Ray Dennis Steckler, director of the ‘classic’ 1964 epic, The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, died on January 4 at the age of 70.
An auteur of the drive-in, Steckler, who often acted in his own films under the name “Cash Flagg”, entertained teenage audiences in the 1960’s and 1970’s with low- or micro-budget gore. He worked without scripts, without budgets, by all indications without actual actors, and without one iota of taste, but he has nevertheless survived as an icon of ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ cinema.
In addition to his film ‘achievements’, Steckler was also a born showman in the vein of William Castle. Or at least he wanted to be. As the New York Times notes:
One of Mr. Steckler’s notorious cinematic inventions was “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision,” which involved ushers’ wearing masks and bounding through the aisles with rubber knives. He himself sometimes joined in, until a patron shot him with a pellet gun.
Now that, my friends, is a class act. Here, in his memory, is the trailer for the very first (and, with luck, the last) monster musical.