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C Entries
Edward L. Cahn
James Cameron
Lewis John Carlino
Richard Carlson
John Carradine
Helena Bonham Carter
Leo G. Carroll
Maurice Cass
Lon Chaney
Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Cho
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Joan Collins
Sir Sean Connery
Roger Corman
Buster Crabbe
Richard Crane
Tom Cruise
Peter Cushing
 
CORMAN, ROGER
(1926– ). American director and producer.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Directed and produced: The Beast with a Millian Eyes (uncredited, with David Kramarksy and Lou Place 1955); The Day the World Ended (and appeared in, uncredited) (1955); It Conquered the World (1956); Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957); Not of This Earth (1957); The Undead (1957); The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957); War of the Satellites (and appeared in) (1958); Teenage Caveman [Prehistoric World] (1958); A Bucket of Blood (1959); The Wasp Woman (and appeared in, uncredited) (1960); The Little Shop of Horrors (1960); The Last Woman on Earth (1960); House of Usher (1960); Atlas (and appeared in) (1961); The Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961); The Pit and the Pendulum (1961); The Premature Burial (1962); Tales of Terror (1962); The Raven (1963); The Terror (and co-wrote, uncredited, with Leo Gordon and Jack Hill) (1963); X—The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963); The Haunted Palace (1963); The Masque of the Red Death (1964); The Trip (1967); Gas-s-s-s, Or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (1971); Deathsport (uncredited, with Allan Arkush and Nicholas Niciphor 1978); Frankenstein Unbound (and wrote with F. X. Feeney) (1990).

Directed: The Tower of London (1962); The Tomb of Ligeia (1964).

