Thursday, November 14, 2019
My Favorite Gooey Films Performances
Recently my great friend Joshua Kennedy mentioned to me that next year will be the 10th anniversary of his first film to receive an official home video release, ATTACK OF THE OCTOPUS PEOPLE. I told him that this means the "Gooey Films Universe" is now a decade old (Gooey Films being the chosen name of his production company).
What better way to celebrate the GFU than to pick my personal favorite Gooey Films performances? One of Josh's strengths is that he draws and surrounds himself with many uniquely talented individuals. These people have brightened and enlivened Josh's fantastic visions--and it doesn't matter whether they are "official" actors or not.
I realize that due to Josh's prodigious output, this list will more than likely be outdated in a few months. The GFU, after all, is still only in the infancy stage. All these performances can be found on home video (mostly through Alpha Video) or YouTube, and I highly recommend that readers seek them out.
Haley Zega as Elaine in THE NIGHT OF THE MEDUSA
I consider THE NIGHT OF THE MEDUSA Josh's best overall film (at least up till now), and Zega gives what I think is the best overall GFU performance. You can't help but feel for her as Elaine, an earnest young woman who comes to New York City as a student. Zega's natural likability make the tragedies that befall her character that much more powerful.
Bessie Nellis as Dr. Watson in THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
When Josh told me he was going to have a female Watson in his Sherlock Holmes story, I thought he was being too high concept--but, as usual, he knew exactly what he was doing. Nellis brings dry humor and quirky attitude to what is often a flat character.
Xander Pretorius as Count Dracula in DRACULA A.D. 2015
Josh told me that he discovered Xander after seeing him walking down a hallway at Pace University. Pretorius brought plenty of onscreen charisma and gravitas as the Count.
Tomi Heady as Nancy in THE VESUVIUS XPERIMENT
This performance is a personal favorite of Josh's. As the perplexed wife of the title experiment, Heady brings realism and depth to the type of role that is usually a thankless one in similar low-budget science-fiction features.
Gus Kennedy as Gregorios in THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
Gus is Josh's father, but he's also a talented man in his own right. The blind Gregorios is the gentle and wise mentor to the hero Theseus, and Gus steals the film (not easy to do when you're sharing the screen with stop-motion animated monsters). The sequence where Gregorios relates a parable about the love affair between the sun and the moon is the best scene that Josh has ever written, and Gus performs it beautifully.
Veronica Carlson as Anna Banning in HOUSE OF THE GORGON
HOUSE OF THE GORGON is Josh's most star-studded film yet, with such English Gothic icons as Carlson, Caroline Munro, Martine Beswicke, and Christopher Neame. They are all great, but Veronica in particular gets a chance to shine as Mrs. Banning, the mother of the lead female character. Anna Banning could have easily wound up as just a silly old woman, but Carlson gives her a multi-faceted personality, and she contributes several expertly timed line readings.
Joshua Kennedy as Minos in THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
Yes, the Orson Welles of Edinburg himself appears on this list (and trust me, he would rather not be on it). All of Josh's various appearances in the GFU are entertaining, but I like his portrayal of the evil King Minos most of all. Why? Because he totally lets it rip in this one, going all out to be as villainous as possible in the classic storybook tradition.
Mention must be made of several other important members of the Gooey Films Stock Company, such as Carmen Vienhage, Traci Thomas, Kat Kennedy, Marco Munoz, and Jaime Trevino.