Roger Corman

1970s Spider-Man TV Show

Marc Webb is a lucky man. Not just because of the lucrative The Amazing Spider-Man 2 paycheck that’s headed his way. Or the fact that he has finally put an end to the hotly debated “nuh uh, Spider-Man could totally beat Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin if he wanted to” standoffs of his childhood. Webb’s lucky that he’s even been able to make a Spider-Man movie at all. Because slingin’ ain’t easy. Not for Spider-Man, and not for the trail of corpses that dot his long and troublesome road to the big screen. Not human corpses, obviously (if there actually was a trail of bodies left in the wake of a Spider-Man movie, you’d probably hear about it on a site slightly more serious than this one), but the desiccated remains of countless Spider-screenplays and Spider-pitches, which for one reason or another just couldn’t cut it in the big leagues. Our story begins in 1976.

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Corman

In Alex Stapleton’s documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, prolific filmmaking legend Roger Corman discusses a philosophy of entertainment that he developed about a decade into his career. Corman had just made his first serious drama, the 1962 integration-themed The Intruder. The film, which he and his brother self-financed because studios wouldn’t touch it, was Corman’s first work that he felt to be truly important, and it stands today as a film without equal in its timely diagnosis of American race relations. The film also turned out to be Corman’s first indisputable box office failure. So after The Intruder, Corman changed course: he decided to continue pursuing relevant themes in his work, but maintain his dominance of American B-cinema. The text of his films would entertain audiences, but the subtext would resonate with an eye on timely social, cultural, and political issues. Corman saw his 1967 film The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, for instance, as both an entertaining gangster picture and a comment about the underground economy that develops when immigrant groups are sidelined from legitimate social mobility in a xenophobic America. The message, Corman admitted at a local Q&A this weekend, would not be apparent to all audiences. But at least it would be there. Corman was hardly the first to recognize the political power of entertainment, but the fact that one of the most prolific B-movie producers in history understood this unique potential is significant: what are supposedly the most lowbrow or expendable of movies can actually be the most […]

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Community Season 5 Finale

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Dick Miller in THAT GUY DICK MILLER

The movies are filled with familiar faces with seemingly forgettable names. They’ll never see themselves on a marquee or win an Oscar, but people like Bob Gunton, Paul Gleason, and Brion James always make their brief moments onscreen count. Their presence often raises the level of a film, if even for a few minutes, but while most viewers would agree with the sentiment the actors go unsung in the general consciousness. Dick Miller is another one of those guys. He’s been in over 200 films, and while a couple of them saw him in a major or even leading role the vast majority found him simply as the clerk, the man behind the counter, the cop, the [insert generic occupation here] guy. If you’ve seen a Joe Dante movie then you’ve seen Miller in action, and the odds are almost as good if you’ve ever seen a Roger Corman film. Miller is pictured in Webster’s dictionary beside the word “ubiquitous.” That last one’s not actually true, but the guy gets around. That Guy Dick Miller is a new doc that shines a light directly on Miller and his career, and it offers an affectionate and loving look at the man through his own words as well as those of the people who love him. His wife, brothers, and numerous actors and filmmakers share thoughts on what makes him stand apart even in the tiniest of roles.

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junkfoodbanner

Unwrap the first bite of FSR’s newest, and possibly most ill-advised podcast: Junkfood Cinema. You’ve heard plenty of cyber banter on the “true classics,” on what’s popular in film now, and about projections for movies yet-to-come. Junkfood Cinema is a shame-free celebration of those films that have managed to slip through the cracks of time; the lost children of the medium. These are films relegated to mainstream obscurity, and most even erroneously dubbed as “terrible.” To ravenous genre consumers like me and screenwriter/novelist C. Robert Cargill, there is nothing more satisfying then gorging on cult and exploitation gems with the mad gluttony of a pre-dawn fourth meal. For the first auditory iteration of FSR’s long-running b-movie column, we  issue the show’s cheese-soaked, deep-fried mission statement and then wax affectionate over one of their absolute favorite movies: Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars. We hope you enjoy the new Junkfood Cinema podcast. It’s so good, it just has to be bad for you. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #1 Directly

