Even seeing corporations joining in as a bid for our wallets means something to me… because I know that there are LGBTQA+ children who are walking in a world of rainbows and an open display of frontline acceptance. Something that Generations before us never got to experience. June is a magical month.
PopHorror: Yes to all of that! You are a member of the LGBTQ plus community. Do you think it’s important to represent LGBTQ characters in your films?
Michelle Nessk: Yes I am.
As to my work.. It’s kind of like breathing. It’s important to me but it’s never in the forefront of my mind when creating it just happens to be that way. I have always added sexual & gender fluidity into all of my work since my first film in middle school, to my first short story in grade school.
PopHorror: Do any of your current films have characters like that?
Michelle Nessk: Every film I’ve ever made. It’s just a happenstance and not so much a point you know? There are reoccurring characters throughout my films where you can get to know them better. My most recent short and upcoming full feature that I made collaborating with Tonjia Atomic is, 333: Illuminaughty. Our full feature version will be coming out this year in cooperation with Found-Footage Critic. But you can actually watch the short version online via Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. It was for the 2019 Massive Blood Drive PSA. It stars the enigmatic Debra lamb, Tonjia Atomic, Glitter Macabre, Sara Heinzman, and myself.
PopHorror: I loved it! Do you ever feel pressure to add specific characters to a story/film so that it will appeal
to the public?
Michelle Nessk: No. The characters tell me who they are and who they want to be in the story. Sometimes I feel like my presentation of a project is the equivalent of a cat showing you the dead bird it so gallantly caught. It’s good if people like it, but I’m going to do it anyways. Which is why cats wear bells.
PopHorror: I knew your answer would be something like that. You do what you want and say what you want, that’s why I admire you. Do you think the horror genre slacks in portraying members of the LGBTQ community?
Michelle Nessk: It would definitely be more realistic. So of course you have someone out there who would retort, “lol. Oh yeah cuz zombies are real.. it’s fictional.”
I feel like each generation demands more suspension of disbelief. So if one wants to keep up, certain givens of reality need to be included just as naturally as the cis-het world is. Because we are all out here scattered, diverse in race, creed, color, gender, and sexuality. Everyone who fails to explore that, they are depriving themselves of something wonderful and I hope they change their minds.
PopHorror: Do you have any favorite films, horror or not, that have strong LGBTQ characters?
Michelle Nessk: Vida Boheme from To Wong Foo. That movie made me feel better about the complex emotions I was dealing with, I was just a little Maran egg hatching then and it really helped me break through and find myself. Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lafayette in True Blood, Caprica 6 in Battlestar Galactica, Bo in Lost Girl…
PopHorror: Yes, I love all of those characters as well! What would you like to see happen in the future for horror and the community?
Michelle Nessk: I’d like to see more real world depictions where a diverse cast of characters and creators is a given and not just a minimum quota.
PopHorror: Do you do anything special during Pride Month?
Michelle Nessk: I will doing the same thing this year that I did last year, working security for my local Pride. I’ll be there to give you hugs and help keep you safe.
PopHorror: That’s so awesome! Any other projects/events you’d like to talk about?
Michelle Nessk: This year’s extended version of Horrors of the PNW VI will be screening in select cities and events into 2020.
The trailer for Mother’s Day: Cicadas will be premiering soon. I actually wrote that one when I was a kid so it’s really cool to see it made, it stars Barbara Magnolfi and myself. I directed Barbara, and Tonjia Atomic directed me. It was a dream come true to get to create and I can’t wait to show everyone.
Oh! And!! I’ll be at Sinister Creature Con in California this October, and Fort Wayne Fright Fest in 2020.