Host Of The Mondo Film Podcast
In addition, Sloane also directed the 28th worst film of all time according to IMDB, Hobgoblins (1988). While Hobgoblins has been slaughtered by critics and fans alike, it has shown incredible staying power and entered into cult film status over the last twenty years. As a follow-up, in 2009 Sloane directed Hobgoblins 2 which instantly hit the internet for download against the wishes of Sloane before it was officially released on DVD, causing a legal stir which was promoted heavily by Sloane and the mainstream media, opening up even wider the on going debate about the potential damage digital downloads have on the artist. More on that later.
Sloane grew up in Hollywood, and as a teenager was obsessed with Roger Corman films and film-making. While still in his late teens, Sloane was offered a job working for 20th Century Fox marketing the horrible sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Shock Treatment (1981). Sloane also owns one of the biggest Archie comic book collections on planet Earth. He's a self proclaimed Archie expert of sorts, contributing commentary to anything new being published on the classic comic character.
Regardless of Sloane's bad movie aesthetic, or any of his six cock teasing Vice Academy films, Rick Sloane has influenced many. His Vice Academy series feature some of the funniest comedy writing seen in the B movie direct-to-video '80s. Love him or hate him, Rick Sloane is quite an American original, and a master of the golden turkey.
JUSTIN: So let's talk about your Rocky Horror days. Can you shed some light on how all of that got started for you, and how you landed at 20th Century Fox?
RICK SLOANE: I never quite grasped the Rocky Horror phenomenon to be honest. I tried repeatedly to create a similar cult following for my early features. The Visitants (1986) has the most Rocky Horror feel of all my films, though it never did find its audience. I even dressed the lead female alien as Magenta in her space suit. I didn't plan for Hobgoblins to develop a cult audience, which makes more sense that it was the one that developed its own following. It's just not something you plan, it has to happen on it's own when fans embrace something.
But to answer your question, my first job was working in conjunction with Fox to promote Rocky Horror and its successor, Shock Treatment. I put on a total of four conventions, all between when I was age seventeen to nineteen. It was great experience to be in high school and have a drive-on studio pass to Fox's lot. I climbed in their massive trash bins and brought home discarded film and sound rolls. I erased a demo mix from The Empire Strikes Back and mixed my first feature over it. The sound mixing house couldn't understand how I could afford high end ninety dollar a roll sound stock, until I told them it was from the trash.
RICK SLOANE: I originally studied to be an animator, though being rejected from Cal Arts for three consecutive years certainly put a damper on that. I've always said if it wasn't for the movie Hollywood Blvd that I would probably not be a film director. When I entered film school, I settled for Los Angeles City College, I thought of feature films as being something that cost over ten million dollars and that it was an opportunity which very few film students would ever achieve.
As a joke, the film history class instructor screened Hollywood Blvd. Introduced as a feature shot in a week for twenty-five thousand dollars, I instantly wanted to see what kind of film it was. Everyone else hated and ridiculed the film, I was in complete awe. It's the total inspiration behind every film I've made. Full of in-jokes that embrace its cheapness and an entire script written around existing stock shots, it's an amazing film to this day. The other students mocked the film and said that no one involved would ever go on to anything successful. Director Joe Dante later did Gremlins (1984), art director Jonathan Demme later did Silence Of The Lambs (1991). Even the stock footage is borrowed from Corman features directed by Ron Howard and Francis Ford Coppola. Every aspiring low-budget director should watch Hollywood Blvd, it has more teaching power than an entire semester at film school.
JUSTIN: As a writer and director, do you take criticism well? How do you feel about bad reviews been written about your work?
JUSTIN: You seem to be one of the most ridiculed filmmakers of all time. With that being said, it's mostly those film snob types that talk poorly of you and your work. So to stick it to those types properly like they deserve, what's one film that is critically lauded that you think is just a horrible film, and why?
RICK SLOANE: One very successful film, that I truly despised, was The Blair Witch Project (1999). I don't care how much money it made, it was worse than nails on a chalkboard. More poorly made and as pretentious as most student films, with that annoying shaky camera, ninety minutes of walking in circles with nothing happening. They find a pile of twigs and it's supposed to be scary. And that ridiculous non-ending. Its huge grosses were based on the internet buzz they had, which obviously cost more than the movie itself. Plus, no one seemed to noticed that it was all stolen from Cannibal Holocaust (1980).
RICK SLOANE: I truly love both Showgirls and Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me (2007). Or as I like to call it, "I Know What Killed My Career." Both of those films are so God awful. You wonder what the lead actresses were thinking when they signed on. Maybe they read better on paper. I've watched I Know Who Killed Me, more of the two films, something compelling about stigmatic twins and an amputee stripper.
JUSTIN: If a producer met with you and said, "Hey Rick, here's five million dollars, make anything you want." Do you have that one project that you're sitting on that you're just waiting for the right time, money or opportunity to make?
RICK SLOANE: I loved working with Julia Parton so much on Vice Academy 3, that I wanted to create a vehicle for her. It was heavily borrowed from Thelma & Louise, except one of the two leads is a stripper. I think it's the best film I've made, though hardly anyone has seen it. It had the highest budget of all my movies, but never became as successful as any of the Vice Academy films.
JUSTIN: How important do you think pay cable and USA Network in the late '80s was to the longevity you've had with your career? Do you think your films would've got as much exposure had you not been working with USA Network?
JUSTIN: With the B-movie industry essentially now gone from television, how do you feel about the industry now? Is it more difficult for you to get a project off the ground, than it was -- say fifteen years ago?
JUSTIN: After the whole rumored fall-out you had with Linnea Quigley on Vice Academy 2, how did you come to cast Elizabeth Kaitan for the final Vice Academy sequels?
