Category Archives: 10 Questions With…

10 Questions with: Fred Olen Ray

Fred Olen Ray is a low budget exploitation film legend. For 40 years, he has been working in Hollywood, writing, directing, and producing films. He was kind enough to take some time out of his day to answer my 10 questions, so without further ado, here he is:

1: Could you introduce yourself to our readers in 100 words or less?

I’m Fred Olen Ray. I’m a film-maker, producer, writer, director. If you don’t know anything about my career you should probably move on to some other blog right now, and find somebody you do know something about. I’ve been in the business a long time, and I’ve made I don’t know how many films, I’ve lost count, and hope to continue doing the same for a few more years.

2: What made you want to pursue a career in low budget horror/”B”/Exploitation Movies?

Well, I wanted to be a film-maker, but I wasn’t necessarily interested in being a director. I wanted to be a make-up artist. I started in the business as a special effects make-up artist, but I found myself in between jobs all the time, so I was looking for one position that paid enough money that it would carry me over until I found another position. And it turned out that I was pretty good at being a director, and directing horror films was what I wanted to do, but I learned almost immediately that you couldn’t just make low budget horror and live the lifestyle that I wanted to live. You had to be able to make horror films, action films, comedies, westerns… whatever the market needs I tried to be good at. And I liked being in charge, I liked being at the top of the food chain. I don’t like being told what to do a lot, although everyone has a boss and there are people who tell you what to do, but it trickles down. It helps to be second from the top of the ladder.

3: What has been your favourite experience whilst making a film?

I think the thing I liked most about film making when I first got into it was being able to hire actors who I admired, and wanted to learn something about them on a more personal level. I loved working with people like Lee Van Cleef, and Telly Savalas, Martin Landau, John Carradine, Cameron Mitchell, Sybil Danning, Barbara Steele… I mean being able to be the director and cast actors who had delighted me in the drive-in and whose work I had enjoyed was probably my favourite aspect of film-making.

4: What makes for the quintessential “Fred Olen Ray production”?

I tend to be a creature of habit. If you’ve done a good job for me I’ll bring you back over and over and over again, so there was almost a stock company of players who would repeat from film to film to film, because we all got to know each other and it was easy to do it. And you could rely on them, and they understood me and I understood them. And I used to try and go out of my way to find older actors who nobody was hiring anymore and out them back into films so there fans could see them. People like Robert Quarry and Martine Beswick, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Kirk, you know. This is what I would try to do and this would probably be the earmark of a Fred Olen Ray show.

5: With the rise of video streaming sites on the internet, such as YouTube, what do you think the impact has been on prospective film makers?

I think YouTube, and sites like that have opened the door to film piracy in ways that we’ve never seen it before. And the lack of responsibility demonstrated by YouTube is startling. We’ve had “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” (and) had to take it down off YouTube, the entire movie, 25 times or more. And you would think that after removing a content with a title like “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” 25 or 30 times, there would be some sort of red flag that goes up on YouTube when someone goes to upload the entire movie. But no. And our films are pirated and scammed on YouTube constantly and I think that someday soon they’re going to have to be held responsible for what they know is illegal activity that they are promoting.

6: What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path into low budget films?

The market for the kind of films that we used to make doesn’t exist anymore. Today it’s a television, TV movie market. And there is a market for Christmas movies, there is a market for Lifetime channel type women’s thrillers, but that’s the bulk of what’s out there if you want to make a living, as opposed to simply getting something on DVD that you can point at and say “Oh, I did that”. The problem with that is that you have to be very proficient professionally. And as we look around in our own world of being a DVD distributor, we see a lot of independently from around the country, and most of it is not professionally produced. It’s amateurishly produced, from a standpoint of it wouldn’t fly with Lifetime Channel, or Ion Channel, or UP TV, or Showtime, you know… sometimes there is, but for the most part, most backyard productions are people learning how films are made. And if you want to become a professional film-maker your films have to have that professional polish and gloss. Most people’s cameras that they are using are like still cameras that record video, and a lot of these cameras would not pass QC, which means quality control. But now distribution of your own work on DVD is very, very easy. What’s really hard is to make a real profit with these films. It’s really tough.

7: If you could work with just 1 actor/writer/director above all others, who would it be and why them?

I always wanted to make a movie with Vincent Price, and I came very close and was invited over to his house one afternoon to discuss the project that was “Mob Boss”, but he was just too sick to perform and I was very disappointed. I always wanted to work with Christopher Lee, and of course that is gone now as well. Beyond those two there isn’t anybody that overwhelms me in the business anymore. I love the times that I’ve worked with Roger Corman, I’d love to work with Roger again. But that’s kinda… that’s it, right there.

8: What do you consider to have been the worst professional decision you have made regarding a film?

 I’m not sure, to be honest with you. (repeats question) I don’t think there is, I don’t think there is such a thing on one of my shows.  I mean, some films I wish I hadn’t made them at all, because I think maybe perhaps down the line they hurt my career, and I should have said no to some shows that I said yes to, and I probably said yes to some shows that I should have said no to, so that would probably be the answer to that one.

9: Out of the current crop of genre directors who excites you the most?

There isn’t anyone in the current crop of genre directors that excites me.

10:Finally, if you could travel back in time to your first day in the film industry, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell my younger self to shut up and do your job. I think I was way too opinionated, I think I was too fast to give out my opinion. I think I was too micro-managing, and sarcastic which I still am, but I think today looking back, I am less micro-managing now, and yeah, I’m still opinionated but I’ve learned to shut up and do my job. And that’s what I would advise everyone else to do. Thank you.