Produced: Monster from the Ocean Floor (and appeared in, uncredited) (Wyott Ordung 1954); Night of the Blood Beast (Bernard L. Kowalski 1958); The Brain Eaters (Bruno VeSota 1958); Attack of the Giant Leeches (Kowalski 1959); Beast from Haunted Cave (Monte Hellman 1959); Battle Beyond the Sun (Mikhail Karzhukov, Aleksandr Kozur, and Francis Ford Coppola 1960); Dementia 13 (Coppola 1963); Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (uncredited) (Curtis HARRINGTON 1965); Blood Bath (uncredited) (and appeared in) (Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman 1966); Queen of Blood (Harrington 1966); The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (uncredited) (Michael A. Hoey 1966); Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (Peter Bogdanovich 1966); Targets (Bogdonavich 1968); The Dunwich Horror (Daniel Haller 1970); Ivanna (José Luis Merino 1970); Beast of the Yellow Night (Eddie Romero 1970); The Cremators (Harry Essex 1972); Night of the Cobra Woman (Andrew Meyer 1972); The Twilight People (Romero 1973); The Final Programme (Robert Fuest 1973); The Fantastic Planet (animated) (René Laloux 1973); The Down and Dirty Duck (animated) (Charles Swenson 1974); Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel 1975); Deathsport (Henry Suso and Allan Arkush 1978); Piranha (Joe DANTE 1978); The Bees (Alfredo Zacarias 1978); Galaxy Express (animated) (Rintaro 1979); The Island of the Fishmen (Sergio Martino 1979); Up from the Depths (Charles B. Griffith 1979); Humanoids from the Deep (Barbara Peters 1980); Battle Beyond the Stars (Jimmy T. Murakami 1980); The Territory (Raoul Ruiz 1981); Galaxy of Terror [Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror; Planet of Horrors] (Bruce D. Clark 1981); Android (Aaron Lipstadt 1982); Forbidden World [Mutant] (Allan Holzman 1982); Sorceress (Jack Hill 1982); Spaceship (Bruce Kimmel 1983); Space Raiders (Howard R. Cohen 1983); Deathstalker (James Sbardellati 1983); School Spirit (Alan Holleb 1985); Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (Hector Olivera 1985); Barbarian Queen (Olivera 1985); Amazons (Alejandro Sessa 1986); Shadow Play (Susan Shadburne 1986); House (Steve Miner 1986); Chopping Mall (Jim WYNORSKI 1986); Mountain top Motel Massacre (Jim McCullough Sr. 1986); Sorority House Massacre (Carol Frank 1986); Deathstalker II (Wynorski 1987); Munchies (Tina Hirsch 1987); House II: The Second Story (uncredited) (Ethan Wiley 1987); Slumber Party Massacre II (Deborah Brock 1987); Andy Colby's Incredible Adventure (Brock 1988); The Lawless Land (Jon Hess 1988); The New Gladiators (Joe Ritter 1988); Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell (Alfonso Corona 1988); Dance of the Damned (Katt Shea 1988); Apprentice to Murder (Ralph L. Thomas 1988); Watchers (Hess 1988); Crime Zone (Luis Llosa 1988); Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back (Joe Finley 1989); Masque of the Red Death (Larry Brand 1989); Lords of the Deep (and acted in) (Mary Ann Fisher 1989); Time Trackers (Cohen 1989); The Terror Within (Thierry Notz 1989); Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (Griffith 1989); Warlock (Miner 1989); Sorority House Massacre II (Wynorski 1990); Transylvania Twist (Wynorski 1990); Ultra Warrior (Augusto Tamayo San Rom´n and Kevin Tent 1990); Dune Warriors (Cirio H. Santiago 1990); The Terror Within II (Andrew Stevens 1990); Watchers II (Notz 1990); The Haunting of Morella (Wynorski 1990); Deathstalker II: Match of Titans (Cohen 1990); Slumber Party Massacre III (Sally Mattison 1990); Immortal Sins Hervé Hachuel 1991); Dead Space (Fred Gallo 1991); The Unborn (Rodman Flender 1991); Future Kick (Damian Klaus 1991); Munchie (Wynorski 1992); Raiders of the Sun (Santiago 1993); The Skateboard Kid (Larry Swerdlove 1993); To Sleep with a Vampire (Adam Friedman 1993); Dracula Rising (Fred Gallo 1993); Stepmonster (Jeremy Stanford 1993); Carnosaur (Adam Simon and Darren Moloney 1993); Quake (video) (Louis Morneau 1993); New Crime City (Jonathan Winfrey 1994); Demon Keeper (Joe Tomatore 1994); The Unborn II (Rick Jacobson 1994); Revenge of the Red Baron (Robert Gordon 1994); The Fantastic Four (Oley Sassone 1994); Dinosaur Island (Fred Olen RAY and Wynorski 1994); Watchers III (Jeremy Stanford 1994); Captain Nuke and the Bomber Boys (Charles Gale 1995); Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds (uncredited) (Ray 1995); Caged Heat 3000 (Aaron Osborne 1995); Carnosaur 2 (Morneau 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Suspect Device (tv movie) (Rick Jacobson 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] The Alien Within (tv movie) (Scott P. Levy 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Sawbones (tv movie) (Catherine Cyran 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Virtual Seduction (tv movie) (Paul Ziller 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Bram Stoker's "Burial of the Rats" (tv movie) (Dan Golden 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] The Black Scorpion (tv movie) (Winfrey 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Not Like Us (tv movie) (David Payne 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Wasp Woman (tv movie) (Wynorski 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Not of This Earth (tv movie) (Terry Winkless 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Dark Secrets [A Bucket of Blood] (tv movie) (Michael James McDonald 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Piranha (tv movie) (Levy 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Last Chance [Terminal Virus] (tv movie) (Golden 1995); [Roger Corman Presents] Hellfire (tv movie) (David Tausik 1995); Droid Gunner (Ray 1995); Vampirella (video) (Wynorski 1996); [Roger Corman Presents] Humanoids from the Deep (Jeff Yonis 1996); House of the Damned [Spectre] (Scott P. Levy 1996); Bio-Tech Warrior (Bret McCormick 1996); [Roger Corman Presents] Alien Avengers (tv movie) (Lev L. Spiro 1996); [Roger Corman Presents] Last Exit to Earth (tv movie) (Shea 1996); [Roger Corman Presents] Flash Frames [Subliminal Seduction] (tv movie) (Andrew Stevens 1996); Time Under Fire [Beneath the Bermuda Triangle] (Levy 1996); Alien Terminator (Payne 1996); Inhumanoid (tv movie) (Victoria Muspratt 1996); Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (Winfrey 1996); The Haunted Sea (Golden and Daniel Patrick 1997); Starquest II [Galactic Odyssey] (Fred Gallo 1997); Black Scorpion II: Aftershock [Black Scorpion: Ground Zero] (Winfrey 1997); Spacejacked (Jeremiah Cullinane 1997); Desert Thunder (Wynorski 1998); Star Portal (Jon Purdy 1998); Falling Fire [3 Minutes to Impact] (tv movie) (Daniel D'Or 1998); Watchers Reborn (John Carl Buechler 1998); Alien Avengers II [Aliens Among Us; Roger Corman Presents Alien Avengers II; Welcome to Planet Earth] (tv movie) (Payne 1998);A Very Unlucky Leprechaun (Brian Kelly 1998); Club Vampire (Andy Ruben 1998);Future Fear (Lewis Baumander 1998); Shepherd (Peter Hayman 1999); Cybermaster (Eli Necakov 1999); Knocking on Death's Door (Mitch Marcus 1999); The Phantom Eye [Roger Corman's The Phantom Eye] (and appeared in) (miniseries) (Gwyneth Gibby 1999); The Haunting of Hell House [Henry James' The Haunting of Hell House; The Ghostly Rental] (Marcus 1999); The White Pony (Kelly 1999); Nightfall [Isaac Asimov's Nightfall] (video) (Gibby 2000); The Doorway (Michael B. Druxman 2000); Termination Man (Gallo 2000); Black Scorpion (tv series) (2001); Raptor (video) (Wynorski 2001); Slaughter Studios (video) (Brian Katkin 2002); Sting of the Black Scorpion (video; re-edited episodes of Black Scorpion) (Stanley Yung 2002); Wolfhound (video) (Donovan Kelly 2002); Dinocroc (Kevin O'Neill 2004); Saurian (tv movie) (Buechler 2006); Scorpius Gigantus (Tommy Withrow 2006).

