Friday, October 21, 2016

Milton Subotsky, Producer of The Monster Club

Legendary British producer Milton Subotsky founded Amicus Production with partner Max Rosenberg in 1964, and together they were responsible for many classic horror movies, including Torture Garden, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Madhouse, The Beast Must Die, From Beyond The Grave, Tales From The Crypt, Vault of Horror, The Uncanny, The House That Dripped Blood, and so on...

The Monster Club, released in 1981, was one of MIlton Subotsky's last projects

In short, he produced most of the best classic horror anthology movies of all time.

So, it is no surprise many horror experts consider The Monster Club, his last horror anthology, to have been a complete disappointment. 

In my opinion that criticism is completely invalid, as I consider The Monster Club just another classic to add to that list. I understand why the charge is leveled, as many of the movies on that list are personal favorites of mine also, but so is The Monster Club.

Subotsky was actually born in New York City, but emigrated to England in 1960, where he immediately began producing horror films. The company he formed with Max Rosenberg, Amicus, was dissolved in 1975, 

Soon after he formed Sword and Sorcery Productions with a few partners, but several slated projects failed to materialize, including a live action version of The Incredible Hulk. It was not until 1980 that they were able to finish their first project, a movie titled Dominique.

The Monster Club was finished in 1981, and was not Subotsky's last anthology film as he co-produced Stephen King's Cat's Eye in 1985, then went on to produce four more of Stephen King's movies before his death in 1991.

I think many fans of the Amicus anthology movies found The Monster Club not up to par for reasons that don't hold up on inspection. No, it was quite different from thos movies in many ways, including the campy costumes, punk rock music, and tongue-in-cheek feeling, although humor certainly was employed in movies such as From Beyond the Grave, but by and large those movies were rather straight and classic tellings of horror stories, and done at an extremely high level. The Monster Club is a fun movie. 

The aforementioned Amicus films were typically brooding and darker than the standard fair, and often based on grim stories by the likes of Psycho's Robert Bloch and Edgar Allan Poe. As opposed to much of what was being done in a business-like manner at Hammer, Amicus had a real feeling of affection for the horror genre. 

Subotsky was motivated by a hatred for Hammer, as they rejected one of his scripts, Frankenstein and the Monster, only to release a similar film later. Subostsky once exclaimed that Hammer made the same movie over and over, and tried to create variety in his films, which often got him into trouble. He was considered a nerd with lacking people skills. 

The Amicus films Subotsky produced with Rosenberg were not only pleasing to horror afficienados, but also made money. Tales From the Crypt was the second most profitable film in America in 1972, second only to The Godfather. Subotsky split with his partner in 1975, and there was a lengthy court battle.

The Monster Club has a quartet of classic all-stars in Milton Subotsky at producer, Roy Ward Baker at director, Vincent Price in the lead role, and R Chetwynd Hayes at writer. It is hard to imagine that roster of talent making a disappointing film. Which they didn't. 

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