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An Interview with Joel D. Wynkoop, Actor, Director

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2021

Joel D. Wynkoop on (re)Search my Trash


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It's been quite a while since we've last talked, but you haven't kept exactly been idle since then - so first and foremost, what keeps you going, and how do you keep your output quite as frequent?


I am not sure, it seems there is always something to act in... if my agent doesn't get it for me it is another moviemaker, if they don't have anything then it is myself that says "Oh well, nothin' else is going on... I guess I'll create something for myself." If it is for another moviemaker they will usually reach out to me because they have a role for me.


For instance, Todd Sheets for Clownado, he asked me to be in it, said he had a role for me that he could see me doing. It was great, I learned my lines on the plane ride and by the time the plane landed I had the lines down, and Todd even let me run with the character to make it my own, telling me "Yeah man, this is why I hired you..." Todd is awesome to work for.


The last couple movies I have been working on, The Blue Hole and Demigods, the moviemakers both came to me and said "We'd really like you to be in this movie." Pretty cool you don't have to audition people, just say "I want you in my movie." Also I just like to act, I don't think there is anything more I would rather be doing. I guess I don't know how to stop. Sometimes I say "I'm never doing that again," but then I find myself making another movie.


Now COVID slowed me right down, in fact we were in the middle of shooting Beast Mode with Lloyd Kaufman and Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here] and I had to shut the whole thing down. Also I turned down a lot of roles because of this stupid virus coming to our country. However The Craiglon Incident would have NEVER been made if it wasn't for this stupid virus coming to our country.


Even now I have more projects planned after The Craiglon Incident III Annihilation. The Owen Brothers with my partner Phil Herman, Onslaught, a feature for my wife starring her as the heroine kicking ass, and finishing Beast Mode. I am really not planning on NOT doing anything for a long time. Even if I say "I quit" don't believe it.


Since we last spoke, you've directed quite a few movies - so could you just pick out a handful of those and talk about them for a bit?


I think we covered The Bite way back when, but since then Slasher Weekend, Nekoda, Diary of Blood - part of The Wynkoop Tales anthology -, Psychos R Us - also part of The Wynkoop Tales -, The Paranormal Club, Dead End, Beast Mode, The Craiglon Incident, The Craiglon Incident II Aftermath and The Craiglon Incident III Annihilation, The Wynkoop Tales wraparound, Horror Tales.666 Part 2 wraparound, and probably a few more I am forgetting.


What the heck, The Bite was fun and kind of a return for me back to full features. Tim Ritter told me "People are going to forget about you, man, if you keep doing these shorts, you better do a full feature again," so I did The Bite. Funny thing it was a short by Phil Herman I just took it from a synopsis (knowing how good it was) and made it into a 80 minute movie and released it, then of course I owed Phil a short and had to create another one for Always Midnight, which I did.


In The Bite I kind of took that post apocalyptic thing crossed with vampires and martial arts, and had a real blast with it. A fun movie too.


Slasher Weekend was my return to straight slasher horror, Friday the 13th-style. People in the woods getting hacked up by a killer. It sold thru The Sleaze Box and 75 minute cut of the movie, but I released the two hour version, a director's cut if you will. It had all the stuff I wanted to stay in the movie, my humor, the killer being upset when he finally gets to where the people are and he is ready to kill them and they get in their car and drive 20 miles away from him and he has to trek thru the woods only to see when he arrives they are leaving again, my kind of humor ... and then of course all its bloody kills which there are a lot of.


Nekoda I wrote for a private organization, it was not fun writing it, they wanted less people, then more people, then more pages, then less pages, then a girl instead of a guy, then they wanted to ad a mom character, and I complied with all of this, writing it over and over again.


Then after myself securing a cool location, a couple of them actually, we were ready to shoot. We shot the short. I turned it over to the corporation, they watched it, everyone loved it but the person in charge didn't and said they "didn't want to be associated with it." They didn't like it so I bought it back from them and released it under my name and my partner of the flick Marcus Kempton. I released it on Avail TV and GPTV and The Joel Wynkoop Action Pack.