No, Sir, thank you for being gracious enough to answer my questions.

You can visit Fred Olen Ray on Facebook at The official Fred Olen Ray Facebook page



10 Questions with…. Ellie Church


1: Could you introduce yourself to our readers in 100 words or less?

I am a lover of all things peaceful,  but can also get down with a chaotic environment when ready. and that’s my daily life , large doses of peace with brief stints of welcomed chaos. I love my family, I love/crave adventure, and the outdoors, which is why the winter is my mortal enemy.


Ellie Church in “Interstellar Civil War”

2: What made you want to become an actress in low budget horror/”B” Movies?

. I wasn’t aware that it was a possibility for me where I lived until I started working for Lloyd Kaufman,  he introduced me to several local directors and kind of grilled me about why I wasn’t  pursuing acting . But once you get started , it’s like drugs. It’ll ruin your life, but it also makes your life beautiful while you’re doing it.

3: What has been your favourite experience whilst filming?

That’s tough, but I don’t know if I can pinpoint an exact moment. I think the thing I love most though,  is working with a completely new group of creative individuals every time, and very quickly getting to know them. A lot of those relationships remain very dear to me.

Behind the scenes with Ellie on "Frankenstein Created Bikers"

Behind the scenes with Ellie on “Frankenstein Created Bikers”

4: What has been your worst experience whilst filming?

It’s probably not best to talk about my worst experience. .lol.

5: Which of your films are you currently most proud of, and why?

I’m most proud of Headless and the two films I did after Headless , Frankenstein Created Bikers and Harvest Lake. There was a definite line drawn in my head when I got my role in Headless . And hopefully every film I do from now on can be the same.

On the set of "Harvest Lake"

On the set of “Harvest Lake”

6: What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path into low budget films?

Don’t do it for money, do it because you can’t not do it.

7: What is your favourite horror/sci fi film and why?

It changes from month to month, if a movie makes me feel something, I will love it. I’ll name a few. Martyrs, The Shining, Pet Semetary. I mention Martyrs not because I got done with it and was in love with it, but because I couldn’t sleep after I watched it. If I have to watch an episode or two of SNL before I can sleep, and still have trouble, that’s a good movie. Something that stays with you, haunts you. That being said, I don’t want to ever watch it again.

8: If you could work with just 1 director above all others, who would it be and why them?

I’m going to be typical and say Tarantino. I love his work. Period. I would love to just know how he talks to his actors , what insights he gives. I could die after that.

Head shot from "Headless"

Head shot from “Headless”

9: How does it feel to know that you have fans out there on the internet?

Great. I love feedback , constructive criticism , inspiration,  and I get all of that when I ask for it or need it.

10: How important to you has it been to follow the path you have taken?

Like I said before, it’s a drug to me, it’s very important,  improvement is important,  better roles are important, working with more and more experienced directors is important. I wanna do it all.

The Pit of Doom would like to thank Ellie Church for her kindness in agreeing to this interview. Go check out her online presence:

Twitter: Ellie Church official Twitter

Facebook: Ellie Church Official Facebook page

From the Vault: 10 Questions with Bruce Campbell

NOTE: This email based interview was conducted around the time of the Bubba Ho Tep DVD release in the UK (2005-2006). My interview technique wasn’t quite as good as it maybe could have been (infact, its bloody cringeworthy).


1: Bubba Ho Tep. Your first major role for a while to get a cinema run. What attracted you to the script?

Bruce:Because it was the weirdest one I’d ever read, but it also had a nice, sweet underlying story of what you do with old people.

2: What were your feelings on playing perhaps THE American Icon of the 20th century?

Bruce:It wasn’t that big of a deal, because nobody has done him at 68 years old, so I was really just going for a bitter, dried up old southern man.

3: How do you feel about the way Hollywood marginalises \’genre\’ production, despite its obvious commercial power?

Bruce:Well, I never have cared about that, because it’s the world that I know and love. Hollywood is a bore sometimes, because they’re too afraid to try interesting or different stuff.

4: If you could play any role in any film past, present or future, which would it be?

Bruce:I never play that game. I take the lemons as they come (as in roles) and squeeze them for all they’re worth.

5: Why?

Bruce:Because I may do make believe for a living, but I live in the world of reality.

6: What do you consider to have been the worst professional decision you have made regarding a role in a film?

Bruce:I have too many to tell you, but the only things I regret are the things I didn’t do.

7: The Evil Dead videogames: Do you feel that the stories contained within them could fit into the already twisted ED mythos?

Bruce:Well, the games are in the spirit of the films if that’s what you mean, so I suppose so.

8: I really enjoyed your foray into documentary film-making with ‘Fanalysis’. Is this a direction you can see your career taking in the future?

Bruce:Yes, I love docos, because they tend to evolve as you go and write themselves. I’m editing a very big land use documentary currently.

9: What are your thoughts on seeing ‘horror’ directors like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson finally getting budgets that allow them to fully visualise their imaginations?

Bruce:I think it’s absolutely fabulous.

10: And finally, given the rumours of a proposed ED re-make, who would you like to see Ash played by?

Bruce:We’re not that far along yet, so we’d better not go there. More news later.

Thank you very much, Mr Bruce Campbell

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