Empire International Pictures was an low-budget theatrical distribution company founded by film producer Charles Band in 1983. Weary of how his own productions were distributed by other motion picture companies, Band decided to eliminate the middle man and release his films himself. In the beginning, the company produced mainly low-budget horror and fantasy features, such as "THE DUNGEONMASTER" (aka "RAGEWAR"), "THE ALCHEMIST" and "TRANCERS". The company gained notoriety in Hollywood beginning in 1985, due to the successful release of Stuart Gordon's H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror film, "RE-ANIMATOR", and the creature feature, "GHOULIES". With the profits, Charles Band traveled to Rome, Italy where he leased the deteriorating Cinematografica Studio from international film mogul Dino De Laurentiis. The spacious facility allowed him to expand his production schedule to multiple films spread across several sound stages. Many of Empire Pictures releases were filmed there, including "FROM BEYOND", "TERRORVISION", "DOLLS", and "GHOULIES II".
AN EMPIRE OF DREAMS: FROM LOW-BUDGET TO MINI-MAJOR!
Before Full Moon, before the Puppet Master series, there was Empire Pictures. While smaller, independent studios were targeting the growing home video market, Charles Band’s visionary studio was producing low-budget features for the multiplexes and grindhouses throughout the world. But, as Band ambitiously exclaimed, “2,000 movies by the year 2000”, his newfound studio was rapidly crumbling beneath him. After five short years, his unbridled passion for motion picture marketing and distribution clashed with scandalous banking practices that would ultimately bring about the downfall of one of the most ambitious mini-majors of the 1980’s.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Daniel Griffith has produced and directed more than 35 bonus feature productions, as well as five feature-length documentaries, including “LET THERE BE LIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF DARK STAR” and “THE FLESH AND THE FURY: X-POSING TWINS OF EVIL”. He is also the documentarian for Shout! Factory’s “MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000” DVD boxed sets. Recently, he produced and directed the one hour documentary on the legacy of Rod Serling's celebrated TV series, "THE TWILIGHT ZONE", for CBS Films. Griffith won the 2012 Rondo Award for best DVD Bonus Feature for his biography on Universal B-movie actor, Rondo Hatton. He is the owner/founder of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.
Ballyhoo Motion Pictures presents “CELLULOID WIZARDS IN THE VIDEO WASTELAND: THE SAGA OF EMPIRE PICTURES”, an all new feature-length documentary film from award winning filmmaker Daniel Griffith.
SCIENTISTS. PSYCHOPATHS. ALIENS. MUTANTS. CYBORGS. TROLLS. GHOULIES. These are only a few of the extraordinary characters that populate the cinematic world of Empire Pictures, the short-lived motion picture studio founded in the early 1980’s by legendary ‘B’ movie producer Charles Band.