Savage! Sadistic! Thrill hungry! When it came to independent filmmaking in Florida, William Grefé was the wildest of the wild! During the 1960s and ‘70s, the Miami-based producer/director transformed the darkest corners of the Everglades into his own personal backlot. From rampaging crocodiles possessed by an ancient Seminole witch doctor to a slithering serpent named Stanley, William Grefé would grind out low-budget exploitation films for drive-ins and theaters around the world. Now, without the benefit of cages or other protective devices, the untold story of Florida's most daring moviemaker comes to the screen...IN PSYCHEDELIC COLOR!
Scientists. Psychopaths. Aliens. Mutants. Cyborgs. Trolls. Valet Girls. Sorority Babes. These are only a few of the extraordinary characters that populated the cinematic universe of Empire Pictures, the short-lived film studio founded in the 1980’s by legendary B-movie producer Charles Band (The Puppet Master series). While other independent studios were targeting the growing home video market, Band was producing low-budget horror and fantasy features for multiplexes worldwide.
But, while Band ambitiously exclaimed “2,000 movies by the year 2000”, his newfound studio was rapidly crumbling beneath him. His unbridled passion for motion picture marketing and distribution clashed with scandalous banking practices, largely due to a turbulent relationship with the infamous Crédit Lyonnais. But what really caused the youthful film company to crash and burn upon the sticky floors of empty movie theaters?
From the immediate box office success of “Re-Animator” and “Ghoulies”, to abysmal failure of “Eliminators” and “TerrorVision”, this unique documentary chronicles the epic journey of Charles Band's Empire Pictures. Beginning with his childhood spent on the set of his father's productions, and ending in the controversial aftermath of his first motion picture company, "Celluloid Wizards in the Video Wasteland" reveals the true origin story of one of the last surviving B-movie producers in Hollywood!
Join the adventure!
Visit the world of Empire Pictures at: empirepicturesdocumentary.com
Produced and directed by Daniel Griffith
A Ballyhoo Motion Pictures Presentation
The official feature-length documentary, "THEY CAME FROM THE SWAMP: THE FILMS OF WILLIAM GREFÉ", is coming to DVD... Fall 2015. This epic story includes NEW interviews with William Grefé, Gary Crutcher, Chris Robinson, Steve Alaimo, H. G. Lewis, John Davis Chandler, David Friedman, William Shatner, and many MORE! This is an exclusive 3 minute SNEAK PREVIEW clip from the 102 minute documentary.
From the darkest depths of the Florida everglades... comes the shocking true story of William Grefé, one of the most renegade, and often misunderstood, 'regional' filmmakers in American history. His credits include many drive-in era classics, such as "DEATH CURSE OF TARTU" (1966), "WILD REBELS" (1967), "THE HOOKED GENERATION" (1968), "STANLEY" (1972), "IMPULSE" starring William Shatner (1974), and "MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH" (1976).
Directed and Produced by DANIEL GRIFFITH
Distributed by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures