Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekend blogging -- Memorial Day Roger Corman Marathon

I was having a cup of coffee and a cookie this evening at a place on Beverly I frequent a lot. The bakery's first rate, the coffee's good and I have no trouble picking up the wifi from the Starbucks next do. I happened to look at the theater across the street and the marquee read "Roger Corman and Joe Dante in Person." That sort of thing happens to you when you live in LA.

Unfortunately, none of the Poe films appear to be available for streaming but Hulu does have a few worth checking out. Roger Corman never made a bad film under the circumstances, and even when the circumstances were particularly dire, he always did something interesting.

A Bucket Of Blood (1959)

Though Little Shop (also included here) gets more attention, I think this is the better movie, largely due to the rare lead by beloved character actor Dick Miller.

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Still, you do have to give this one its props, shot in a couple of days for $30K. A pretty good little film in absolute terms but amazing when you realize what he had to work with.

The Terror (1963)

In some ways an even more impressive example of high speed, low cost movie making. Though there are differing accounts, most go something like this: when he realized that the film The Raven was going to wrap up three days early so he had Leo Gordon* write a script over the weekend. They started shooting that Monday, scheduling shots based on which part of the set was supposed to be torn down next.

* Gordon is more familiar to movie and TV fans as a menacing character actor in countless shows like Andy Griffith and Maverick, but he was also a highly successful self-taught writer. He had learned the craft while reading most of the books in the San Quentin library while serving time for armed robbery.

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