Pacemaker Pictures – film distributor

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Pacemaker Pictures Inc. was an American distribution company that specialised in releasing imported European horror movies with lurid advertising campaigns, often many years later than their initial production/release. The company had been operating since 1952 but their first horror release was the 1960 British film The Flesh and the Fiends, starring Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence, based on the Burke and Hare murders. The movie had already been issued in the US in 1961 by Valiant Films as Mania but for its 1965 re-release Pacemaker came up with the less subtle moniker The Fiendish Ghouls.

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For the legendarily tacky German sleaze/horror film Ein Toter hing im Netz (1960, literal translation: ‘A Corpse Hung in the Web’) Pacemaker provided its 1965 campaign as Horrors of Spider Island. The film had already had a 1962 US release that emphasised its racier elements, as It’s Hot in Paradise but Pacemaker focused on the arachnid attacks.

Ein Toter Hing Im Netz - The Horror of Spider Island - 1960 - Pacemaker-Pictures

Ein Toter Hing Im Netz - The Horror of Spider Island - 1960 - 000

In 1967, Pacemaker issued a double-bill of Italian imports, Il boia scarlatto (1965) and 5 tombe per un medium (1965) as Bloody Pit of Horror and Terror-Creatures from the Grave respectively. The former is a supposedly sadistic, yet amusingly camp and garish sequence of tacky torture scenes overseen by muscleman Mickey Hargitay as The Crimson Executioner. In its full version, the latter is a reasonably macabre monochrome Barbara Steele vehicle loosely inspired by Poe. Both were directed by Massimo Pupillo.

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Pacemaker’s 1969 horror offerings were British Death’s head moth monster oddity The Blood Beast Terror (1967), re-titled The Vampire-Beast Craves Blood (“in frenzied color”), plus Curse of the Blood Ghouls, a renaming of Italian import Slaughter of the Vampires (1962).

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Last, but by no means least, 1968 surreal Japanese sci-fi shocker Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell was given a belated 1978 outing as Body Snatcher from Hell, coupled with the aforementioned Bloody Pit of Horror as a support feature (the thirteen year-old movie must have seemed very incongruous to its late-seventies audience).

goke body snatcher from hell ad mat courtesy temple of schlock

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