Here, Bruce LaBruce reflects on his experiences working with the late Erik Rhodes on the set of L.A. Zombie, and generously shares some private behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot.
Bruce LaBruce: I was truly saddened to hear about the death of Erik Rhodes, whom I had the opportunity to work with on my movie L.A. Zombie in 2010. I wanted to cast some of the biggest names in the porn world to appear alongside the great Francois Sagat in the climactic bloody orgy scene near the end of the film, so Francois helped me get in touch with and cast his friends Erik, Francesco D’Macho, Matthew Rush, and Adam Killian. I only worked with them on one very long, final day of shooting, but I remember being a bit surprised at how easy-going and congenial these four big hulking men were. They were all totally into the idea of being splattered with fake blood and rolling around in the gore.
Erik horsing around with Adam Killian on the set of L.A. Zombie
Erik in particular seemed to be so fun-loving and mischievous, like an overgrown - very overgrown! - kid. There is a scene in which he kneels on the ground while two of the other guys stand above him on wooden sawhorses and pee all over him as he tears his wet tank top off. He submitted to the “humiliation” with such obvious joy, it was great to watch.
More horsing around with Adam
The Scissor Sisters’ Return To Oz reflects on how the urban American gay scene has been eaten alive by crystal meth, and seems an appropriate song to listen to in light of Erik Rhodes’ not-so-untimely death:
Once there was a man who had a little too much time on his hands
He never stopped to think that he was getting older
When his night came to an end
He tried to grasp for his last friend and pretend
That he could wish himself health on a four-leaf clover
He said is this the return to Oz?
The grass is dead, the gold is brown and the sky has claws
Erik Rhodes, star of dozens of gay porn films including Cross Country has died aged 30. A statement from Falcon Studios said that Rhodes had died in his sleep of a heart attack.
One of his last messages to fans was :
Do not expect to have a career in porn. Use porn as a platform to start a successful career as a hooker. Get your face out there through the movies—which really don’t make you shit—so you can just sell your ass for top dollar on the street (unless you think you have too much pride for that and you just wanna shake your ass for singles at the bar). Either way, just be prepared to be used, for your relationships to fail, and to lead an overall miserable life. Hugs and kisses, good luck, and look me up when you’re in New York. I know a great dealer.
The Encyclopaedia Dramatica have a more blunt take on the life and times of Erik Rhodes.
Vigorously promoted as a blue-ribbon porn epic (Falcon offered fans the chance to win a trip for two to New Zealand, where Cross Country had been filmed near where the most spectacular outdoor scenes of The Lord of the Rings trilogy had been filmed) the Cross Country series is full of superlative sex scenes but the potential of the spectacular locations is never fully realised. In surroundings that bring out the mountain hiker in most of us, the eyebrow-arching, flashy-eyed cast bark lines of dialogue like “it was love that saved us” and the films are aligned closer to The Young and the Restless than The Return of the King.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1972, Greg Grove auditioned for the Ringling Brothers Clown College before choosing to pursue work as a personal trainer.
Fascinated by superheroes, Greg created an alter-ego of his own in Matthew Rush, the hyper-muscular gay porn superstar who signed a lifetime contract with Falcon Studios. He has starred in numerous titles including Bootstrap, Cross Country and The Velvet Mafia. Check out Greg’s entire portfolio as Matthew Rush at Falcon (xxx, FYI).
Matthew Rush has also appeared in a couple of non-porn features, playing Dik Steele in Third Man Out and go-go dancer Ryder in Another Gay Movie.
We spoke in 2008 about clowning around, racism, and his persistent dreams of Wonder Woman.
MARK ADNUM: How do you imagine your life today, Greg, if you’d followed your teenage dream of being a professional circus clown?