Jeff Katz, Lou Arkoff, and Hal Sadoff plan to remake 10 titles in the Arkoff/Nicholson library of American International Pictures-produced 1950’s classics. That means a steady diet of antiheroes, monsters and naughty girls is back on the menu. They will start with these 1950’s drive-in classics: Girls In Prison, Viking Women & The Sea Serpent, The Brain Eaters, She-Creature, Teenage Caveman, Runaway Daughters, The Undead, War of The Colossal Beast, Cool & The Crazy and Day The World Ended. The plan is to shoot them all back to back, beginning this fall. The question will be how these films, distinguished more than anything by their titles, will play in the modern age.
AIP was founded in 1954 by Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson, and churned out 500 low-budget, indies for teens that included the Beach Party series with Frankie Avalon and the late Annette Funicello, as well as the early films of director Roger Corman. In 1979 AIP merged with Filmways which later was folded into Orion Pictures. Currently, the rest of the library is owned by MGM, Orion’s successor. Arkoff, son of Samuel, had previously produced remakes of AIP titles for Showtime’s Rebel Highway series in the 1990’s.
“The AIP spirit was all about innovation and giving new young talent a place to create,” said Arkoff. “We are now using that independent spirit and our library of classic titles to create something brand-new for the modern media model, with a coordinated social effort to accelerate interest in these properties. Our goal is to engage young audiences and drive the spirit of the times with the same excitement that fueled these titles decades ago”
UTA-repped Katz is a writer/producer and former studio executive who has worked on such films as Shoot ‘Em Up, Freddy Vs. Jason, Wolverine and Snakes On A Plane and has written comic books for DC Comics, Top Cow and Dynamite. Katz has written all ten movies in the AIP series. “My filmmaking heroes growing up were men like Arkoff, Castle, Corman and Shaye,” Katz explained. “This series of movies is really meant as a tip of the hat to that sort of attitude. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to create a brand new universe out of old school titles and I feel incredibly fortunate and honored to get to play in the AIP sandbox.”
Sadoff, who headed ICM’s indie film department, will sell ’em. “The independent film marketplace has never been stronger, with traditional along with new and exciting distribution platforms for consumers to access content. We will be working with established and cutting edge talent to create films that are fun and commercial, while maintaining the integrity of the classic AIP titles.”