Meet Jill Kill, L.A.'s Haunted House Critic
Jill Kill video still
"I just wandered in the dark for about ten minutes -- fucking terrifying -- with a bag on my head. I've lost everyone and anyone and they separated me from my friends forever," says a young, dark-haired woman whose teeth appear to glow in the black light of the room.
Despite how it sounds, this isn't a transcript from a gruesome kidnapping caught on surveillance tape. The woman in front of the camera is Jill Kill and she's videotaping herself on a handheld Canon s100 while voluntarily subjecting herself to a glow-in-the-dark nightmare of sorts: a three-maze attraction called Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare in Pomona, CA.
It's a fairly routine Thursday night in October for Jill Kill, a haunted house fanatic who's been documenting her screams and scares on her Youtube channel for more than two years. Her hundred-something videos serve as first-person chronicles of all things dark and menacing, from haunted houses to scary movies to horror conventions and even Bats Day, the annual goth field trip to Disneyland. In a three-part video series from 2010, she wears black eye shadow and lipstick and adopts a British accent to read erotic fan fiction sent to her from an OK Cupid suitor.
Jill Kill video still
"In the beginning I wanted to be more of an Elvira meets Vincent Prince-type thing. So I did an English accent and got super gothed-up," Jill Kill says. The gothic get-ups in her earliest videos were meant as a disguise, just in case any of her co-workers from "depressing reality show jobs" ever discovered the videos.
"I knew people were gong to troll me about something in my videos, so I gave them something to troll about," she says of the put-on British accent, which she also used for her first "unboxing" video, a trend in which Youtubers videotape themselves opening and testing out new products. The Jill Kill version of "unboxing"? Opening and modeling a box of 8-inch patent-leather stilettos with handgun-shaped spike heels -- instant bait for foot fetishists. "I hope you're watching, Quentin Tarantino," she coos in the fake accent.
See also: When Goths Go to Disneyland
She's since become comfortable enough to abandon the accent, not to mention the depressing reality television jobs, and eventually started writing and producing for Odd Future's sketch comedy show Loiter Squad, in which her Jill Kill character occasionally makes a cameo. And aside from her main role as a Youtube scream queen, she also moonlighted as a pageant queen in the new Jackass movie Bad Grandpa.
Despite attending haunted attractions about three to five times a week and racking up a couple thousand views on each of her Youtube videos, Jill Kill is still relatively unknown in the horror scene, except amongst her diehard fans: the "scare actors" who work at amusement parks. "If they work at Knott's Berry Farm or one of those places, monsters will come up to me and say 'Hi Jill,'" she says. "And that's kind of all I really wanted is for monsters to know me. And give me really specific personal scares."
But Jill Kill hopes to expand her fan base outside the amusement park by writing her own horror movie, a contemporary cannibalism thriller she's currently shopping around. She's found a family within the Los Angeles horror scene by attending horror nights at the New Beverly Cinema and Cinefamily and the ultra-competitive horror trivia nights at Jumpcut Cafe in Studio City.
"By talking about horror in my videos, I sort of figured out my own taste in horror," she says. "Right now is a good time to make independent movies. That's one of the main reasons I always wanted to work in horror."
Jennifer Swann on Twitter:
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: