Wednesday, February 15, 2017

28 Days Of Black Women In Horror: Gloria Lynne Henry

Gloria Lynne Henry 

Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

Gloria Lynne Henry was born in Detroit and started her acting career very early performing on stage since the age of eight. After receiving her B.F.A. in theater arts at Wayne State University, Gloria helped to create a children's' theater program at Detroit's Attic theater. She has also traveled with the international group 'Up With People' on their European tour and performed in Equity playhouses across the United States. In 1994, Gloria got recognition from horror/sci-fi fans worldwide after co-starring in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994).

Just the mere mention of her involvement in Phantasm III helped her get auditions because of its rabid cult following. Don Coscarelli gave her the role of Rocky mainly because of her tough look and the fact that she was a martial arts student. To date, it remains her most important cinematic performance and even nowadays she keeps going to horror conventions and Phantasm reunions to meet her numerous fans. In addition to her acting work, Gloria has also performed as lead singer in the critically acclaimed funk/rock band Chatter, which was originally formed by her cousin Brian Hardgroove, who was the bass guitarist in the legendary rap/rock group Public Enemy. Gloria Lynne Henry currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son. (Source)

About Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

No one better than writer Bryan Christopher researched and summed up best the significance of Gloria's role in Phantasm III:

"Rocky, however, defies the laws of horror movies and actually survives for the duration! And not only that, she's also pretty badass throughout the flick. She consistently kicks the undead square in the ballbag, and she handles Reggie, Phantasm's resident dirty old man, with barely held-together patience/creative methods for telling him to piss off. Exhibit A:

Reggie: Come on, Rocky. Haven't you ever tried vanilla?
Rocky: ....I'm lactose intolerant.

Now, given that Rocky, a black woman, was written by Don Coscarelli, a very white man, Rocky could have easily slipped into a caricature. Fortunately, Coscarelli knew to listen to actress Gloria Lynn-Henry when she had notes about her character. "Being a black female, I know there's certain dialogue that she just wouldn't say," explains Lynn-Henry in an interview given to Dustin McNeill for his book Phantasm Exhumed. "Don was so wonderful in letting me add a couple of slang things here and there, and letting me reword my lines. It made me feel so much more comfortable with the character."

Unfortunately, while Rocky survives Phantasm III, she doesn't return for Phantasm IV. She did get get to ride off into the sunset, however, so if we're lucky she'll return for the upcoming Phantasm V: Ravager. The series needs its asskicker back."

Read the whole piece and more of his work here.

Other Genre Performances

Rocky, Phantasm: Ravager (2016)
Tiffany, The Devil's Advocate (1997)

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