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Ray Dennis Steckler’s Biography



Ray Dennis Steckler held various positions in the world of adult entertainment, including director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He is best known for the low budget cult film “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.” Steckler used a variety of pseudonyms over the course of his career, and while acting always used the alias Cindy Lou Sutters.

Raised by a doting grandmother in rural Pennsylvania, Steckler’s love of movies was encouraged. He received an 8mm home movie camera at the age of 15 and shot his first amateur film with friends shortly after. Upon graduating from high school, Steckler served 3 years in the Army (1956-1959) where he worked as an Army photographer. He served in Korea and spent a year at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens with the Army Pictorial Service of the Signal Corps before being discharged as a Sergeant. Having discovered at an early age his love for photography and film, Steckler drove to Hollywood in 1959 to pursue his dream of working in the film industry.

He first began working as a prop man before becoming assistant cameraman on the film “The World’s Greatest Sinner.” When the initial director of photography was fired, Steckler replaced him. Steckler acquired a union card and continued to work in cinematography in the Los Angeles area, establishing himself at major studios. He turned to the B-movie circuit when he was reportedly fired for almost knocking an A-frame onto Alfred Hitchcock. He worked for Fairway Pictures as a cinematographer and sometimes actor.

Stickler made his directorial debut in the movie “Wild Guitar.” In 1963, he co-produced his first solo film, “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies,” co-starring his then wife, Carolyn Brandt. The film had a budget of $38,000 and photographed by cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli with newcomers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond as camera operators; both men acknowledged the film as their first major career breaks. Fairway distributed the film on the lower half of a double bill; dissatisfied with the release, Steckler took the movie on the road himself and made it a success sunder a number of titles, including “Diabolical Dr. Voodoo” and “The Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary.” Falling into obscurity for years, the film gained notoriety once again in 1997 when it was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Steckler’s next directorial project was his answer to “Psycho” entitled “The Thrill Killers,” released in 1964. This was the first film that Steckler worked on with Ron Haydock, creating a partnership that would last until Haydock’s death in the 70’s. Steckler continued to produce a number of low budget films which soon attained cult status, including “Rat Pfink a Boo Boo” and “Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters.”

With the decline of drive-in horror films of the kind Steckler was producing in the 60’s, and following a painful divorce from Brandt, he produced softcore adult films during the 70’s and 80’s. In the late 80’s, Steckler opened Mascot Video in Las Vegas, and then sold it in 1995 to a local businessman. In 2008, he announced production of his new film “One More Time,” which he described as an extension to “The Incredibly Strange Creatures.” He launched 2 MySpace pages and a website for casting the film. Post production was completed for “One More Time” shortly before his death. It was shot using 2 Digital 8 cameras and released direct-to-DVD via his website in 2009. Up to the time of his death in 2009, Steckler continued to sell videos of his work online, including actresses and dancers in nude auditions.

Ray Dennis Steckler lived a life dedicated to his art. A photographer, cinematographer, director, and actor, Steckler strived for excellence in all he created. His mainstream work included cult classics that are still shown today, and his softcore films were sexy masterpieces. Along with his feature films, Steckler also directed the music video for Jerfferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” as well as “Open My Eyes” by The Nazz.

The Adventures of Rat Pfink and Boo Boo

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The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies

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The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher

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