Wrote: Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (with Charles B. Griffith) (Griffith 1980).

Appeared in: The Howling (uncredited) (Dante 1981); The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan DEMME 1991); John Carpenter Presents "Body Bags" (John CARPENTER and Tobe HOOPER 1993); Apollo 13 (Ron HOWARD 1995); Scream 3 (Wes CRAVEN 2000); Looney Tunes: Back in Action (Dante 2003); The Manchurian Candidate (Demme 2004).

Appeared in Documentaries: Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel (Christian Blackwood 1978); The Horror of It All (Gene Feldman and Suzette Winter 1983); The Horror Hall of Fame (Ron de Moraes 1990); "Creature Articulation: The Art of Imitation" (1994), episode of Movie Magic; 100 Years of Horror (series of documentary videos) (Ted Newsom 1996); A-Z of Horror (documentary miniseries) (Ursula MacFarlane 1997); "Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain" (1997), episode of Biography; Inside the Labyrinth: The Making of The Silence of the Lambs (Jeffrey Schwartz 2001); A Galaxy Far, Far Away (Tariq Jalil 2001); It Conquered Hollywood!: The Story of American International Pictures (Eamon Harrington and John Watkin 2001); The Wicker Man Enigma (David Gregory 2001); Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man (Andrew Abbott and Russell Leven 2001); Mario Bava: Operazione Paura (Gabriele Acerbo and Roberto Pisoni 2004); Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen (Michael Palm 2004); Jonathan Demme and the Making of The Manchurian Candidate (2004); The Perfect Scary Movie (2005); Playing the Game: Looking Back at Death Race 2000 (Robert Nunez 2005); The Sci-Fi Boys (Paul Davids 2006); Working with a Master: Joe Dante (video documentary short) (Frank H. Woodward 2006); Comedy Central Roast of William SHATNER (Joel Gallen 2006).

Presented: Dinocroc (Kevin O'Neill 2004).

