The founder of Suicide Girls and the director of their latest movie gather to take us behind the scenes of this erotic thriller

Since its debut in 2001, Suicid Girls has become an institution that has not only spawned a very successful website full of nude pictorials, but also serves as a bustling hub for the so-called "alternative beauty" lifestyle it gloriously promotes. It also distributes a series of erotic DVDs that have, in their own right, become quite popular amongst lovers of strange and sexy video art. Now, the name brand is branching off into the realm of horror flicks with Suicide Girls Must Die!, which makes its Standard and Unrated DVD debut on Tuesday, June 29th. The story finds twelve Suicide Girl pin-ups heading to a remote cabin in the woods, where they plan to shoot a sexy new calendar. When the girls suddenly go missing one-by-one, all hell breaks loose, and we're faced with the first ever reality-horror hybrid that mixes real emotions with a staged scenario these girls are in no way aware of.

Or are they?

We recently caught up with Suicid Girls founder Missy Suicide and the film's director Sawa Suicide to chat about Suicide Girls Must Die!. Here is our conversation:

Horror and nudity have always shared a perfect union on-screen, but there is a disclaimer on the DVD warning potential buyers that this isn't the usual Suicide Girls video. So, who were you making this movie for? Were you more concerned about appeasing lovers of erotica or scary movie aficionados? Or did you set out to please both?

Missy Suicide: When we set out to create this, we really wanted to make a film that was a fun experience. We are big fans of the campy 80s horror movies. We wanted to do in homage to that. In that we wanted to make a horror film, we were faced with a few challenges. Mainly, we had never written a horror movie before. More importantly, if we had written a scripted horror movie, these girls can't act. We racked our brains for a while. This was an idea that percolated for a bit. We came up with the calendar idea, then we thought, "Why don't we put these girls in a house in Maine?" We started filming, and it was sort of like Suicide Girls: Italian Villa. Where we had taken girls from all over Europe and we created a dreamy, ethereal scenario where the girls had a really fun time. We told the girls we were doing that, and then we decided to pick them off one at a time. And we left the other girls guessing as to what happened to their friends. And if they were going to be next.

Did you have a set plan in place for how the film was going to come together, or did you just arrive at the location with this idea to scare these girls and see what comes of it?

Sawa Suicide: We did have a plan. And a rough story that we were going to create this world in. Obviously, that had to change from day to day. So that we were getting genuine reactions. Certain people reacted in ways we didn't expect them to. Certain people would react more. Things would change. We had to change our story and rework things daily. We definitely went into it thinking we were going to create this situation. We would destroy one girl, and that would hopefully scare the others. This scary thing was going to happen. And that scary thing was going to happen. But you have no idea how they are going to react when you are trying to get a real reaction out of them. You have to role with the punches. And reroute your scheme.

As a director, did you actually have a say in where each and every camera was placed? Or did you give the girls free reign to shoot what they wanted with their own cameras? As we often see them being instructed to do throughout the film?

Sawa Suicide: It all had to do with screen direction. You had to tell them where to be physically. Sometimes you'd have to make sure they turned a certain way. Because they are not experienced, you have to do the adjusting. They are going to destroy the cinematography right in front of you. You have to put your own camera in the right place, and try to capture them without ruining their genuine reactions.

Was part of the intention to actually go out there and shoot a calendar? I mean, were you guys killing two birds with one stone? Or was that just the set up?

Sawa Suicide: It was part of the plot and story. We had to tell the girls, "Oh, this is just like Suicide Girls: Italian Villa. We are shooting this calendar. Sawa is going to shoot behind the scenes." The calendar wasn't really the motivation. The movie was the motivation. The calendar was just to get these girls to think they were there for a different reason. But there are nude pictures. Maybe they will use those at some point. That would be a Missy question. Maybe they will do some sort of calendar from that.

Missy Suicide: There is no calendar coming out at this point. But you never know.

Sawa Suicide: A lot of people do ask about that. Maybe? It would be fun to do.

There are thousands of Suicide Girls. How did you select which girls you were going to try and kill off? Did you purposely hire the ones you knew would clash the most and be the most annoying?

Sawa Suicide: We wanted to shoot certain girls that we knew would have certain reactions. We wanted to have girls that would be Kumbaya. "Why can't we all just get along?" And we wanted to have very strong, dominate personalities as well. We wanted to have girls that would be flipped out. Girls who were familiar with forests. We wanted to gauge what their reactions would be. We chose a mix of personalities to get the best reactions out of everybody.

Some of these girls seem genuinely pissed off at the end. Is there anything we are not seeing? What was the general feeling on set when the girls found out that you were screwing with them?

Sawa Suicide: For the most part, all of the girls are horror movie fans. At first, they were pissed off about everything that had happened. But then, it is a remarkable experience. You, as a horror movie fan, would probably be stoked if you ended up in a situation where you were part of a horror movie...Wouldn't you?

I think it would be a lot of fun, but I don't know what my initial reaction would be if I were put through this emotional journey where I think my friends are all dead. And they aren't. I'd be happy that my friends were alive, I guess...

Sawa Suicide: Yes. Their general immediate reactions were to all be pissed off. But it's amazing after the fact. Because a lot of them were really stoked to have been able to have this experience. Because it's a once in a life time thing. Not very many people are going to orchestrate something like this. It's the ultimate office prank. Or prank you could play on someone. Going through that much trouble to play a prank on me? I think after I simmered down a bit, I would be really happy about it.

For you personally, what were some of the more shocking or disturbing moments that came out of the shoot? Were you at all bothered by some of the behavior we see in the film?

Sawa Suicide: There were some surprises. For sure. Some people took it further than I thought they were going to. Then there were people who I thought would have acted more strongly. And they were killed off early on. If they weren't doing too much, or if they weren't reacting enough, they were killed off early.

