Judas Kiss brings special effects and some twists on the
familiar redemption tale to gay cinema. Though both work well, the strong
ensemble cast in particular makes this new J. T. Tepnapa film memorable.
Besides his novels, screenplays, and constant appearances in
gay films, Charlie David has worked as a host on several TV networks. His
easily recognizable face and voice become slightly haggard and troubled in his
role as Zach, especially after Zach’s friend Topher convinces him to serve as a
judge at a film festival.
Unfortunately, Zach previously derailed many of his
ambitions by cheating with his entry years ago, at the same festival. So
returning brings back countless bad memories. Those memories become worse after
an anonymous one-night stand. The young man from that night appears before the
judges, using Zach’s real name, Danny Reyes, and presenting Zach’s film, Judas
By this time, the audience can already see that Zach has
entered some sort of alternate time line or parallel dimension, in which he can
interact with his younger self, to put it mildly. The film’s descriptions and
trailer give away these same details, and much more—too much, really.
Richard Harmon gives a brooding and sometimes creepy
performance as Danny, the young film student with a dark past and a desperate
need for people to see his film. Harmon’s previous movie and TV roles include
Smallville, The Killing, Caprica, Tower Prep, and Percy Jackson & the
The cast also includes Brent Corrigan (In The Closet, Milk,
Chillerama, The Big Gay Musical); Genevieve Buechner (Caprica, The 4400, Finding
A Family, The Killing); Timo Descamps (a Belgium actor/pop star who also sings
on the soundtrack); and several other talented actors. They all give strong
performances, certainly much better than some of the wooden acting in otherwise
likeable gay films.
In fact, the productions values in general easily rival
mainstream work. While the plot might rely on familiar conventions, it also
takes some risks, and allows the actors to make its “What If?” questions
appealing. As a fan of both gay film and science fiction/fantasy, I had long
looked forward to finally seeing this completed project, after reading about early
plans for it at the doorQ gay
scifi/fantasy/horror site. Besides enjoying the end result, I want to see more
from the makers of Judas Kiss.
Director J. T. Tepnapa plays a gay officer in the
long-running web series Star Trek:
Hidden Frontier. He has received numerous awards as a writer,
director, and actor. He co-wrote Judas Kiss with his frequent collaborator, Carlos
Pedraza, whose film credits include several web-based projects. Jody Wheeler, known
as a writer/director and for launching doorQ, co-produced.