Hello, all! My name is ReelRat, or just simply “Rat”, and I’m thrilled to be the newest contributor to CINEMASLICE.
I will be your resident schlock and extreme horror expert, and I will provide your eyes with reviews of the sort you have likely never seen before in an all new column entitled “Schlock Du Jour!” I was asked to introduce myself to you all, so I asked myself, “What is the most ‘Rat’ way to do this?” And I came up with a solution…
See, last year I interviewed myself in some sorta self-servicing bullshit, with the hopes that it would fend off a midlife crisis as I turned 30. I figured I’d pry inward to find out if introspection was the best medicine. That interview went unpublished, but I have updated my answers and added a couple new questions so you may best get to know me. I offer that to you now in the hopes that you will accept me.
Rat on Rat:
To begin, let’s start at the end. By that I mean let’s talk about your sign-off. You end each review the same way. “Stay slime, and be rad at all times.” What exactly does that mean?
So, my sign-off is both a motto and an aesthetic. It’s basically like that famous line from Bill & Ted: “Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!” It’s a beacon of positivity. Stay slime = stay cool. Radness goes beyond coolness in my definition as it encompasses much more, including an emphasis on kindness.
Why do you go by “Rat”
This actually goes back to the last question. Rat is a simplified version of the acronym for “rad at all times”. I’ve adopted that name within many circles as a reminder to be the embodiment of my motto. I want to make an impression, but also spread positivity. In addition, it’s a nice scummy, sleazy name. Across the internet you’ll find things authored by me under the names Rat, Reel Rat, Rat Ross, Elliot Ross, Elliot Ian Ross, and even Elliot “Reel Rat” Ross. I’ve been thinking of dropping the whole “Rat” moniker, but I don’t know yet.
Aww, but I like it! Your weekly column for The Basement on a Hill is “Schlock & Gore”, which you’ve been writing now for over 40 weeks. Could you tell us a bit about that?
45 weeks, actually! Schlock & Gore is my baby. When I was asked to write for The Basement, my mind immediately went to a review column. But with all of the review columns out there, why would anyone give one, let alone two shits about mine? The wheels spun a hair longer and I decided that I would lean hard into my niche specialty of weird, obscure, low-budget, and extreme films. I am thrilled to now be writing for CINEMASLICE as well. My column here will be called Schlock Du Jour!
I don’t like to write reviews in the traditional way. Again, it comes down to the question of what do people actually want to read? So, you may find that my Schlock Du Jour reviews are filled with sentence fragments, numbered and bulleted lists, how-to guides, and other things of that nature. Some of my reviews can barely be called reviews. Some of them are slightly informative art pieces. It all depends on how long the movie marinates in my mind and what I feel as a result. I hope that answers the question…
Definitely! Along with writing your reviews, you also conduct some killer interviews such as this. How did this come about and can you tell me about some highlights?
Haha! Thank you! It has already been a wild ride! I just decided one day to reach out to anyone that I felt was doing cool shit and doing it themselves. I like to talk to those people who create their own place in the world. The big names have their platforms already, and if I can help spread the word about lesser-known artists, then I have to! Most of these artists are involved in film, but certainly not all. I am not sure yet if I will run any interviews on CINEMASLICE. Perhaps time will tell.
As far as highlights go, every interview has been a highlight. Christopher Bouchie from King of the Witches was my first interview for The Basement on a Hill, and he has become an invaluable friend, the way I see it. That first interview gave me the confidence to seek out others. And then there’s Drew Marvick. He’s such a cool director and I even conned him into sending me a hat! The interview I did with youtuber Reignbot got massive attention. She has a rabid fan base! Tim Ritter, Ron Bonk, James Bickert, Brian K. Williams, Scott Schirmer, actress Ellie Church, and Art the Clown himself David Howard Thornton, oh man. Such good stuff out of these guys. Recently I interviewed Joseph Ziemba of Bleeding Skull and AGFA, which was something else entirely. That was like coming face to face with my idol. Pioneers and revolutionaries all around!
Okay. Let’s talk movies. What are your favorites?
My top three favorite movies of all time are Labyrinth, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and Better Off Dead. It would take too long to mention all of my favorite horror and exploitation films, but a few notables are Street Trash, Death Spa, Braindead, Bad Taste, Violent Shit 3, Ghoulies, ILSA She Wolf of the SS, They Live, Evil Dead… I think you get the idea.
No way! Those are my favorite too! Finally, what are your goals in writing schlock reviews?
I’d love to get a blurb on a movie cover. I think that’s my next big goal. And maybe somewhere down the line someone will want to utilize my services enough that I can do this full-time. Mostly though, I just do this because it’s fun and it’s what I’m passionate about. It keeps me busy.
*Hallelujah chorus plays* Elliot “Rat” Ross is the editor of The Basement on a Hill. His passion is writing whacked-out reviews of nutzoid movies, sifting through screeners, and interviewing independent filmmakers and artists. He lives in Omaha, NE, where he works a big boy job instead of writing for a living, but hopefully that will all change one day. He is happy to contribute to Cinemaslice, and asks that you send him presents. Email him for his address.