American International Pictures: The Golden Years
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In the mid-1950s, American International Pictures (AIP) was the self-proclaimed "Infant of the Industry," and as such, was not perceived as a serious threat to the major studios of the time. AIP soon proved themselves worthy opponents, when their youth-oriented double features began raking in big bucks that rivaled and sometimes surpassed the profits of their competitors. The company's founders were James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, and during the years they worked together as a team, AIP turned out their most imaginative movies, including I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Beach Party, and the Roger Corman/Vincent Price/Edgar Allen Poe films. This is the story of those years told mainly using the material gathered by AIPs New York publicist.
decided to expand the range of their product with films made overseas. Horrors of the Black Museum and The Headless Ghost were made in England in conjunction with Nat Cohen’s Anglo Amalgamated Pictures. Herman Cohen went to England to oversee these productions. In an attempt to take advantage of the current trend in epic movies, AIP acquired the Italian —made films The Sign of Rome and Terror of the Barbarians. These pictures were retitled and released with a considerable amount of fanfare.
of outstanding proportions each month for the next 12 months. [ James] Nicholson termed his company’s plans “New Horizon’s Project ’61.” The program starts with Black Sunday, just going into release. Details of the “project” are set forth in a 23-page brochure outlining campaigns for upcoming pictures. In addition to Sunday, among these are Konga, Jekyll’s Inferno, Master of the World, The Pit and the Pendulum, Reptilicus, and Ali Baba and the Seven Miracles of the World. Nicholson will leave
OPERATION New York — American International Pictures will be increasing its continental European operations, President James H. Nicholson and Vice President Samuel Z. Arkoff told The Film Daily yesterday. The strengthening of the continental European situation would leave AIP with a top international organization which is efficient and economical, Nicholson and Arkoff indicated. The pair recently returned from Europe, leaving their AIP foreign distribution head, Samuel L. Seidelman, to hire the
Court, and Jane Asher. On its level, it is astonishingly good. Time Magazine (May 15, 1964) The Masque of the Red Death dusts off a trifling Poe classic and adapts it to fit the collected smirks of Vincent Price. Poe’s original described a masked ball at which the vulgar Prince Prospero and all his company succumb when Death appears disguised as a plague victim. In the elegant, elongated movie version, Prospero is a Satanist who scourges the entire 12th century countryside. He tortures
hiked to $19,000,000 from the previously announced $16,000,000, James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff told the tradepress at a luncheon at the Warwick Hotel Wednesday, June 15. The new production schedule will comprise 20 features, including five top-budget pictures: Rocket to the Moon, based on Jules Verne classic to be shot entirely in Ireland; Guns of Anzio, a war spectacle to be filmed in Italy; 2267 A.D. — When the Sleeper Wakes, based on H.G. Wells classic to be filmed in Prague; and a