INTERVIEW WITH RAY DENNIS STECKLER by Michelle Russo
(This was done via e-mail, courtesy of William Libby)
QM: We see you as a forerunner of B-movie films..how do you feel about that sentiment ?
RDS: The shorts of Chaplin and Keaton were B-movies. They still play today over and over. “Ishtar” and “Heavens Gate” and many more films-who cares- these were also B-movies. “B” for bad.
QM: What do you feel is your best work?
RDS: The scene with Coleman Francis in the Laundromat in “Body Fever”. What an actor. He directed “Beast of Yucca Flats” with the great Tor Johnson.
QM: What is your favorite film?
RDS: “Summer fun” because it tells a story without dialogue during the silent movie days. No waiting for airplanes to record sound.
QM: What makes up your uniqueness for your films? Do you feel the masses know your uniqueness?
RDS: I believe I inspired a few film makers. There are no masses- if there were, I’d have made here were, I’d have made more films. No money, no films. You can only borrow on your credit, if you can pay it back. P.S. I’ve never gone bankrupt.
QM: How do you feel about politics?
RDS: Gore sucks- Except for Al Gore and Tipper Gore. It would have been nice to have some class in the White House. As for class in films-watch the Hallmark TV shows.
QM: Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
RDS: Actors and Actresses-My last two stars came to my house-one to paint it and the other to fix my air conditioner. I’m looking for a plumber now. As for actresses- I used to fall in love a lot. My “Foreplay” was definitely an A-movie.
QM: What are your ideal dreams?
RDS: Dreams- My life is a “Dream”. Great wives, wonderful children and grandchildren. No-body had it better. Working in Hollywood was a “nightmare”!!
QM: What filmmakers do you like?
RDS: Other film-makers- John Ford- who knew how to stage a scene without moving the camera unless it furthered the story. Michelangelo Antonioni, because he was completely original and did it his way! Robert Emmett Tansey and Robert Bradbury, father of the mighty mouse of B-westerns- Bob Steele. They directed the B-westerns with style. Never wasted a cent.
QM: What makes a good film?
RDS: Good film- A good film maker.
QM: Are you writing a book about yourself?
RDS: No. Too many secrets. Too many great moments. They’re mine- I earned them.
QM: How do you feel about the trial and error method of making films?
RDS: Trial and Error- Trial and Error is self indulgence- pure bullshit. Examples: Vanilla Sky, Rambo 3, Ishtar and Battlestar Galactia, complete self indulgence I ask you, could these people make a movie for two thousand dollars? I can. Worst film ever made was “Vanilla Sky” except for the scenes when Tom Cruise wore a mask.
QM: What future projects can we expect?
RDS: Future Projects- Old men walking “Route 66”. It’s about 3 old film people that are completely forgotten about, who try to make a documentary on “Route 66”. They learn on the trip who they really are and find it’s a better than going to Hollywood. It stars Herb Robins and William Lloyd. Actors from the “The Thrill Killers” and “Wild Guitar”- and me! I own the camera.