Amicus Horror Films

Discussion in 'DVD' started by FrancisP, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    In the 60's and early 70'd Amicus did a series of horror-anthology films based directly or in the spirit of the old EC comic horror tales. They were Vault of Horror, Tales From the Crypt, Dr Terror's House of Horrors, House That Dripped Blood, and Asylum. These were really fun to watch. Joan Collins being chased by a psychotic Santa Claus. Terry-Thomas being such a neat freak that his wife packs his body parts neatly in the freezer. Daniel Massey getting a tap pounded into his neck by vampires. I saw that Anchor Bay International had released a set of Amicus discs with Dr Terror's House of Horrors, House That Dripped Blood, and Asylum in Region 2 anamorphic widescreen, complete with commentaries.

    It's a shame that Anchor Bay doesn't have the rights to release these in Region 1. I know Lion's Gate released a featureless dvd of House That Dripped Blood. Do they own all of the Amicus films? It's a sad state of affairs that only one of these films has been released in region 1 while certain other films have been released.
     
  2. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    Even the Anchor Bay UK DVD of DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS leaves much to be desired. Besides the inevitable PAL speedup (really noticeable with Christopher Lee's distinctively deep voice...it's not so distinctively deep anymore), the original opening credits have been replaced, and the original closing credits sequence, though present, is in horrible, HORRIBLE condition.

    Surely there are better materials available somewhere? I continue to hold out hope for a definitive R1 DVD of DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS...
     
  3. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Torture Garden and From Beyond the Grave are 2 more Amicus antholology films. Columbia owns the rights to the first and Warner the second.

    Also, The Monster Club is out on DVD by Pathfinder. It isn't technically an Amicus film, but it was produced by Milton Subotsky, one half of the Amicus producing team and fits right in with the other anthology films.
     
  4. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Hammer and Amicus films have recently become a passion of mine, so I thought I would quickly list all the Amicus Films that are (or were) on R1 DVD:

    City of the Dead
    They Came From Beyond Space
    Scream and Scream Again (The Oblong Box / Scream and Scream Again)
    The House that Dripped Blood
    I, Monster
    Asylum (OOP)
    And Now the Screaming Starts (OOP)
    Madhouse (Theater of Blood/Madhouse )
    The Beast Must Die (OOP)
    The Land that Time Forgot (The Land that Time Forgot/The People that Time Forgot)
    At the Earth's Core
    The People that Time Forgot (The Land that Time Forgot/The People that Time Forgot)
    Monster Club

    Note: This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list. In fact, I would greatly appreciate it if fellow Amicus fans could verify and append to it.

    As you can see, they are a few Amicus offerings on R1 DVD, but, strangely enough, few of the anthology ones they are so know for.

    Jay E,

    I really feel like I should know what film your sig picture is from, but I can't place it. It's driving me nuts! [​IMG] Which film is it?

    Thanks.
    --
    Paul Arnette
     
  5. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Hi Paul

    Off the top of my head, Dr Who & the Daleks and Daleks:Invasion Earth 2150 are also on DVD. Otherwise, I think your list is pretty complete.

    Also, Tales That Witness Madness is another Amicus anthology film. I think Paramount owns the rights to this film.

    Oh, and my sig pic is from The Devils.
     
  6. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

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    TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS is not actually an Amicus film, but very much in the style of Amicus, and helmed by one of their more frequent directors, Freddie Francis. Paramount owns the film, as well as these Amicus titles directed by Francis: DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS, THE DEADLY BEES, THE PSYCHOPATH and THE SKULL. Hell, they could do their own Amicus box set!

    I think Fox still owns TALES FROM THE CRYPT, but when they released it to VHS a few years ago, it was a cut version. If they can't be bothered, I'd wish they'd license to to Anchor Bay or something! Fox might hold the rights to VAULT OF HORROR as well.

    ASYLUM, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS and THE BEAST MUST DIE are going to be re-released in the U.S. by Dark Sky Films, hopefully as special editions.
     
  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Interesting! I thought those Doctor Who movies were Hammer titles! I have to admit, I'm getting interested in these Amicus flicks!