Diary of Blood was actually a short, I think it was only to be 3 pages long written by the awesome Joe Sherlock [Joe Sherlock interview - click here]. I shot it for him but then after I gave it to him it kind of sat around for a year, so I bought the footage and story and put it together myself (by this time I had taught myself how to edit) and released it on The Wynkoop Tales as well as Avail TV and GPTV. My wife Cathy was the star of this one and carried the whole movie, very proud of her, she did a great job!!! I also paid every actor in it which I always do now.


Psychos R Us I really have to give Tim Ritter the credit, this was a story he told me back in '84 about two psychos that turn out not to be the psychos you think. I wrote it from his idea and shot it very quickly in one night in a run down hotel, very scary because of the things going on there, prostitution, drugs and gangs, fun making movies, right? This can be seen in The Wynkoop Tales.


The Paranormal Club was actually shot for a movie called The Black Book, I was paid to write it, star in it and shoot it for some moviemakers out of Indiana, but it never got done so after a year or two I asked "Can we make a deal so I can get my movie back and release it myself?"

We made a deal, I got it back and they helped me release it, a very fun little movie about these silly club members who argue over the most stupid things, it is like the first half is a little comedy and the second half gets serious. Lots of monster fun.


Dead End was shot for a action horror film festival which Cathy actually took first place for acting. It was a cool little story about a father and son and daughter, the daughter is investigating a cult in the woods and her brother and father hear her over the phone being kidnapped ,and they go after her to save her against these crazed cultists - again a pretty fun little short in The Wynkoop Tales.


Beast Mode I had to stop shooting when COVID came to the USA. We did get done all Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here] and Lloyd Kaufman scenes, so I was happy about that, but we had to stop because it was a touchy grabby movie going back to my roots from Creep. I was going for that angle with a doofus character who changes a quarter of the way into the movie becoming a monster who kills. We will finish this soon.


The Craiglon Incident I started the night COVID 19 came to the USA. March of 2020! It started out as a joke but soon I had actors from all over the country and music from Japan and my FX guy was in Australia and soon I had 6 hours of footage and 3 movies. Aliens take over the entire multiverse, and three goofballs have to stop them and save, the world a comic sci fi with Phil Herman, my wife Cathy, myself and Shawn C. Phillips [Shawn C. Phillips interview - click here].


When I was in the middle of The Craiglon Incident II Aftermath, I was talking to Phil Herman, and he asked if I could edit Horror Tales.666 Part 2... long story I said "YES" so I stopped work on The Craiglon Incident II Aftermath and edited Horror Tales.666 Part 2 (which comes out this month, late August 2021). For directing-wise I think that is it, and yes, my main bag is acting but I will edit, I will direct, produce, write, whatever it takes to keep my work out there!


Usually you also appear in front of the camera in the films you direct - so does this kind of double duty put an extra strain on you or actually make things a little easier?


It makes it easier because I know what I want. Even on other movies where I am not directing I can't help but say "No this is not what I want. We're doing it this way." One time my friend was directing but things just were not getting done, the camera guy was threatening to leave, the actors had to leave, I finally said "Look man, I don't want to be a dick but I'm taking over now!!" We had two hours to shoot 23 pages and we could not get back there again at all and one actor had to leave in the morning for Italy, so I took over, we got on time, just in time as everyone left.

This was something I wrote and we were co-directing, I wouldn't say that on someone else's set, although I would offer my advice like I did to Jason Stephenson [Jason Stephenson interview - click here] on Strip Club Slasher, they were working on a scene and I asked Jason "Hey would you like some advice?" and he said "Are you kidding? You've been in the business for years, I grew up watching your movies, please tell us we would be honored." Definitely there is more control, more pressure too, but don't take it too seriously and have fun with it.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Well I know what I want. Not perfect, not great, but I know how the scene should look, I know how the actor should be, I know how the story goes. It is definitely easier when it is your vision that is for sure. I think I do okay and I always treat my actors good.

