From monsters to mutants, aliens to artists, commandoes to cowboys, gangsters to gunslingers, beatniks to bikers — and from William Shatner to Vincent Price — he’s the guy that’s done it all. That’s right, folks: this time around the B-Masters pay long overdue tribute to the man who turned penny-pinching into an art form; who convinced the critics that it wasn’t “cheap”, it was “stark”; who outraged his employers by making actual art; and who unleashed an entire generation of film-makers upon an unsuspecting public. Join us as we pay tribute to the astonishing career of Roger Corman – the true King Of The Bs. It’s HE CONQUERED THE WORLD – all throughout November at the B-Masters’ Blog.
|Gas-s-s-s||The Unknown Movies Page||After having watched the Roger Corman-directed Gas-s-s-s, about the only positive thing I can say about it is that it gave me the inspiration for several possible titles for this post. Besides “It ain’t a gas”, I also considered using “A bad case of gas”, “This gas smells like methanethiol”, “Send it to the gas chamber”, and “I’ve got gas pains”. Feel free to submit your own suggestions.|
|Day The World Ended||And You Call Yourself a Scientist!||On the small scale as well as the large, we find hints in Day The World Ended that Corman was just beginning to come into his own as a director, such as some thoughtful – and what we can now recognise as typical – character bits; while in the symbolic use made of the comedy / tragedy masks that hang upon the Maddisons’ lounge-room wall, we also see the earliest stirrings of his taste for actual art, which would later manifest itself in quite unexpected ways, although always in severe philosophical conflict with his overriding desire to save a buck. The other notable thing about this film is its ending, which is remarkably subtle and even touching – or at least, it would be, if it wasn’t ruined by one of the sorriest monster suits you ever did see.|
|She Gods Of Shark Reef||Cold Fusion Video Reviews||Along with filming Naked Paradise (1957) in Hawaii, AIP had Corman throw together another production from their script, a minor effort from screenwriters Robert Hill (best known for co-writing The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) and adapting Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962) from a novel – how’s that for a sterling resume?) and Victor Stoloff (who contributed additional dialogue and other joint screenwriting efforts to half a dozen movies over a twenty-five-year period). The result is… well, it takes up celluloid. That’s about all you can say for it.|
|Attack Of The Crab Monsters||And You Call Yourself a Scientist!||Hank wants to know how the crabs are blowing up the island. Wiegand speculates that the crabs are able to generate arcs of great heat from within their own bodies, reminding the others of the glazed appearance of the rocks near the pit. Marty, who has been looking through Wiegand’s photographs, then interrupts with some alarming news: the second crab, the female, is pregnant. Of course, she doesn’t say “pregnant”. Instead she explains that they’re, “About to have a blessed event” and that the crab is, “In a very delicate condition.”
It’s hard being a female scientist.
|To reiterate, the film fails to provide either of the two main pleasures of the genre that had dominated the box office throughout the ‘70s: Spectacular effects and spectacular celebrity deaths. Given this, the most you can hope for is to derive some amusement from the film’s shortcomings. Luckily, in that regard the film pays off, although it provides chuckles rather than being a laugh riot like The Swarm. Even the DVD is half-assed, presenting the film in a full screen presentation. The picture is so utterly generic and uninspired it’s like nobody remembered it wasn’t actually a TV movie.|
|Swamp Women||Jabootu: The Bad Movie Dimension||As the women look over dazed Hunk o’ Man Bob, each plays their part. Kill-crazy Vera wants to shoot him (preferably after he wakes up, “so he’ll see it coming”); Billie gives him the goo-goo eyes, and Lee manoeuvers to keep him and Marie alive while not tipping her real identity. She of course plays the “they’d make good hostages in an emergency” card, and since this is a movie, Josie buys it.|
|Forbidden World||Teleport City||Forbidden World delivers pretty much everything I could hope for from a Roger Corman film. He knew what we kids wanted, and in the 1980s, what we kids wanted was stuff we kids probably shouldn’t be seeing. And bless him, Corman gave us that in spades with this movie.|
|The Tomb of Ligeia||Braineater||Some critics contend that Tomb of Ligeia is Corman’s best film — and yes, I’ve said that about two of his other Poe films so far; but each of the Poe films is very different from the others, just as all of them taken together are wildly different from the bulk of Corman’s other films as director.|
|Battle Beyond the Sun||1000 Misspent Hours and Counting||The diversion puts Mars temporarily out of reach, and the Mercury is forced to set down on the asteroid Angkor, which has fallen into a convenient if distant orbit around the Red Planet. From there, it should be a simple matter of waiting for South Hemis mission control to send up an unmanned supply rocket to top off the Mercury’s fuel tanks, but there are two unforeseen complications. First, a rash of sunspot activity sets up a field of electromagnetic interference that jams the communication uplink between the unmanned rocket and the Mercury’s guidance system; Paul Clinton, recovered now from his injuries, will have to mount a manned resupply mission instead. Secondly, and of much greater importance, Angkor is not the lifeless rock it appears to be from the surface. The asteroid is riddled with caverns, and within them dwell the fearsome Penisaurus and its natural enemy, the Vulvadon! Clinton is going to have an exciting walk from one rocket’s landing site to the other’s, let me tell you.|
|Chopping Mall||1000 Misspent Hours and Counting||Also, despite the manufacturer’s assurances that the Protector 101 is completely safe and incapable of doing lasting harm to a human in the normal course of its duties, the ones at the Park Plaza Mall have curiously been outfitted with pulse-laser blasters that (to steal a line from Surf Nazis Must Die) can take the head off a honky at twenty paces. Surely nothing could possibly go wrong with this situation, right?|
|Monster from the Ocean Floor||1000 Misspent Hours and Counting||The isolated stretch of nowheresville for which Malibu Beach is standing in here is located somewhere along the coast of Baja California, which was presumably not yet overrun all summer long by drunken gringo tourists in 1954. In fact, we’re asked to believe that our three main characters are the only white folks who’ve set foot here since pretty much ever— which is particularly ludicrous given that one of those characters, Julie Blair (Port Sinister’s Anne Kimbell), is in fact an American on vacation.|