"Well, that's it, we're doomed."
Roger Corman is a movie producer and director sometimes known as "King of the B-Movie
". He has directed over 50 movies and produced over 300, every single one of them having been created on time and under budget. Most of them are low-brow shameless exploitation films
of various types that have become "classic" examples of So Bad, It's Good
and are as far from True Art
as it is possible to get; one film, A Bucket Of Blood
considered a masterpiece of sorts, and semi-autobiographical.
Corman did have his shining moment of artistic legitimacy when he directed a series of Gothic horrors
based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe
. These eight films — all released between 1960 and 1964, and all but one starring Vincent Price
— are noticeably uneven, but the standouts really
stand out. These include House Of Usher
, featuring a legendary performance from Price, and The Haunted Palace
, which was the first screen adaptation
of an H.P. Lovecraft
story, dolled up
for the Poe series. Also directed The Little Shop of Horrors
in 1960; it was filmed in exactly two days, a world record. By the mid-70's, he operated his own studios, New World Pictures, he left in 1981 and formed a company called New Concorde; New World later owned Marvel Comics
and, after acquiring the former Storer Communications stations (mainly CBS stations in major markets like Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee), along with the stations of Argyle TV and some from Citicasters (the former Taft Broadcasting), was a crucial player in the mid-90's TV station shuffle
In addition to his knack for the financial aspects of moviemaking, Roger Corman also has a keen eye for talent. Many famous directors, including Francis Ford Coppola
, James Cameron
, Ron Howard
, Joe Dante
, and Martin Scorsese
, started out directing films that Roger Corman produced. A number of actors — notably Jack Nicholson
and Robert Vaughn — also had their start under Corman. And despite his sexploitation films, many women such as Gale Anne Hurd also had their start in the industry thanks to him. Corman realised women would work harder for less money as long as they had the opportunity to use their talents, often denied thanks to the rampant sexism of mainstream Hollywood. In recognition of this, Corman received the Academy Honorary Award
Please note that, although he's known as "King of the B-Movies", Corman hates
the title, as he never directed an actual B-movie in his career.
Tropes That Apply To This Filmmaker:
Corman's Movies Contain Examples Of:
- Action Girl. Usually Beverly Garland. Corman was a filmmaker who did not believe in the Neutral Female - he had female protagonists who were tough, intelligent and resourceful. A good example is when Beverly Garland's character in It Conquered the World grabs a shotgun when her idiot husband is mesmerized by the alien, and gives it a memorable "The Reason You Suck" Speech, then growls: "You think you're gonna make a slave of the world... I'll see you in Hell first!" Keep in mind, Garland was delivering this to a walking carrot and made it believable.
- Heck, she's why it looks like a carrot in the first place. (The original character design was very squat, as Corman and creature designer Paul Blaisdell figured it was from a high-gravity planet. Bev walked up to it, said "So you're gonna conquer the world, huh? Ha!" and kicked it. It was quickly decided that the creature would have to be taller than her. Given the usual time and budget restraints of Corman, this translated to "Give it a big tall conehead.")
Beverly Garland, interviewed: He said, "Well, we figured it comes from a high-gravity planet, so it ought to be built low to the ground." I said, "Not that low!"
- The Bad Guy Wins: Creature From The Haunted Sea. It's one of his favorite endings.
"We have always killed off our monsters with fire, electricity, floods, whatever. This time the monster wins. The final shot in this picture is the monster sitting on the chest of gold at the bottom of the ocean floor. The skeletons of all the people in the picture are scattered around him and he's picking his teeth. That's it. The monster wins."
- Black Comedy
- Cat Scare
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority
- Creator Cameo: Particularly funny in his first film Monster from the Deep, where he plays a jack-of-all-trades boathand who the captain calls "our one man crew."
- Fanservice: Many of his films will have a scene that shows the female lead topless.
- Blatantly obvious in Humanoids From The Deep. He wanted more nudity but the director, Barbara Peeters, refused to shoot it, so he fired her and brought in someone else (in case you were wondering why a movie credited to a female director had so much monster-rape).
- Martin Scorsese recalls that the one piece of advice Corman gave him was "At least once every half hour, there must be nudity or the suggestion thereof."
- Follow the Leader: His films basically take whatever movie subjects are popular at the time, and make them cheaper, funnier, and (sometimes) racier.
- Girls Behind Bars: Corman didn't create the trope, but he did popularize it.
- Jump Scare
- Line-of-Sight Name: A nurses union wrote to Corman to complain about one of his films which had an exploitative view of Night Call Nurses. Corman realized he had the title of his next flick.
- The Mockbuster: Did some of these.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Or never trust a movie poster, which had the sole purpose of getting people into the Drive-In Theater.
- No Budget: Legendary for this, and is still going at it.
- Stock Footage: Some of his early films had to do this to stay within budget. He actually wanted to avoid this in his remake of Tower Of London, but Executive Meddling wouldn't let him.
- Cormon also used to buy quality Soviet sci-fi productions, re-edit them with added scenes, dub them in English and he'd have a cheapie sci-fi movie with quality special effects. He'd also reuse effects from more expensive movies like Battle Beyond the Stars.
- Stripperiffic: Mainly his output from the 70s and onward.