International Amusement Corp.
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One of the many smaller Distribution companies of The Early-Mid 1970's, International Amusement Corporation's history still has a number of titles that are well known to collectors of Cult Grindhouse Cinema. Based in North Carolina (Possibly the only well-known Distribution company to be based there), it's very brief history included a number of films imported to The States which are included in BCI's collection of Spanish Horror, as well as a couple of titles known to Something Weird Video fans and even one recently found on a Video Asia set. Started in 1974, mainly ran by Marvin Schubert, who at one time worked for Columbia, this company was connected to Schneider-Merl Associates who owned a small amount of theaters, and had Paul Harrison as a West Coast representative (Harrison wrote for TV shows including HR Pufnstuf and Dr. Dolittle).
Starting Up, House of the Seven Corpses, Vampire Drive In Double Bill with a Paul Naschy Film
With some plans announced to film in The Philippines, leading only to The Thirsty Dead (Which was already produced but not yet fully released), International Amusement started off with one of it's few In-House productions in February, 1974,, The House of Seven Corpses, Directed by Harrison and filmed in Utah. Although the film was not a success, it did get the company started off with something to sell. Starring John Ireland, John Carradine, and Faith Domergue, the film went onto the usual round of Late Night Horror shows and Independent VHS tapes before winding up on DVD through Image Entertainment.
Their next release, Count Dracula's Great Love, starring Horror legend Paul Naschy, was far more successful, especially when paired off with Leon Klimovsky's atmospheric The Vampire's Night Orgy as a Drive In Double Bill. Both of these films would serve as the standard fare for the company, getting European films that were a couple of years old and looking for a US Distribution. These films would do well on their theatrical runs, although the Naschy film would be better known through it's play on Elvira's Movie Macabre (Now released through Shout! Factory DVD) while The Vampire's Night Orgy would be best known through it's many VHS and DVD releases in the PD world.
Other British and European films were more Erotic, with Martin Campbell's The Sex Thief from the UK a good success. Paolo Spinola's Fantasies of a Sensuous Woman (with Giovanna Ralli) and Fred Burnley's Neither the Sea or the Sand were among their other US Distribution releases of 1974. A Canadian film, Christina (D; Paul Kraskey) was another 1974 US release.
The Thirsty Dead (1974)
The best known of all of their releases outside of the Naschy and Klimovsky films offered by the company was The Thirsty Dead, a 1973 Horror made in The Philippines originally called The Blood Cult of Shangri-La Produced by Wes De Pue, known to 1960's Nudie fanatics as the President ot Mitam who was looking for a way to break out of the Adult market with this film. Directed by Terry Becker, his TV Directing style is very evident for this PG-Rated film about a Blood Cult who worships a head in a glass box filled with blood named Raoul, who commands all of the important moves through some telepathy. Jennifer Billingsley and Judith McConnell are the leading victims while John Considine and Tani Guthrie play Baru and Ranu, the leaders for the group, with Baru's costume slightly predating some Disco Camp. After a small release in September, 1974, this went down to some low-budget VHS releases before it reached a final video destination with Something Weird Video, who released a Widescreen presentation.
Final Films, 1975 including more Naschy and Klimovsky
International Amusement did not stay around for much longer after The Thirsty Dead, although their remaining titles have been known to Cult Film collectors.
From Italy, Don't Turn the Other Cheek, a Spaghetti Western starring Franco Nero and Eli Wallach and Directed by Ducco Tessari, and Turn the Other Cheek, starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hill and Directed by Franco Rossi played to little success in The States.
In February, 1975, another Double dose of Horror was released through the company with another classic Naschy-starred film, Horror Rises From The Tomb, and Klimovsky's quirky and imaginative The Dracula Saga. Horror Rises... had a classy blend of Medieval flair and The Occult while The Dracula Saga offered a tale of a woman about to give birth to a child that continued the Dracula bloodline. Both of these films, featuring the presence of Helga Line (Who also appeared in The Vampire's Night Orgy), have found respectful DVD releases through BCI's Horror collection.
Its reported final release in May, 1975 was Redneck, starring Telly Savalas and Franco Nero as a pair of criminals on the run with Mark Lester playing the kidnapped boy. Directed by Silvio Narizzano, this not-so-well-received title is now found on DVD in Video Asia's Thug City Chronicles collection.
After the company folded, Schneider was named as someone with Inter Amusement Company, a very short lived venture in The Late 70's.
Further Distribution for The Dracula Saga was provided in The Late 70's through Cougar Films as part of one of it's many double features with Vengeance of the Zombies starring Paul Naschy.