Ray Dennis Steckler’s films have been referred to a “weird, individualistic and radical”, which suited him just fine. He didn’t fit in with the Hollywood crowd because he didn’t want to be like anyone else. He wanted to be different. And different he was!
His most famous trashy classic, “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies”, was made in 1964 with a very low budget of $38,000. Gee I would have never guessed.
Starring in his own film as Cash Flagg, Steckler wanders into a carnival where he is hypnotized by an evil gypsy fortune teller and turned into a murdering zombie, killing off unsuspecting show girls. Don’t think that’s weird enough? How about the gypsy keeps cages full of zombie men that she has disfigured with acid? I don’t want to give away the ending, but it does involve a good old fashioned zombie rampage. And who doesn’t like to watch one of those? But during all the heinous hijinks Steckler manages to incorporate song and dance numbers, making this film the first monster musical every produced!
His glamorous leggy wife, Carol Brandt, was his costar in many of his films. Here she is in a scene from the “Strange Creatures” movie.
This same move was also marketed under the name “Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary”. Lines from the poster claim that “monsters become real and crash out of the screen, invade audience and abduct girls from their seats.” But, being the low budget flick that it was, their lame attempt at scaring the audience involved ushers with zombie masks running up and down the aisles.
And here’s a photo of the escaped zombies.
I recommend being under the influence of a mind altering substance when watching this film, or any of his others for that matter, some of which include “Rat Pfink and Boo Boo” (1965), “The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters”(1966), “Sinthia, The Devil’s Doll” (1968) and “Blood Shack a.k.a. the Chooper”(1971). All can be purchased from Movies Unlimited for your viewing pleasure.