Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Asylum might have the single best hook of any anthology film I have seen. The story opens with Dr. Martin (Robert Powell), a young psychiatrist, arriving at a remote insane asylum for a job interview. The man who runs the place, Dr. Rutherford (Parick McGee), seems like a bit of an asshole, the kind of […]

What Became of Jack and Jill? is the forgotten stepchild of the Amicus Productions filmography, the most obscure of all their horror/thriller films, and the only one that’s been basically ignored on home video (pretty much every version you can find these days is sourced from the same faded, full-frame 16mm print). And this goes […]

It is a truth that I think to be self-evident that 1972’s Tales from the Crypt is the best-known and most widely-seen of Amicus Productions’s seven horror anthology films – maybe even their best-known and most widely-seen film, period. How much of this has to do with the fact that it shares a title and […]

The soullessly glossy new version of Rebecca, paid for and distributed by the soulless gloss specialists at Netflix, lives in the shadows of ghosts. There is the ghost of Daphne Du Maurier’s beloved 1938 novel, one of the pinnacles of inter-war Gothic fiction, still a widely-read classic. And there is the ghost of the 1940 […]

The most interesting thing about I, Monster, a 1971 showcase for the great Christopher Lee released by Amicus productions, is also the most baffling. Not to spoil the surprise – the film has already spoiled itself, quite thoroughly – but the film is an uncredited adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella Strange Case of […]

When people speak of Amicus Productions, what they’re really speaking of, I think, is the set of films beginning with our present subject, 1971’s The House That Dripped Blood. Between 1962 and 1970, Amicus produced 15 films on a variety of subjects, and only six of them were horror films (a number that already has […]

I would never have thought of this on my own, but now that I’ve been put in mind of it, it makes perfect sense that American International Pictures and Amicus Productions would team up together. You could never say that they occupy the same spot in their respective ecosystems, because the Hollywood and British film […]

Among those classic horror fans who are responsible for keeping its memory alive at all, Amicus Productions is first and foremost associated with its series of anthology films (or “portmanteaus”, to use the official company line), so much so that one  might suppose they never made anything else. On the contrary, the studio was awfully […]

The Deadly Bees, from 1966, isn’t really a very good movie – it’s fine. It’s got some largely good and charming moments, some dumb moments, and some aggressively bad effects. But it has a longstanding reputation for being terrible beyond words, which comes I think from two different things. First, credited screenwriter Robert Bloch had […]

From 1961 through around 1968-ish, if you were a commercial movie studio and you had literally any presence in the horror/thriller markets, at some point you were going to make your own version of Psycho. There’s simply nothing else to it: Alfred Hitchcock’s grimy little quickie about murder, sexual psychosis, and fucking around with the […]

It of course doesn’t describe every one of the studio’s 28 features, not even most of them, but I think there’s a fairly clear platonic ideal of an Amicus Productions film: a horror anthology, directed by Freddie Francis, with a script adapted from the work of author Robert Bloch, starring Peter Cushing. 1965’s The Skull, […]

Amicus Productions was only around a short time, from 1962 to 1977, and it produced a fairly small number of features, 28 in total (one of which it sold off rather than distribute under its own name). Despite this, it has one of the strongest reputations in the history of British genre film production. Of […]