Thursday, June 20, 2013

Junesploitation Day 20: Roger Corman!

Some men dream of conquering the world. Roger Corman created his own.

Today, Junesploitation honors one of the godfathers of exploitation. Roger Corman, WE SPEAK YOUR NAME.

If you don't own any Roger Corman movies and you don't like the offerings on Netflix (and don't want to use Hulu or Amazon Prime or the library or any of the other NUMEROUS ways to get movies these days), YouTube recently announced a ROGER CORMAN CHANNEL! It went live last week. $3.99 gets you access to 30 films a month -- BUT there's a 14-day FREE TRIAL! Sign up and use it for ROGER CORMAN DAY! Thanks to JB for the heads up.


  1. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

    Corman seemed to lavish the most care on his Poe adaptations, and this is no exception. It starts as a slow-burn gothic mystery before erupting into horror in the last act. There's a moment - you'll know it when you see it - when Vincent Price smiles, and you know IT'S ON. There are some wonderfully garish matte paintings, and the pendulum itself is a terrific creation. That last shot is a doozy. I haven't seen this in many years, and it was great to revisit it.

  2. A Roger Corman Channel on YouTube?

    Crap. That means they'll pull all the films that are already on there in full for free.


  3. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

    "Once they were men. Now they are land crabs."Oh my goodness this one is a laugh riot. In true B movie fashion a bunch of male scientists (and one hot chick) go to an island to investigate strange events and discover it's been taken over by mutant crabs... who can also absorb your mind! Corman has some fun practical crab attacks and of course way too much scientific talk trying to bring logic as to why the crabs have become super intelligent. It has a very MST3K feel to it but in a good way and at just over an hour running time its a quick watch, nice boiled buttery Red Lobstersploitation.

  4. THE UNDEAD (1957) on DVD

    STAAAAYYYSPLOITATION! (at least Kathy will get that one :-P).

    One of my favorite "MST3K" experiments of all time (primarily because it's the one in which Bill Corbett cemented the voice/personality of the Sci-Fi era Crow T. Robot) yields, independently of the TV show, a cheap B movie that is like a perfect metaphor for Corman's career. An interesting premise (a prostitute travels back in time via hypnosis to the Medieval Period, takes over the personality of a woman accused of witchcraft) that is totally concocted to take advantage of the costumes/sets from an earlier movie. Cheese in the performances, SFX and plot don't stop Corman (who's a much better director than producer) from delivering an amusing time-waster with a thought-provoking (and equally laughable) ending that actually influenced better, more reputable films ("Somewhere in Time" anyone?). Then again, my "MST3K" upbringing has prejudiced me to substitute the word "Corman" with "funny."

    1. Except for Allison Hayes and Billy Barty that film is a Zzzzzzzzzz.

  5. THE TERROR. The story varies depending on which version you read, but the gist of it is that Corman had finished shooting a film three days early, so he used those extra days -- and the still-standing sets -- to shoot a whole other feature film, right there on the spot. Resourceful-sploitation! It helps that he had so much talent on hand, with aging Boris Karloff and fiery young Jack Nicholson (passing the torch-sploitation?), with Dick Miller, Jack Hill, and Francis Ford Coppola all along for the ride. Unfortunately, the story of how the movie was made is more interesting than the movie itself. It's OK, but a little slow and meandering, and the ending is a real gut-punch. There are better Corman flicks, though.

  6. X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (1963)

    Not quite as exploitative as you might think (hope?) based on the title, but this is a terrific movie. Mac & Adam both got me excited about it on Twitter and it exceeded my expectations easily (it occurs to me as I reread this before posting it how many "ex" words I just used there, but I love Vincent-Price-on-Batman-level wordplay so I'm leaving it. Eggcellent). Ray Milland is a doctor who created eye drops that give him x-ray vision, which is not as fun for him as it sounds. Don Rickles is great in a supporting role, it's always fun to see him show up. Keep your eyes peeled for (30 Stars Of) Summer alum and Junesploitation hero Dick Miller, another always welcome presence.

    According to IMDB, there's a final line that was rumored to have been cut that would have made the already horrifying ending even creepier. Even after seeing it I STILL want to order a pair of x-ray specs out of the back of an old comic book. I guess I'll never learn.

  7. Bloody Mama (1970)

    Corman produced and directed this Bonnie & Clyde imitation starring Shelley Winters as the matriarch of the Barker crime family. A very young Robert De Niro plays one of her sons; Bruce Dern, Scatman Crothers and Pat Hingle also have roles. Despite the period setting, this is mostly a drag until the explosion of violence at the end, which mostly comes too late. Still, I had never seen someone commit suicide by machine gun, so I guess there's that.

  8. GAS-S-S-S(1970)

    A deadly gas kills everyone over the age of 25 and we follow a group of hippies trying to find a peaceful place to settle down.

    I wanted to like this more than I actually did. The absurdest comedy wasn't really working for me, although parts of it were clever. Maybe I'll have to revisit this one again sometime.

  9. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

    Wow, StarWarsploitation, indeed. From the opening shot of the giant ship crawling above the camera to the complete destruction of a planet, it does flat out rip off a lot of Star Wars stuff, by I had fun watching it. And depending on the angle the good guy's ship was either vaguely penis-shaped or vaguely vagina/fallopian tube-shaped so I was pretty much able to maintain a constant erection throughout.