There is an art to taking off one’s clothing. While you might think it all falls under “stripping,” Tristan Risk is not a stripper. Pin-up queen, actress and model; “Little Miss Risk” is a performance artist with the Vancouver troupe “Sweet Soul Burlesque.” She is also a nominee for Best Supporting Actress in the 2014 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards for her portrayal of Beatress Johnson in the Soska Sisters and Twisted Twins Productions’ horror film, American Mary.
Beatress, in fact, is a stripper. She is working at “Bourbon A Go Go” when medical student Mary arrives to apply for a “non-nude” job. You wouldn’t recognize Tristan though. Beatress has been “surgically modified” to look like Betty Boop. She also walks and talks like a real live Betty Boop.
But this isn’t your standard Victorian family values, male-centric slasher film — where the underlying message is almost always that the woman who enjoys sex gets killed first and the virgin survives to be tortured again in the sequel.
American Mary is more thought-provoking, albeit, gruesome. It starts with surgery — of sorts — Mary is practicing sutures on a turkey; and continues as Mary suffers degradation at the hands of a male-dominated culture. She’s hounded by creditors, felt up in a “job interview” and debased by her medical school professors. I’m not going to tell you too much, because I really think you should watch it.
But here is something to think about. Why is it perfectly okay, even encouraged, for someone to spend thousands of dollars on “plastic surgery” to become what society deems attractive — bigger breasts, a smaller nose, straighter teeth, more hair? But considered freakish to spend money on “surgical modification” to better express the unique you? How are two garishly spaced, cantaloupe-sized orbs placed under the skin on your chest more reasonable than a split tongue, multiple piercings or two small horn-shaped implants under the skin on your forehead?
American Mary is a slasher film with a message. And with Tristan Risk involved why would we look for anything less?
We saw Tristan perform with Big John Bates back in August 2010…you can read our interview with her in its entirety at Cupcakes, Wine & Corsets: A Chat with Tristan Risk It’s not just about taking her clothes off, but what Burlesque represents. It also includes a slide show from the performance.
American Mary is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix. For a little taste, here’s the Trailer.
The film is definitely not for the kiddies, so send them to their rooms before you watch with your favorite bottle of Bordeaux.
To find out more about the 2014 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards and see all the nominees on the ballot, visit here. If you want to vote for Tristan Risk for Best Supporting Actress, drop them an email at
firstname.lastname@example.org to cast your vote. The Fangoria site specifies one list, only, per person, personal e-mails only, no mass ballots. Deadline for ballots is March 20; winners will be announced in May.