Ray Schillaci is a professed film enthusiast whose wife thinks he’s downright obsessive. She insists he loves film more than her, their kids and their dog. Not true, he loves that dog!
He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and has over 25 years experience in the motion picture and television industry. The last five years he shared duties running one of the major unions in Hollywood, and was a director on the Motion Picture and Television Fund. He went onto be a V.P. of Sales and Marketing for a small Burbank production company, and later became an advertising executive for Republic Media. During his time in the studios, he also did a brief three-year stint on the comedy circuit working along side Arsenio Hall, Fritz Coleman and Jenny Jones, to name a few.
After quitting comedy, he decided to put all his efforts into writing. His first script, a coming-of-age horror flick, nabbed him an agent. Subsequent scripts later received option deals but have not been produced yet. He continued to write with a great deal of help from his mentor, Karl Schanzer, an old Roger Corman protégée. The man was a producer, a high profile executive at Fox and worked with a variety of talent from Coppola to Cameron. He was also the co-author of the industry book, American Screenwriters and would be an invaluable sensei for Ray.
Schillaci was also a contributor (movie critic and film commentary) to FRED Entertainment (formerly known as Quick Stop Entertainment) since 2007, and recently finished his long in the making first novel, a supernatural spaghetti western. He is also the Film Presenter Coordinator for the Phoenix Film Festival and International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival. His tastes vary and he appreciates commercial as well as independent film. His only beef is boredom, re-treads and a story that has nothing to say. His credo; life’s too short not to be entertained.
LINKS TO RECENT WORK
Blade of the Immortal
Cult of Chucky
The Dark Tower
Brave New Jersey
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
La La Land: A Second Opinion
The Bye Bye Man
A Monster Calls
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Eyes of My Mother
Hell or High Water
Asperger’s Are Us
Ouija: Origin of Evil
The Dark Tapes
Search the ARCHIVES links at the footer of this page or use the search tool for Ray’s reviews.
“The Room” Experience
Braaaaains at Work in the Zombie Apocalypse – Three Film Recommendations of the Undead
Blade Runner 2049 – Box Office Disappointment
Remembering Tobe Hooper
Jody Lambert – The TMG Interview
Remembering George A. Romero
Highlights from The 17th Annual Phoenix Film Festival 2017 – Part 3
Highlights from The 17th Annual Phoenix Film Festival 2017 – Part 2
Highlights from The 17th Annual Phoenix Film Festival 2017 – Part 1
The Top Ten Films of 2016: Take Two
Coming Soon: The 60-Yard Line
“La La” Lands Fourteen Nominations…Much to My Astonishment
Top Ten Creepy Clown Movies
Giallo: The Best of Italian Horror
Characters Gone, But Not Forgotten: Banshee & Penny Dreadful
Search the ARCHIVES links at the footer of this page or use the search tool for Ray’s articles.
RAY’S PIC OF THE WEEK:
PIC of the Week – The Lift
Article series by Ray Schillaci
1983: the beginning of video format wars, VHS vs. Beta, and height of one of the first cable services, ONTV. It is also a time when some of the crudest and rudimentary horror films became accessible to the public. This was also an opportunity for little known foreign horror to emerge and scare up an audience as well. Enter one clever little screamer, of all things, a possessed elevator! Dick Maas’ (Amsterdamned) The Lift was a great oddity to us horror hounds, and brings back a wonderful sense of nostalgia in its Blu release by Blue Underground.
1984 winner of the Grand Prize at Festival D’Avoriaz in France, The Lift had a wonderful tag line – “Take the Stairs, Take the Stairs, For God’s Sake, Take the Stairs!!!” How do you pass up something like that? The story of an elevator (or lift as they call them in Europe) that takes on erratic behavior after it accidentally gets a taste of human blood. Writer/director Dick Maas fashions a tale that sounds like something out of a Stephen King novella. Sure, it’s tawdry, ridiculous, and very basic, but all the while it’s so entertaining with its black humor.
In fact, this damn little cult movie caught the attention of so many that Maas was asked to remake his own film as an American movie, Down (European title, The Shaft) with stars James Marshall (A Few Good Men, Twin Peaks), Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) and genre greats Michael Ironside, Edward Hermann, Ron Perlman and Dan Hedaya. With stars and a bigger budget to play with, Maas is credited as delivering an even better remake. But, there is something that is charming about his original with all its flaws, quirks, and struggling budget that the remake does not capture. Interesting note, Down is also being released by Blue Underground on the same day.
Unavailable to the home entertainment market for many years, The Lift is now presented in a brand new 2K restoration from the original negative, and approved by writer/director Dick Maas!
– Audio commentary with Dick Maas and editor Hans van Dongen
– “Going Up” interview with star Huub Stapel
– 2003 short film, Long Distance by Dick Maas
– Dutch and U.S. trailer
– Poster and still gallery
– Bonus collectable booklet
Amazon – $19.90
Special scream out to Shout Factory’s wonderful Blu presentation of George A. Romero’s epic, Land of the Dead. This suppose to be Romero’s swan song, but was eventually followed up by two smaller scale films, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Great cast with the late Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker and Asia Argento. This is a special 2-disc set with an unrated version of Romero’s insane vision of the dead living in a wasteland and attempting to cross over with the living as they try to lead normal lives behind a great wall of a fortified city. Just when you think Romero cannot shock us anymore since Dawn of the Dead, he blows us away with some of the most outrageous dead effects provided by KNB EFX. By the way, this was done in 2005, and here we are in 2017 talking about building “great walls.”
Amazon – $21.99