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rocky trails
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A film directed by Andrew Rosas • A Surgery Room Production


In my acting screen debut, Theodore J. Richter plays "the creature," in the soon to be released underground film Rocky Trails.


What is "the creature?" A man, permanetly disfigured by a horrible plane crash into a chemical testing facility somewhere in Wisconsin in the late 1950s. A man, until now, seen only wearing a beat up flight suit and communist era gas mask. A man, deranged from his injuries, abducts innocent victims and performs freaky creepy experiments upon them, ARG!

"This humble performance was a major life accomplishment, I felt like Klaus Kinski playing a manic, blood-thirsty squirrel tripping on acid while chowing down on some poor woman's neck."

– Theodore J. Richter


Read the story behind the movie:


The e-mail subject field said, "movie role." I clicked on the link and read on, "...You'd be playing "the creature" when he finally gets his masked removed to reveal a decrepit, chemically-burned pale hairless face." A DECREPIT, CHEMICALLY-BURNED PALE HAIRLESS FACE? Yes! I thought, with my looks, a minimum of makeup would be required thereby reducing production costs, certainly this casting choice was hallmark of brilliance, a sign I should get involved in the film. I immediately e-mailed the director, my good friend Drew, "yes, I want to play 'the creature!'"


Drew, the filmmaker with me, the humble blood-soaked "creature."


I have always respected the acting craft, but never thought I could pull it off, my performance art is more like a hallucination than a characterization. Plus, I just don't have that neutral actor "vibe" you see in those handsome actor types, even when they are waiting tables. If I did act, I would not be human, I would fare far better as a science fiction creature, like a cross between a sea turtle and a super-sonic jet-ski. A strange misguided creature falling in love with a fighter jet engine rather than another supersonic turtle, tragically burned while trying to hump the flaming engine, that would be my poetic drama of trauma.


"The rack" with blood & gun & bondage rope. Check out the bloody hand prints on the headboard.


The name of the movie was "Rocky Trails," an 80s-style horror film: half comedy, half suspense, full of bad wardrobes, bad hair, and bad acting.  I play the main antagonist, "the creature," a man seen only wearing an old beat up flight suit and a Communist era gas mask, really freaky creepy.  The story goes there was a horrible accident in the 1950s at a military testing facility somewhere in Wisconsin.  A plane crashed into the plant causing a massive chemical contamination and the pilots body was never found. "The creature" is the pilot, who has remained in the building for years. Deranged and scared from his injuries he abducts poor victims that accidentally stumble upon the decaying building and uses them in his experiments. 


My 3 hour makeup session felt more like an expensive facial at a high-class spa, AH...


After a 3 hour makeup session that felt like an expensive facial in a high-class spa, AH...my face was dripping in silicone globs like translucent herpes gone wild. The set was a real abandoned warehouse, totally trashed and covered with "no tresspassing" signs. It was dark and freezing cold. There were holes in the floor that look like puddles of oil, and puddles of oil that look like holes, like a raw MC Escher mind-fuck. The holes were lined with a ripped and jagged steel mesh, which dropped down to a concrete floor 12 feet below. You could easily fall through a hole, rip yourself on the steel mesh and get seriously hurt. The place was a real nightmare. 


My face dripping in silicone globs like translucent herpes gone wild.


For my part, I am sleeping until this blond chick I have abducted rips off my gas mask, sees my decrepit, chemically-burned pale hairless face, screams, then I wake up and attack her. Lying there, waiting for the director to say, "action" I remember reading the autobiography of Klaus Kinski where he describes one of his auditions. Kinski screams, claws the walls until he draws blood, totally freaks out the director and casting agent, then gets the part. This is acting technique I can relate to, I can do this "creature" thing, I thought.


The blood splattered door where I got shot by the 8 year-old boy hero.


The director yells "action," then "feast!" and I burst to life like the living dead, chomping my teeth, dripping blood filled saliva, gushing in SLURP! SLURP! spurts. Then, I went ape-shit on this poor woman's neck, feasting like Klaus Kinski playing a manic, blood-thirsty squirrel tripping on acid bellowing, ARG! ARG! ARG! Gnashing my teeth, violently I shake her body. Eyes shut tight in a death grip, I was tripping, four white lights encompassed my vision, blinking out into infinity, BLINK! Blink! blink...and I am in the moment. I am "the creature," ARG!


I went ape-shit on this poor woman's neck, feasting like Klaus Kinski playing a manic, blood-thirsty squirrel tripping on acid. It was vile and morally wrong. Now it's Miller time.


Finally Drew, the director, yelled "cut." As the echo of my screams reverberated throughout the warehouse, for a moment it felt as if something vile and morally wrong had taken place. The film crew started clapping, Drew muttered, "that was an Oscar performance." Afterwards, I got my picture taken with Drew and the other cast members. In my picture with the blond girl victim, we are leaning away from each other still freaked out by this scene. I never thought I would act in a movie, but this humble performance was a major life accomplishment.

by TJ Richter

© November 13, 2008 Theodore J. Richter


Klaus Kinski

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