St. Joe Riley

February 26, 1964 - September 27, 2007

  [1]  2  3  4  5  












  [1]  2  3  4  5  

By Rev. Ivan Stang (Oct. 6, 2007)

Yes, the great SubGenius St. Joe Riley has boarded the Escape Vessels ahead of schedule.

I heard from his ex-wife Julie that Joe collapsed and died of a sudden, completely unexpected heart attack Wednesday night, Sept. 27, 2007 at age 43.

Joe was one of the funniest, coolest, most talented, most patient fellows I have ever had the pleasure to know and work with. We had some GREAT times together. I don't know what I would have done without his help on many film projects... they probably wouldn't have happened at all. I feel very, very lucky to have had Joe as a friend and as a creative collaborator. He was a big part of my life, and also of my childrens' lives -- he impressed the living daylights out of them, maybe because he was such a big kid himself. Whenever I hung around with Joe I felt like a kid again... we had the same love of COOL COOL TOYS. But Joe could make his own toys, like no one else. There are not many like him -- none really -- and he'll be sorely missed.

This Dallas film maker and special effects wizard contributed in all manner of ways to The Hour of Slack and to most of the SubGenius video projects that happened while the SubGenius Foundation was still in Dallas. He was the master make-up artist who created the Smiley-Face NHGH mask (which later became the "official" face of NHGH) and he also turned Hellswami Satellite Weavers' superb Dobbshead bust into the mask used in our MTV-SubG spot (and later in the book Revelation X). Last month I posted to Google Video his amazing edit of the Club No New Year (91-92) Devival... working with extremely challenging footage (2 out of 3 cameras were manned by drunken SubGenii), he interspersed the devival footage with bulldada clips from his own collection of weird movies, turning a sow's purse into a solid gold diamond-studded ear. He drew some of the key illustrations for Revelation X (Fighting Jesus, 3-Headed Beast-Stooge, Princess Wei as the Hoor of Babylon on the Chocolate Triceratops, etc. etc.). He also drew and self-published numerous comix of his own that were seriously outrageous, and more skillfully drawn than many pro comics.

His IMDB listing -- -- covers some of his work but doesn't do justice to how many design jobs he did, especially for DNA Productions, who produced the Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius and Ant Bully childrens' franchises.

And, if somebody in Dallas needed to film a scene with a guy's face being blown off, Joe was the fellow to call for special effects make-up.

Another thing that the IMDB doesn't go into is what a DAMNED FUNNY GUY he was, nor how KINDLY. He always had time to help the next guy down the line. When my son was making movies in elementary school, Joe was one of the guys he would call for advice, and half the time Joe would offer to come over and help. (My son is now a commercial director in Hollywood.)

Joe hosted a cable-access TV show for a while... every few months he would barrage-edit hundreds of badfilm clips into a half-hour or one-hour collection. Some of those collections are on the top shelf of my VHS collection. His "MONSTER ATTACK TEAM" Japanese monster collage ended up being used in numerous later collages by other people, including the great Indian Rope Burn music video "Red Light."

Every Halloween, Joe would make custom rubber masks for himself and friends. Many of these were superior to, say, the Don Post masks of yore. After he had created a one-shot Tor Johnson (Plan 9) mask he gave it to me -- it's still on my mask shelf next to the One Really Good Dobbshead Mask, the NHGH Mask and the She-NHGH. (We use it every other Halloween. (See photos))

DAMN IT!! I was about to send him the first-ever DVD of his CLUB NO edit (it was VHS-only up till last week). Another lesson about procrastinating.

Here's how much I liked and trusted Joe.

After both my business partner Jesus and I had moved away from Dallas, our ancient Dallas PO Box was still open, and still ours. We got very little mail there by then, but every little bit of lost soul counts... and the person I asked to collect our Dallas mail every few months was Joe Riley.

We lost the PO Box prematurely in an accident (not my fault thank goodness!) so he never got to do that. But I always thought of him as The Last True Old Time Original SubGenius Left in Dallas.

Joe's funeral was held Monday Oct. 1st  at Laurel Land in Dallas, Texas. There will be another memorial party some time in October, which we will try to announce here.

Interview with Joe Riley in Latex Mask Central

Joe's MySpace page (with more of his art than displayed here)

Joe's Blog (funny written observations and more art!)

YouTube Video of Club No New Year SubGenius Devival - Dallas, 1991-92
St. Joe edited the HELL out of this SubGenius devival footage, inserting hundreds of choice ARISE-like cuts of filmic bulldada into the preaching and head-launching. He shot the best parts and is heard in voice-over at th beginning. Preachers include Rev. Susie the Floozy, Rev. Ivan Stang, Doktors 4 "Bob," others.
1 hour 43 minutes -- the entire devival
(This was also posted in high-res DivX format to alt.binaries.multimedia.slack)

In this video from 1991, you see Joe several times, in his studio with the NHGH maquette, and later setting up the foreground miniatures he made, of a wrecked car, broken telephone pole, and skeleton leaning against a broken mailbox labeled "SMITH", all used in the forced-perspective shots of my family looking normal in the ruins after X-Day.

Dallas Morning News obituary

Back to SubGenius NEWS BLOG