Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skidrow Slasher

The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skidrow Slasher (or Model Killer) Directed By Ray Dennis Steckler (or Wolfgang Schmidt). 1979
   I got to meet Ray Dennis Steckler at his video store in Vegas when he showed his films at Las Vegas Grind,a garage rock festival in the 90's,but I had no idea about this lurid film and was only aware of his goofy monster junk like Incredibly Strange Creatures...,Rat Pfink A Boo Boo and The Thrill Killers, all courtesy of Psychotronic Video and Sinister Cinema. I later found out that he also directed porn, this film seems like a precursor toward all out hardcore porn territory, but thankfully its not! Yeeshh! 
You dirty rat!

   I'd read some really bad reviews of this flick, but when you compare it to Steckler's other films, it's a natural progression and if anything an improvement over his slapstick, Bowery Boys Meets The Monsters schlock. I am very curious to know how he moved from kiddie fare to this wretched territory. And just like Ed Wood after awhile, they both went broke and were forced to churn out uninspired hardcore nightmares!
No thanks!

   Even though that's the pattern that both Ed Wood and Steckler eventually moved toward, I was a little shocked by the transition, but mostly delighted to find the beloved director of Wild Guitar moving into "Don't Answer The Phone" rapist photographer terrain! 
   This is a loose sequel to The Thrill Killers (which seems totally unrelated to me). Yeah there are psychos, but the wacky hijinks make this one seem from another planet! 
Anyway, Pierre Agostino plays Johnny Glick (I had to look up his character name cause I don't think its ever uttered once). He looks like a dwarf version of Fred Lincoln and trolls around in his beat up car, looking for models to assault and strangle. Steckler dubs his voice and all of the sound was later added in giving it that Doris Wishman quality.The killer can only find solace with his pigeons and refers to women as "garbage".
I'm wearing depends undergarments

   Carolyn Brandt (Steckler's wife) is long in the tooth, but still oddly attractive as a fit senior citizen type frazzled old lady who runs a cheap book store and stabs bums on the side with her switchblade. The strangler appears at various women's houses, how he gets in is a mystery and kills them repeatedly through out the movie, why is it so fascinating? It might have something to do with the fact that Steckler fills the background with weird thrift store records toys and ephemera, making it entertaining just to look at. All of these women should be able to overpower Agostino, it's a totally ridiculous male bullshit rape fantasy! 
   The porn theaters and grimy locations really make the usual Steckler trademark hokey-ness kinda edgy. Amateur cheesecake photographers are among the lowest forms of humanity to jab at in exploitation films. My favorite aspect about Agostino is how he randomly calls girls, kils them, then never cleans up the bodies and relaxes by eating frozen yogurt or nursing a Bud in the can. 
  The sassy senior citizen slasher jabs winos in the throat with a switchblade and doesn't ever clean up after the brilliantly red colored poster paint, pouring out of a human body, they both have that attitude of "let someone else deal with the mess". The slasher also runs a bookstore, where hobos constantly wander in, what a nuisance! 
Call my agent!

   The soundtrack goes from eerie dime store keyboard to cartoony rumpus type music and one victim wears a KISS towel! Agostino actually begins to fall in love with Stecklers wife! Their contact consists of him trying to approach her from across the street, let me tell you, you can cut the chemistry with a knife! Yeah right! 
Kiss meets the phantom of the towel

   I find it kind of nice that Steckler regards his wife in this regard (but then again he is filming random naked models and ventured into porn (with her in tow), so I take it back! I'm also afraid to watch any of his hardcore stuff, call me a prude I don't care.
Yay Baloon Party!

   There's a bizarre rollerskating naked balloon party down at Plato's Retreat West to watch out for! After awhile it the pacing started to grind on my nerves and its seriously repetitious!
   I had to ask Steckler about MST3K making fun of his wife and he said he didn't like it and was offended, but didn't let them know or anything. I'm glad I got to meet RDS and he signed all my videos and was generally a nice guy, at the time I was aware that he directed porn, but was too chicken to mention it. I do wish I had seen this before hand because I am curious to know the back story, did he intend to join the slasher movie circuit or was this a one off thing? Anyway I'll never know, Rest In Piece Ray Dennis Steckler. The film is available via Fandor, please click the banner and get a trial, they are the cult movie Netflix!   


  1. This is an awesome blog! Big fan of your style.

    If you wanna talk horror swing by my page sometime

  2. Great review man! I just watched this sunday night and enjoyed it! I missed the rollerskating scene( probaly because i passed out during this film! Wasn;t bored, just really tired! ) . A fun odd movie for sure! Cheers, Charles The Bizarre Alien F. Styles


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