THE MONSTER CLUB
After the break-up of Amicus in 1978, Milton Subotsky went his own way and formed Sword and Sorcery Productions. There he attempted to mount a number of interesting projects Thongor in the Valley of the Demons, a sword and sorcery film from Lin Carters sub-Conan novels that would have starred Darth Vader himself Dave Prowse; and several other productions that ended up being produced by other people the tv adaptation of Ray Bradburys The Martian Chronicles (1980); the remake of Cat People (1982); while Subotsky also purchased the rights to a host of Stephen King short stories that were eventually brought by Dino De Laurentiis to emerge as Cats Eye (1985) and Maximum Overdrive (1986) with Subotsky receiving nominal producers credit. Other than the psycho-thriller Dominique (1978), The Monster Club was the only of these projects that emerged directly under Subotskys hand.
The Monster Club was an attempt to return to Amicuss bread and butter the horror anthology. Subotsky brought back Anglo-horror regular Roy Ward Baker, who had directed Asylum for Amicus, and united three horror stars John Carradine, Vincent Price and Donald Pleasence. The film was adapted from The Monster Club (1976), a short story collection by minor British horror writer Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes, whose stories had earlier provided the basis for Amicuss From Beyond the Grave. While the other Amicus anthologies played themselves seriously, the tone in The Monster Club is jokey and in-referential there is, for example, a vampire filmmaker named Lintom Butosky (an anagram for Milton Subotsky). Subotsky had intended The Monster Club as a horror anthology that could be seen by children. Alas for Subotsky, The Monster Club was a flop that sounded the death knell for the Amicus horror anthology and fairly much the entire Anglo-horror cycle that had ridden high throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s.
The Monster Club is fairly sad. Setting a linking story around a club where extras in badly fitting monster masks dance shows the level the film is aiming at. Several rock groups that were never heard of again (with the exception of a then-unknown UB40) sing forgettable songs when will rock groups learn that singing songs about biting their girlfriends neck while snarling is no more horror than dressing people in monster masks is? There is one cool moment with a stripper who not only strips off her clothes but her skin as well in animated silhouette. At the end, Vincent Price delivers a feeble lecture that humanity is the greatest monster before getting down and boogieing with a 300-pound monster.
The first segment has some mildly lyrical location shoots but is spoiled by another unconvincing monster and a predictable ending. The second segment is failed burlesque but is at least lifted by a jaunty, energetic score. The third segment, which is reminiscent of Amicuss first film City of the Dead/Horror Hotel (1959), is probably the best, with Roy Ward Baker effectively conjuring up an horrific atmosphere despite a distracting electronic score. At least John Carradine, Vincent Price and Donald Pleasence rise to the occasion and deliver expectedly well-polished performances.
Roy Ward Baker became one of the prominent directors to rise in the latter decade of the Anglo-horror industry. Elsewhere, Baker made Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years to Earth (1967), Moon Zero Two (1969), The Vampire Lovers (1970), Scars of Dracula (1971), Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971) and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) at Hammer; Asylum (1972), ... And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973) and The Vault of Horror (1973) at Amicus.
Full film available online here:-