Those fans of low budget and independent filmmaking might be aware of Ray Dennis Steckler. Even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of the title The Incredible Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964). But he made plenty more like that, hitting a variety of sub-genres, but no matter what, they were always the same demented mind. Now, thanks to author Christopher Wayne Curry, you’ll be able to take a deeper dive into that madness with his latest book, The Incredible Strange Features of Ray Dennis Steckler, being published by McFarland later this summer.
The book will cover “nearly fifty movies while his lost, incomplete and experimental films have been examined as well. Key Entries include cast and crew credits, alongside a plot synopsis, pictures, posters and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. This wild and way-out read is made all the more so with a Steckler memorabilia checklist, an overview of global tributes, exclusive interviews and much, much more. Transcriptions of the author’s interviews with Steckler’s ex-wife Carolyn Brandt, his daughter Laura H. Steckler, and stuntman Gary Kent are included.”
I’m sure once I get my grubby little hands on a copy, I’ll be posting a review shortly thereafter!
Film Alchemy: The Independent Cinema of Ted V. Mikels
Published by McFarland, 2007. 220 Pages
By Christopher Wayne Curry
The name of Ted V. Mikels is one that is not that well known in the film community. Unless of course, you are a fan of cult movies. Then you are well aware of the name, and the man, and the movies that he has given us over the past 40+ years. Now thanks to author Curry, we are able to get a closer inside look at the man and his movies.
Mikels’ films can pretty much be the definition of “independent cinema”. Within these pages, Curry does an excellent job explaining and showing the readers just what Mikels has gone through to bring his productions from conception to creation. It’s not a pretty story in most cases. But as Mikels says in the book, “I always tell people at the beginning of my movies that if they’re not here to enjoy the making of a movie then they shouldn’t be here.” I think that statement perfectly describes Mikels. He simply loves to make movies.
I really have a love/hate relationship with these kind of books. It’s a book on horror films, so of course I’m going to add it to the library. But when a book comes out with a title like this, it is always open for debate, since everyone’s opinions are going to be different, even if just a little bit. Maybe you can’t believe that they would have included a certain title in their Top Ten? Or maybe that they even left out a film that you think should have been included.
A Taste of Blood: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis
By Christopher Wayne Curry
Published by Creation Books, 1999. 252 pages.