Conversations with Sam Sherman

Various exchanges between myself and Sam regarding other IIP productions

Sam Sherman reunited with Russ Tamblyn at Chiller Theatre 2003
(Photo courtesy of Sam Sherman)

(The following terrific, detailed background info was very kindly sent to me by Sam Sherman without asking....Thanks, Sam!)

In the making of films money is everything and what can be bought with it.

Al and I were able to perform miracles which didn't involve fixed studio costs, special effects and such. These are things that can't be done cheaply and

In shooting an action film in the desert Al was able to come up with some good results against picturesque locations, which cost nothing. When you have to build sets in studios and do lab opticals and special effects these cost real money.

Al would always cut down on something in a film to be able to finish on budget, but the film may have lacked something which only more money could cure. I would always go back to the company well for more money to try to improve things which I did not find acceptable. In other words, I would not release certain films in certain shape, which others might have done. I insisted we put more money into most films to fix up rough spots and make a more finished product.

People might criticize the above and point to our low end films like HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS, which was a real mess from the start.
However, I kept working with Al on improving that film until it could be released and then stopped spending money at the point of diminishing returns - where no amount of money could further fix the film because of its original limitations.

DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN was another mess from the start. My partners wanted to give up on it and Al pretty much agreed. Straight through the
final version as BLOOD OF FRANKENSTEIN there was still much wrong with the entire film. After we shot the new 20 minute ending, there were still more pickup shots done and extensive re-editing of the whole film to tighten it up and make the scenes all play as good as they could. Then there was vast changes to the music we recorded. The entire original score by Bill Lava was remixed from the multi-track in a New York studio and some of the cues re-edited into different form. Then I combined all of this music with the added music from Harry Lubin, Paul Sawtell, Hans Salter and such. And after all of that we added the animated main title and other tricky bits within the film.
How that film even got to what it finally became (which is still less than where it should have been) is another great miracle.

Everybody gave up on NURSE SHERRI after seeing its first cut - and I kept a full time editing crew on it in New York to fix and polish the film. I sent the New York film crew out to film pickup shots on the east coast. Then I sent Al back to re-shoot parts of the film. Then I discussed with Al adding three bigger and better scenes:

1- The spooky apartment scene with the stuff flying around.
2- The car chase and crash.
3- The scene with the body in the metal foundry

All of the above helped to open up the film and give it a better production look which it badly needed, as otherwise it was a small cramped-looking film.

Today major studios are never short on budgets and there is no excuse for bad films. In the old days of small budget films, the lack of money was a real reason it was difficult to make anything that made any sense.

History is the real object lesson - after all of the changing and upgrading we did to films to make them more marketable - they did make money and are continuing to do so. Both Al and I always felt that every film we did could have been vastly improved, but we had to cut it off and stop somewhere or we would just be continuing to make changes and upgrades and never get the films into the market.


Q: Sam, the subject of this IIP-acquired film has come up on a horror/sci-fi board I frequent, and I wanted to know a couple of things if you are able to fill me in:
1. Does IIP still hold rights to the film?
2. Do you also still have the original 3D elements for it?
3. Any future plans to release the film in either version on DVD sometime?
Any info you can fill me in on would be appreciated....and with your consent, I'd like to post your comments on the board.

A: I still have some rights and the 3-D elements to this film. This coming year I may look into doing something.

Q: Hi, Sam. Just wondering if anything is going to come of this, what you mentioned to me about FBT a few months ago.

A: Nothing is being done with FBT for the time being. Maybe in the future.

Q: Sam, someone has a poster from BEDROOM STEWARDESSES up on Ebay, and says it was directed by Al. I can find NO information on IMDB connecting Al to this film. The poster pic does have the IIP logo on it....What's the deal with this title?

A: Here's the info on BEDROOM STEWARDESSES-
We had this film from Germany called SIDEWALK DOCTOR starring Curt Jurgens about a doctor who attends to prostitutes in the Red Light district of Hamburg, Germany. It failed in its release as FEMALES FOR HIRE. This was after the success of two films we made - THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES and BLAZING STEWARDESSES.
I sent this film to Al and he added about 20 minutes of "stewardess" footage linking into the plot of the German film and we named it BEDROOM STEWARDESSES. I came up with a campaign  that allowed the film to be played single bill or double bill or triple bill with either or any of the earlier Stewardess films. It was really a way of getting more plays out of the earlier 2 hit films and it worked.

Q: Thanks for the info, Sam.

Q: Sam, someone from the message board I frequent just asked me this:
"The IIP logo appears on Media Blasters' DVD of BLOOD OF THE ZOMBIE (aka THE DEAD ONE). Do you know if Mr. Sherman had any personal involvement with that release? If so, is he aware that the disc's aspect ratio doesn't properly unsqueeze?"
This is a film I've never heard of....What can you tell me about the widescreen ratio of the film (I assume it's supposed to be 2.35:1?). I gather this is another IIP property?

A: Yes we distribute BLOOD OF THE ZOMBIE. It is in a strange process- ULTRASCOPE. I have no idea if there are any technical problems with that film as the Master I saw was fine. I will look at the DVD and review it.

Q: Sam, have you ever thought about releasing a compact disc of music themes from some of Al's or IIP's more popular classics.....or, for that matter, individual soundtracks? Fans of Al's movies....especially IIP's horror titles.....would love it! I've actually always been curious as to whether you still have any original soundtrack masters, either separate dialogue and music tracks, or anything in that respect?

A: Yes, we have quite a bit of music used in our films and have discussed the idea of music score cds. So far nothing has happened. We will keep trying.

Q: I hope you do, and that something works out. It would be a terrific thing for Adamson/IIP fans to have soundtrack cds of some sort. So I gather you DO have the separate music tracks from the movies?

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