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Tarantino

Though rumors had been running for awhile now that Colin Firth would be stepping into the role of Roger Corman for Joe Dante‘s biopic The Man With the Kaleidoscope Eyes, Corman decided to casually mention in a profile with the Telegraph that Quentin Tarantino would be portraying him instead. Like that’s not news that would rock our worlds or anything. The mention of Tarantino is just a blip in the interview that also reveals that Corman will have a cameo in the film that chronicles the making of The Trip, his 1960′s film starring Jack Nicholson about LSD. Corman’s cameo, hilariously, will be the studio executive who didn’t want him to make the film. As “The King of the Bs,” Corman has had insurmountable influence on countless filmmakers and actors who worshiped his lo-fi masterpieces like The Little Shop of Horrors, Swamp Women, and  Attack of the Crab Monsters.

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hg lewis campaign

Two genre film legends are involved in new projects trying to raise money via Indiegogo, the major crowdfunding site that isn’t Kickstarter. Rather than pick only one of them and then wait a week to maybe write up the other, I decided to throw them together. Besides, those of you who are interested in one are likely interested in the other, too. And when dealing with low-budget masters like Herschell Gordon Lewis and Roger Corman, it’s appropriate to be efficient. Lewis’s project is called Zombificador, and it’s an anthology featuring five connected stories involving “big fat monsters with the ability of transforming people into savage creatures, to human-sized mutant bugs, along with talking puppets and silent psycho killers.” It’s promised to be the “goriest and grossest movie ever” from the 83-year-old director (best known for cult classics Two Thousand Maniacs!, Blood Feast and Monster a-Go Go), which is saying a lot. If you’re not familiar with the “Godfather of Gore,” you can read up on his significance and lesser-known work in Rob’s recent review of his lost films.

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bucket-of-blood

It has been the common self-effacing jab around the Junkfood Cinema lab that the canon of movies we feature and love are indicative of our total lack of taste. Of late however, the idea of a person stricken with a total absence of taste has seemed more and more a self-contradicting paradox. Taste is a wholly subjective construct as idiosyncratic as a fingerprint. It is a function of synaptic response. Our brains all see the same images, but how we perceive them on a critical thinking level is informed by our experiences and our individual archetypes for quality art. Therefore the only way for a person to indeed harbor no film taste whatsoever would be to never have watched a single one. You may take issue with the films a friend chooses to watch, but the very fact that they have a preference for those films precludes the idea that they have no taste. Such musing brings us naturally to A Bucket of Blood; in much the same way the Disney Monorail brings one naturally to Beirut. But kindly replace your necks to the un-whiplashed position and allow me to explain. A Bucket of Blood is a 1959 horror film from b-movie maverick Roger Corman. Corman is a name revered by some, reviled by others, and, sadly, unknown by most. The bulk of his catalog is typically written off as exploitation junk; white noise in the din of cheap cinema. His movies are to be appreciated only ironically, lest resurface […]

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we’re formin’ in a straight line…at the buffet. You’ve foolishly wandered into the Internet’s best second best currently existing bad movie column. Every week we examine a particularly rank schlock dog, rather frankly, exposing every spoil mark and moldy flaw. Then, eschewing our sense of reason, and regard for our own intestinal well-being, we happily consume the rotten red hot with a gleeful smile on our lips. We then pair the film with a similar, but less metaphorical, snack food item themed to the events on screen. Or at least, that used to be the format to which we dogmatically adhered. Now, the warm, bosomy embrace of routine has been replaced by the shrieking, bloodletting scratch-fight of anarchy. In honor of our on-going, shoulda-called-the-doctor-at-the-four-hour-mark nerd boner for Roger Corman, we decided to celebrate this godking of b-cinema by featuring one of his most treasured, albeit dingy gems. Therefore, we head back to school and audit a few classes at Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. What we found was quite shocking. The following is a report detailing a few courses R’n’RHS does not offer, but probably should based on what we beheld.

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Little Shop of Horrors is a story about a man-eating plant that’s been around for quite a while. It started off as a silly Roger Corman movie from the early ’60s, but even before that, Corman’s work is thought to have been inspired by a John Collier story called “Green Thoughts” from the ’30s. What most of us probably think of as Little Shop of Horrors comes from the ’80s, however. In 1982 Alan Menken and Howard Ashmen wrote a stage musical based on Corman’s black comedy, and then in 1986 Frank Oz directed a film version of their musical. As strange and campy as it is, Oz’s version of Little Shop still has quite a few fans to this day, so would it be considered an atrocity for someone to remake it? Maybe not, because, according to THR, the someone who’s newly responsible for trying to get a remake of Little Shop together is none other than Internet darling Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That guy’s so cute and talented, we can’t be mad at him, can we?

