Tag Archives: Roger Corman

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)

"Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You actually paid money for this?  Foolish humans!"
"Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You actually paid money for this? Foolish humans!"

While it may or may not be “the best documentary of its kind in years,” Nightmares in Red, White and Blue is certainly the most comprehensive. Covering almost one hundred years of American horror film history, Nightmares is not a film you watch so much as absorb. It deserves its own study guide, and that’s exactly what I found on the film’s official website. God I love living in the future, don’t you?

It not even a film, really. More the backbone of a college course…or a whole wing of some major university department. Plus it’s got Lance Henriksen as Our Humble Narrator and if ever there was a man chosen by prophecy to narrate this kind of stuff, it’s Frank Black. “Yea, verily, one will be born among them with a face like an Arizona relief-map and the voice of gravel under foot. And he shall narrate horror film documentaries, because that’s certainly better than slumming in a wasteland of straight-to-DVD indie-horror…”

So the “best documentary of it’s kind in years” begins with Frank Black reading our liturgy: Continue reading Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)

Sharktopus (2010)

"Slowly twisting...in the wind..."
"Slowly twisting...in the wind..."

Now here’s something we haven’t seen in awhile: a Roger Corman movie. And goddamn, the man’s still in fine form, making films that are nothing if not honest. “Hello,” they say, “I’m crap. And honestly unashamed. At least I came in on time and under budget. I’ll make money, and keep my Master in food and clothes for the foreseeable future. What more do you want?” For some, that would probably be enough. But around here we like to shoehorn the films we see into some greater narrative or another. What better narrative than the decline of Roger Corman, not as a man, but as a Bad Movie institution?

Was a time when the Sci-fi channel didn’t bother making its own crap. There were far, far, far too many pre-existing, crappy syndicated sci-fi shows one could buy up on the cheap and use to plug holes in the schedule, like a frantic bricklayer working overtime to build a mafia front, knowing that the Don is not as forgiving as, say, Darth Vader. Then the Dark Times came upon us all and the Channel sold out to USA…and thus to NBC, and thus to General Electric. Awash with this new, corporate cash, the channel began regularly premiering its own films. To an outsider, the process resembles a feces fight inside a monkey cage. The channel flings monetary poo at primates lower on the social pecking order, who quickly respond in kind by lobbing back handfuls of cinematic excrement. Unfortunately, these often pass straight through their intended targets, escape the bars, and hit the “SyFy” channel’s dwindling audience in the face. Continue reading Sharktopus (2010)

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

''Commander Chakotay, the early years.''ou have to wonder what goes on in Roger Corman’s smooth, smooth head.

Wait, no you don’t. Certainly not anymore. These new “Roger Corman Classics” discs each come stamped with a personal reminiscence from the Man Himself. Mr. Corman, it seems, is growing into his Cult Icon status quite well. Almost seems as if he’s trying to morph into B-movie fan’s Stan Lee. All that’s missing is an “excelsior” or two.

I’ll let Mr. Corman introduce today’s feature, as he pretty much sums it all up with his usual candor and grace:

“This was the most expensive production I had financed. I always liked science fiction and my idea was to do something with the feeling of Star Wars. What I came up with was The Seven Samurai in Outer Space….” Mr. Corman goes on to mention some of the hot young talent he was able to put behind the camera. John Brother From Another Planet Sayles penned the script. Gale “don’t you dare call me Cameron” Anne Hurd scared up all the money (and proved so good at it she would go on to make a career as one of top bean-counters in Hollywood). James Horner scored up this mother. And a young Canadian pup named Jim Cameron would emerge from the bowls of the art department to become effects cameraman and chief model builder. {More}

Carnosaur (1993)

Do we really need to go over just how much this movie rips off Jurassic Park? No? Okay, good.

Saying that Roger Corman makes his pay check on the backs and creativity of others is stupidly redundant. Redundant like saying, “Armageddon sucks!” Unfortunately, whenever Corman steals a concept he always runs with it beyond the borders of sanity and good taste, all the way into that Other World. Corman World.

Oh, ’tis a vile, evil place, where malformed monsters writhe and seethe in ever lasting flames that burn, but do not consume. This is a land where Humanoids from the Deep is considered a good film. A good feminist film, in fact. And It Conqured the World replaces Citizen Kane. Continue reading Carnosaur (1993)