JUSTIN: So do you think you've got another Vice Academy in you? Could we see something like a Vice Academy Part 7 or Vice Academy 2000? If so, what would it be about?
RICK SLOANE: I'm currently working on DVD bonus material for many of my earlier films. Some are re-issues, some will be first releases. I've completely re-edited Mind, Body and Soul into a new film, which will be re-titled Devil's Passion It's the only film I've done that I didn't do the post-production myself, and I've always felt it was poorly edited and mixed. It was also banned in fourteen countries, which was a kiss of death back in the 90's. Today, an unrated movie is a huge plus, so maybe the film will finally find its audience.
Good Girl's Don't was buried in a box set with no bonus material. We actually shot a documentary while the film was being shot, which will be shown for the first time. It will also have the rarely seen trailer. I've always been proud of this movie and really hope that fans will want to see it. My personal favorite film I've done is The Visitants, which has never been available on DVD. I reassembled the original cast for reunion interviews like I did with Hobgoblins. This was the movie that I always hoped would find a cult audience, though it's basically a lost film that very few people have ever seen.
I shot a new interview with Mary Woronov for the re-issue of Blood Theater (1984). The DVD will also include footage from the 25th anniversary theatrical screening I had at a local cinema. It was great to see my film son the big screen again, as well as answer questions from fans. I'm also going to add all the fake grindhouse trailers I made in film school. The Clown Whores Of Hollywood appears in the original version, it will now be joined by Chainsaw Chicks, Nightmares Of The Lost Whore and Amputee Hookers . I may even add scratches and film damage to give them a truly distressed look, which is fitting for this type of movie. Finally, a re-issue of Bikini Academy (1996). With cast reunion interviews and other added bonuses, such as using the correct mix where you can hear the dialogue. A previous version was never quality control checked and the sound mix lost all the dialogue under the sound of the ocean.
JUSTIN: Of all your films, which one are you the most proud of?
JUSTIN: What do you want your legacy to be after you're gone from here?
RICK SLOANE: I've always avoided being a director for hire, so I've always written the scripts to every film I've made. I don't think I've ever sold out and I've never made porn on the side. I hope to be remembered for my body of work, and not just Hobgoblins. I truly hope my comparison to Ed Wood and Uwe Boll is not my legacy, I'd like to be thought of as a cult director in the same vein as John Waters.
JUSTIN: How do you feel about the film industry vs. the internet? Anyone can go out and buy a cheap HD camera for one hundred and twenty-five dollars, make a movie, and distribute it for free online. Is that something you think is a good thing? Do you see any type of backlash that could come from such?
RICK SLOANE: I'm a film purist, if digital video was that good, they wouldn't add "film look" in post. though I've reached a point where I'll probably do my next film on digital, which will be the very first time. I think viewers have gotten wary of direct to DVD releases with great box art and an unwatchable movie inside. It does bother me to hear people brag that they learned Final Cut Pro in two days and consider themselves editors. You need to edit three features to become adequate and five to become good at it. I still think if you can edit an entire feature in five days, that's its just an assembly of shots, not a true edit. I was trained at sound editing by Steve Flick who won an Academy Award for Speed (1994). I've never been certain if anyone notices, but my films have elaborate sound mixes that you will rarely find on any movie with a miniscule budget.
RICK SLOANE: That's a touchy subject for me. Hobgoblins 2 was pirated onto thirty-five websites for free viewing within one day of its DVD release. I'm sure it cost me many potential DVD sales. It's incredibly rare that anyone bothers to bootleg a direct to DVD release, it generally happens only with theatrical releases. Many people told me that I should be flattered by that, but the low DVD sales actually prevented Part 3 from being made.
JUSTIN: I know you're also working with Dark Horse Comics on a few things as well, right?
RICK SLOANE: I have a massive collection of Archie comics, which I've collected since I was seven years old. I have almost 3,000 Archie comics, beginning with Archie's first appearance in 1941 through 1975 when I stopped buying the new issues. I still have the Archie lunchbox I carried to school every day when I was in the second grade. 2011 is Archie's 75th anniversary and I'm going to be contributing to many of the Dark Horse books on Archie. I became somewhat of an Archie authority when I started writing for the Overstreet Comic Price Guide when I was thirteen. Archie #1 was only worth $40 at the time, within five years I had raised its value to $700. Today, an excellent condition copy will actually sell for close to $30,000 dollars. Not bad considering Archie used to be considered the lowest rung of comic collecting.
RICK SLOANE: It's funny you mention Ginger Lynn. I recently contacted a mutual friend to see if Ginger was interested in doing an interview for the new version of Mind, Body & Soul. I never got a response. Ginger has always discussed the film in interviews as the worst movie she's ever done, though she places the blame on me, not the fact that she was hung over every day, three and a half hours late and never knew her lines. It would have been nice to have her do the interview, but without her involved, I can truly trash talk about what a pain she was to work with at that time.
JUSTIN: What's one non movie related aspect that people don't know about Rick Sloane?
RICK SLOANE: Not sure what's left to tell. I was a straight A student in grade school and I'm still one of the most hyper-competitive people you'll ever meet. I don't believe in failing at anything I do and every hurtle I tackle, I'll always finish, no matter how difficult the journey. I had goals at eighteen of shooting my first feature at twenty-one, having three completed by twenty-five, having one released by a major studio and buying a house before thirty. Everyone laughed at me, but I achieved every single one by twenty-eight. Not bad for being told in film school that I had no talent and should choose a different profession.
For more on Rick Sloane please visit his official website here. And for more interviews by Justin please visit his official website here.