Review Index


Take three murderous scumbags, two cut-rate superheroes, several rock and roll music numbers, some dumb-assed slapstick, a seemingly never-ending chase through the streets of LA, a guy in a cheesy gorilla suit and a final showdown in Topanga Canyon (whose scenery the director couldn’t resist) and you’ve got RAT PFINK A BOO BOO (1966), arguably the masterpiece of the late Ray Dennis Steckler

The Package
     Q: What do you do when you’re midway through filming a no-budget horror-suspense picture and the director looses interest in the film he’s making?  A: You turn the proceedings into a superhero-themed musical/comedy!
     That, believe it or not, is what happened with this film, which began as a suspensor called THE DEPRAVED but morphed into a superhero picture remonikered RAT PFINK AND BOO BOO--and then, due to a mistake in the opening credits that the filmmakers couldn’t afford to get fixed, ended up as RAT PFINK A BOO BOO, a nonsense title that given the schizophrenic nature of the production seems curiously appropo.  

The Story 
     Horrors!  Three scumbags mug and brutally beat a defenseless woman in an alley!  Then they run off!!
     From there we’re introduced to Lonnie Lord, a famed rock and roll singer who takes his guitar with him everywhere he goes.  He’s got a cool girlfriend named CeeBee who dances with him.  But CeeBee’s in trouble: the trio of scumbags from the opening scene take to stalking CeeBee--and one day snatch her off her front lawn.
     Lonnie is understandably upset about this development, and moved to croon a sad song in CeeBee’s living room.  But when the bad guys call up demanding a ransom for CeeBee’s safe return Lonnie decides he’s had enough.  He turns to CeeBee’s gardener Titus and says: “This is a job for You Know and Who!”
     The two enter a closet, shut the door behind them, and reemerge as...RAT PFINK and BOO BOO, crime fighters extraordinaire!  Each has a distinctive costume, with Rat Pfink outfitted in shorts, a cape and a hood with eyeholes (making him look more like a bank robber than a crime fighter) and Boo Boo in a goofy jump suit with striped underwear and a horned something-or-other on his head.
     Together these two take off on the Pfinkmobile (a motorcycle with a sidecar), catch up with the scumbags and make fast work of them.  But one of baddies escapes with CeeBee, whisking her off to Topanga Canyon, where Rat Pfink and Boo Boo have to deal with a new threat: Kogar, a renegade gorilla with eyes for CeeBee! 

The Direction 
     Ray Dennis Steckler claims he began this film with a budget of $20.00...and I’d venture to say that, given the nature of the production, he very likely ended it with that amount.  The film is nonetheless a triumph of inspiration and audacity, containing all the charming ineptitude of an Ed Wood project combined with the free-wheeling experimentation of European auteurs like Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.
     Yes, you read that right: I equated RAT PFINK A BOO BOO with Godard and Truffaut, and I’d say it’s an entirely apt comparison.  The film’s free-form narrative is downright revolutionary in the way it follows no rules of any sort, segueing madly from horror to musical to comedy and back. 
     Of course, whether such effects were intentional on the part of Mr. Steckler has yet to be fully determined.  It hardly matters, as RAT PFINK A BOO BOO is simply the finest art-trash-horror-superhero picture you’ll ever see!

Vital Statistics 

Morgan Steckler Productions 

Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Ray Dennis Steckler
Screenplay: Ron Haydock, Ray Dennis Steckler
Editor: Keith Webster
Cast: Carolyn Brandt, Ron Haydock, Titus Moede, “Dean Danger” (Keith A. Wester), Romeo Barrymore, George Caldwell, James Bowie, Mike Kannon, Kogar