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MONSTER BOY! An Interview with Chris Ray PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Aug 13, 2005 at 02:00 AM
Fred Olen Ray is known to most fans of b-movies having helmed such classics as EVIL TOONS and PHANTOM EMPIRE, but what might be unknown to all but his die-hard fans is that he has featured his son Chris in a number of his movies, many times in monster suits, and starting when the boy was only 5 years old! I talked with Chris recently about life in his Dad's flicks.

DG: I recently enjoyed the director's commentary on BIOHAZARD and your dad mentioned that at the time he was raising you as a single dad, working a day job and trying to shoot movies: things were pretty tight.

Chris: First off I had a great time growing up in this bizz. My father had a tough job raising me on his own and trying to break in to the film industry. He would stay up late during the week writing scripts and going out to meet with people that might give him a shot. Once he got it, well we see where he is today. 22 years of film making and over a hundred films to his credit.

DG: In BIOHAZARD it was somewhat funny to see your running around and attacking people as a five-year-old in a monster suit. What specific memories do you have from the often-all-night Biohazard shoots?

Chris: Well BIOHAZARD was my first exposure that I can remember to the film industry. As a kid I loved it, I mean my imagination was going wild and my dad gave me a way to express it with real material instead of just pretending.

They would put me in this black leotard before I could get in the costume. I mean, man now that I think anout it I am not sure if it was for my own protection or the suit's! They would hang me upside down in the garage scene. My dad was up in the rafters holding my ankles and there was a mattress on the floor. I can also remember the scene in the basement where they catapulted me across the room.

Like I said looking back on it I still say that I had a wonderful time growing up with my dad!

DG: Was the suit uncomfortable? I know your dad mentioned that it was getting small on you by the time they were finishing the movie!

Chris: The suit was fine, I just remember giving the make up artist a run for his money. I was a brat and wouldn't help him in the least. If I didn't want to put it on I wouldn't. My dad would have to come back and ask me to put it on or else. We never found out what the "or else" was but that was enough to get me moving. Also, the suit stunk!

DG: Years later, you donned a monster suit for BIOHAZARD 2 shooting in Florida. I heard the heat was intense! Tell us about that experience

Chris: Actually, I had asked to make a cameo. Since I was the original, I wanted to be able to saythat I was in the sequal as well. The heat never got to me. From what Steve Latshaw has told I was a great motivator for the crew. I was so used to wearing monster suits that it doesn't bother me to sweat a little. I enjoyed working with Steve.

DG: Did you play an alien in STAR SLAMMER, or a robot? Or both?!

Chris: Actually in STARSLAMMER I was the cook, a wrestler and a young Aldo Ray. Now that film I can barely remember anything. Just kind of melts together.

DG: Monstersuitmania: You again suited up as the creature in HYBRID. Your dad has described this is a chance to make a Corman-like Alien rip-off, although many fans are happy that was also an excuse to get Brinke Stevens and J.J. North in the shower together. How was that shoot?

Chris:Again at this point I was asking to be the creature. The suit for this one was a bit awkward due to the fact that the head was like a hat. I was looking out the neck on that suit. The making of HYBRID was like a big party due solely to the fact that everyone knew each other. About the shower scene I wasn't anywhere near the set during this scene, so I really can't comment much on it.

DG: In addition to your creature roles, you've served as assistant director and misc. crew positions on several action pics and erotic thrillers in the mid-to-late 90s. What have been the biggest challenges on those shows?

Chris: In the beginning I was doing the work half-assed just to get paid. I didn't care about my performance or what job I held. I knew I was going to get paid no matter what. But as I did more and more films I started actually enjoying it and getting pretty good with my job. The biggest hurddle was to get other crew members to respect my work not my family ties. I was a huge flake in my younger years, but now I have a new respect for members on a film crew and the job everyone holds.

DG: If I'm not mistaken you served in the military for a while? Would you care to share a bit about that?

Chris: Yes. I spent 7 and a half years in the Navy. I worked as a photographer in Puerto Rico I also spent 4 years stationed in Japan and 1 year in the Gulf. I left the Navy as an E5.

DG: Are you currently looking to work in the movie "biz," or mostly just when something your dad is working on seems like it might be fun?

Chris: Actually I am in the process of trying to get someone to give me a chance on directing a film. I have a script, but no one to colaborate with. I actually have tried not to work for my dad simply because of the hurdles I faced early on when I did work for him. I have learned so much from him that I would like to spread the Ray name into other companies and keep this industry full of Rays! I am now working as a photographer/videographer for a company in Ventura County.

DG: Anything else you'd like to add in closing?

Chris: No, I think I covered most of my thoughts. Just look for me in the near future - I am working from the bottom up and hope to one day be making films full time. Sooner or later some one will take a chance on me and we will just go from there.

DG: Thanks for your time, Chris, and best of luck with your movie!


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