A Life and Six Decades of B Movie Making – The Roger Corman Epic
At present, several definitions and connotations that come to mind when the term B Movie or B films are used. B movies are first, and foremost, not arthouse films and are often considered as low-budget films mainly produced for commercial purposes. The term B film could also refer to particular movie genres such as Westerns, horror flicks, or science fiction.
One of the biggest names of this branch of the film industry is Roger Corman, dubbed the “Pope of Pop Cinema.” He is an actor, director, and producer who made memorable indie films. Throughout his more than half-a-century long film career, he has garnered recognition and respect from the film industry.
Early Beginnings and the “Poe Cycle”
For such a prolific member of the film industry, Roger Corman’s career can be traced back in detail through the last five decades. Corman was studying to become an industrial engineer when he up and left to pursue his real passion, which lies in movies and filmmaking. His 62 years of film career began in the 1950s when he created several B movies for American International Pictures. Majority of these flicks were monster films or science fiction movies. Some notable ones include The Gunslinger, Attack of the Crab Monsters, and Night of the Blood Beast, which gained a feature in Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
The 1960s can be marked as Roger Corman’s “Poe Cycle” where the majority of his films in the decade were horror films that were adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s literary works. During this cycle, Corman’s films were commended for their higher quality as contributed by talented actors, better production values, and more compelling stories. Some of the films produced in this cycle were The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia, and The House of Usher.
From Film Director to Movie Producer
The 1970s began the transition of Roger Corman from directing films to producing them with the creation of New World Pictures, Corman’s very own film studio. The end of Corman’s directing career allowed him to focus on acquiring films to be produced by his studio and finding foreign movies that could be popular in exhibitions in the United States. During this decade, Corman invested in any emerging film genre that caught the attention of the film viewing masses such as nurse movies, crime flicks, and biker films.
Corman sold New World Pictures to an investment firm in 1983 to embark on another company called New Horizons. This company led his career to focus on films that are produced for the home market as the 1980s marked the revolution in film and video as homes can now become makeshift theaters already. During the 1990s, Corman was as prolific as ever in film production as in 1995 he produced 26 films in throughout the year although many would argue that the quantity of the films made their quality suffer. At the turn of the 21st century, Corman is still making waves in the film and television industry even at the ripe, old age of 93. Other than overseeing the remakes of his past films, he also has a partnership with the SyFy channel in the production of monster mash-up films or television series such as CrocGator and Dinoshark.