Malik B. Ali and his late brother Waleed B. Ali launched a business Maljack Productions that began by acquiring the rights to old films abandoned by the movie industry, but in recent years has now began producing its own films. Now known as MPI, the company owns the rights to 2,500 films including the classic horror film “Henry” and the popular sports video “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” This year, Ali produced his latest horror film “We Are Still Here” which was just released online
By Ray Hanania
Waleed B. Ali was a longtime friend and inspiration in my personal drive to put the stamp of “Arab” on everything I did in professional communications and journalism.
Many American Arabs who enter communications, especially journalism, cast aside their Arab identities and keep the their professions and their inner yearning for Arab justice separate, to avoid losing their careers to the growing anti-Arab hysteria that dominates this otherwise wonderful country.
Years ago, Waleed Ali, who I knew as a child on the Southeast Side of Chicago, during an interview I did for Arab Business Magazine, told me that all Arabs in this country had to do was just be themselves and succeed. Success as Americans, he said, would bring us success as Arabs.
Waleed died in 2003 and the company he founded, MPI (Maljack Productions) located in suburban Orland Park, Illinois, is run by his equally talented brother, Malik B. Ali. Their parents are from Beitunia, a village located adjacent to Ramallah in Occupied Palestine, not too far from Jerusalem and Bethlehem where my parents are from.
This week, Malik B. Ali released a new film as executive director that expands his growing movie library, this one in the Horror Genre, called We Are Still Here.
I watched it this week with my son after downloading it from iTunes, the regular definition version for $9.99. I didn’t know that Ali and his company were behind the film. It was truly frightening, tapping a classic horror storyline. A man and his wife move into an old home in the New England countryside to get away after the recent death of their son only to discover that they have brought their son’s spirit with them into a home with a history of dark, sinister secrets.
What’s great about the film is that it slowly walks you into the horror and then explodes in blood and guts. There is no holding back to the gruesome scenes. And like many of the newly produced movies, the ending after the credits includes a series of backgrounders, a collection of “newspaper headlines” from the 1859 when the home int he movie was built, detailing the murderous storyline of the local townspeople burning the family which now haunts the home.
Chances are as some media predict, the post-credit clips are intended to lay the groundwork for a movie sequel, We Are Still Here II.
The movie stars some seasoned Hollywood actors including Monte Markham who played a detective in the Perry Mason TV series, and is best known for his dual performances as Luke and Ken Carpenter in the ABC sitcom The Second Hundred Years. which was dropped after only one season. In Hollywood film, Markham’s film work includes Hour of the Gun, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Midway and Airport 77. Markham also played in an episode of Deep Space Nine.
Barbara Crampton plays the wife and Andrew Sensenig plays the husband who move into the 19th century home with the dark past. Crampton has appeared in Puppetmasters, Trancers II, The Young and the Restless TV series, and in five other films just recently completed or still in production.
We Are Still Here is produced by the production company Snowfort Pictures in association with Dark Sky Films, the distributor. It’s 84 minutes long. It’s directed by slasher film specialist Ted Geoghegan.
MPI Media Group also owns the 1986 breakout film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and worldwide rights to the original and classic horror film Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
The MPI Media Group website offers a detailed background on its history and the Ali brothers and their films.
For more than 30 years, The MPI Media Group has been a leading producer, distributor and licensor of movies, home entertainment, historical footage and more. They remain one of the largest, most successful, and fiercely independent entertainment companies in the world today. MPI’s wholly owned subsidiaries include MPI Home Entertainment, Dark Sky Films, and the WPA Film Library. The MPI Media Group operates from a 42,000 square foot headquarters in Orland Park, Illinois.
Founded in 1976 by brothers Waleed and Malik Ali, the company quickly became one of the foremost American distributors of 16mm non-theatrical films and documentaries for schools, municipal organizations and universities. By the time home video exploded in the mid ‘80s, MPI had amassed a library of more than 15,000 hours of footage and a collection of titles that ranged from Sherlock Holmes to The Super Bowl Shuffle.
Visit the MPI Media Group website by clicking here.