Fred Olen Ray

Fred Olen Ray (born September 10, 1954) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter of more than 150 low-to-medium budget feature films in many genres,[1] including horror, science fiction, action/adventure, crime dramas, and holiday films.[2]

Ray is the head of Retromedia, which releases DVDs of both his own productions and archival films.[3] He has also worked for other well-known independent studios and on a few occasions for major Hollywood studios. He is also cited as an inspiration for many independent film-makers. He loaned a 16 mm camera to Quentin Tarantino so he could make My Best Friend's Birthday.[4]

Aside from his work in the film industry, Ray was also a professional wrestler. His wrestling name was Fabulous Freddie Valentine.

Early life

Fred Olen Ray was born September 10, 1954 in Wellston, Ohio, just across the border from West Virginia where the Ray family had all been raised for the previous 150 years. He has always been a passionate film fan, and as a teenager he regularly read Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Being a fan of horror and science fiction films such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and the AIP movies of the 1950s and 1960s, Ray started making his own movies at the age of fourteen.[5]


Early work and The Brain Leeches (1970s)

He served in the navy. When he got out he went to work at a local television station. He worked as an credited still photographer on his first film in 1975, Shock Waves, with Peter Cushing and John Carradine.[6] He then began making movies on the weekend using station equipment, starting with The Brain Leeches (1977) made for $298.[6]


He made Alien Dead with Buster Crabbe. He decided to move to Hollywood to be close to the film industry. He was interested in working in make-up and special effects, "probably from all of those years of reading Famous Monsters magazine," he later said. He found out "it soon became apparent that you would always be between jobs and I was looking for something that would actually earn me a living. I think I became a director because that was the fastest way to get a film made on the independent side of things."[5]

Ray succeeded in raising money for a low budget horror film, Scalps (1983), which featured cameos from Carroll Borland and Forrest J. Ackerman. The Tomb (1986) starred Cameron Mitchell and John Carradine. Ray switched to action films with Armed Response (1986), which starred David Carradine and Lee Van Cleef. Ray had affection for this movie because "it had a great cast and was one of the first times I had more than two nickels to rub together."[5] He then turned to science fiction: Deep Space (1987), Cyclone (1987). Beverly Hills Vamp (1988) was a horror comedy with Eddie Deezen. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) was made in only a few days and turned out to be a big hit. Less popular was The Phantom Empire (1988).


After Alienator (1989) he was reunited with Deezen for Mob Boss (1990), another comedy. He entered sword and sorcery movies with Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991) and made the more popular Bad Girls from Mars (1991). During this time he published a book he had written, The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors (1991).[7]

Ray co-directed Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991) with Jim Wynorski, shot in one day.[8] Ray moved into erotic thrillers with Inner Sanctum (1991) starring Tanya Roberts. It was a hit and Ray would make others in that genre, including Inner Sanctum 2, Mind Twister (1994) and Possessed by the Night (1994).

Evil Toons (1992) was a comedy-horror, then he co-directed another with Wynorski, Dinosaur Island (1994). Witch Academy (1994) was the last of his "scream queen" movies.[8] After Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold (1995), he made Fugitive Rage (1996), Friend of the Family II (1996), Inferno (1997), Hybrid (1997), The Shooter (1997). Dear Santa (1998) was a family film and Billy Frankenstein (1998) a comedy.

2000s to present

In 2001 he made the film Critical Mass. He later said he was a "Critical Mass kind of guy. I like to shoot things and blow stuff up. I also like comedies. Don't like erotic thrillers."[5][9]

He established a DVD company called Retromedia. Ray made a film called Bikini Airways "on a lark and it did really well," said Ray. This led to a series of Bikini films.[8][10]

In 2007 he reflected on his career:

Money is always a barrier. The more they give you, the more they expect, so you're always caught short, regardless. I don't think anything I've done was ever budgeted properly for what was expected of me, but that's just the nature of the business, I guess. There certainly are films I did because there was a paycheck attached. It's a working man's world and it doesn't pay to get too idealistic about things like directing low-budget movies if you have a family to think about. I usually try to find something that interests me in each and every project. It's not really possible to phone it in. Making a film with no money or schedule is ten times harder than it is to make a big budget show where you're surrounded by a gang of super-talented people.[5]

In 2017, he received a "Living Legend Award" at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.[11]


In his craft, Ray has used many pseudonyms, some used earlier by the B-movie director, Sam Newfield.

Personal life

Fred Olen Ray has four sons from two marriages. Two of his sons work in the film industry as well, the eldest being director Christopher Ray.

Fred Olen Ray is currently unmarried, and resides in Studio City California where he continues to write, produce, and direct.


  • The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors (2011), ISBN 978-0786467556
  • Grind Show - Weirdness as Entertainment (1993)