    I think I've seen Vault Of Horror, but am mostly unfamiliar with the others. Is there a certain trait or style that make the Amicus films stand out?
     
  8. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

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    Amicus was simply a small British film company run by two Americans. They made a decent number of enjoyable horror and sci-fi fare, and the movies did pretty well at the box office. They produced seven anthology films from 1964 to 1973, probably what they are best known for. I don't think there is a specific style that makes them stand out, unless you really are deeply into the work of directors like Freddie Francis and Roy Ward Baker. If you like Hammer-type gothic horror films, you will most likely be a fan of Amicus as well.

    Did you know that Amicus also produced THE WORLD OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO? That will be out on DVD too.
     
  9. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    I thought that Amicus was able to capture the style of the old EC comics stories. I believe most if not all of the stories in Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror was based on stories that were in the comics. The stories in the other movies were similar in style. For example, in Dr Terror's House of Horrors, Donald Sutherland plays a small town doctor. The other doctor tells him that his wife is a vampire. Sutherland stakes her and the doctor refuses to back him up. After he is taken away for murder, the doctor says that there's not enough room in this town for two doctors and two vampires. Then he turns into a bat and flies away.
     
  10. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    One to add to the Amicus list:

    THE MIND OF MR. SOAMES (1970-British), a cool little sci-fi/horror thriller, almost a malevolent variation on CHARLY (1968).

    Amicus also made a quite decent spy flick, DANGER ROUTE (1968-British), directed by Seth Holt and starring Richard Johnson (in between stints as a Bondian Bulldog Drummond in DEADLIER THAN THE MALE and SOME GIRLS DO), a favorite spy film of Quentin Tarantino. It is more along the lines of down-to-earth spy thrillers like THE IPCRESS FILE or FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE than GOLDFINGER. Looks like MGM/Sony holds the R1 rights to this, currently.

    For a long time I thought that Amicus was also responsible for the initial trio of 1960s FU MANCHU films, starring Christopher Lee as the criminal mastermind--

    FACE OF FU MANCHU (1965)
    BRIDES OF FU MANCHU (1966)
    VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU (1967)

    --but those apparently were independent productions, not aligned with British genre houses like Amicus, Hammer and Tigon.
     
  11. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    A perfect definition of the film term "sleeper", this largely forgotten film really needs to be re-discovered. I haven't seen this film since I was a kid but I remember really enjoying it.
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    According to the Roobarb forum, the AB UK DVD of DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS is missing around 30 seconds from the end, between the good-quality film print used for the body of the film and the horrible VHS-quality end credits.
     
  13. R-T-C Tim

    R-T-C Tim Stunt Coordinator

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    To mark the recent Midnite Movie double-bill, which neatly filled a rather glaring gap in the Amicus collection (as will WB's upcoming 'From Beyond the Grave' disc), I have just completed an all new Complete Guide to Amicus, including 8 new reviews and an extensive history of the studio.

    Lets just hope that Paramount releases 'The Skull' (1965) next year, to finally complete the Amicus Horrors on DVD.
     
  14. R-T-C Tim

    R-T-C Tim Stunt Coordinator

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    Madhouse (1974) is one of the forgotten Amicus titles, and rightly so. Despite having an interesting idea, and Vincent Price and Peter Cushing in decent sized parts, it is a waste of time. The storyline clearly was not intended for feature length and has to be heavily padded, not to mention some amazing logic gaffes (why would a film set have a real deadly trap - was there no health & safety back then?).

    If anyone is still interested in reading on, I've just posted a review: Madhouse.

    Far more interesting is the superior Theatre of Blood on the flip side of the MGM disc.
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    DVD Drive-In has posted the first reviews of Paramount/Legend's The Man Who Could Cheat Death (Hammer 1959) and The Deadly Bees (Amicus 1966). Nice screen captures.

    Man Who Could Cheat Death and The Deadly Bees are Best Buy exclusives that are back-ordered 1-2 weeks on Best Beuy's website. Street date is July 1. July 1 is also the street date for Desperate Characters, but this is not back-ordered, so Best Buy lets you pay for it now. I checked the brick and mortar outlets and found that I would have to drive 90 miles to the nearest Best Buy outlet that will stock them on July 1.
     

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