KELLY JO MINTER
THEN: One of my favorite movies back when I was a kid was a silly little comedy I caught on cable called SUMMER SCHOOL. This 1987 flick was freaking awesome in every single way. Now you may be saying, “Well JimmyO, this website isn’t about comedy so what the f*ck are you talking about SUMMER SCHOOL for.” To that I’d respond with, aside from an especially charming cast, this flick does in fact have a great bit of horror grooviness thrown in. Aside from the many THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE references, SUMMER SCHOOL features an especially entertaining bit with the students indulging in some gory make-up effects to scare a new teacher. And you know what else it has? The hotness that is Kelly Jo Minter! And yes, she was hot, but she was also funny as hell in this fine feature.
I’ve always had a crush on Kelly Jo. It is difficult to say where she caught my attention first. Early on in her career she made appearances in a number of feature films. She appeared in the inspiring drama MASK with Eric Stoltz and Cher in 1985. In 1987. She was featured in THE PRINCIPAL with James Belushi and of course SUMMER SCHOOL. And she even had a role in one of the coolest vamp flicks ever, THE LOST BOYS. It was a good year for tough yet tender hottie, and she easily stole my heart when it came to her performance in SUMMER SCHOOL. Damn that was a fine movie! If you’ve never seen it, I suggest you do so. Aside from both Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley, it was the young cast that really earned most of the laughs, especially the lovely Ms. Minter.
There was a little movie from 1988 about the end of the world which left a major impact on me when I saw it on late night cable. MIRACLE MILE is an odd little love story featuring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham, and yes, it also starred Kelly Jo. I wish I could give a more up-to-date reaction, but the truth is I don’t remember much. What I do remember was something truly original in terms of final days movies. It was less of a thriller and more of a romance, but it really worked. As I type this I wish I had a moment to revisit this cool flick because I only vaguely remember Kelly Jo, but either way, I was already a fan so her presence was only icing on the apocalyptic cake.
The following year, Kelly Jo Minter appeared in a “sexy” crime thriller called CAT CHASER. The film starred Peter Weller and Kelly McGillis, as well as impressive character actors Charles Durning and Frederic Forrest. Yet 1989 was also the year that A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD hit theatres, and it featured Kelly Jo in another cool genre performance. Many have issues with this bizarre installment in the Nightmare franchise. However, I appreciated much of this strange concoction of slasher madness. Sure, the Freddy baby stuff was sort of silly and all, but I really dug Lisa Wilcox in the lead, and thoroughly appreciated most of the supporting cast. And once again Kelly Jo killed it for me.
After stepping into Freddy’s Nightmare, Kelly Jo chilled with HOUSE PARTY. The 1990 comedy was certainly a change of pace for the actress, but thankfully she could handle the funny just as well as the frights. Then, in 1991, she returned to horror in a very big way. In Wes Craven’s underrated thriller THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, she appeared opposite the absolutely insane - in a good way - Everett McGill and Wendy Robie from Twin Peaks fame. And then, that same year she was in the unusually good POPCORN with Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard and Dee Wallace. This tongue-in-cheek slasher was a good bit of horror fun. While neither of these two films are perfect, they both make for a great evening of nostalgic and campy horror viewing.
After a few years, Kelly Jo seemed to work quite often in television as well as a movie here and there. Some of her features include NEW JACK CITY and DOC HOLLYWOOD - both from 1991. She also starred in THE RICH MAN’S WIFE (1996) as a “cursing hooker” and DEAD MEN CAN’T DANCE (1997). Although, after the year 2000 hit and everybody was thanking their lucky stars that Y2K wasn’t an actually life altering thing, she worked far more infrequently. According to her IMDB page, her last credit was an episode of the teen friendly series Zoey 101 in 2008. Well, what happened to Kelly Jo Minter after that?
NOW: Sometimes it is far more difficult to find out what somebody is up to than others. While Kelly Jo hasn’t been acting all that much, it seems that she does make convention appearances. I’m almost certain that I’ve seen her name a time or two. And recently she made an appearance on something called Soap Talk where she was talking about her humble beginnings, and selling bags - you can check out that interview here. For awhile she was the Former Designer/CEO at KJO BAGS and she was doing a little promoting. It seems that she has long since left Hollywood and even more heartbreaking, horror, but perhaps there is hope for her to return at some point. At least she still showed a little love to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET by appearing in the fantastic Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.
From the looks of it, she doesn’t deal with Twitter and her Facebook page is all filled up with pals already, so there is not much on that front. And even worse, she doesn’t have an official website - at least not one I can find. So if you are a fan, and you should be, keep your eyes our for the lovely Kelly Jo Minter. And if you do run into her, be sure to tell her that Arrow in the Head still loves her a whole damn bunch. Happy New Year everybody!!