We are all aware that there are moments in life that inform not only who you are but who you’ll eventually be and, ultimately, what you’ll be remembered for. At the age of thirty-seven, I’m told I’ve lived some lives. Most people say this due to my many career paths, all of which are so different. You look at me and think, “How are you here, and who made that tragic error.” Or so my anxiety and awkward social skills would have me believe.
One thing that has remained consistent throughout my life is one very healthy obsession: Melons. Honkers. Heavy Hangers. Juggs. Calcium Cannons. ‘Dem Heavies. You get it! Access to Cinemax in the early ’90s through the early ’00s proved to be a magical land of titillating action and sultry skintastic exploitation. Films that would have your heart pounding, palm sweating, and undeveloped brain wondering where these goddesses of paid (or stolen) cable came from. I remember very well the day my obsession helped uncover a true Unsung Hero of Hollywood.
Enter Julie K. Smith. A favorite of latter-day Andy Sidaris action epics and frequent go-to of Jim Wynorski. Her IMDb mostly consists of erotic spoofs, but what sets this Penthouse Pet apart from most of her counterparts is her ability to do this semi-important thing in film: Acting. Julie is simply a different beast. Of course, it helps that she takes the craft seriously. Many actors in the industry are offered roles based on their status in other industries. Very few take these roles seriously and deliver quality performances between the nekkid stuff. Only a handful come to mind. Let’s face it, Hollywood has always been a place where you’ll hear, “She has a great body.” “Can she act?” “Who cares!”… Or so I’ve overheard.
The film that introduced me to Julie was “The Bare Wench Project.” At this point in life, I was already all-in on anything Wynorski helmed. “The Return of Swamp Thing” and “Sorority House Massacre II” were frequent weekend rentals. I sure am glad my parents never wanted to watch “Sorority House Massacre II” for ‘Family Movie Night’ as my cover would be blown. To find out he directed The Bare Wench was a mind-blower, but that is a story for another time.
The film stars Julie K. Smith alongside Nikki Fritz, Larissa McComas, Lenny Juliano (a leading man second to none), and Julie Strain as the titular Bare Wench. Kick-ass actors in a fun flick. Hands down, the best scene in the film is Julie’s recreation of the scared testimonial. In “The Blair Witch,” the would-be most gripping scene of the movie was instantly lampooned for the lead actress’s runny nose and heated debate of whether it will drip onto the lens or hang there for the full duration of the shot. Julie’s Bare Wench scene has audiences on the edge of their seat for two reasons, or so I would imagine. I saw it alone, late at night, while everyone in the house was asleep.
After “The Bare Wench Project, “I would see anything and everything Julie would appear in. Working backward through her IMDb is how I stumbled upon the Andy Sidaris-produced classics ‘The Dallas Connection’, ‘Day of the Warrior’, and ‘L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies: Return to Savage Beach’. In this trilogy of action, Julie plays Cobra, a heel turned baby face operative of the Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law. Highly recommended and streaming now over at Full Moon Features.
Another highly recommended production would be ‘POPATOPOLIS,’ a 2009 documentary by Clay Westervelt documenting director Jim Wynorski’s three-day film production of The Witches of Breastwick. In this documentary, you’ll see how Wynorski is able to make a fun film under highly stressful circumstances. Watching Julie in the film is a bright spot as she shows up to work ready and willing to fight alongside him, but isn’t afraid to butt heads with the filmmaker to express her opinions. This isn’t the battle of a diva but of an actor that knows her craft expressing what she feels strongly is in the best interest of the production. You can see why Wynorski often turned to her to lead so many films.
Honorable mentions must go out to “Cleavagefield,” and “The Hills Have Thighs,” respectfully.
Cheers, Ms. Smith, you’re a true master of your craft. Here is to a future filled with happiness and tacos… she’ll understand.
Born and raised in Rockford, IL., Jeremy spent his formative years in the dusty isles of local video stores. Eventually his “5 for $5 for 5 days” video rentals would lead to an underwhelming and short lived career in film and television production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. He currently resides in Southwestern Michigan living his best life as an introverted extrovert.
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