Roger Corman

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"Well, that's it, we're doomed."
—Crow, on seeing Roger Corman's name come up in the credits, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Undead

Roger Corman (April 5, 1926 – May 9, 2024) was a movie producer and director sometimes known as "King of the B-Movie". He directed 55 movies and produced 385, every single one of them having been created on time and under budget. Most of them are low-brow shameless Exploitation Films of various types that have become "classic" examples of So Bad It's Good and are as far from True Art as it is possible to get.

Corman did have his shining moment of artistic legitimacy when he directed a series of Gothic Horrors based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. These eight films — all released between 1960 and 1964, and all but one starring Vincent Price — are noticeably uneven, but the standouts really stand out. These include House Of Usher, featuring a legendary performance from Price, and The Haunted Palace, which was the first screen adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, dolled up for the Poe series. Also directed The Little Shop of Horrors in 1960; it was filmed in exactly two days, a world record.

In addition to his knack for the financial aspects of movie-making, Roger Corman also had a keen eye for talent. Many famous directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Joe Dante, and Martin Scorsese, started out directing films that Roger Corman produced. A number of actors — notably Jack Nicholson and Robert Vaughn — also had their start under Corman.

Corman received the Academy Honorary Award in 2009.

Roger Corman provides examples of the following tropes:
Tropes used in Corman's movies include:
  • Action Girl. Usually Beverly Garland. Corman was a filmmaker who did not believe in the Neutral Female - he had female protagonists who were tough, intelligent and resourceful. A good example is when Beverly Garland's character in It Conquered the World grabs a shotgun when her idiot husband is mesmerized by the alien, and gives it a memorable "The Reason You Suck" Speech, then growls: "You think you're gonna make a slave of the world... I'll see you in Hell first!" Keep in mind, Garland was delivering this to a walking carrot and made it believable.
    • Heck, she's why it looks like a carrot in the first place. (The original character design was very squat, as Corman and creature designer Paul Blaisdell figured it was from a high-gravity planet. Bev walked up to it, said "So you're gonna conquer the world, huh? Ha!" and kicked it. It was quickly decided that the creature would have to be taller than her. Given the usual time and budget restraints of Corman, this translated to "Give it a big tall conehead.")
  • Black Comedy
  • Cat Scare
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority
  • Creator Cameo
  • Fan Service: Many of his films will have a scene that shows the female lead topless.
    • Blatantly obvious in Humanoids From The Deep. He wanted more nudity but the director, Barbara Peeters, refused to shoot it, so he fired her and brought in someone else (in case you were wondering why a movie credited to a female director had so much monster-rape).
  • Follow the Leader: His films basically take whatever movie subjects are popular at the time, and make them cheaper, funnier, and (sometimes) racier.
  • Jump Scare
  • Line-of-Sight Name: A nurses union wrote to Corman to complain about one of his films which had an exploitative view of Night Call Nurses. Corman realized he had the title of his next flick.
  • The Mockbuster: Did some of these.
  • No Budget: Legendary for this.
  • Padding
  • Stock Footage: Some of his early films had to do this to stay within budget. He actually wanted to avoid this in his remake of Tower Of London, but Executive Meddling wouldn't let him.
    • He also used to buy quality Soviet sci-fi productions, re-edit them with added scenes, dub them in English and he'd have a cheapie sci-fi movie with quality special effects.
  • Stripperiffic: Mainly his output from the '70s and onward.