The Gang that fell to Earth
Sci-fi musical refuses to behave itself
By Tim Pompey 06/20/2013
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (DVD)
Directed by Paul Bunnell
Starring: Will Keenan, Creed Bratton, De Anna Joy Brooks
1 hr. 46 min.
If you’re looking for something way off the beaten path, something that you may never see again (literally, the director bought up the last rolls of black and white 35 mm film after Kodak went out of business), look no further than the horror/comedy/sci-fi musical The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.
Filmed in part at the Ventura Theater and other locations around Southern California, it’s a cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease.
Kudos to director Paul Bunnell for his sheer gumption in sticking with it. The film took almost a decade to produce, thanks to a long hiatus for cast and crew after the economy went south. But produce it he did in sparkling black and white and with the original cast that started the film in the first place.
Johnny X features a couple of notable appearances. One by veteran actor Kevin McCarthy as the hilarious Grand Inquisitor (anyone remember the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers?) and Creed Bratton from TV’s The Office. He plays Mickey O’Flynn, a has-been rock star who is making a comeback from a dead career. (Hint: This is an inside joke. You’ll have to watch the film to get it.)
It’s wildly quirky and a little off key, but that seems to be the director’s intent, so just roll with it and watch Bratton do his dead-man dance. There’s a good reason why Office producers kept him around. He’s a very naughty boy.
Suffice it to say that everyone in this film seems to enjoy being weird and ghastly, and the scenes shot at the Ventura Theater are fun to watch. You might just enjoy it if you’re in the mood for that one film that refuses to behave itself. You might describe it differently. It’s open for discussion, but when you get cast off to earth, what else can you do but sing about it?
And here’s another reason to watch: Brooks is a hottie and Keenan is even hotter. It seems that filming in black and white is really good for the complexion.