Cubicle Creepshow is a web series that makes fun of modern corporate culture with a cast of dolls who occasionally turn into monsters. Set in an office full of self-absorbed, undisciplined smart alecks, the familiar workplace situations fit perfectly with classic horror themes.
All the usual and unusual suspects are there, from the boss who disregards employment law to the employee who instigates a red-streaked, miniature recreation of Carrie.
“We want people to understand that we’re all in this together,” she continues. “We’re trying to put the life back in work life.”
In addition to the sisters themselves, the show features the voices of Erica Watson — a comedienne, cast member of Chi-Raq, and self-appointed “Fat Bitch” — as well as a number of longtime collaborators from the Chicago production and theater scene.
Cubicle Creepshow’s third episode, which premieres today, reveals that one of the staff is not exactly who she appears to be.
“OVERTIME OF DEATH” CUBICLE CREEPSHOW, EPISODE 3
Cubicle Creepshow creators Kyra and Kozi Kyles grew up in the Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and, according to Kozi, “have been best friends since birth.”
“We found our groove working together,” she explains. “We develop the concept, go our separate ways, and come back to workshop the scripts together.”
Besides writing, producing, and directing a show starring dolls, the sisters own and operate Myth Lab Entertainment, a branding and advertising agency founded in 2009 and dedicated to connecting with an audience that is “young, diverse and absolutely allergic to B.S.”
The company’s portfolio includes a viral video that riffed on Chief Keef’s Don’t Like and Future’s Same Damn Time, and a Soul Food skit remix that was featured on Comedy Central’s Key & Peele series. The client list represents the siblings’ collective clients, including Kingsford, Oil of Olay, and Pantene.
Before launching Myth Labs, each of the founders achieved success at the highest levels of the entertainment and publishing industries.
Kozi, who used to head up brand partnerships at Redbox, has produced original content for the likes of P&G, Cadillac and Namaste. Kyra, the former Editor-in-Chief and SVP at Ebony Magazine, was also a reporter, columnist, and on-air personality for Red Eye and WGN.
Cubicle Creepshow is the follow-up to Human Resources, a 2011 series performed by puppets and inspired by a strange and sadly typical experience that Kozi endured during the early stages of her career.
The company where she worked at the time was making employees redundant without explaining or acknowledging their disappearances.
“I just joked one day, ‘maybe some aliens abducted them,’” she recalls. “We did our first season about a company that’s undergoing an alien invasion that is confused for layoffs.”
The sisters’ career experiences supply much of the wherewithal to make the show — Platformz Co-Founder Todd “Rediculus” Dahn handles the audio and Local Legend Films founder Jayme Joyce is the DP — but their family upbringing inspires the magic.
“Our grandmother was obsessed with horror movies,” says Kyra. “Whatever was age appropriate — Carrie scared the hell out of us.”
Their mother, Toni Kyles, not only shares an appreciation for the genre with the ladies’ Grandmother Myrtle Cosey Jackson, but she also helps design the sets,
Built with materials from Menards, Home Depot, and neighborhood dollar stores, the Cubicle Creepshow office is constructed on Kyra’s dining room table, where each episode is shot.
The dolls come straight off the shelves at Walmart, where the sisters created a stir when they browsed the Barbie aisle.
“We got a lot of strange looks,” Kyra says. “Little kids standing behind us … moms thinking that these are two obsessed people.”
Kozi went online to research techniques for customizing accessories for the tiny plastic characters. She found some inspiration from YouTube, including a channel called MyFroggyStuff that specializes in doll sets and re-imagining. Here, she found a video explaining how to transform a Disney Princess Tiana doll into Black Panther’s Princess Shuri.
She also worked with Pennsylvania-based artist Cinsearae Santiago Reiniger, who specializes in doll repainting.
Since the dolls are originally designed with individual movement abilities, frequent head transplants are required to maximize each character’s performance. Microwaving, submerging in hot water, and other methods that Kyra jokingly describes as “grotesque” are often performed during production.
An extensive social campaign that includes a YouTube channel, Instagram memes, Linkedin conversations, and Facebook updates complements the series. Besides sharing latest news about the show, it offers career advice, resources, and support.
The Kyles sisters are exceptionally qualified to turn frightening corporate scenarios into productive entertainment. They inject Cubicle Creepshow with a depth of knowledge and level of energy that is unmatched.
And, luckily for viewers, they still like to play with dolls.