Drive-In Friday: Crown International Night

Crown International Pictures was an independent film studio and distribution company formed in 1959 by Newton P. Jacobs. They were one of the first franchise distributors for American-International Pictures and like that studio, they specialized in low-budget junk. In other words, perfect movies for the drive-in.

Crown was all over the place in what they put out, so I’ve tried to be just as out there with this list. Please enjoy!

Whatever was hot — science fiction, horror, martial arts, biker and just plain old fashioned exploitation. Crown International Pictures supplied it to drive-ins and grindhouses all over the U.S.

MOVIE 1: Don’t Answer the Phone! (Robert Hammer, 1980): It’s no accident that this was amongst the first movies that we watched on our Drive-In Asylum Double Feature show. Kirk Smith terrorizes, well, everyone that he can, whether it’s in person or over the telephone. I decided to put this first, because if you don’t make it through this one, the rest of Crown’s films are really going to get to you.

MOVIE 2: The Hearse (George Bowers, 1980): This year at New Year’s Eve, this was the movie my father-in-law put on to watch while people drank around him. What a nihilistic pick and what a last memory of 2019, probably the last normal year we’ll have for a while. What is this, a Chuck Mitchell double feature? Yeah. It totally is. That said, this movie may move slow and didn’t fit in with the slasher world of 1980, but it’s still totally worth watching.

MOVIE 3: 9 Deaths of the Ninja (Emmett Alston, 1985): If this evening were just this movie shown four times in a row, you should be so lucky. I unabashedly adore this movie, a bonkers mix of martial arts, Brent Huff from Gwendoline and Sho Kosugi being Sho Kosugi. The opening James Bond ripoff credits should clue you in. This may be the best movie ever made.

MOVIE 4: Sextette (Ken Hughes, 1978): I debated ending this night with The Pink Angels, but I don’t think anyone likes that movie except for me. And while I usually seek to scorch the earth with the movies that I pick, I want more people to actually watch and enjoy this film, which I love in spite of how bad it is.

Want to know more about Crown International? Check out our week of their action films, starting with Kill Point. You can also check out the Letterboxd list of all their releases.

Please! Send us your night of movies! We’d love to see it!

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