Today is the birthday of famed producer and director Roger Corman (b. 1926). The subject of Corman and his career is so large and unwieldy that to talk about all of it in one post would be like trying to raise the Titanic — it just naturally breaks apart into pieces. It’s inevitable that I am going to spill some virtual ink on a man who’s been so influential on me and so many others. But to try to do so all in one post would be madness. But I think I can safely say that at some point you’ll see posts (or other writing from me) on the following topics:
* His collaborations with the greatest screenwriter of all time Charles B. Griffith, in particular the satires: Bucket of Blood (1959), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) and Death Race 2000 (1975).
* His cycle of Poe adaptations starring Vincent Price from 1959 to 1964 (I’m particularly interested in linking them aestheticaly with Hammer Horror and Italian horror from the same period).
* His biker and LSD films of the mid to late 60s, which provided much of the inspiration for my play (and screenplay) Willy Nilly (as did those satires mentioned above)
* Corman’s methodology as a role model for producing indie theatre.
* His recent efforts for the SyFy Channel, Dinoshark and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, etc
These topics would hardly exhaust the titanic subject of Roger Corman; talking about just these subjects would leave 95% of his output unaccounted for. But you’ve got to start somewhere!
Another reason Corman is awesome? He understands his own place in history. In this clip he gives context and background for independent film production, going all the way to the beginnings of Hollywood. Those who judge his productions to be schlock, and thus Corman to be a dope, ought to be schooled by his absolute command of every aspect of his life’s work, and the manner he’s chosen to realize it.
Don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc