Rick Sloane (born August 22, 1961, in Los Angeles) is an American cult film maker. He is credited as writer, director, producer, Film editor and cinematographer of much of his own work. He is perhaps best known for his B-movie-grade, camp horror film Hobgoblins, which was revived during its television airing on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the hosts were as critical of Sloane as a director as they were of the film itself.
Rick attended Hollywood High School in Hollywood, California. While in film school at Los Angeles City College, Sloane was singled out among his peers by a number of instructors and deemed the least talented student in the bunch. His directing teacher dropped him from the class on the first day, weeding out people that didn't belong in filmmaking. He waited a year for another teacher to take the course.
At the age of 18, Sloane was inspired by the ultra-low-budget film Hollywood Boulevard which heavily inspired the look of his future films. Ironically, Hollywood Boulevard was the directorial debut for Gremlins director Joe Dante, another of Sloane's inspirations. Mary Woronov, one of the stars of "Hollywood Boulevard," agreed to take the lead in Sloane's first feature, Blood Theatre, made when he was only 21 years old.
Sloane had cultivated his taste for satire by producing fake trailers for non-existent Grindhouse style films such as Chainsaw Chicks, Amputee Hookers, Nightmare of the Lost Whores and Clown Whores of Hollywood. Sloane was working with 20th Century Fox to promote The Rocky Horror Picture Show and these short films were first shown at The "Third Annual Transylvanian Convention" held in Anaheim, California. It was also the launching of the Rocky Horror sequel "Shock Treatment". Sloane himself organized and produced one of the earliest of these cult conventions in 1981. The event was videotaped and aired on syndicated television that same summer as part of the syndicated special "Rocky Horror Treatment" and later that fall in a segment on NBC, in one of televisions original reality shows, "Real People".
Compared by various film reviewers to other cult directors such as John Waters and Ed Wood, Sloane prides himself as a creator of B-movies and wants his films to be appreciated for the "Classics of Trash" that they are.
His lesser-known but bigger-budget films include Marked for Murder and Good Girls Don't. Many of his films were top rated when they aired on cable television.
Sloane still does practically everything in all areas of his filmmaking; he is a writer, director, producer, editor and cinematographer. Rick retains creative control over his films by self-producing them. He has never directed a film that he didn't write the script himself. By 25 years old, he directed his first three feature films, Blood Theatre, The Visitants and Hobgoblins.
On August 13, 2014, Rick appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast.
Sloane's third feature Hobgoblins is in the genre of such films as Gremlins and Critters, albeit on a far lesser budget. The plot consists of a young security guard who must track down diminutive creatures who kill people while making their fantasies come true. The bargain-basement puppets were anything but frightening and gave the film its cheesy camp appeal.
Hobgoblins primarily received attention when it was later shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The episode, as usual, made unrelenting fun of the movie and of Sloane in particular, with Tom Servo attempting to use time travel to assault Sloane for making the film—only to give Sloane inspiration for making the movie—at the episode's conclusion. MST3K writer Paul Chaplin later commented on Hobgoblins, saying, "It shoots right to the top of the list of the worst movies we've ever done."
Critics lambasted the film, with efilmcritic.com calling it "Jim Henson's worst nightmare.". Happily for fans of low-brow satire comedy-horror films, Hobgoblins now seems destined to be a series, as Hobgoblins 2 has been released by Shout Factory in June 2009. Sloane has kept the sequel faithful to the original: the same puppets and costumes are reused from the first film, and the cast is composed of new actors who resemble the original cast.
The original Hobgoblins is simultaneously being re-released on DVD in widescreen, including director's commentary, and a new documentary, "Hobgoblins: The Making of A DisasterPiece." The documentary includes interviews with original cast members Tom Bartlett (Kevin), Kelley Palmer (Daphne), Steven Boggs (Kyle), Billy Frank (Nick), Tami Clatterbuck (Fantazia), Darran Norris (Club Scum M.C.), Kenneth J. Hall (puppet fabricator), and Rick Sloane (writer and director).
The 6-part Vice Academy series, which aired on the USA Network throughout the 1990s, was intended as a sexy spoof-on-a-spoof of the popular Police Academy movie series. Sloane replaced the usual mixed group of odd-ball characters with a sexy cast of females, including Ginger Lynn Allen, Linnea Quigley and Elizabeth Kaitan. The plot features female police cadets in training to join the Hollywood vice squad. Their assignments include infiltrating a child porn operation, and going undercover to join and break up a prostitution ring.
As usual, critics were savage: Sandra Brennan of Allmovie said, "This tale wavers on the fine line between erotic comedy and soft-core porn with a definite leaning toward the latter." However, Sloane contends that there is no actual sex and only ten seconds of nudity in the entire film.
Critic Nathan Shumate commented, "Knowingly insipid to the point of being grotesque... It's a bad, bad, stupid movie, but somehow it fails to grossly offend, mainly because it doesn't try that hard."
Reviewers have been ruthless in their criticism of both Sloane and his films (some tongue-in-cheek and some rather harsh comments). J.P. Harris writes in his review of Hobgoblins:
"Aside from the no-talent acting, everything else in Hobgoblins can be blamed on Rick Sloane, who wrote, produced, directed, edited and photographed this weak comedy."
- Blood Theatre (1984)
- The Visitants (1987)
- Vice Academy (1988)
- Hobgoblins (1988)
- Marked for Murder (1989)
- Vice Academy Part 2 (1990)
- Vice Academy Part 3 (1991)
- Mind, Body & Soul (1992)
- Good Girls Don't (1993)
- Vice Academy 4 (1994)
- Vice Academy 5 (1996)
- Babe Watch: Forbidden Parody (1996)
- Vice Academy Part 6 (1998)
- Hobgoblins 2 (2009)
- Hobgoblins: The Making of A DisasterPiece (2009)
- Episode 907- Hobgoblins
- Movie Review – Hobgoblins – eFilmCritic
- "Movies: About Vice Academy". The New York Times.
- Harris, J.P. (January 20, 2002). Time Capsule. IUniverse. pp. 114. ISBN 978-0-595-21336-8.