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Top Ten Roger Corman Favorites


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Since Lorna has expressed her disdain of  Roger Corman, I would like to share what I think are some good (if not great) films he directed. I doubt if it will change her mind but maybe if she checks out a few she never saw she can find at least one she likes.

In chronological order-

1. The Undead (1957)-an interesting tale of witchcraft and reincarnation. The Devil himself shows up and Allison Hayes is the sexiest witch I have ever seen.

2. Teenage Caveman (1958)-I was engrossed by this Twilight Zone type story with Robert Vaughn in the title role. I should have figured out the twist but didn't

3. A Bucket Of Blood (1959)-a hilarious black comedy about a sculptor (Dick Miller) who uses real bodies for his work. A bonus is the satire on coffee house beatniks.

4. Little Shop Of Horrors (1960)-another very funny black comedy about man eating plant. Jack Nicholson has the funniest scene as a masochistic dental patient.

5. The Intruder (1962)-his most underrated film, a tough look at racism and segregation in the South. William Shatner gives one of his best performances as a racist agitator who stirs up trouble in the town.

6. The Raven (1963)-A funny comic look at Poe. Vincent Price is a good magician who battles with an evil sorcerer (Boris Karloff) who turned Peter Lorre into a raven. Jack Nicholson is Lorre's son.

7. X The Man With The X ray Eyes (1963) Ray Milland gives an excellent performance as the scientist who experiments with eye drops which give him x ray vision. He hides out in a carnival with a villainous Don Rickles. Final scene is a shocker.

8, The Haunted Palace (1963)- Vincent Price as a warlock burned to death by villagers in the 18th century, his spirit takes over his ancestor (also Price) A good twist ending.

9. The Masque Of The Red Death (1964) the best Corman/Price/Poe film. Beautiful color cinematography and costumes. Price in one of his best performances.

10. The Trip (1967)- Peter Fonda takes LSD and we go on the trip with him. Some wild imagery with dancing girls, hooded riders and a torture chamber, Funny scene when the tripping Fonda encounters a sarcastic housewife in a laundromat.

Anyone else have some favorite Corman films?

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In no particular order:

 

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)
War of the Satellites (1958)
The Raven (1963)
The Premature Burial (1962)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
The Wasp Woman (1959)
A Bucket of Blood (1959)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

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I like, enjoy, and admire most of the movies that Roger Corman directed during the 1950s and 1960s. I'm not at all a fan of the movies produced by his companies New World Pictures, Concorde Pictures New Horizon Pictures, Concorde-New Horizons, and New Concorde. As far as I'm concerned, Corman was at his artistic peak when he directed the Poe Pix, thanks, in no small measure, to the team of estimable pros with whom he collaborated: Production Designer Daniel Haller; Director of Photography Floyd Crosby;  Composer Les Baxter; and Screenwriters Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, R. Wright Campbell, and Ray Russell, and Robert Towne.

Besides seconding all of the movies listed by Det Jim McLeod and SansFin, I'll also praise the following, to me, rough gems:

It Conquered the World (1956) -- Featuring a ridiculous looking, but memorable, monster ("This thing was no monster, it was a table ornament!" -- Beverly Garland), this low-budget Sci-Fi thriller is, for me, redeemed by the earnest performances of the cast, which includes Lee Van Cleef as a scientist!

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) -- Similar to It Conquered the World, this "cult classic," for me, succeeds more because of the ensemble cast than because of the crummy-looking crustaceans.

Not of This Earth (1957) -- IMO, writer Charles B. Griffith was a significant key to Roger Corman's success as a "B Movie King." The offbeat humor that inflected his screenplays about weird creatures is what makes his collaborations with Corman memorable and distinctive for me. Again the cast "brings it home"; star Paul Birch as the otherworldly phlebotomist is effectively creepy ("Look at my eyes. My eyes are ale-lee-yen. Look at them."). The vignette with the "Umbrella Creature" never fails to make my flesh crawl.

