Weekly Film Recap #9 (Roger Corman)

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Roger Corman is a true independent maverick who directed and produced over 300 films in his illustrious career! A specialist in churning out low-budget films in as little as 3 days, Corman was able to turn profit on all of his films due to his strategic and efficient filmmaking style. Thanks to his low budgets and constant workflow, he was able to give a lot of Hollywood’s biggest stars today their starts! Guys like Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese James Cameron, Robert DeNiro, Peter Fonda, and more all got their start thanks to Roger Corman’s belief in them! Corman was also a go-to guy to house the talents of actors who Hollywood no longer casted like Vincent Price or Ray Milland.

Corman’s influence on cinema stretches so far and if it weren’t for him, many of the largest and most important films of the last 50 years never would have been made. Roger Corman should be at the top of every independent filmmakers list of influences and these films this week are just a few good ones to dive into to get a good understanding of the legend himself!

All of the films below are all films that Roger Corman either produced or directed.

Highway Dragnet     (Dir. Nathan Juran)    Highway Dragnet  came from the first script Roger Corman ever sold. Instead of money, however, Corman asked to be credited as Producer as well as have access to observe the filmmaking process… The film starred Richard Conte as a Navy man accused of murder. He’s been framed, so all he can do is evade. He decides to hitchhike back to the Pacific Ocean with a photographer and her assistant, who begin to grow suspicious of this hitchhiker they’re taking with them.   3/5

Highway Dragnet

(Dir. Nathan Juran)

Highway Dragnet came from the first script Roger Corman ever sold. Instead of money, however, Corman asked to be credited as Producer as well as have access to observe the filmmaking process… The film starred Richard Conte as a Navy man accused of murder. He’s been framed, so all he can do is evade. He decides to hitchhike back to the Pacific Ocean with a photographer and her assistant, who begin to grow suspicious of this hitchhiker they’re taking with them.

3/5

Attack of the Crab Monsters     (Dir. Roger Corman)   Known as the King of B-Movies, Roger Corman made waves with his exploitation films, and specifically loved to work in the horror and science fiction genres. What came of that was  Attack of the Crab Monsters,  one of Corman’s most memorable low budget sci-fi flicks! The film centers on a group of researchers who have come to a small island to study the effects of the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Tests on sea-life. What they discover are giant crabs who have the power to suck the intellect and brain power from the humans they feast on!   3.5/5

Attack of the Crab Monsters

(Dir. Roger Corman)

Known as the King of B-Movies, Roger Corman made waves with his exploitation films, and specifically loved to work in the horror and science fiction genres. What came of that was Attack of the Crab Monsters, one of Corman’s most memorable low budget sci-fi flicks! The film centers on a group of researchers who have come to a small island to study the effects of the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Tests on sea-life. What they discover are giant crabs who have the power to suck the intellect and brain power from the humans they feast on!

3.5/5

A Bucket of Blood     (Dir. Roger Corman)   Dick Miller, a fan favorite from the AIP era, stars as a beatnik waiter in Detroit who wants nothing more than to be accepted as an artist amongst his peers. One night, after a long shift, he mistakenly kills his landlady’s cat and decides to cover it up by casting a mold over the dead cat. Eventually, people see this “sculpture” and treat this depressed waiter asa creative and artistic genius… Only issue is that he needs dead bodies to make these sculptures!   5/5

A Bucket of Blood

(Dir. Roger Corman)

Dick Miller, a fan favorite from the AIP era, stars as a beatnik waiter in Detroit who wants nothing more than to be accepted as an artist amongst his peers. One night, after a long shift, he mistakenly kills his landlady’s cat and decides to cover it up by casting a mold over the dead cat. Eventually, people see this “sculpture” and treat this depressed waiter asa creative and artistic genius… Only issue is that he needs dead bodies to make these sculptures!

5/5

Dementia 13     (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)   Before embarking on some of the biggest films in Hollywood like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, the director Francis Ford Coppola got his start as an assistant for Roger Corman in the early 60s. Impressed by his drive and dedication, Corman quickly moved Coppola up the ranks before allowing him to direct his feature. That was  Dementia 13…  This cult classic Horror film follows a young girl who plans on getting in on her dead husband’s will by covering up his death at his family’s eerie Irish estate.   4/5

Dementia 13

(Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

Before embarking on some of the biggest films in Hollywood like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, the director Francis Ford Coppola got his start as an assistant for Roger Corman in the early 60s. Impressed by his drive and dedication, Corman quickly moved Coppola up the ranks before allowing him to direct his feature. That was Dementia 13… This cult classic Horror film follows a young girl who plans on getting in on her dead husband’s will by covering up his death at his family’s eerie Irish estate.

4/5

The Raven     (Dir. Roger Corman)   Roger Corman directed a string of films based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe.  The Raven  is one of the more well-known of these films and hosts a hefty cast. Starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, a young Jack Nicholson, and Boris Karloff,  The Raven  is both comical and menacing while also romantic. Corman really came into his own asa director and auteur by this point of his career and  The Raven  is a career defining picture for him.   4/5

The Raven

(Dir. Roger Corman)

Roger Corman directed a string of films based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. The Raven is one of the more well-known of these films and hosts a hefty cast. Starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, a young Jack Nicholson, and Boris Karloff, The Raven is both comical and menacing while also romantic. Corman really came into his own asa director and auteur by this point of his career and The Raven is a career defining picture for him.

4/5

The Trip     (Dir. Roger Corman)   Serving as the pre-cursor to  Easy Rider , Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson all worked together for the first time under Roger Corman for  The Trip . The four of them actually all tripped acid in order to better go into the project. The film stars Peter Fonda as a commercial director who’s going through a divorce and is offered acid to help better find himself in the process. Jack Nicholson served as the writer on the film while Corman did what Corman does by giving the audience a visually stunning film for a next-to-nothing budget!   5/5

The Trip

(Dir. Roger Corman)

Serving as the pre-cursor to Easy Rider, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson all worked together for the first time under Roger Corman for The Trip. The four of them actually all tripped acid in order to better go into the project. The film stars Peter Fonda as a commercial director who’s going through a divorce and is offered acid to help better find himself in the process. Jack Nicholson served as the writer on the film while Corman did what Corman does by giving the audience a visually stunning film for a next-to-nothing budget!

5/5

Piranha     (Dir. Joe Dante)   Before venturing into making 80’s classics like  The Gremlins , Joe Dante got his first directorial opportunity under Roger Corman in 1978 with  Piranha.  If you can’t tell by the photo above,  Piranha  is essentially an exploitation film in the vein of  Jaws , which was already considered just a big-budget Corman film. Either way, Dante uses his first film as a platform to mix together both comedy with horror for the first time, before making it a staple of his work. Spielberg himself even said that  Piranha  was the best  Jaws  parody ever made.   4/5

Piranha

(Dir. Joe Dante)

Before venturing into making 80’s classics like The Gremlins, Joe Dante got his first directorial opportunity under Roger Corman in 1978 with Piranha. If you can’t tell by the photo above, Piranha is essentially an exploitation film in the vein of Jaws, which was already considered just a big-budget Corman film. Either way, Dante uses his first film as a platform to mix together both comedy with horror for the first time, before making it a staple of his work. Spielberg himself even said that Piranha was the best Jaws parody ever made.

4/5