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The Coroner

When you hear that a movie called Camel Spiders is coming out, you can’t help but think “Wait that doesn’t already exist?” Camel Spiders, aka wind scorpions, aka solifuges, made the front page of your nightmares during the Iraq war when images of these seemingly gigantic monstrosities were e-mailed around the world. The arachnids, which are not actually spiders, were rumored to run at speeds surpassing 30 miles per hour, regularly chasing down military Humvees, and said to be capable of leaping great distances, say, from the ground to your face. Their bite was rumored to be fatal and their size seemingly ranged up to two feet. Much of this is wildly inaccurate and stems from a photograph of two solifuges which were stuck to each other and held in the foreground of the photo, making them appear huge. In actuality, this nightmare fuel only measures six inches for the head and body sections, which is five and a half god damn too many inches. Anyway, Jim Wynorski made a movie about these things, and it’s not good.

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Baking Bread

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s coming off of a really great weekend. Live-blogging the Oscars with no pants on is the best decision it has made in a long time. Well, since last February, at the very least. Because last week was such a serious week — what with the Oscars and all — we begin this week with abject silliness and two gritty dudes Baking Bread. This would make an excellent spin-off of Breaking Bad, but only if the bread was baked with some sort of intoxicant that allowed Jesse and Walter to dive deep into the dangerous world of narcotic baked goods. Quick, someone fuel up the RV and the Easy Bake Oven!

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Roger Corman’s career in show business spans nearly 60 years, so audiences may initially wonder what might be left to say in a documentary about the exploitation master. Yet Alex Stapleton’s Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel offers a comprehensive, enlightening portrait of this most influential filmmaker-mogul. The doc offers a well-rounded treatise on Corman’s indelible influence, benefiting from a strong cast of talking head contributors and the ease with which Stapleton parallels his subject’s career with larger historical currents within the industry. The movie employs a straightforward linear approach in charting Corman’s filmmaking life, which began when the Stanford engineering grad found work in 20th Century Fox’s mailroom, advanced to the position of story reader, and eventually quit to begin making pictures himself during the ’50s. It charts the highlights of Corman’s various periods, including the American International Pictures and New World Pictures eras, and offers a wealth of testimony from Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and others of the premier cinematic talents who got their starts with the B-movie maestro.

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Roger Corman is probably the best known creator of B-movie cheese and exploitation junk of all time. Between the mid-60s and the early 90s he produced hundreds of cult films and even directed fifty of them himself. Despite the fact that he worked pretty exclusively in the lower brow side of the filmmaking world, he also launched a ton of big careers by giving talented filmmakers their first shot and he became a hugely influential figure in the Hollywood world. Even today, his legacy is starting to thrive through remakes and reboots of his past projects. Things like the new Death Race and the new Piranha 3D are keeping the memories of junk cinema’s past alive. And according to Variety, there is at least one more Corman reboot on the way. Dry County Entertainment has gotten the rights to 80s slasher Chopping Mall, and they’re poised to put their own spin on it. In the original version of Chopping Mall, a group of teenagers get locked inside of a shopping mall and have to fend off robotic security guards that have turned murderous and prove to be very deadly. This proposed new version of the shopping mall slasher wouldn’t be exactly like that, according to Dry County head Robert Hall, who says, “It will retain the basic concept of young people trapped in a mall; however, the story will have a darker, supernatural spin.” I guess that supernatural spin thing could be pretty controversial. Will this piss off some Chopping […]

