Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dimension Pictures (1971-1981)



Veteran producer, distributor and drive-in owner Lawrence Woolner co-founded New World Pictures with Roger Corman in 1970. When Corman bought out Woolner's half of the company in late 1971, Woolner left to form Dimension Picutres. New World in-house director Stephanie Rothman (THE STUDENT NURSES, THE VELVET VAMPIRE) and her husband Charles S. Swartz, New World's head of production, also left to help Woolner set up his new company right across the street - literally - from their former employer (New World was at 8831 Sunset Boulevard, Dimension was a stone’s throw away in the 9000 building). Dimension’s first two releases, THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE and THE SIN OF ADAM AND EVE, were New World acquisitions Woolner was allowed to distribute through the buyout settlement with Corman. Rothman and Swartz produced GROUP MARRIAGE, SWEET SUGAR, BEYOND ATLANTIS, TERMINAL ISLAND and THE WORKING GIRLS before departing the company in 1975. During the ten years of its existence Dimension Pictures had some success copying New World’s formula, but ultimately collapsed like many other independent companies of the period. Woolner produced only one post-Dimension movie, the incredible RAW FORCE (1982), before passing away on July 21st, 1985 at age 73.


FILMOGRAPHY

TWILIGHT PEOPLE (1972) – made for New World Pictures
THE SIN OF ADAM & EVE (1972) – originally acquired by New World Pictures
SWEET SUGAR (1972) (a.k.a. SHE DEVIL IN CHAINS and CHAINGANG GIRLS)
GROUP MARRIAGE (1972) (announced as THE NEW SWINGERS)
THE DOBERMAN GANG (1972)
THE DEVIL’S WEDDING NIGHT (1973)
THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF GRETA (3-D) (1973) (also released by General Film Corp.)
INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) (regional only – a Centaur release)
TERMINAL ISLAND (1973)
THE DARING DOBERMANS (1973)
BEYOND ATLANTIS (1973)
GATOR BAIT (some early playdates – a Sebastian International release)
THE SINGLE GIRLS (1973)
A PLACE WITHOUT PARENTS (1974) (originally PIGEON) (see also TRUCKIN’)
TOUGH (1974) (a.k.a. JOHNNY TOUGH)
THE WORKING GIRLS (1974)
LOVE IN 3-D (3-D) (1974) (re-released by Monarch in 1977)
SCUM OF THE EARTH (1974) (see also POOR WHITE TRASH, PART II)
BOSS NIGGER (1975)
TRUCKIN’ (1975) (re-release of A PLACE WITHOUT PARENTS)
BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? (1975)
NOT NOW DARLING (1975) (also released by K-Tel)
DELIVER US FROM EVIL (1975) (see also JOEY)
DR. MINX (1975)
DOLEMITE (1975)
LADY COCOA (1975) (regional only – a Moonstone release)
DR. BLACK AND MR. HYDE (1976) (see also THE WATTS MONSTER)
DIXIE DYNAMITE (1976)
EBONY, IVORY & JADE (1976) (a.k.a. FOXFORCE and AMERICAN BEAUTY HOSTAGES)
THE HUMAN TORNADO (1976)
BLACK SHAMPOO (1976)
POOR WHITE TRASH, PART II (1976) (re-release of SCUM OF THE EARTH)
THE BAD BUNCH (1976) (originally released as TOM and NIGGER LOVER)
THE MUTHERS (1976) (announced as BLACK COFFEE)
EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER (1976)
LOVE DOLL (1976) (also known as LIFE SIZE)
SUPER DUDE (1976) (originally released by Warner Brothers in 1974 as HANGUP)
JOEY (1977) (re-release of DELIVER US FROM EVIL)
LEGEND OF THE WOLF WOMAN (1977)
RUBY (1977)
KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977)
CHEERING SECTION (1977)
TOMCATS (1977) (a.k.a. AVENGED and GETTING EVEN)
BAD GEORGIA ROAD (1977)
THE GREAT SMOKEY ROADBLOCK (1977) (a.k.a. ELEGANT JOHN AND THE LADIES and THE LAST OF THE COWBOYS)
OUT OF THE DARKNESS (1978) (also released as NIGHT CREATURE and CAT)
THE REDEEMER (1978) (a.k.a. CLASS REUNION MASSACRE)
HI-RIDERS (1978)
SMOOTH VELVET, RAW SILK (1978) (see also NAKED PARADISE)
SWAP MEET (1979)
CHEERLEADERS’ WILD WEEKEND (1979)
SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS (1979) (regional release only)
THE GREATEST BATTLE (1979)
SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT (1979)
NAKED PARADISE (1979) re-release of SMOOTH VELVET, RAW SILK
THE WATTS MONSTER (1979) re-release of DR. BLACK & MR. HYDE
STONE COLD DEAD (1980)
DINNER FOR ADELE (1980) (announced as NICK CARTER IN PRAGUE)



Unrealized Projects

ATTACK (announced in 1978)

ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN (announced in 1979) – $5 million remake to be produced by Steve Krantz and directed by Paul Morrissey

BADDEST MAN IN TOWN (announced in 1978)

BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT / THE DEVIL’S CRYPT / CREATURE WITH THE BLUE HAND (triple bill announced in 1974)

BLACK THE RIPPER (announced for Memorial Day 1976 release)

BRAVE NEW WORLD (announced in 1978)

CARHOPS (announced in 1976) – a Stephanie Rothman script, later filmed as STARHOPS, directed by Barbara Peeters and released by First American in 1978

DISCO DOLLS (announced in 1978) – to be produced by Wayne Crawford and directed by Harry Kerwin

DISCO MANIA (announced in 1978) – a murder mystery set in a disco, to be directed by John “Bud” Cardos from Neva Friedenn’s script

DO YOU KILL HIM OR DO I? (announced in 1974) – starring Mark Damon and Rosanno Brazzi

DOWN IN FLAMES (announced in 1980)

EGGPLANTS FROM MARS (announced in 1977)

THE FALL OF MRS. SUMMERS (announced in 1978) – written by Donald R. Boyle, also announced as THE GREAT AMERICAN MARRIAGE and DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN?