ONE time I had an extreme melt down when an actor pointed a gun at me (I'd already been shot in the face once by a loaded gun) by the co-director's direction. I went ballistic, one guy ran and told me later "I have never seen you that mad before, I thought you were going to kill me." But I was overworked, we were shooting like ten hours a day, the little boy was named David after my son David who had died of cancer, and all that made me too emotional and I blew up.

I went out to my van an sat for 20 minutes, they had to come get me. I went back, apologized to everyone and we kept shooting. But still I think I am a decent director. Plus co-directing with someone and a camera guy that has his ideas and everyone arguing over the same shot is stupid, you spend more time arguing than if you just shot the damn thing.


Quite honestly, what would Joel D. Wynkoop the actor say about Joel D. Wynkoop the director behind his back - and vice versa?


The Uh-Oh Show

I think I would say about myself "Man that was cool, he really brought that scene to life." As the actor I might say "Man he's getting really pissed," but then I'd say "Well if people would just listen to him he wouldn't be freaking out right now." It is hard to answer that because it is about me either way, but I'd like to think at least that.


Let me pick a few films you only star in from your filmography rather at random for you to say a few words about them ...

The Uh-Oh Show - and what was it like working with Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell Gordon Lewis bio - click here]?


Hershell was AWESOME!!!!! I remember the audition I did for Andy Lalino and Andrew Allan. After I read for the two leads they told me I did good and they were very happy with it. Then they said "Herschell has to make the last call." I said "Herschell, you don't mean Herschell Gordon Lewis," and they said yes we do, it's his movie, Grim Fairy Tales - which would later become The Uh-Oh Show. Also after Herschell saw my audition he said I want that guy to play both roles Fred and Jacky!!! Herschell even changed the whole schedule for me because I was working on Jason Liquori's [Jason Liquori interview - click here] movie Stopped Dead with Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here].

The first day they were still zipping me up and sewing up my pants leg and putting makeup on me as I was walking out the door and Herschell was yelling "Where's Fred??" I had stepped out the door right into camera rolling. Herschell loved it, he actually told my wife later... he said to her "Your husband is the most talented actor I have ever worked with." Yes I know he probably said that to every actor he worked with, but it was still cool to hear coming from him.

One day I asked him "Do you want me to do that dialogue for you?" He said yes. He and Krista Grotte Saxon were watching me when I did it. When I finished Krista screamed "THAT WAS FREAKING AWESOME JOEL!!" and Herschell said "I totally agree with the young lady... did we get that on tape?"


I think the most fun we had was when Herschell came out one of the doors as I was going in and he said to me "We are playing a April fools joke on Andrew," and I told him "Herschell, you have to let me in on this, I am the king of improv," and he said "okay just come in when you think you should..." - so I did. Herschell was on stage raising his voice "Why arren't we ready to shoot? What is the hold up?" The cameraman started yelling back "just a minute these things take time!" I could see Andrew getting riled at the cameraman for talking to Herschell that way, so I yelled out "What's going on here?" Andrew told me to "Shut up, Joel!' I said "You can't tell me to shut up, this would never happen on a Tim Ritter set!!" And that was it, Andrew grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me thru the crowd of actors and crew yelling at me the whole time "You are in so much trouble!!" I yanked my arm away from him and threatened to kick his ass if he didn't get his hands off me, we squared off, then you hear Herschell "Andrew, Andrew, Andrew" and Andrew turned away from me and said "WHAT?" and Herschell said "April fools" which then Andrew turned to me and said "You're the best damn actor in the world!" Fun time. Herschell and I got along great, I was so saddened when I heard about his death.


The Giant Horny Toad Monster?