Machine Gun Kelly (1958) -- This hard-edged gangster profile is well-written and solidly acted by all involved; Morey Amsterdam (in his movie debut) as the ill-fated Fandango is surprisingly noteworthy. According to report, Corman regular Dick Miller was considered to play the title role. Fortunately, Charles Bronson was cast as Kelly. Favorite moment: Howard (Jack Lambert) taunting the hot-tempered gunsel ("Machine Gun Kelly, that's a hard nickname to say. See, what would be short for that? How about [blows a raspberry]?"

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) -- A goofy looking, utterly bargain-basement creature. Check! A wacky, over-the-top Charles B. Griffith screenplay teeming with quotable dialogue ("Why, here come Pete and Porcine!" "They look like bottom row prizes in a shooting gallery!"). Check! A complementary quirky jazz score (recycled in Little Shop of Horrors) by Fred Katz. Check! An animated title sequence featuring cartoons by future MAD Magazine artist Sergio Aragones. Check! Shot in five days. Check! Low-budget entertainment at its finest, declare I!

The Wild Angels (1966) -- Marlon Brando may have been the first Movie Biker. But it was Roger Corman who (along with screenwriters Charles B. Griffith and Peter Bogdnavich) kick-started the "Biker Movie" genre into high gear. The title music "Blues Theme," performed by Davie Allan and the Arrows (Allan's fuzz guitar sounding, to me, like an angry hornet), was a popular hit during the late 1960s.

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

1. The Undead (1957)-an interesting tale of witchcraft and reincarnation. The Devil himself shows up and Allison Hayes is the sexiest witch I have ever seen.

3. A Bucket Of Blood (1959)-a hilarious black comedy about a sculptor (Dick Miller) who uses real bodies for his work. A bonus is the satire on coffee house beatniks.

5. The Intruder (1962)-his most underrated film, a tough look at racism and segregation in the South. William Shatner gives one of his best performances as a racist agitator who stirs up trouble in the town.

7. X The Man With The X ray Eyes (1963) Ray Milland gives an excellent performance as the scientist who experiments with eye drops which give him x ray vision. He hides out in a carnival with a villainous Don Rickles. Final scene is a shocker.

9. The Masque Of The Red Death (1964) the best Corman/Price/Poe film. Beautiful color cinematography and costumes. Price in one of his best performances.

Anyone else have some favorite Corman films?

Since someone else already got:

8 hours ago, Eucalyptus P. Millstone said:

It Conquered the World (1956) -- Featuring a ridiculous looking, but memorable, monster ("This thing was no monster, it was a table ornament!" -- Beverly Garland), this low-budget Sci-Fi thriller is, for me, redeemed by the earnest performances of the cast, which includes Lee Van Cleef as a scientist!

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) -- A goofy looking, utterly bargain-basement creature. Check! A wacky, over-the-top Charles B. Griffith screenplay teeming with quotable dialogue ("Why, here come Pete and Porcine!" "They look like bottom row prizes in a shooting gallery!")

That leaves me only with Tales of Terror (1962), THE best Corman/Price/Poe film, without the squicky buzzkill of Masque's Satanic nastiness.  A portly, post-rehab Peter Lorre started playing humor as Price's sidekick in the Corman films, but he still delivers the most memorable performance in the movie.

The Terror (1963) was infamously thrown together haphazardly from random pieces and scraps of other productions with a story almost improvised, and even old Boris Karloff and young Jack Nicholson claimed they had no idea what it was about, but it's a good looking period-costume trip there.

It Conquered is redeemed by good irony-free performances from Garland, Van Cleef and Peter Graves, and manages a sneakier--and more intentional--"Communist-fear metaphor" than Invasion of the Body Snatchers is unduly given credit for.

And yes, come to Creature From the Haunted Sea for the 3rd-grade-Halloween-costume monster, stay for Charles B. Griffith's deliberately goofy dialogue that sounds like Leslie Nielsen should be doing the narration.  ("It was dusk...I could tell, because the sun was going down.")

