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Creator / Roger Corman

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"Well, that's it, we're doomed."
Crow T. Robot, on seeing Roger Corman's name come up in the credits, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Undead

Roger Corman (born April 5, 1926) 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, was 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 The Pit and the Pendulum and House of Usher, featuring legendary performances from Price, and The Haunted Palace, which was the first screen adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward), 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. Corman made one film, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), for a major studio (20th Century Fox) with a decent budget, but disliked the experience and resumed low budget films.

By the mid-'70s, he operated his own studios, New World Pictures, which allowed him to take a dip in the world of hoity-toity art films. He started as the American distributor of Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers, a rare example of a foreign film that got a Best Picture nomination. Other films by international directors distributed by Corman in the United States included The Tin Drum, Akira Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala, Bergman's Autumn Sonata, Federico Fellini's Amarcord, Alain Resnais's Mon oncle d'Amerique, and François Truffaut's Small Change and The Story Of Adele H. He left in 1981 and formed a company called New Concorde.

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 in 2009.

Please note that, although he's known as "King of the B-Movies", Corman hates the title. As he insists, he made A-Movies on B-Movie budgets. Oh, and don't bring up Mystery Science Theater 3000 in his presence. Just don't! At the Jorgenson Guest Filmmaker Lecture, he took a swipe toward MST3K, saying that you could make money off making fun of something you don't make.

    Films He Directed/Produced/Distributed with Their Own Pages (That Aren't Already Mentioned Here) 

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.
    Roger Corman: 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: invoked 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 nurse's 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: invoked Legendary for this, and is still going at it.
  • Production Posse: invoked Corman had many regulars, including Jonathan Haze, Dick Miller, and Beverly Garland.
  • Self-Adaptation: He remade some of his own movies;
    • He directed The Wasp Woman in 1960 and produced the 1995 remake.
    • He produced Death Race 2000, its remake, Death Race and all of its prequels.
    • He was executive producer for the original 1980 Humanoids from The Deep and produced its 1996 remake.
  • 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.
  • Recurring Element: In his fantasy films. Three Powers of Creation represented by a trio of MacGuffins: A chalice, an amulet, and a sword. The Hero must collect all three from an evil wizard each.
  • Stripperiffic: Mainly his output from the 70s and onward.
  • Throw It In!: invoked Some of the best moments in his films are this, as he was alright with letting his actors ad-lib as much as they want.

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