En 2010, the wonderful world of Hollywood adoubait an oscar of honor, a character outside the norm that only this world of simulacra and hystéries can lead to. On this day, you may be asked who was this old veteran, who boasted of having called his memoir “How to produce a hundred films without losing a dime”. To tell the truth, Roger Corman has not produced a hundred films, but at four hundred, and has completed fifty; also is it necessary to clear the way a little bit this filmography, which let’s face it has a lot of nanars. I would do so thanks to the Attack of the giant crabs and the version low-cost of the fantastic Four, to dwell more on the small beads through which he scored the fantastic cinema, and for more than half a century.
THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
Released in 1960, directed by Roger Corman, with Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph , and Dick Miller
The young Seymour, an employee of a seedy florist, is the owner of a mysterious plant he has named Audrey Junior, for love of Audrey, his pretty co-worker. But the plant feeds on human blood, speaking to demand for its food and growing to an alarming extent : it very quickly becomes a tourist attraction. Soon, Seymour is forced to provide many of the victims and finds himself chased by the police …
You probably know the history of the plant Audrey by the remake so eighties in the form of a musical comedy, but did you know that Jack Nicholson made one of his first screen appearances in the original ? Already premiered in the B-series during the fifties, Corman understands that he must turn quickly and effectively to limit the costs, and the bet is successful since the filming is completed in just…two days ! Linking up productions scary from this period, the filmmaker, will feel frequently the need to refresh the genre by infusing a part of comedy. If it is here a question of reconsideration of the films of monsters in a tone almost of parody, the father Roger will outright switch the universe ofEdgar Allan Poe in the gag-based cartoon action with the Raven in 1963.
THE TORTURE CHAMBER
Released in 1961, directed by Roger Corman with Vincent Price, John Kerr and Barbara Steele.
Spain, Sixteenth century. In order to clarify the mysteries surrounding the death of his sister Elizabeth, Francis Barnard visits the castle where she lived with her husband Nicholas Medina. Nicholas, the son of a fearsome inquisitor Spanish, is slowly slipping into madness, convinced he had buried alive his wife…
As I mentioned earlier , Edgar Allan Poe, it is important to quote this master piece from a cycle dedicated to the writer, with a total of eight films (that I recommend all of them for their variations of tone and visual processing). The torture Chamber is a meeting of distinguished names, as the novelist prolific Richard Matteson cloth a new of Poe , a scenario was deliciously sadistic. And above all it is the meeting of two icons of cinema horror, to know the gentleman, Vincent Price , and the divinely evil Barbara Steele. A monument of the gothic style.
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH
Released in 1964, directed by Roger Corman with Vincent Price, Hazel Court and Jane Asher.
A prince cruel and a worshipper of Satan invites friends and farmers at a banquet. They do not have access to the buffet and this new humiliation pushes them to revolt. In addition, the prediction of a seer announcing the fall of the ruler encourages them to act. Alas, a violent repression took place and the prince decides to organize soon a new feast. Among the guests is a mysterious stranger dressed all in red.
Another adaptation ofEdgar Allan Poe, considered by many critics as the masterpiece of Corman. To explain this plebiscite, it is fair to remember that the film takes place in the emergence of a wave of psychedelia that will contaminate as much graphic design as the music of the sixties. This explosion of color and perceptions altered will allow the director to move away from the aesthetic gothic of the previous adjustments, comparable to that of many productions of the time, such as those of our neighbours italians or those of the Hammer. This daring visual really brings into relief the poetic dimensions and aspects of this fable are cruel.
Released in 1963, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with William Campbell, Luana Anders and Patrick Magee
The whole family is gathered around Lady Haloran to discuss his will. A great opportunity to rehash old grievances and exorcise a terrible family secret. This is the moment that chooses one of the axe-killer to eliminate one by one the members of the family.
Let us return for a moment to the gothic style, but not with any film, since it is the first film (the first assumed in any case) of Francis Ford Coppola. While the young man had made only two nudies (nanards based on pin-ups, scantily clad), Corman entrusted him with a few dollars to shoot Dementia 13, in a country full of haunted castles, Ireland. The specification is simple, use the old tricks to a narrative of “psycho-thrillers” set in a still gloomy in the way of The Cat and the canary, would you agree with ghost stories as The Old Dark House, while revisiting these recipes tattered by a psychological dimension, borrowed from the success of Psychosis three years earlier. If you are looking for, you will find a version of the film, preceded by a questionnaire sent to the spectator by a psychiatrist, to ensure that it will support a show that foreshadows the genre of the slasher.
SHARKTOPUS VS PTERACUDA
Released in 2014, directed by Kevin O’neill, with Robert Carradine, Rib Hillis and Katie Savoy
Ben…I think the title is enough to summarize the movie.
Make a leap of fifty years to complete this selection, because if the works of the most notable veteran of the drive-in to date back to the sixties, these recent productions declining to envy the kind of monsters attack, are not to be neglected, since they represent the change of view of the public, at the same time as the evolution of the humor of the filmmaker ready to switch to the cynicism. If the spectators of yesteryear took advantage of the exaggerations of the genre to exorcise from the collective fear of the threat of atomic, lovers of nanars of today have become the core target of Corman, who share with them a laugh accomplice since no one is fooled by the aberration of scenarios like the one-upmanship of each new installment. But the viewing of these sub-blockbuster movies, for television and / or market-DVD, ends every time this question absurd or nihilist : If the film is aware of the mocking tone, if this is also the case of the team and the producer, and if the spectator is an accomplice, then who or what is he mocking it in the final ?