AVCO EMBASSY PICTURES: UNSUNG HEROES OF THE B-MOVIE!
(Just click on the movie titles to go to our full length reviews!)
Some film fans may remember Avco Embassy Pictures, though there also may be some of you out there who have never heard of them…but if you love movies, you certainly know some of their titles! When talking about Avco Embassy Pictures, it would also be remiss not to mention the name of Robert Rehme…and as a B-Movie fan, you might want to know who this man is, too…
Originally a distributor of foreign films, such as Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Fellini’s 8 1/2, Avco Embassy was founded by legendary producer Joseph E. Levine in 1942. It wasn’t until the 60s when the studio began to produce it’s own films, including such classic’s as The Graduate, Mad Monster Party and The Producers, to name just a few.
Some classic genre flicks released/produced by Avco Embassy in their early years!
The era that should resonate most with horror, action and sci-fi fans, are the years between 1978 and 1982. During most of this time, a man named Robert Rehme ran the studio. After having been sold and then experiencing some financial trouble that brought production to a halt, Rehme was hired to get the studio producing and profitable again and that he did! Rehme, who got his start working for Roger Corman at New World Pictures, used some of his former employer’s methods and turned to lower budgeted, yet popular B-movies to get the studio back in the black. Avco Embassy started churning out such flicks prolifically for the next few years, producing many inexpensive but successful films. Under his watch, the studio produced and released such classics and cult classics as Phantasm, The Fog, Scanners, The Howling and Escape From New York among many others! This strategy was a success, as studio earnings quadrupled during Rehme’s time at the helm!
Some of the classics and cult favorites the studio churned out under Rehme between 78 and 82!
All good things do, however, come to an end. Robert Rehme moved on to work for Universal in 1981 and Avco Embassy was subsequently sold in 1982. The name was changed to simply Embassy Pictures and the new owners gradually moved away from such B-Movie fair focusing on turning out more mainstream movies such as Eddie And The Cruisers and the classic comedy This Is Spinal Tap. Their last theatrical feature saw it’s release in 1986 and laid to rest the legacy of a studio whose early 80s flourish produced numerous classics and cult favorites. While Avco is now long gone, and Rehme apparently retired after a lengthy career, the movies they turned out, especially during their golden age between 1978 and 1982, will immortalize Avco Embassy Pictures and Robert Rehme with movie buffs for all time!
Unsung hero of many a horror and B-Movie classic and cult classic, Robert Rehme!
Rehme also returned to New World after his stint at Universal in 1983 and became CEO of the new public company after Roger Corman sold it. Rehme tried to duplicate the same successes he had done at Avco Embassy and while he oversaw successful releases like “Hellraiser”, “ Soul Man” and the “House” movies New World overextended itself far too quickly only to go bankrupt by 1989. Rehme was also President of the Academy Awards for two non consecutive terms. I met him while I was still a film student at UCLA. Very nice guy and had remarkable contributions to B-movies during the 70’s and 80’s.
Cool! Thanks for the additional info!