Saturday, August 20, 2011

Last Surviving Plan 9 Actor Enlivens DC Noir

At the beginning of this year, Conrad Brooks turned 70. A few months later, his one-time Plan 9 from Outer Space co-star Dolores Agnes Fuller passed away, making him the last surviving member of Ed Wood's repertory company.

He's still acting up a storm, and one of the films he made in 2009, Taste of Desperation, will be screening later this month at Cleveland's 15th Annual Indie Gathering. The August 26th-28th event at the Westlake Holiday Inn voted the black and white 103-minute drama a Drama-Crime category winner.

The movie was written, directed, edited by and co-stars Falls Church, VA movie maker Mark Byrne. Brooks plays a nosy Washington D.C. landlord who crosses paths with a private eye (Byrne) investigating some blackmail weirdness involving a professor and the professor's daughter. To go along with the atmospheric black and white cinematography, there is also an original jazz score by Andre Mali.

Still going strong

Brooks generally had small roles in the Wood films. He was a policeman in Plan 9, a banker and reporter in Glen or Glendora, and a medical attendant-photographer in Jailbait. Tim Burton also paid tribute to the actor's legacy by casting him as a bartender in Ed Wood.

The funny thing about Brooks is that beyond the Byrne flick, many of his credits in the past ten years read like they come from the Wood era. Everything from Bikini Planet and Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots to Brain Robbers from Outer Space and Gypsy Vampire 2. There are even a couple of Spanish language Hitler's brain flicks!

Meanwhile, in the can for 2012 is a Plan 9 remake made by another Virginia writer-director, John Johnson. Brooks can look forward to a whole new round of Ed Wood nostalgia when he makes the PR rounds for that movie.

[Taste of Desperation trailer]
[Conrad Brooks personal website]

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