The Very Best B-Movie Directors – Part 3
Lloyds Kaufman could be legitimately referred to as the father of tastelessness. For four decades, this company Troma Entertainment has attracted some of horror and comedy’s sickest minds. Kaufman has an understanding of what it takes to make a home video. Realising that a market existed for more extreme movies that combined intense sexuality and grisly gore with scatological humour and juvenile slapstick. The movies he’s made for Troma say everything: Tromeo and Juliet, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., The Toxic Avenger, and more. He has become a genre in himself as an actor whereby if you manage to get him to make a cameo in your b-movie, it’s automatically considered as being bona fide.
For a long time, Ed Wood has earned the tag of being the all-time worst director. If we’re talking entertainment, however, there are those who are far worse than Wood. Coleman Francis, I’m looking at you! His films have a look about them that suggests they were made by a child who had never really grown up and who thought his enthusiastic need to make movies would somehow magically translate into great films. It’s strange just how similar the majority of his films are to one another- he appeared to have a number of ideas that he felt the constant need to explore. This saw him repeatedly use the same setting and scenarios while hoping that the outcome would be different. While he hasn’t made one objectively good film, they all make for comfortable viewing; The Sinister Urge, aside.
William Castle maybe the finest pure showman in the history of the b-movies. In fact, he can be classed as being right up there with PT. Barnum. The strange thing is that he’s primarily remembered for a tiny fraction of his career, which lasted for over three decades. Prior to the 1960s, he’d been making action flicks and westerns for years. Once he was granted the freedom to make his own movies, however, he gave us a series of cheesy horror flicks that are still loved today as both camp classics and sincere spook shows. Castle was the epitome of cheese and was the master when it came to keeping an audience entertained.
After 385 produced and 55 directed movies from 1954, the seemingly ageless Roger Corman is still cranking them out today. There’s just no way of putting up any kind of case that Roger Corman isn’t the king of the b-movie. From the first Little Shop of Horrors to his Vincent Price “Poe” films, Price’s influence has had a huge impact on cinema for decades since. Then there were all those directors and actors who owe their first chances to him, for Corman was the one to give them as shot. The list of those who have graduated from working with him is about as impressive as you can get: we’re talking about Ron Howard, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, and Jack Nicholson.