Born: September 10, 1954
Birthplace: Wellston, Ohio, United States
Fred Olen Ray (born September 10, 1954) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and cinematographer.
He is the producer, director, and screenwriter of low to medium-budget feature films in many genres, including horror, science fiction, action/adventure, softcore sex films and crime dramas. He has also produced a few feature films for a family audience.
Many of his early productions appeared at drive-in theaters and inner-city grindhouses, when those outlets for low-budget films were still significant. Some of Ray's productions have received theatrical releases. Most of his current output, however, is released directly to DVD or appears on cable television channels such as Showtime, Cinemax, and HBO. Ray has directed over a hundred films and is still going strong.
Ray is the head of Retromedia, which releases DVDs of both his own productions and archival films. 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.
Aside from the film industry, Fred Olen Ray is also a professional wrestler. His wrestling name is Fabulous Freddie Valentine.Ray was born in Ohio, but grew up in Sarasota, Florida. He claims to know his family tree extensively and to have identified his relation to Queen Elizabeth. He was a passionate film fan, regularly reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and 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. He started making his own movies when he was fourteen.
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.
He began making movies on the weekend using station equipment, starting with The Brain Leeches (1978) made for $298.
He made Alien Dead with film legend Buster Crabbe. He decided to move to Hollywood to be close to the film industry.
Ray 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."
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."
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 scorcery 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).
Ray co-directed Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991) with Jim Wynorski, shot in one day.
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 queens" movies.
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.
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."
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.
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.
In 2017, he received a "Living Legend Award" at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.
In his craft, Fred Olen Ray has used many pseudonyms, some used earlier by the B-movie director, Sam Newfield.
Ray's first marriage was short-lived but resulted in two sons. He raised one son while his ex-wife raised the other. One son is director Christopher Ray.
He is currently married to Kimberly A. Ray, who helps produce many of his films.
|Witness Unprotected||Writer, producer & director|
|2017||The Twin||Producer & director|
|Framed by My Fiance||Executive producer & director|
|Sniper: Special Ops||Writer & director|
|A Christmas in Vermont||Writer, producer & director|
|2015||A Prince for Christmas|
|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|
|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||Super Shark||Writer, producer & director|
|Together We Can Find a Cure||Director|
|Little Witches||Nicholas Medina||Writer, executive producer & director|
|Bikini Time Machine|
|Lady Chatterly's Ghost|
|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|
|Bikini Frankenstein||Nicholas Medina|
|Bikini Royale 2||Writer & director|
|American Bandits: Frank and Jesse James||Writer, producer & director|
|2008||Voodoo Dollz||Nicholas Medina||Writer, executive producer & director|
|Bikini Royale||Executive producer & director|
|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|
|The Bikini Escort Company||Bill Carson
|Writer, associate producer & director|
|Genie in a String Bikini||Nicholas Medina||Writer, producer & director|
|Haunting Desires||Nicholas Medina
|Writer & director|
|2003||Final Examination||Ed Raymond||Director|
|2002||Southern Discomfort: Wrestling on the Indie Circuit||Freddy Valentine||Actor, writer, producer & director|
|13 Erotic Ghosts||Roger Collins
|Actor, editor, writer, executive producer & director|
|2001||Emmanuelle 2000||Ed Raymond||Director|
|ACW Wrestling's Wildest Matches||Sherman Scott
|Actor, producer & director|
|Emmanuelle 2001: Emmanuelle's Sensual Pleasures||Nicholas Medina||Director|
|Critical Mass||Ed Raymond|
|1999||Invisible Mom II||Producer & director|
|The Prophet||Sherman Scott||Actor & director|
|The Kid with X-ray Eyes||Director|
|Counter Measures||Producer & director|
|Scandal: On the Other Side||Nick Medina|
|1998||Mom, Can I Keep Her?||Producer & director|
|Illicit Dreams 2||Roger Collins|
|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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Alienator||Uncredited actor & director|
|1988||Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers||Dr. S. Carver||Writer, producer & director|
|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|
|1971||Demented Death Farm Massacre||Producer & director|