The King of Low-Budget Movies
By Michael McCarty
Roger Corman started working in Hollywood in 1954 and has written, directed and produced and acted in hundreds of films.
Famous actors and directors who have worked for Corman include Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, William Shatner, Bruce Dern and these Academy Award winners: Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, and Robert DeNiro.
(Roger Corman first film as a director)
Sue Leabhart of Davenport, Iowa says about Corman: “He’s the creative genius behind so many classic scifi/horror films. He brought us Teenage Caveman with a young Robert Vaughn, The Little Shop of Horrors with Jack Nicholson, and Death Race 2000 with David Carradine. These and many more of his films have attained cult status among science-fiction fans. His autobiography is entitled How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime. That’s a pretty good track record for a B-movie maker. I also love that he had a bit part in The Silence of the Lambs as FBI Director Hayden Burke.”
This is what area film buffs had to say about Roger Corman:
“Roger Corman made movies like a busy homemaker making a casserole: taking what he could find and slapping it together in the tastiest way possible, considering the ingredients at hand,” said Mark McLaughlin, Quad-City author and Bram Stoker Award-winner. “Unlike most artistic types, he would brag about how quickly and how cheaply he could whip a project together. Most of his movies were ultra-cheap but energetic and inspired. I like his cheap old movies a lot more than some of the big-budget blockbusters being made today.”
(Michael McCarty on the left, Mark McLaughlin on the right)
“Never sought out Roger Corman’s work … there are only so many flicks a guy can catch and still maintain his sanity, y’know? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Corman flick,” said Mike Schulz, movie critic for The River Cities Reader.
“When I think of Roger Corman, I think of one word: drive-in. Truly, he is the king of the drive-in horror genre. His Wild Angels movie is one of my favorites – raw, powerful and disturbing, especially for its time. Corman’s gift as a prolific producer and director is an understanding of entertainment that appeals to the thrill-seeker in the average viewer,” said Linda Cook, Quad-City Times movie critic.
(Linda Cook and C-3PO)
Horror writer C. Dean Andersson proudly calls himself a Cormanite. His favorite Corman works include “the Poe films, and some of Jack Nicholson’s finest moments, when he was a young pup,” he said. “And especially the comedies, The Raven, Comedy of Terrors, Bucket of Blood, and The Little Shop of Horrors, although when I was younger I liked The Pit and the Pendulum best because Barbara Steele was in it. But Corman’s reach is long … so many things he got started, giving people their first chances … Roger the Great!”
(C. Dean Andersson)
If you like Roger Corman films, please check out MODERN MYTHMAKERS: 35 INTERVIEWS WITH HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS AND FILMMAKERS. There is an interview with Richard Matheson, who wrote several screenplays that were turned into movies by Roger Corman….
(Michael McCarty and Modern Mythmakers)