If you are looking for the one, true B-Movie superstar to rule them all, look no further than Joel D. Wynkoop. The veteran actor has turned in a laundry list of films, spanning over several decades, and has become a cult favorite for fans of humorous low-budget releases.
Wynkoop has been making movies since 1975, when his father gifted him a Super 8mm Camera. His neighbor, whom he took care of, Tim Ritter, became his filming partner and, together, made Twisted Illusions in 1985.
He currently has 150 acting credits, including having starred in Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness, a film he completed along with Ritter on less than $1 million budget, which was the first of a soon-to-be five-part film franchise. Ritter has not only written each film, but has directed them all as well. A fan of the series, Scott Tepperman, formerly of Ghost Hunters International (SyFy), played a big part in helping the upcoming fifth installment, I Dared You! Truth or Dare Part 5, come to life, which is due out in February of 2018. Joining the cast in the film is Jim O’Rear, Tepperman’s partner with Los Bastardz Productions.
“Scott wanted a return of my character, Dr. Dan Hess, from the series,” Wynkoop said. “Tim had already written the script and they both loved it. After a few rewrites, I thought it did the character a bit more justice, it was super cool and we were all so excited to make the movie. All these great people have come together to make a really cool movie and, so far, the reviews coming in are extremely promising. So, we’re all really excited.”
Look, these are B-Movies. They’re probably not going to garner national recognition, accolades or worldwide laurels, but that is not why the movies are made. It is an art. It takes amazing talent to be able to deliver these characters, including some of the lines that are scripted. It’s more about entertaining than it is to churn sales. You don’t have to convince the actors otherwise. Just reading about some of these titles, including, but not limited to, Creep, Dirty Cop No Donut, The Demon Monster from Outer Space, Strip Club Slasher and Slash Cam, one might think it a waste of time. Don’t do that. These are fun. They’re meant to be enjoyed with a group of friends. These movies, in time, grow on you.
“I have always wanted to do this,” Wynkoop said. “I thought it would be funny at first, but I never thought I’d be able to make a career out of it. Whenever I get to the point where I feel like I’m getting sick of doing it, someone will recognize me from one of my movies, freak out and make me want to keep on doing it.”
When asked if a specific project seems to stick with him, he was quick in answering, Lost Faith. It was his fifth movie, but required ‘most of his heart’, as he wrote, directed, produced, casted and choreographed all the fight scenes. The film stars a young Wynkoop and the premise is simple: “He lost his wife. He lost his patience. He lost his faith. Steve Nekoda, kicks ass!”. That alone is reason enough to watch this film. Well, that and the movie poster.
“I also really loved doing Creep, one of Tim’s movies,” Wynkoop said. “He let me just run with it and knew I was having so much fun doing it. I also really enjoyed doing The Bite. When my friend, Phil, sent it to me, it was originally supposed to be just a three-minute short. I messed around with it and then all of a sudden, we had a 90-minute movie. I owed him for that, so I ended up writing him a 20-minute short to make it up to him because he basically gave that project to me.”
Another project he is extremely fond of, The Uh-Oh Show. Not so much because it was one of his highest-grossing films that he was in, but because the mastermind behind it was none other than Herschell Gordon Lewis, aka ‘The Godfather of Gore’.
What makes these kind of projects great, though, is the camaraderie behind the scenes and the lifelong friendships that form. One day on set, Lewis, Wynkoop and friend Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) were planning a joke to play on Andrew Allen, the producer. Over 150 people were present on stage and behind the cameras when Lewis initiated the joke by asking why a prop was missing from the set. Wynkoop responded with, “I don’t know. What, do you want me to pull it out of my ass?”, to which Allen convened, “Calm down here. You shut your mouth, Joel!”. From there, pure chaos. The two men began screaming in each other’s faces, which prompted Allen to start dragging Wynkoop from the set by his neck through a crowd of people that were under the assumption he was surely fired. Just as the two were making their way to the door, Lewis screamed, “Andrew! Andrew!”, to which Allen responded with a frustrated, “What?”. Lewis responded, “April Fools!”. Allen looked at Wynkoop and told him that he was the ‘best damn actor in the world’.
“To have the opportunity to work on one of his sets was a huge honor,” Wynkoop said. “He’s been doing it since the 1950s. He was a legend. He passed away in 2016, but told my wife that I was one of the most-talented actors that he had ever worked with in his life. That was so cool to hear that.”
His current venture, when he’s not making movies, is creating his own comic books. He has put together two sets of graphic novels, a superhero team called Force 9 and a buddy team of Ray Blast and Sonic Man. His depictions feature various characters which draw comparisons to select Marvel characters as an ode to his fandom. In conjunction with artist Jessy Hansen, who has previously illustrated for Marvel, Wynkoop will re-release the books through Ka-Blam.
“I’ve also started a book called, Stay Hungry: The Joel D. Wynkoop Story,” Wynkoop said with a grin. “Joe Lovece will be writing it and I’m excited about that and the comics projects.”
Wynkoop stays busy, aside from acting, writing and drawing, he is also into martial arts, boxing, has been both a stage performer and musician, stunt actor and acting coach, among other various hobbies and skills. You can keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.