Friday, June 18, 2010

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Jessica Wells

Continuing on with my series of Illinois themed horror, I figured there would be no better way than to interview one of Chicago's Horror darlings for this edition of Woman of the Week. This time around, I've interviewed the wife of Horror, Jessica Wells. Jessica is the lovely woman behind the man who runs She's a fascinating woman and a true role model for any woman who is proud enough to show her horror chops. Soon, she will have her own column on HS called "Everyday Horror" that will be feature everything from fashion to entertainment to art - because there's more to horror than just movies. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this peek into the mind of one of the greatest women I've come to know.

Were you always a horror fanatic or did you marry into it?
I had been exposed to horror during high school with Nightmare on Elm Street and Sleepaway Camp. But I was never a big fan it just wasn't something I got to see very much. My parents didn't allow me to go to rated R movies till I turned old enough and I hadn't really taken to heart the phrase "rules were made to be broken" till later in life. So my friends and I wound up mostly going to see comedy flicks.

Horror became more prevalent in my life when I met my husband. It's his passion and in any good relationship I think you can gain and learn something when you take interest in the things your partner enjoys. I figure if he can sit though tearjerker movies like The Notebook then I can sit through Shockwaves. Which I did and I liked it. I always joke that we both brought something new to our relationship - I brought Chinese food and he brought horror movies, and we've never been happier

What is your favorite horror sub genre?
That's what's so great about horror - you have options. And there really is something for everyone, I have always been a fan of comedy and some of my favorite horror movies reflect that - Dead and Breakfast, Shaun of the Dead, and Fido. But it's nice to be able to mix it up and watch something with some suspense in it, action or even drama whatever my mood is. The possibilities are somewhat endless which I think makes the genre so fun and fascinating.

What is your favorite part about the horror society events?
I love to throw a party! It's always great to get the horror community gathered in one place to watch movies that can't be seen anywhere else and meet new people that have the same interests. Also the festivals really give us a chance to help out independent filmmakers which is what the website is about. We don't just talk about these films, we actually try and do something to support them and get them out to the fans.

What is the hardest part about running horror society events?
It's a lot of work - there are so many aspects that need to be accounted for in order to have the events be successful. But I wouldn't be involved if I didn't enjoy it. It may be hard or frustrating at times but when people tell us how much they enjoy the festivals or they are looking forward to the next event - that puts a big smile on my face.

Name drop time! Who are some of your favorite people you've met?
The coolest people are those that don't set themselves above the fans and are willing to mix and mingle with everyone at conventions, festivals, even online. I've hula hooped with Jason Lively from Night of the Creeps, interrupted Linnea Quigley on her cell phone, facebook messaged with Debbie Rochon, chatted Marketing with Herschell Gordon Lewis on a shuttle bus and consider Larry "The Soup Nazi" Thomas to be one of my friends. But honestly they are all just regular people with different jobs.

Do you feel pressure to look/act/be a certain way being a woman of horror?
Of course as a woman alone I do, but I think even more so in the horror community. It sometimes seems like there are expectations or stereotypes. You have to be goth, wear only black, be dark and evil and of course have your tits out - right?! That's just not who I am or ever will be. I'm not going to be a poser or pretend to be something that I am not. I happen to be a woman who likes horror as well as other things. I think it's enough to just be who I am - I wish more people were comfortable or secure enough to feel that way.

What makes Chicago the best place for horror?
I have never been to LA or New York so I can't say that Chicago is the best - I think horror can work everywhere. Every major city is full of different people from different backgrounds with a variety of likes and dislikes. I think it creates a definite desire to learn and try new things based on the people and experiences we come across on a daily basis. I do think the Midwest breeds some great indie work because there aren't studios, big names, or budgets like there are on the east and west coasts. It's great to see people be creative and work with what they have and still come out with a really great film.
What is the craziest thing you've done/attended in the name of horror?
What I considered crazy a few years ago seems pretty normal to me now. I had no idea that I would become so involved in this community but I am loving it. I have had the opportunity to meet a bunch of wonderful people and do some really fun stuff - film festivals, conventions, zombie walks and more. I think one moment that stands out is when I entered a zombie costume contest at the Oshkosh, WI Zombie Walk. I was part of a trio - The Butcher, The Baker and Candlestick Maker. I had the chance to be creative, have fun with 2 of my favorite people and won first place. But the calendar is always full and it's great to know there is another adventure just around the corner. Next up is Zombie Disco 2 - I'm really good at zombie twister!

What horror women inspire you?
Those who have a passion for horror and are finding ways to share it with others using their knowledge, skills, and more. There really are so many women out there doing this and it's helping our community grow. Here are just a few of them:
Devi Snively who I adore and finally had the chance to meet and interview at the last Women of Horror Film Festival. She is smart, talented and made one of the best films ever Death in Charge. Cindy Marie Martin who is perhaps the sweetest woman in the world and knows how to have fun with horror. She created and plays Horror Hostess " Helena, Hussy of Horror" with such intensity and charm. And I have to mention my close friend Elizabeth who teaches me something new everyday about the genre I didn't know. She is a big fan of the classics and is adamant about keeping the history alive and helping people learn how it paved the way for what is being produced and distributed today.

If you had to give one message to other women of horror, what would it be?
Horror is not just a boy's club anymore. Get involved whether your an actress, blogger, or film fan because being part of the community makes it so much more fun. And don't worry if you don't fit the typical horror mold you can still be involved in the genre even if you twirl a baton like Brittney or bake cupcakes like me.

3 comment(s):

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

I think I met her once or twice and wow, what an awesome person :)

Scott said...

Good to see some details about the Beauty behind the Beast. (No offense to Mitchell, of course)

Mitch Wells said...

Thanks for doing this interview. She loved it!

Scott: no offense taken... she is the beauty behind the beast, and so much more. She really is an driving force behind Horror Society since it became a "real business" and not just a hobby website. Couldn't do it without her!!

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