Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top 13: Roger Corman Horror Films

list compiled by The Black Glove staff

Welcome to this month's Top 13 list, here at The Black Glove. This month we wanted to recognize one of the great directors/producers of the genre. Without Roger Corman, known the world over as "The King of the B-Movie", the horror and sci-fi genres would be much the poorer. He has created some of the great low budget classic of the 50s and 60s.
He is responsible for New World Pictures, Concorde Pictures and New Horizons studios, which have helped to create and distribute some of the low budget classics over the last five decades.
He began his professional career as an engineer, but soon found himself drawn to Hollywood and the movie business. But he knew how to make every dime count (for more on that, read his landmark non-fiction book on the subject, "How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime" (1998)), and kept his films well under budget, going so far as to bet his peers he could shoot a film in less than two days (LITTLE SHOP OF HORROR, see below). His frugality in the business went so far as to even use one of horror's top names, Boris Karloff, in two films on the fly because the elderly actor owed him a few more days of shooting, which he used in THE TERROR, an infamous movie in the industry for its creativity and multiple directors/producers.
There was a time during the height of Corman's career that his influence in Hollywood was so strong that he worked with some of the top names in the business. We take a lot of them for granted now, in this year 2011, but without Corman, such folks as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Armondo Linus Acosta, Jonathan Demme, Donald G. Jackson, Gale Anne Hurd, Carl Colpaert, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles, Monte Hellman, Paul Bartel, George Armitage, Jonathan Kaplan, George Hickenlooper, Curtis Hanson, Jack Hill, Robert Towne and Timur Bekmambetov may not have been as successful in Hollywood. And in acting, his touch helped some of the best of actors and actresses in the industry: Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Michael McDonald, Dennis Hopper, Talia Shire, and Robert De Niro. David Carradine, and many more, to find early success in their careers. So we should give thanks to Corman for his ability to spot talent and get them in the business early on. It's a fact that one of greatest American films ver made might not have been made without Corman's help: EASY RIDER (1969). His influence on the New Wave movement in American cinema was enormous. His most famous films in the genre are without a doubt his Poe cycle movies, which starred one of the most famous of horror actors of all time, VINCENT PRICE. His 60s movies with Price were the last gasp of the Gothic horror film in Hollywood. The genre was about to change in a huge way in America, and Corman was the man who helped lead the new wave in the U.S.A. film market, away from the Gothic and into the Urban Horror world. His importance on the genre cannot be underrated.
So without further ado, enjoy The Black Glove's Top 13 Roger Corman Horror Films of all time. We put them in sequential order, so anyone interested in "discovering" his films for the first time could enjoy them in order of release. If you haven't yet watched his films, do yourself a favor and watch them. Your Horrorhead experience won't be complete without them.

1. It Conquered the World (1956)

2. Beast From the Haunted Cave (1959)

3. The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

4. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

5. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

6. The Premature Burial (1962)

7. Tales of Terror (1962)

8. Comedy of Terrors (1963)

9. The Haunted Palace (1963)

10. The Raven (1963)

11. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

12. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

13. Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

--Nickolas Cook