11 QUESTIONS: Michelle Nessk
interview by Brent Cole
Michelle Nessk is a patient person. Over the last few years, she has sent information about her work, focusing on the horror side of film making. Though outside of our general content, it’s been interesting to learn about what she’s working on. Recently, something really caught my attention and I realized she is an understated gem creating a variety of cool art in the Pacific Northwest, all out of Bellingham. Ladies and gentlemen, Michelle Nessk.
Who are you and where did you come from? Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an indie artist. I love all things horror, long walks on the beach, and baby animals.
I am the owner of the online indie horror publication, The Blood Shed. I am the creator and owner of the annual film showcase Horrors of the PNW, that plays episodically at Crypticon Seattle. I also own Gloomy Sunday Productions, we are a production company that works in multimedia art forms, primarily film. I am a composer and vocalist in the band ANU, if you’ve been to the Galaxy Far Away Fest, you have likely heard us yowling.
I grew up traveling quite a bit and I was fortunate to have been brought to Washington a few times at a young age. I was able to build a life here and I made lifelong friends. When I moved away the last time my goal was to move back here as an adult, so I did.
What is your favorite holiday, outside of Halloween?
I actually kind of love all the holidays. Any reason to celebrate, I’m there. But also if candy is involved that’s even better.
Do you remember when you first got into the dark and spooky?
Since I was a tatertot. My fondest memories with my family consists of us piling up like a puddle of kittens with a big bowl of kettle cooked popcorn and watching scary movies. If we weren’t watching monsters we were creating them via telling spooky stories in the dark with my brothers and cousins.
Of all the different hats you wear (artist, production, etc etc), which is your favorite and why?
Oh gosh… that’s a hard one to answer. I love all of it, and I don’t believe I could give one up for the other. But if you asked me on the daily where my focus was at? Film.
What initially brought you up to Bellingham and what keeps you here?
My family migrated to Washington from the east coast after leaving Puerto Rico. We’ve all found something almost magical here in this lush green land, and for me, Bellingham is my home. The people here are bar none some of the best you will ever get to meet.
What is your feeling about the horror scene in the PNW?
There is so much love in the horror community that the PNW offers. More often than not the people are good, and there’s a strong sense of empowerment and camaraderie all around. Seeing amazing creatives like the Soska Twins, Tristan Risk, Tonjia Atomic, Brady Hall, and Gary Washington, inspires me endlessly.
We horror fans and creatives have so many outlets available to us; Crypticon Seattle, the largest horror convention in the Pacific Northwest. Bleedingham, a Bellingham local independent horror film festival. The BoneBat “Comedy of Horrors” Film Festival in Seattle. Friday Fright Nights at the Blue Mouse in Tacoma. Nightmare at Beaver Lake, which is a haunt created by Scare Productions. And my company hosts an annual event, Gloomy Sunday at the Mercury, as well as Horrors of the PNW, where we help independent filmmakers showcase their work as we commemorate the year prior at Crypticon Seattle.
I could literally go on forever listing all of the year-round horror fun. And yes, it is growing.
It’s a dark and stormy Saturday night in Bellingham, what are you doing?
Most likely watching horror movies whilst playing zombie apocalypse survival roleplay.
Or I am watching Arrested Development, again.
If you weren’t involved in film, what else would you be doing?
Dreaming about being involved in film.
I’d probably be more focused on ballroom dance.
Tell us about your horror host persona, Zee Monsta.
I created Zee Monsta when I was about 9 years old. I think she was a result of my uncle dressing me up as Elvira when I was very little to horror host films for him and his friends.
She has been the subject of 3 award winning short films, with a fourth short on the way in 2018. Two of which are collaborative works with Think Piece Productions and the band My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.
Since her creation, there have been appearances of her in various national and international festivals, films, comics, and music videos. But her most faithful presence has been in Horrors of the PNW as the official horror host mascot.
In 2018 there is going to be a game featuring her, and we (the team) are gearing up for her first full feature horror film, Devil’s Habit.
I love getting to play her every chance I get. She’s almost innocent at points, more often than not her presence isn’t really sexual in nature. She’s just in it for the kill, and the gore. She’s my “Disneyland”.
What is your favorite aspect in running the indie horror online publication The Blood Shed?
We get to help indie artists realize their dreams by helping provide a spotlight on their hard work. Down to the core more than anything we (at The Blood Shed) are all fans of the genre, and we want to feed the beast as it were. You really feel that with the writers too. They each have an authentically different view, some used to write for Fangoria, others are fans who had never done this before writing with us but they have such a natural talent for it to where it would be silly to not give them a platform. They all love the horror genre and it’s nothing short of inspirational. And I love running The Blood Shed because that means I am lucky enough to get to interact with these people every day.
Some people say there should be a line drawn when it comes to horror content. How do you feel about that?
I can’t say I agree with the idea of policing art, even if it’s an art form that you don’t agree with.
Horror art in particular is about facing your fears. Fear of the monsters around us, and within. Exploring that is therapeutic, and I feel, very necessary.
Any last thoughts?
Maybe an inspirational quote that may or may not have been a mislabeled Marylin Monroe meme: “Don’t let anyone dictate your dreams.”
Also, thank you for taking the time to talk with me, and allowing me to gush about our amazing local horror community.