In the pantheon of no-budget filmmaking champions, Ray Dennis Steckler stands tall as the ultimate megamaster of backyard exploitation. Through a decades-spanning career spent far away from any manner of respectability, sanity or bank account, Steckler hammered his blazingly original cinematic visions into the eyeballs of all who were brave enough to submit to them.
After a miserably brief stint in the soul-deadening vortex of Hollywood in the early 60’s, and before his extended foray into the world of pornography, he made his bones with financially-impaired films like the superhero head-scratcher Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (the nonsensical name is an enduring mistake made by an incompetent titler) and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies!!?.
And while other filmmakers were vying to cash in on the social upheaval of radical times, Steckler was running around his Hollywood neighborhood with his own kids and a 16mm camera, trash-compacting Mad Magazine and Famous Monsters of Filmland influences into his own lunatic tribute to the Bowery Boys movies of the 40’s.
Originally intended to be a single full length feature, Lemon Grove Kids ultimately ended up as three half-hour shorts that played in front of kiddie matinees and are now presented together as a single schizo anthology piece. With the manic energy of a living cartoon, Steckler plays the leader of a group neighborhood toughs who get into scrapes with witches, bug aliens, swamis, mummies, gorillas, gangsters, and even the WEST Lemon Grove Kids. Frenzied pacing, rapid-fire yuks, and boundless inventiveness keep these films exploding with entertainment for all ages.
Please join the Sprocket Society in celebrating the mad genius of discount filmmaking and splendoring in the one-of-a-kind vision bouncing out of the screen with THE LEMON GROVE KIDS MEET THE MONSTERS! This is the sort of cinematic experience that makes life worth living. (Tommy Swenson)
We'll be showing this opus from one of cinema's most lawless pioneers in 35mm on Feb. 3!