The Incredibly Strange Features of Ray Dennis Steckler

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!

Book Review: Gods of Grindhouse

Gods of GrindhouseGods of Grindhouse
BearManor Media, 2013. 169 pages.
Edited by Andrew J. Rausch

I know everyone out there knows the name of Roger Corman. But what about Ted V. Mikels? Or Ray Dennis Steckler, Jack Hill, or Bill Rebane? These gentlemen, plus a few more, are the names covered in this very important book. The guys are from the filmmaking industry that I feel are much more important than the likes of Michael Bay. Why? Simple. There movies are something you will remember and will stand the test of time. Each generation will discover and be entertained by them. Without the talented craftsmen discussed in this volume, there would be no Quentin Tarentino. So while their movies may be the jest of places like MST3K, that doesn’t take away from what their films are about, as well as the people that struggled to get them made and distributed.

I know I preach over and over on this site about how important it is to know your history when it comes to the genres, but I wouldn’t keep saying it if I really didn’t believe it. So many younger filmmakers, such as the previous mentioned Tarantino, grew up watching the films from these guys, being inspired to make their own mark with their films. So yes, it is VERY important to know these guys and their work. And this book is a great way to start.

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Vilmos Zsigmond – Rest in Peace

Zsigmond-RIPOscar winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond has passed away at the age of 85. While most of Hollywood know him from his work on films such as Deliverence (1972), The Deer Hunter (1978), The Rose (1979), and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Blow Out (1981), we here at the Krypt remember him for his earlier work, on some of the low budget films that we cherish as much as those classic pieces of cinema. Okay…maybe not as much, but we still enjoy them!

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Turkey Day 2004

For our 2nd Turkey Day Marathon, I was still on my own. But I ventured on, determined that this punishment could only make me stronger. I had our films lined up for the day and were ready to take on whatever horrors await. So I strapped myself in and started the marathon!

BloodFreakBlood Freak (1972) – I wanted to start the marathon off with the ultimate of Turkey Day movies, and this was definitely it. This film was actually commissioned by a religious group to show the dangers of drug use and wanton sex. Steve Hawkes stars in the film that he also co-wrote and co-directed with Brad F. Grinter. Hawkes plays Herschell, an out-of-work vet looking for a job and a place to crash. He stops by the road to help a girl with car trouble. For his help, he is invited back to her home. Her sister just happens to be having a swinging drug party, but that doesn’t put her off as she sits and reads gospel from the Bible. Herschell doesn’t want to partake since he’s trying to impress this girl. But it gets even stranger. Herschell gets a job at a turkey farm and volunteers for a little experiment. He has to eat a turkey that has some laced with a experimental drug to see if it has any side effects. Well, after eating the entire turkey, he turns into a turkey-headed monster that craves blood. The guy basically has a turkey head mask on, with big bulging eyes.It has to be seen to be believed. And even then, it’s hard to believe that someone gave the thumbs up once the mask was put on.

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