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Criterion Files

As I argued in my introduction to our coverage of the BBS box set, this major Criterion release both celebrates New Hollywood and complicates the master narrative informing the way in which the era is typically remembered. Alongside classics of the era like Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show, the set also includes films that were received badly or misunderstood in their time like Head and The King of Marvin Gardens which can now be reassessed with the benefit of hindsight. But perhaps the most interesting juxtaposition to the canonized works of New Hollywood here is the presence of the absolutely obscure, the completely forgotten, the movies that up until now were lost in time and memory. This set marks the first time Jack Nicholson’s Drive, He Said (1970) and Henry Jaglom’s A Safe Place (1971) have been released in any home video format. These films are, in a sense, correlated with New Hollywood because of their themes, narratives, characters, and their temporal and economic contexts, but unlike the three heavy-hitters in this set, watching them now is, by comparison, to see a film with a forty-year-old blank slate – a unique and rare experience when one contrasts watching these films to, say, Easy Rider, a movie inseparable from an ongoing and reiterated forty-year-long conversation about what it meant then and means today. Separately, these are interesting films on their own, but together, Drive, He Said and A Safe Place point to the fact that there’s […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MonkeyTailBeard38 and LifeFindzaWay394 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the duo attempt to figure out word of mouth, movie advertising, critical response, and which one is to blame when a movie fails. Or, you know, it could just be the movie’s quality, but we hate simple answers around here. What separates the blockbusters from the flops? What makes people go see movies?

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema, what’s that smell? Abandon all hope kids, you’ve reached the end of the Internet, somehow stumbling upon the column with the highest calorie count on the web. The cinematic selections found here are schlocky, cheesy and just plain bad but we kinda love them anyway, like Code Red Mountain Dew and slap bracelets. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then pull up a chair! Our usual host, Lord Salisbury, is otherwise occupied this week and I swear it doesn’t have anything to do with that boar attack. I’m left to pick through the sugary shards and try to point this lard barge towards the finish line. I’ll brutally savage this week’s carefully selected film with reckless abandon. But in the end, I’ll pick it up, dust it off and help it bandage the wounds. Then to top things off, I’ll choose a delicious snack of dubious healthiness for us all to enjoy, making us fatter as the movie gets dumber. This week’s tasty morsel: Scream 3

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with a master Japanese filmmaker, a rising non-Japanese directing talent, discuss the legacy of Scream, and ask why there isn’t a modern-day Roger Corman. Takashi Miike is an incredible filmmaker, and as it turns out, a fascinating interview. Hopefully you speak Japanese, but if you don’t, the entire interview is in English. Now a staple of SXSW, Sebastian Gutierrez makes funny, sexy films that (gasp) focus on dialogue, character and cleavage. He joins me to talk about his new movie Girl Walks Into a Bar, and why making it the first film specifically made for internet distribution was the correct, crazy choice. Even though we keep hearing about a filmmaking revolution in the hands of the people, it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Eric Vespe from Aint It Cool and Aaron Morgan from Austin join me to ask why a new workhorse/creative force hasn’t emerged with all the inexpensive cameras just lying around for the taking. Plus, Eric Vespe  continues our streak of guests named Eric (and our one-show streak of guests named Eric Vespe) by going blade to blade against Movie News Pop Quiz Champion and FSR associate editor Rob Hunter. Who will come out alive? Will it be Wes Craven‘s career? Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Drinking Games

How scary is an octopus? Pretty scary if you meet one in the water. How scary are sharks? Really scary, especially if you’ve seen enough of the Jaws films. So a cross between a shark and an octopus – a “sharktopus,” if you will – has got to be terrifying! Well, not really. In fact, it looks rather goofy. But we expect that sort of thing from legendary low-budget producer Roger Corman. The ridiculous sci-fi horror film Sharktopus is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, and the result is an amazing hybrid of shark and octopus, symbolic of the amazing hybrid of Roger Corman and Syfy original movies. Best enjoyed intoxicated, of course.

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Whether they are hitting shelves This Week in DVD or This Week in Blu-ray, chances are slim that a great home video release gets by either Rob Hunter or Neil Miller. Together, they provide some of the blogosphere’s most consistent (ok, mostly Rob, but you get the idea) coverage of the best take-homes from week to week. Whether you’re using them to help you fill your shopping cart or your Netflix queue, surveys have shown that you are using them. And with 2010 coming to a close, we thought it only fitting to give these two shut-ins a shot at listing their favorite home video releases of the year. From the fun to the feature-filled, there were plenty of great releases from which to choose. So prepare yourself, as you always do, to sacrifice the weight of your pocketbook in exchange for in-home cinematic bliss.

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