Ray Dennis Steckler: The Incredibly Strange Director Who Made Movies and Became a Cult Icon

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.





Filed under 1960s, 1970s, Film, Movie Megacheese, Trailers

3 responses to “Ray Dennis Steckler: The Incredibly Strange Director Who Made Movies and Became a Cult Icon

  1. dan

    While I absolutely agree with you on the genius(?) of Steckler, Flash, I do have to disagree with you on the fact of this being the last monster musical. I direct you to ‘Poultrygeist’, from Troma Pictures – not only does it have singing and dancing, but it also has:

    a. Zombie chickens,
    b. a Lesbian ex-girlfriend,
    c. and finally, in a movie about a fast food restaurant, it has characters named ‘Arby’, ‘Wendy’ and ‘Paco Bell’

  2. Flash

    I have to add another to the list, “The Horror of Party Beach”, which gave birth to the classic and never-to-be-forgotten tune, “The Zombie Stomp”.

    So, do all monster musicals have to have zombies? Or at least refer to zombies?
    If “Evil Dead: The Musical” is any indication, I guess it doesn’t hurt.

  3. dan

    Well, ‘Thriller’ is being made into a musical, so you could very well be right. BTW, does anyone else look back at the original video and find themselves thinking that Zombie Michael Jackson looks much more natural than present-day Michael? As for Non-Zombie monster musicals, I guess you could make an argument for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ being one.

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