For any fan of horror films, especially those who love the Hammer classics that were put out during the 60s and 70s, Amicus films are a great addition to your collection. Amicus' movies have the same feel to them that Hammer movies do, and they even feature many of the same actors that were in many Hammer films. What mostly separated Amicus from Hammer was that the stories in Amicus' films took place in contemporary times. If you do not know who this company is, then read on to learn more about these great films.
Amicus Productions was an English production company created by American producers Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg. They produced feature length sci-fi and horror films, but they mainly specialized in anthology horror movies that were based off of EC horror comics. One notable feature length horror film that they produced was the atmospheric City of the Dead. Many of their contributions to sci-fi are fairly forgettable, though they did produce the first big screen version of Dr. Who.
Milton Subotsky came up with the idea of having multiple stories in one movie when he saw Dead of Night many years earlier. Once Subotsky joined forces with Max Rosenberg, it was time to begin their legacy in the world of anthology horror movies. Movies such as Creepshow, and televisions shows like Tales From the Crypt may not have ever been created had it had not been for the Amicus anthology films.
Each of their anthology films contained several short stories that took place in a frame story that would set up each of the segments. The stories are strange, creepy, and, at times, funny. The one thing that is certain is that they are always a lot of fun for those enjoy weird tales. They began their series of anthology movies with Dr. Terror's House of Horrors in 1964. In this film we are blessed with two of the actors that will show up in Amicus films over and over: Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing.
In total, Amicus produced 7 anthology horror movies. After Dr. Terror's House of Horrors came Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, Tales From the Crypt, Asylum, From Beyond the Grave, and Vault of Horror. As to be expected, some were better than others, but they all have entertainment value. Personally, my favorite of the series is The House that Dripped Blood because all of the stories are strong, the acting is good, and it does a good job of mixing some comedy into some of the stories.
After the anthology series was completed, Amicus produced a couple of feature length horror films, and a few sci-fi movies. At the Earth's Core was an interesting addition to their catalog, though it's definitely not for everybody. They released their final film, The People That Time Forgot, in 1977, though Subotsky and Rosenberg would go on to produce respective projects. As far as I can tell, 1980's The Monster Club is not an Amicus production because Subotsky produced it by himself. It does, however, follow the same formula as the earlier films.
Luckily for those of us who enjoy the films of British horror studios such as Hammer and Amicus, there has been a rise in interest, as well as the availability of these films. You can find many Amicus films on DVD online. The Amicus anthology films are by far the most popular, and are especially easy to find. Check them out if you want to see some classic British horror movies.