FAMILY TROUBLE (announced in 1978) – Screenplay by Ernest Tidyman, based on the novel Joseph Masiello

THE FEAR STRIP (announced in 1971) – possibly an early title for SWEET SUGAR

FLAMING ANGELS (announced in 1971)

GIGGLING IN THE DARK (announced in 1978) – a musical starring Altovise Davis, to be produced by Larry Babb and directed by Ruth Avergon

GODS FROM OUTER SPACE (announced in 1978)

THE HEAD HUNTERS (announced in 1977)

HOLLYWOOD LIMO (announced in 1978)

HONEY BEAR (announced in 1971)

JOHNNY WALKER, BLACK (announced in 1976)

KINFOLK (announced in 1976)

KING TUT LIVES (announced in 1978) – written by Lee Frost, produced by Lawrence Woolner and Mickey Zide, also announced as REVENGE OF KING TUT

LITTLE HOOD AND ROBIN JOHN (announced in 1978)

MAMA SWEETLIFE (announced in 1973)

MIDDLE AGE MADNESS (announced in 1980)

MS. MEAN SISTERS (announced in 1976) – a Philcinema Productions, to be produced and directed by Gani Pastor, starring Kiblina, Linda Fontanette, Lotis Key

NEVER ON FRIDAY – announced in 1977, released by Interplanetary Pictures as THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE

NURSES FROM MARS (announced in 1977)

PRISON GIRLS (in 3-D) – announced in 1973 but released by AIP instead

RIDIN’ EASY (announced in 1978)

SECRET DIARY OF A WOMAN PRISONER – announced in 1974 but released by Aquarius Releasing as WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7

THE SEVEN INCH WILDERNESS (announced in 1979) – written by Ib Melchior

SHEIK OF BEVERLY HILLS (announced in 1978)

SKYCOPTER SUMMER – announced as a 1981 release, but acquired by Cannon and released as THE GREAT SKYCOPTER RESCUE

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT (announced in 1978) – written by Lee Frost

SUMMER SCHOOL (announced in 1973)

SWEET MAMA AND BROWN SUGAR (announced in 1978)

TENNESSEE WORK FARM (announced in 1978) – to be produced by Igo Kantor, written by Alan Caillou, and directed by John “Bud” Cardos

TIGER’S CLAW (announced in 1978)

TRIONIC WARRIOR (announced in 1978) – a Hong Kong production starring Johnny Johnson

TRIP TO MARS (announced in 1978)

VELVET GLOVE (announced in 1978) – written by Emily Thomas and Jane Morgan

WALL TO WALL CONFUSION (announced in 1976)

ZARKOFF – HALF MAN, HALF BEAST (announced in 1978)



Dimension Pictures filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 30th, 1981. New York-based distributors Tom Ward and Art Schweitzer of 21st Century Distribution put in an offer for part of the Dimension catalog at the AAFMM in April of that year and acquired 28 of the films (roughly 80% of the library). The rights to seven of the films were limited to U.S. and Canada only, the other 21 were worldwide. Estimated value of the library: $2 million. Titles included TERMINAL ISLAND, THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE, GROUP MARRIAGE, CHEERING SECTION, DR. MINX, THE MUTHERS, THE GREATEST BATTLE, NIGHT CREATURE, SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS, THE HUMAN TORNADO, THE REDEEMER, BEYOND ATLANTIS, LEGEND OF THE WOLF WOMAN, TOMCATS, SWEET SUGAR, THE WORKING GIRLS, SMOOTH VELVET – RAW SILK, and EBONY, IVORY AND JADE. 21st Century reissued most of their Dimension acquisitions to theaters in the New York tri-state area in late 1981 and '82, and all titles were eventually released on VHS through VCI, United Home Entertainment and Continental Video.









Poster & Art Gallery



























































































FURTHER READING

Konow, David. “The First Dimension.” Fangoria, no. 273, May 2008, pp. 70-75+

Lowery, Ed. “Dimension Pictures: Portrait of a Seventies Independent.” The Velvet Light Trap, n. 22, 1986, pp. 65-74

Ray, Fred Olen. The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors. 1991, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers: North Carolina, pp. 149-173

6 comments:

The Flying Maciste Brothers said...

Goodnight and God bless...

Anonymous said...

Great post!!!

Feel like doing one for Cannon? ;-)

John Charles

Robert said...

Dimension did not seem to have problems getting their movies into theatres, and looking through their roster of titles some of those were quite successful. You would think that they could have lasted longer than a decade.

Brian Albright said...

I've only ever been able to find newspaper ads for THE WATTS MONSTER. I've never seen one for DR. BLACK, MR. HYDE from the initial theatrical run.

Anonymous said...

For a short time, Dimension Pictures release RUBY had the distinction of being the most successful independent film at the box office (it was knocked out of place a year or two later when HALLOWEEN started raking in the dough). Although much criticism has been written about Ruby's tacked-on ending shot by another director, it was said ending - featured in the heavily-saturated TV spots - which got folks into the theaters and drive-ins.

Sunn of AIP said...

I've seen newspaper ads for Hi Riders, it played in Reno in summer 1978.