Ahhh, David "The Rock" Nelson. I love David, he is a great guy!! I think that was like 2006 maybe when he asked me to do something for his... I don't think it was The Giant Horny Toad Monster but something else, but the scenes got used in The Giant Horny Toad Monster and Werewolf and the Witch and maybe a couple more, but I can't remember... I'm not sure but I shot those scenes at our apartment out in the woods and sent them to David to put into his movies so it was a lot of fun. I used David in my movie Fall of an Actor!!!!! I still follow David today!!!!!


Hi-8: Horror Independent Eight?


Tim Ritter got in touch with Marcus Koch [Marcus Koch interview - click here] and said "Hey do you think you could use Joel in your movie?" Marcus called me up and asked me to be his weatherman and that was pretty much it. I thank Tim for that and of course Marcus, it was fun to play a weatherman. Marcus said "That's what I like about you Joel, you are a one take wonder."




Dustin Hubbard [Dustin Hubbard interview - click here] and Seb Godin [Sebastien Godin interview - click here] got a hold of me and offered me the role of "The Stranger" in Lycanimator, which they laughed at me cause I kept pronouncing it wrong, I also got my friend Anthony Wayne a role in that as well. This was a lot of fun, I mean it was hot where we shot it, and we were shooting in a mold infested house that was supposedly haunted, and bleech and mosquitoes, argggghhhhh night shoots, the worst!!!!! BUT I said "could the stranger use some karate," and they were like "yes, yes, yes!!" so that was fun to be able to kick the crap out of the werewolf monster!!!!!!


Ouija Mummy?


I think the same here. Seb and Dustin wanted me to play "Karate Irving" a comicble pizza delivery guy and I said "YES!!"  Anytime I can work with Dustin and Seb I jump at the chance, these two guys are awesome!!!!!!  Cathy was also in this as well as the woman who discovers the ancient relic. It is a very fun movie.


Horrortales.666 Part 2?


Well I was in the orignal way back in what? 1997? This one was going to be different and it was cool to hear Phil tell me this. It was Phil's script and he told me "You are the only one who gets it and sees my vision and is making it come to life." It was a confusing script to read but when I told him I would edit it, I started piecing it together and writing my scenes added to his scene for Cathy, and I saw it come together, and I have to say I think it came out pretty damn cool!!!!! Comes out this month, August 2021. Great job Phil!!!!!!!


Grave Robbers from Outer Space?


This I cannot say much about. I was paid to do it but my scenes have not come up yet, but I am still excited and looking forward to working on it.


Jekyll vs. Hyde?


Here is one of those happy little accident stories. The actor who was supposed to do this role couldn't do it last minute so Dustin called me and said "Can you come right now and do this part?" I said "I'm on my way!" I had no idea about the part or script or anything I told Dustin that, he said "I know, were not worried about, you will be amazing." Well I don't know if I was amazing but I got the scenes down and I am waiting for it to come out as well.


Any other films you've starred in you'd like to mention?


The Craiglon Incident, The Craiglon Incident II Aftermath and The Craiglon Incident III Annihilation. The first two have been accepted well from viewers they all seem to like it and that is all I can ask for. Tim Ritter, Shawn C. Phillips [Shawn C. Phillips interview - click here], Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here], Phil Herman, Cathy Wynkoop and so many others make this such a fun comedy sci fi with a twist of Crisis on Infinite Earths, I am a big fan of the comic from the 70's!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


The Owen Brothers with Phil Herman, Horror Tales.666 Part 3 with Phil Herman and Dustin Hubbard [Dustin Hubbard interview - click here], Onslaught, Beast Mode, and whatever else I can dream up.


Your website, social media, whatever else?


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Actually I think that is pretty good, probably more but it is so late and my brain is fried, but I thank you so much for your time and your interest in this old guy. Check out my IMDb to see all my titles and search me out on Facebook and thank you again so very much!!!!!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you my friend.


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD