Written by: George Pacheco on October 24th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1975 (Red Heat), USA, 1971 (Hot Vampire), USA, 1973 (Peeping Tom),
Director: Ray Dennis Steckler – All Films (as Cindy Lou Sutton and Sven Christian)
Cast: Eddie Bach, Rita Cummings, Anna Leeds (Red Heat), Jerry Delony (Hot Vampire)
DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 81 Minutes (Red Heat), 51 Minutes (Hot Vampire), 60 Minutes (Peeping Tom)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio (Red Heat, Peeping Tom), 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Hot Vampire)
Rating: XXX (All Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (All Films)
DVD Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
The films of Ray Dennis Steckler often run fast ‘n cheap, while the Las Vegas native’s adult film work takes that notion and run with it to a whole new level of cult, obscure sleaze.
This triple feature from Vinegar Syndrome collects three of Steckler’s most obscure adult material into one home video collection, staring things off with what is probably the most coherent film of the three, 1975’s Red Heat. Steckler was often fond of shooting his films without sound, then dubbing in expository narration after the fact. Red Heat is a good example of this technique, as the director essentially guerrilla shoots Fremont St. casino foot traffic while a female narrative voice-Ray directed this film under the pseudonym of “Cindy Lou Sutter”-recites the plot of an adult film director whose triple X feature runs afoul of a murderer on the loose. Red Heat connects these establishing shots with the prerequisite sex scenes, little of which have anything to do with the story line dictated by the voice of director Cindy Lou, and run the gamut from traditionally sleazy to potently un-arousing.
Speaking of which, the two other films here both feature ugly people having some severely ugly sex, particularly the wanton undead hookers and their junkie johns in 1971’s Hot Vampire. This film is beyond cheap, and features what has to be the most pathetic of Dracula ever set to the screen in the form of “actor” Jerry Delony, whose incessant mugging for the camera borders on retardation, while his assistant “Igor” is of an equally annoying caliber.
The plot of Hot Vampire-what little there is, of course-is detailed by an actress playing Dracula’s wife, who describes the vampire’s plan for sending his sexually promiscuous servants out on the town for a little “fresh blood.” This is achieved, naturally, by two of his vampire brides picking up random strangers off the streets and having messy sex with them, before draining their life’s blood from the main sexual vein. It’s ugly, nasty and thoroughly un-arousing… although props to the vampire hookers for staying in character the whole time!
Finally, Peeping Tom is a collection of otherwise unrelated sex scenes, all showcased under the plot device of the titular “peeping tom,” who is wandering the city streets and spying on any and all couples who happen to be fornicating. One aspect to note here is that both Hot Vampire and Peeping Tom were apparently shot with live sound at times, which only makes the viewer wish Steckler would’ve returned to his usual process of over dubbed dialog. Indeed, most of the “actors” either make up their lines on the spot or simply fuck in awkward silence, although one early scene features a woman threatening to break wind in the face of her mate.
Seriously, I couldn’t make that shit up.
It’s a perverse idea for an equally perverse and filthy movie, yet all three of these Ray Dennis Steckler films possess that “I can’t believe this was made” quality which makes them imminently watchable in a way, almost like driving past a horrible traffic accident. Morbid curiosity aside, the rarity of “whatthefuckedness” of these films alone make this Steckler triple feature recommended viewing for cult smut snobs out there in exploitation land.
Vinegar Syndrome presents all three of these Ray Dennis Steckler movies from original 35 and 16mm prints. That being said, visible damage through the 2k restoration process is minimal, with all three of these pictures looking better than any of them probably should, to be honest. There are no extras to speak of, but having all three of these Ray Dennis Steckler films on one disc is more than good value for the price, particularly for fans of the director’s unique cinematic style.