Jackie Kong has been creating subversive content for many moons now. Beginning back in 1983 with the schlock, horror, sci-fi entry The Being, then the following year moving on to the irreverent comedy of Night Patrol, Kong didn’t hit cult paydirt until 1987 with Blood Diner.
Let’s face it, the 80s were a heyday of American horror, and making its mark alongside genre centerpieces such as Re-Animator and A Nightmare on Elm Street was Blood Diner’s over-the-top delivery of ritual sacrifices conducted in a popular vegetarian diner run by eccentric, murderous brothers. Initially supposed to be a legit sequel to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ seminal, Blood Feast, Jackie instead came crashing in with her hilariously inappropriate and equally gory vision that we all know today.
Most recently though, Jackie has switched gears and concentrated her efforts on Spend the Night, a brand-spanking new horror-infused comic book that had a very successful crowdfunding campaign late last year. Here, Jackie passionately discusses her cult status, her latest endeavor, and what all of this means to her.
PopHorror: You broke into the business when it was not particularly easy for women to do so, especially with the films you sat in the Director’s Chair for. But over the years these have lovingly found a home among connoisseurs of B-Movies, including Blood Diner becoming one of the very first flicks to receive some Vestron Video Collector Series love. What does it mean to you to have found such a home in horror history?
Jackie Kong: Blood Diner was a unique film then, and holds up as a completely unique film now. Horror aficionados & fans discovered the film and shared it over the years with friends raising my films to Cult Status. Everyone I talk to has a favorite Jackie Kong film. It was a hard film to locate so fans coveted their DVDs and VHS’. My films have the distinction of being many fans’ favorite films of all time. Hardcore fans have sent me pictures of my films tattooed on their bodies. I get great satisfaction knowing my films touched people and still affect them deeply.
I don’t do a lot of interviews, it was almost impossible to explain to folks I was a woman. So many people even today think women can’t do horror or comedy. They dismiss the talent of women. I outdid the boys, and it pissed some insecure guys off. My films deliver. The recognition for Blood Diner was a long time coming… I guess, “Better late than never.”
PopHorror: You’ve earned a strong fanbase with your films Night Patrol, The Being, and Blood Diner, but most recently you spearheaded the horror comic, Spend the Night. Who or what sparked your interest in creating this comic?
Jackie Kong: I wrote 20 Issues of my first horror comic book series during the pandemic. I found a great escape in creating the story which is completely original. Very unusual in the horror genre these days.
Weirdly, what sparked the actual creation of the book was a chance encounter with Keanu Reeves, who wasn’t on my RADAR at all. Until one day my daughter and I nose-dived into a parking space in front of Starbucks (to get a coffee). I almost hit a black motorcycle at the front of the space and had to go forward and back five times to get into the space, each time almost hitting the bike and laughing because it had “Commando” written on it. “Who rides a COMMANDO?? Haha!”
I went in & they told me it was Keanu’s bike, and he was watching us almost cream his bike. He was very cool, and got on his bike, nodded to my daughter before as he put on a black helmet, and then cooly rode off. Later that night Keanu came to me in my dreams and said, “Make a comic book.” It was a sign, and so I did…later I found out he made one too.
PopHorror: What were some of the challenges you faced for Spend the Night that you didn’t anticipate?
Jackie Kong: Raising the money and finding the artists, building my team. I found the process not that different than making a film. In that, there’s an order to the process. Layouts, then inking, then coloring then lettering. In comics, I am known as the creator instead of the director. Everything is hand-made & labor intensive, but a lot fewer people work around the country. I raised the money through Kickstarter for Issue #1 and we’re now on to Issue #2.
PopHorror: What aspects of you being a feature filmmaker transitioned well into making this comic book?
Jackie Kong: I love the artists in the Comic Book world: collaborative purists. A different vibe than films. It’s all about making something great, and being a part of something really good, a book that you can be proud of… it’s about expression unedited. Very liberating for me as a creator. No interference, just tell the story the way you want.
PopHorror: Looking back on your career now, what are you most proud of and what do you look forward to?
Jackie Kong: It so hard making a good film, you have to like the project you’re working on because you spend a tremendous amount of time & energy. I would look forward to making SPEND THE NIGHT into a series. I love the story and I know it delivers the horror goods with great characters, twists, and surprises. We’re on Issue #2 now, and 18 more have already been written by me. Wait till you see where I take these characters. You won’t be disappointed. A lot of my fans are comic book store owners and creators themselves. They’ve read Issue #1, and tell me they’re shocked no one has ever told this story. That’s because it’s pure insanity. Pure Jackie Kong.
Spend the Night: The Curse of One-Eyed Jenny will be in stores on April 26th, 2023 with two limited edition covers. Written by Jackie Kong with artwork by Kelly Williams, Don Cardenas, Roman Gubskii, and Stephen Blickenstaff, Spend the Night is a must-have for fellow Kong die-hards and fans of horror comics. Ask your local comic shop to carry copies or pre-order your own through Lunar Distribution