Year Film Pseudonym(s) Notes
2019 One Fine Christmas Writer & director
Baking Christmas Director
A Christmas Princess
2018 Deadly Shores
Fiancé Killer
A Wedding for Christmas Producer & director
A Christmas in Royal Fashion Writer & director
Witness Unprotected Writer, producer & director
2017 The Twin Producer & director
Deadly Vows Director
Framed by My Fiance Executive producer & director
Stage Fright Director
2016 Trial
Sniper: Special Ops Writer & director
A Christmas in Vermont Writer, producer & director
Unwanted Guest
Accidental Switch
2015 A Prince for Christmas
2014 After Midnight
Christmas in Palm Springs Producer & director
House of Secrets
2013 All I Want for Christmas
Abner, the Invisible Dog
Holiday Road Trip Writer & director
2012 A Christmas Wedding Date Writer, producer & director
Collision Course
Baby Dolls Behind Bars Director
Hatfields and McCoys: Bad Blood Writer, producer & director
Busty Housewives of Beverly Hills Nicholas Medina Director
Dirty Blondes from Beyond
The Teenie Weenie Bikini Squad
2011 Sexual Witchcraft Writer, producer & director
Super Shark
Together We Can Find a Cure Director
Little Witches Nicholas Medina Writer, executive producer & director
Bikini Time Machine
Lady Chatterly's Ghost
Knock Outs
2010 Housewives from Another World Writer & director
Turbulent Skies Writer, producer & director
Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros Nicholas Medina Writer, executive producer & director
Twilight Vamps[12]
Bikini Frankenstein[13] Nicholas Medina
Bikini Royale 2 Writer & director
American Bandits: Frank and Jesse James Writer, producer & director
2009 Silent Venom Director
Dire Wolf
2008 Voodoo Dollz Nicholas Medina Writer, executive producer & director
Bikini Royale Executive producer & director
Polar Opposites Director
Solar Flare
Tarzeena: Jiggle in the Jungle
2007 Bewitched Housewives Nicholas Medina Writer & director
The Lair TV Show
Girl with the Sex-Ray Eyes Writer & director
2006 The Legend of William Tell Director
Bikini Pirates Nicholas Medina Writer & director
2005 Glass Trap Ed Raymond Director
Bikini Round-Up Nicholas Medina Writer & director
2004 Tomb of the Werewolf Sherman Scott
Bikini a Go-Go Nicholas Medina
Sherman Scott
The Bikini Escort Company Bill Carson
Nicholas Medina
Sherman Scott
Writer, associate producer & director
Genie in a String Bikini Nicholas Medina Writer, producer & director
Bikini Chain Gang
Haunting Desires Nicholas Medina
Sherman Scott
Writer & director
Bikini Cavegirl
2003 Final Examination Ed Raymond Director
Bikini Airways
2002 Southern Discomfort: Wrestling on the Indie Circuit Freddy Valentine Actor, writer, producer & director
Venomous Ed Raymond Director
13 Erotic Ghosts Roger Collins
Nicholas Medina
Peter Stewart
Actor, editor, writer, executive producer & director
2001 Emmanuelle 2000 Ed Raymond Director
Air Rage
Mach 2
ACW Wrestling's Wildest Matches Sherman Scott
Freddie Valentine
Actor, producer & director
Emmanuelle 2001: Emmanuelle's Sensual Pleasures Nicholas Medina Director
Kept Uncredited director
Stranded Director
2000 Submerged
Critical Mass Ed Raymond
Inviati speciali
1999 Invisible Mom II Producer & director
Fugitive Mind
The Prophet Sherman Scott Actor & director
The Kid with X-ray Eyes Director
Counter Measures Producer & director
Active Stealth Director
Scandal: On the Other Side Nick Medina
1998 Mom, Can I Keep Her? Producer & director
Illicit Dreams 2 Roger Collins
Billy Frankenstein Director
Dear Santa Peter Stewart
Mom's Outta Sight
1997 The Shooter Ed Raymond
Inferno Actor & director
Invisible Mom Actor, producer & director
Bikini Hoe-Down Roger Collins
Nicholas Medina
Producer & director
Invisible Dad Writer & director
Little Miss Magic Writer, producer & director
Masseuse 2 Peter Daniels Writer & director
Maximum Revenge Bill Carson Actor & director
Night Shade Nicholas Medina Producer & director
Rapid Assault Sherman Scott Director
1996 Friend of the Family II Nicholas Medina
Fugitive Rage Actor, producer & director
Over the Wire Nicholas Medina Director
Masseuse Peter Daniels
1995 Droid Gunner Actor, producer & director
Bikini Drive-In Randy Rocket
Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold
Star Hunter Sam Newfield
1994 Inner Sanctum II
Possessed by the Night Actor, writer & director
Dinosaur Island Producer & director
Mind Twister Actor & director
1993 Dinosaur Girls Writer, producer & director
Witch Academy Producer & director
1992 Evil Toons Uncredited voice actor, writer, producer & director
1991 Haunting Fear Writer, producer & director
Spirits Director
Inner Sanctum Co-producer & director
Scream Queen Hot Tub Party Bill Carson Actor, writer, producer & director
Bad Girls from Mars Sherman Scott
Wizards of the Demon Sword Producer & director
1990 Mob Boss
1989 Warlords
Terminal Force
Alienator Uncredited actor & director
1988 Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers Dr. S. Carver Writer, producer & director
Prison Ship
Beverly Hills Vamp Producer & director
1987 Commando Squad Uncredited actor, co-producer & director
Cyclone Uncredited actor, uncredited writer & director
Deep Space Actor, writer, producer & director
Evil Spawn Producer & uncredited director
1986 Armed Response Actor, writer, co-producer & director
The Tomb Producer & director
The Phantom Empire Writer, producer & director
1985 Biohazard Actor, writer, producer & director
1983 Scalps Writer & director
1980 Alien Dead Fred Ray Actor, writer, cinematographer, producer & director
1978 The Brain Leeches Fred Ray
Brian Wolfe
1971 Demented Death Farm Massacre Producer & director
New footage

See also

  • Sam Newfield, a filmmaker who uses the "Sherman Scott" and "Peter Stewart" pseudonyms.


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