Missy Suicide: There were girls that I thought would have acted a lot more strongly to things. But, they were like, "Eh, whatever."

Sawa Suicide: And that's why they might have been one of the first ones to disappear.

Missy Suicide: We obviously wanted to keep the girls around that were reacting. That was important.

What is your take on Amina's stance in the film? As the coordinator, was she in on the joke the whole time? And just there to push buttons? Or are we seeing her real personality shine?

Sawa Suicide: She had some knowledge of what was going on. She would help us direct things. We would tell her, "Your main priority is the calendar. Stick to this." She would be like, "Okay." She trusted us with a lot of things. But at the end, she had her breaking point. She was a team player, She went full force with whatever we would tell her.

As someone who has seen his fair share of horror movies, I'm wondering where you came up with this climax? It's something I have never seen done in a film before?

Sawa Suicide: We used a leaf costume. It is a real hunter's outfit.

Missy Suicide: One of the art guys was a hunter. He got there early to rig some of this stuff up. He wanted to dress up the cabin a little bit. He brought in some of this hunter paraphernalia.

Sawa Suicide: He told us about this suit, and we were like, "Wait! What?" (Laughs) It all came together.

Missy Suicide: It seemed like something really scary we could do to creep someone out. We had the girls running through the forest. They had no idea a guy was going to jump out of the ground at that moment. It added a whole new element to everything.

The artwork and photography that goes into the Suicide Girls esthetic is beyond an important element of this particular brand. So how did you go about creating the DVD cover, and casting Bully as your cover girl?

Sawa Suicide: That cover? With Bully? It was perfect. It just gives you this feeling of being alone. She looks terrified. She is in the woods. She is filthy. It encapsulated everything. It was the perfect image to use.

Most great horror films act as a mirror on society, and they have an allegoric message hidden just beneath the surface. What sort of message were you trying to relay with this film? Or was it shot mostly, in your eyes, as a pictorial with an action throughline just to spice up the usual erotica we see?

Sawa Suicide: I think it's a good study on human fear and chaos. We wanted real reactions. At the end of the day, this is a pretty interesting social experiment. We get to see how people would actually react in this stressful situation.

Missy Suicide: It was a social experiment not only in how the girls reacted, but also how the people watching it will react. It is definitely different than what we anticipated setting out to make it.

How did you decide where and when the pictorials would come in terms of the action that was being set up, and the story that is being told? How did you find that rhythm in putting this film together?

Sawa Suicide: The order we were shooting in was planned out according to when we wanted to get rid of a girl. If she wasn't giving us what we wanted, or if we wanted her to disappear, we would shoot her photo set first. Because she needed to get killed off. So, we would precede her death with a photo shoot. Because we couldn't shoot her after she disappeared. But as far as the story is concerned, it was chronological in the way that everything went. We set the story up as it was happening. We shot in order. And the weather helped. At first everything was all sunny and happy. As soon as people starting disappearing, and they started to freak out, we got really lucky. It got cloudy, and it started to rain. It got creepy. And that played into the timeline of it, and where the photo shoots came into play.

What do you think your reactions would have been had you put through a similar situation?

Missy Suicide: I don't know what I would have done. I think I would have probably tried to analytically solved the problem. I would have thought about a way out. Personally. Would do you think you would have done, Sawa?

Sawa Suicide: Its really hard to say, unless you are in that situation. At first, I would have been mad at myself for falling for it. I would have been angry, then I would have been relieved. I would have been thrilled that everyone was okay. And this would have been followed by laughter. I would have gone through the eight stages of grief. There's denial. Anger. I would probably go through all of those. At first, I would be a little bit upset. Then I would look back on it and laugh. It would have been one of those life experiences that I cherish.

If time is truthful, while Suicide Girls will certainly have its fans upon release, it's the kind of erotic artifact that will be discovered years later, and have a whole new fan base in the future. Much in the way Betty Page and her era of pin-ups are held in esteem now. Did you consider that when making this? Do you look that far into the future to consider that what you are making now will actually mean something to future generations?

Missy Suicide: I don't know how people are going to react to this in the future. If I had the ability to gauge what the future would judge now, I would probably be involved in finance.

Where do the Suicide Girl films go now? Must Die! Is sort of a no-brainer, as far as the horror audience accepting this as something they'd want to watch. But do you have ideas for the Suicide Girls to tweak other genres. Such as the romantic comedy. Or maybe a sci-fi film? Or even an action adventure? It seems like you could go anywhere with this?

Missy Suicide: I think it would be hard to do a romantic comedy. A sci-fi film? Who knows? I think we need to come up with a good idea first. We need to wait for inspiration to strike.

Why don't you think a romantic comedy would work? These girls are funny. It seems like a natural fit.

Missy Suicide: Maybe, if it were set up like, Sawa looks for love. In all the wrong places.

She could run through a set of douchey guys, looking for Mr. Right. She could tear them apart.

Sawa Suicide: We're going to do a zombie movie next. That just came out of nowhere. But I would love it. (Laughs)

Missy Suicide: We have a lot of girls that could do zombie special effects make-up. Yeah.

That might be awesome. When you look back at Suicide Girls Must Die! As a film in and of itself, removed from the name brand, what are you most proud of?

Sawa Suicide: I'm most proud of the fact that we were able to pull off something new and different. It's a fun, campy, scary, sexy movie. I think its fun to watch.

Missy Suicide: I think that we can be proud that we pulled off the ultimate prank. And we got some fun footage. Hopefully people will enjoy it.

Suicide Girls Must Die! makes its Standard and Unrated DVD debut on Tuesday, June 29th.

B. Alan Orange