A look at 15 of the greatest horror and fantasy films directed by maverick filmmaker and producer Roger Corman
With the trailer for the now 90-year-old independent filmmaking maverick Roger Corman‘s latest go-for-broke, genre mash up Death Race 2050 released last week, we thought it a fine time to look at the handful of feature films the producer/mogul has actually directed and pull out 15 of our favorites.
In case you aren’t savvy, Roger Corman has made hundreds of films and launched the careers of a legion of successful filmmakers and actors. We can, in fact, credit Roger Corman with the birth of the American New Wave in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Scorsese, Nicholson, Towne, Coppola and many more learned their trade by working for and with Corman and later, his producing partner and wife (and trailblazer in her own right), Julie Corman. Born in Detroit in 1926, it seemed Corman was destined to become an engineer, but a nagging interest in film. literature and fine arts made the young man stray and, after getting a job in the 20th Century Fox mail room, eventually – through a series of complicated adventures illustrated in the many films and books about his life and work – established himself as an independent producer specializing in genre fare targeting the burgeoning “teenage” market of the 1950s and early ’60s.
Corman would become American International Pictures in-house director and with them, he would lead the way in making movies economically and intelligently. Later, he would start his own studio, New World, an imprint that defined the 1970s lust for harder, sexier and violent indie fare and still later Concorde and New Concorde. But Corman was also a director specializing in horror and fantasy and history rightly cites him as one of the finest of his kind. The films Corman directed – especially his internationally celebrated and hugely influential “Poe” movies – are ripe with wit, casual style and a most likely time-sensitive spurred urgency and almost all of them bear traces of his intellect, his sophistication and sense of culture as well as his interest in classic literature and painting (even now, the ever-active Corman still paints regularly, though many fans are not even aware of this).
So here, today, in this space, we celebrate Corman the director. Have a look and, if you have yet to discover the incredible, storied and often amusingly insane, creative world of Roger Corman, every film om this list is easily available and ready to be admired.