I couldn’t write the text quick enough!
“Sam, dude. Did you know Fred Olen Ray made a Christmas movie? It’s premiering on the ION channel, right now! The dude that made Biohazard and The Alien Dead is in the X-Mas movie business? I’m upset to my stomach.”
“Dude, I just did two David DeCoteau Christmas movies (Christmas Spirit, Santa’s Summer House) for the site next week. You think you know pain? Hey, you know what, you should really write that one up for the site.”
Did someone spike the Eggnog? When did David DeCoteau start doing Christmas movies? Where am I? Pinch me, somebody! (And when he’s not doing Christmas flicks, he’s doing “Wrong” movies for Lifetime: his latest is The Wrong Valentine.)
I knew those (pot) Christmas cookies Becca sent me didn’t taste right. They weren’t sprinkled with powdered sugar . . . that had to be Angel Dust . . . and I think Sam sprinkled it. There’s no other explanation to account for the fact that not only B-Movie stalwart David DeCoteau . . . but Fred Olen Ray is in the X-Mas movie business, too?
Fred Olen Ray producing, writing, and directing Christmas movies filled with love and romance? No, it can’t be. Fred Olen Ray is all about boobs, blades, and blood. He’s about aliens, bikinis, world disasters and Jean-Claude Van Damme knockoffs. You’re telling me that the guy who lent Quentin Tarantino his first camera to make My Best Friend’s Birthday is messing around with snow globes?
Oh, say it isn’t so, oh, mighty King of my video store youth!
Not ye of the VHS-rental favorites The Brain Leeches (1978), The Alien Dead (1980), and Biohazard (1985)? Not the guy who put scantily-clad women in a space prison with Star Slammer (1986) and plopped Heather Locklear from T.J Hooker on a high-tech motorcycle in Cyclone (1987)? Not the guy who wrangled my beloved Ann Turkel into starring in Deep Space (1988)? Not the guy who made Evil Spawn, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Alienator, and Dinosaur Island? No, Fred Olen Ray, no! You made Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991) and Evil Toons (1992)!
But alas, it’s true.
Fred Olen Ray is in the Christmas movie business. In recent years he’s produced, written and/or directed eleven films since 2012 that aired on the cable channels Hallmark, ION, Lifetime, and Up.
So there I was, on a lazy Sunday evening, channel surfing as I stumbled into the ION channel and, as I begin to watch the credits role, I see the opening title card of:
Directed by Fred Olen Ray
No, it can’t be. It has to be his kid, Fred, Jr., right?
Nope. It’s the Fred Olen Ray. And you’re damn right, I watched it. While most Christmas movie fans don’t know how epic Mr. Ray is, I do.
So even though this is a Fred Olen Ray Christmas movie, it’s still an ION Christmas movie. (Do I have to tell you this isn’t one of Fred’s patented skin flicks or one of his straight-to-video schlock fests?) And we all know how these Christmas movies, roll: even a Fred Olen Ray Christmas movie.
They’re all mostly knockoffs of successful theatrical films (e.g., 1995’s While You Were Sleeping becomes Hallmark’s 2013 offering, A Very Merry Mix-Up). And the guys are always prettier than the girls (a problem that myself and Sam do not suffer). And the girls are pretty, yet, in most cases, bitchy (a fate that Sam and I, in our younger years, once suffered). And the girl is fiercely independent, brimming with self-righteous indignation, yet angers when the guy of her dreams doesn’t believe in her and “shatters her confidence.” Or the girl is a whirlwind of white-teethed effervesce and the guy is a greedy, clueless dolt. And the guy always screws up and the girl gets pissed. Or she’s engaged, but not “in love,” and a new “dream” guy drifts into her life and she sort of “cheats” on her fiancé. And she dumps the dolt. And in the end there’s a kiss under some mistletoe, or a first Christmas snowfall, or they find a magic Christmas globe, or find the perfect tree and they live happily ever after.
Such is the case with Mr. Ray’s most recent film and his newest holiday offering, A Christmas Princess, inspired by the recent Meghan Markle and Prince Harry romance. However, in keeping with the tradition of knocking off major studio theatrical films, this X-Mas offering pinches Paramount and Martha Coolidge’s (Valley Girl, Real Genius) The Prince and Me (2004).
A Christmas Princess tells the tale of an icy ‘n’ feisty African American Chef-cum-caterer with a failing, down-home diner who bonds with a European (?) prince that speaks with an (annoying) Australian accent. The “bonding experience” is a slice of “meatloaf made with chicken stock, not milk” that leads the prince to decide she’s the one to cater his $1K per plate, Royal Christmas Charity Banquet in New York City. Of course, the prince’s royal family, particularly Queen Alice (Erin Grey from TV’s B.J and the Bear, Buck Rogers, and Silver Spoons), doesn’t approve of her son frocking with “a commoner from Brooklyn.”
And yada, yada, yada . . . they pull off the dinner and fall in love. The End.
. . . And as I warmly snuggle and patiently wait, my mouth waters for the soon-to-arrive Christmas (pot-laced) meatloaf from the Pacinos. And to all a good night.
Fred Olen Ray’s Holiday Films Resume
A Royal Christmas Engagement – Director
A Christmas Princess – Director
One Fine Christmas – Writer & Director
Baking Christmas – Director
A Wedding for Christmas – Producer & Director
A Christmas in Royal Fashion – Writer & Director
A Christmas in Vermont – Producer, Writer & Director
A Prince for Christmas – Producer, Writer & Director
Christmas in Palm Springs – Producer & Director
All I Want for Christmas – Producer & Director
Holiday Road Trip – Writer & Director
A Christmas Wedding Date – Producer, Writer & Director
David DeCoteau’s Holiday Films Resume (all as Director, only)
A Christmas for Mary
A Christmas Cruise*
My Christmas Grandpa (short)
A Royal Christmas Ball
Runway Christmas Bride
Delivering Christmas (short)
Santa’s Summer House*
*Sam’s loves his David DeCoteau!
UPDATE: November 2021
If you’re reading this, you’re probably here from the IMDb after seeing this Christmas flick pop up on Hallmark and came for some insights . . . and could care less about Fred Olen Ray directing the film. Well, in the oft chance you are a Fred Olen Ray fan, you can now buy DVDs and Blu-rays of several of Fred’s older, horror and sci-fi titles from his RetroMedia Entertainment Group shingle through Makeflix Entertainment.
All of David DeCoteau’s non “Wrong” and Christmas flicks — with things such as Bloody Blacksmith and Swamp Freak — can be found on his VOD RapidHeart.TV platform on Vimeo. You can learn more about his recent, direct-to-streaming offerings of Knock ’em Dead and Immortal Kiss at Rapid Heart Pictures. Fellow WordPress blogger Will Sloan sat down for an interview with David in July 2021.