And I don't know whether to give Honorable Mention to Roger's x-producer work on Death Race 2000 (1975), probably the most memorable thing to come out of 70's New World Pictures (now, 80's, OTOH...) even though Paul Bartel directed another intentionally tongue-in-cheek Charles B. Griffith script.

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14 hours ago, Eucalyptus P. Millstone said:

Not of This Earth (1957) -- IMO, writer Charles B. Griffith was a significant key to Roger Corman's success as a "B Movie King." The offbeat humor that inflected his screenplays about weird creatures is what makes his collaborations with Corman memorable and distinctive for me. Again the cast "brings it home"; star Paul Birch as the otherworldly phlebotomist is effectively creepy ("Look at my eyes. My eyes are ale-lee-yen. Look at them."). The vignette with the "Umbrella Creature" never fails to make my flesh crawl.

I never saw this one but definitely want to now. The Wild Angels is the only one on your list I saw but I did not like that one.

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14 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I never saw this one but definitely want to now. The Wild Angels is the only one on your list I saw but I did not like that one.

I liked it.  But more then than now, as I mentioned in that other thread.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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I am more of a fan of the concept of what Corman was able to do, which is create films that gave a lot of people industry experience so they could get more work. At least that's my impression of what he did. 

On the other hand, I am not a fan of the movies he's made, at least the ones I've seen (some of his work with Vincent Price primarily). Maybe I just haven't seen the right films, but they just seem unbearably cheesy to me, but not in a fun kind of way that other B-movies seem to be. Could it be I'm just not a fan of the bright technicolor costumes he used, or the scripts he was given? Possibly. 

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In no particular order, apart from the top two being my favorites.

The Undead

Little Shop of Horrors

It Conquered the World (I've had a decades-long argument with a friend who disagrees with me as to how to pronounce the title of this film. I say It CONQUERED the World; She said IT Conquered the World. )

The Wasp Woman

Teenage Caveman (Planet of the Apes and Dr. Strangelove take note.)

The Day the World Ended

A Bucket of Blood

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent 

The Masque of the Red Death

Attack of the Crab Monsters

 

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11 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

"Digger Smolkin sayest 'eatest mine dust'"

Okay, so TWO other things we remember Roger Corman's New World Pictures for in the 70's (besides Death Race 2000):
1) Rock & Roll High School (1979), starring the Ramones, and

2) Future R&RHS director Allan Arkush working with future "Piranha"/"The Howling" director Joe Dante in their early jobs at New World's trailer and marketing department, and having to come up with a memorable tagline for Ron Howard's latest car-chase comedy, until Arkush rushed to Dante with an inspiration:  "How about, 'Ron Howard pops the clutch, and tells the world to Eat My Dust(1976)'?"

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19 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

A BUCKET OF BLOOD's all right. and I have seen THE MST 3K VERSION OF "THE UNDEAD" SO MANY TIMES, I HAVE MEMORIZED THE DIALOGUE.

"Digger Smolkin sayest 'eatest mine dust'"

What about the original Little Shop Of Horrors ? Though I prefer the 1986 musical remake.

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On 9/22/2022 at 1:22 PM, LornaHansonForbes said:

and really MASQUE OF RED DEATH is not bad at all, and the way HOP-FROG is worked into the story is extremely clever.

you mean hop toad. when he lights that guy up in the gorilla costume is priceless.

:D

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2 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

you mean hop toad. when he lights that guy up in the gorilla costume is priceless.

:D

 

2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

ThNk you, I always get that wrong.

No, you got it right, LornaHansonForbes!

The character in Poe's story is named "Hop-Frog." I presume that screenwriter R. Wright Campbell (who, according to Wikipedia, introduced the dwarf into Masque of the Red Death) made the name-change because a toad is uglier -- more grotesque -- than a frog (not that actor Skip Martin was ugly).

1200px-Poe's_Tales_of_Mystery-Rackham-07     What-is-Hop-Frogs-personality.jpg

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