Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From Avco to Dino: Farewell Embassy. Hello Dino!

To finish off the Embassy section of this series, we're taking 1982-1986 in one fell swoop. In 1982, Embassy was purchased by Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio who dropped the Avco and beefed up the TV division by adding in the shows they were already producing (like The Jeffersons which ran for way longer than you might guess, 1975 to 1985) and also creating a home video division. This would last until, coincidentally, 1985.

The lineup of films from that period? Well, it exists. Honestly, the last few years for Embassy yielded better small screen efforts (and I do consider renting Phantasm, The Howling and Escape from New York for a Saturday night to count towards that) with shows like Silver Spoons and Who's the Boss? becoming successful. The films ended up being mostly forgettable genre efforts with only a few standing out as actually good.

As with the last part of this series, we're not covering everything but showcasing all of the poster art. Because mid-80's poster art was still pretty awesome.

Sleazy action flick with Wings Hauser in a memorably over the top role the the main bad guy, a sadistic pimp.

One of my all time favorites and probably the last great thing from Embassy. I've reviewed this a few times elsewhere but it still bears repeating that this is one of the best DC Comics adaptations that doesn't have Batman in it. Granted that says more about the relative quality of the Superman franchise past the first film than anything else but still! Ask me to name my top 5 DC Comics adaptations and you're gonna get The Dark Knight, the first Superman movie, unless I'm feeling like something horror in which case Constantine gets the nod, Batman, Batman Returns and this one.

I have a weakness for old school Charles Band films and this one, coming at the tail end of the 80's 3-D craze, has Demi Moore in an early role, trying to fend off ravenous parasites in poor 3-D. I'm guessing she leaves this out of any career retrospective things she might be asked to do.

A bad knock-off of The Blue Lagoon, which was already pretty bad in its own right.

Cheesy slasher film that for years was only available in a murky VHS print. It has since been remastered, though that probably doesn't help the quality of the actual film that much.

Cold War shoot-em-up that sees Ken Wahl going up against those dastardly Commies as they try to nuke oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

Always wanted to check this one out, if nothing else the poster is cool and Scott Glenn is always a fun actor to watch.

Hit teen sex comedy with the future stars of Charles in Charge.

Predictable sex comedy notable only for an early role for Tom Cruise the same year the much better Risky Business came out.

Notable Ingmar Bergman film. It's... Well, it's long. Got good reviews, though.

Wings Hauser is the good guy here in this standard 80's action flick that sees him as a former cop gunning for a serial killer. Wings is fun to watch.

Caught a bit of this on late night TV recently. It's an interesting musical comedy about a New
Year's Eve concert at a small theater.

The last classic from Embassy is this brilliantly funny mockumentary about a struggling heavy metal group. Slyly directed by Rob Reiner, this has tons of funny bits and a great cast. Good stuff.

Gary Busey got good reviews for his portrayal of legendary college football coach Bear Bryant in this biopic.

In 1985, Embassy was sold to Coca-Cola and this is really where the TV division takes over as it would outlast the film division with hits like Married... with Children. The film division would eventually peter out (Six films left to at the very least look at the poster since the films themselves aren't too hot. Though the one above got good notices) and the company would be spread out between several other companies by 1986.

The last release of 1985 for Embassy, this is an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical and stars Michael Douglas.

Poorly mishandled Sam Raimi film as studio interference kept him from making the film as he thought it should be made.

The company managed to survive and thrive for an impressive amount of time with a nice stack of legit great films to their name and many others. While the TV division of Embassy continued to do just fine, this was the end for their film production. Their home video division became Nelson Entertainment which was eventually taken over by New Line which is another story for another day. 

Their theatrical release division, however, went to Italian producer Dino DeLaurentiis and well, I think you can guess what the next part of this series will be.

Coming Soon: Catching Up with Dino

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.