Roger Corman is dead

The schlockmaster is gone — the creator of all those cheap ripoff sci-fi and horror movies, built on formulaic scripts and a negligible budget, is gone. Gosh, but that man sure chewed his way through movie and television screens. He was as omnipresent as Japanese rubber monster suit movies.

That said, I ate ’em up like popcorn. If one of his Edgar Allen Poe movies popped up on my screen right now, I’d be compelled to watch it to the end (I better not search for one, I’ve got work to do today). He also launched a fair number of careers.

Among the filmmakers who cut their teeth on Corman productions were Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Polly Platt, Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Bartel, Jonathan Demme, Donald G. Jackson, Gale Anne Hurd, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles, Monte Hellman, Carl Franklin, George Armitage, Jonathan Kaplan, George Hickenlooper, Curtis Hanson, Robert Towne, and James Horner.

Among the actors whose earliest credits were on Corman projects were Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper, Tommy Lee Jones, Talia Shire, Sandra Bullock, Robert De Niro, and David Carradine.

It definitely wasn’t high art, but I am so tempted to pull up a stream of that camp classic, The Raven. But no! I mustn’t! I have things to do!

Maybe tonight.

You know, the most distinctive things about that movie are the voices. I can hear Karloff, Lorre, and Price in my head right now, and everyone in the movies today sounds so bland in comparison.

No! I’m closing that browser window right now!


  1. Walter Solomon says

    Jack Nicholson is now older than all of those old guys he co-starred with in The Raven ever were. He might even make it to Corman’s age.

    RIP B-movie legend.

  2. remyporter says

    Corman flicks were always cheap, usually a bit trashy, and sometimes stuffed with filler (look, when you’re making 16 movies a week, sometimes you just need to get the runtimes up by having endless two shots of dialogue scenes of exposition- that’s the time the kiddies in the drive in can make out), but I’d never say any of them were truly bad films. I don’t think any of them were truly great either, but that’s okay. They’re entertaining and fun.

    //Targets is one that suffers from loads of padding, but damn if it doesn’t build to a really satisfying climax. And that’s Bogdanavich

  3. says

    Just a few days ago I unfavorably compared Zack Snyder’s latest opus to Corman’s version of the same material (that being Seven Samurai in Space, Rebel Moon vs Battle Beyond the Stars). I actually looked him up and was fascinated that I was suffering from the Mandela effect and had thought he was already dead. Well, I guess I wasn’t that far off after all.

    RIP Roger, you always brought a solid product with what little you were given.

  4. christoph says

    Don’t forget “Not of This Earth-” all three versions! My sibs and I used to take turns pretending we were Mr. Johnson. Great fun!

  5. mordred says

    Oh yeah, the voices of these guys were amazing!
    Just hearing one of them talk could make a film more scary than any 80s slasher movie for me!

    Have to admit, I’m not sure which of Corman’s movies I’ve actually seen, they sometimes were a bit similar – but I enjoyed them all!
    I definitely have seen The Raven and The Haunted Palace.

    The Haunted Palace is an interesting example of executive meddling. The story is actually (loosely) based on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, but the studio bosses decided only Poe sells and gave it the title of one of his poems.

    The guys doing the German dub said “Hold my beer” and renamed it “Die Folterkammer des Hexenjägers” (The Torture Chamber of the Witch Hunter) and changed the warlock Curwen into a Puritan witch hunter in the dub. The original version made more sense…

  6. magistramarla says

    Love, love, love Vincent Price!
    When I babysat my little cousins I would take them to the cheap summer matinees at the local theater.
    We would all be thoroughly scared by the Vincent Price flicks.
    In my college days, I was thrilled to see him perform in person at the St. Louis Municipal Opera outdoor theater in Forest Park.
    He was from St. Louis, and I heard that he loved to perform there.

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