I’m particularly broken up today after learning about the death of one of my favorite film makers, Ray Dennis Steckler. The man passed away in his sleep on Jan 7, 2009 at the age of 70. The definitive cult artist, Steckler’s work was ignored by the masses but his small group of fans cherished his low budget films for their imagination and almost childlike sense of wonder. I was always amazed at how his film making skills seemed to deteriorate over time but somehow, someway, it seemed to add to the overall charm. I saw INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES back in college on a duped VHS tape I rented from Dodd’s Video on the square in Denton. I was hooked. I remember watching THE LEMON GROVE KIDS at my small apartment on Amarillo St. when my mother came over. She said the film turned her stomach. It’s so funny because its actually so innocent and guileless. What you see is what you get. Of course Ray’s rep was somewhat suspect in the ’70s when he turned to making porno films to get by — something he always denied for some reason. I had actually emailed him a couple of months ago to inquire about obtaining a 35mm print of BLOOD SHACK to show at the Angelika. He told me I could buy a print for $400 and play it as much as I wanted. Damn, I wish I had taken him up on his offer. Rest in peace, Ray.