Received Thanks or Special Thanks: Reel Radicals: The Sixties Revolution in Film (documentary) (Lewis A. Bogach and Don Fizzinoglia 2002); Unleashing the Beast: Making The Howling (video documentary) (Jeffrey Schwartz 2003); Targets: An Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich (short) (Laurent Bouzereau 2003); Frog-g-g (Cory Jarrett 2004).

 
It is by no means easy to epitomize the vast, complex legacy of Roger Corman, which is why my three previous drafts of this entry were abandoned as not quite ready for public viewing. Yet, as a correspondent has recently reminded me, Corman is unquestionably a major figure in science fiction film who is long overdue for coverage in this encyclopedia, driving me to finally present version 4.0 even while suspecting that it, too, needs further improvement.

First, considering his directorial career, one must begin with an unpleasantly blunt assessment: Roger Corman was a lousy director. And please do not say that he was a lousy director only because he was hampered by little money, inept talent, and insufficient time; for in the 1960s, when he was blessed with larger budgets, better casts and crews, and more leisurely shooting schedules, his films did not noticeably improve—indeed, in most respects they grew worse. And in 1990, when he briefly returned to directing with a worthwhile project (based on a novel by Brian W. Aldiss) and all the resources that a wealthy producer could provide, the resulting film, Frankenstein Unbound, was still a conspicuous mediocrity.

However, while his films provide no evidence of any special skills in directing, Corman still merits considerable praise, for he is also a consistently interesting director. His early films bristle with energy, since he seems to be driving everyone on the set to work at a frenzied pace, as if thinking, "Hey, if we finish this one two days early, we can shoot another film on the same sets." Thus, while the contemporaneous films of Edward L. CAHN fascinate us with the stultifying spectacle of life in slow motion, Corman's films fascinate in precisely the opposite fashion, displaying life in fast forward. And while he may be working quickly, Corman also strives at all times to put something unusual, something unexpected, into each of his films, whether it is a surprising plot device—the human Quisling assisting the alien invader of It Conquered the World or the surprise ending of Teenage Caveman—or a striking visualization—like the carnivorous plant of The Little Shop of Horrors or the strangely erotic scene when Ray MILLAND's X—The Man with the X-Ray Eyes realizes that he can see people naked, as revealed to audiences solely by means of dancing feet. In sum, just when some cringe-inducing awkwardness is about to make you switch the channel, Corman is capable of stunning you with a brilliancy. This does not make him, I emphasize again, a genuinely talented director, but a filmmaker who never slows down and never bores you definitely stands out in the milieu of 1950s science fiction films, which is why his efforts have been widely celebrated.

His films of the 1960s, however, command less attention: the Poe adaptations thrust Corman, very much a man in tune with today's society, into the stilted, alien world of the nineteenth century, and his larger budgets led him to emphasize garish color and lavish sets at the expense of other cinematic virtues. Brightly decorated with nary a shadow in sight, and hampered by the ever-insincere Vincent PRICE, they are not really horror films, but rather constipated comedies. (The Raven, by any rational consideration one of his worst efforts, may earn occasional compliments only because it at least was openly intended to be comedic.) Still, once out of Poe's clutches, Corman did come up with two final gems, the amusingly dated The Trip and the post-apocalyptic Gas-s-s-s, Or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It,a flawed but intriguing capstone to his entire career filled with sly references to science fiction, teenage romps, and Edgar Allan Poe.

But Corman was always a producer as well as a director, and as the 1960s progressed he noticed something that he deemed highly significant: the films he had invested special efforts in, and the better films of his colleagues, did not seem to make any more money than his company's less distinguished productions. In the realm of B-movies, he concluded, success bore little relationship to quality; rather, turning a tidy profit hinged upon matters like a clever concept, a well-chosen title, an attractive poster, and/or good timing. Thus, recognizing that planning and marketing movies were the forms of creativity most likely to result in rich rewards, Corman turned all of his energies into producing, hiring other people to perform the chores of directing films that were guaranteed to be successful regardless of their aesthetic virtues.

Compiling the extensive results of his long producing career, and sorting out items of genre interest from the routine thrillers and shoot-em-ups, proved to be a time-consuming chore which further delayed the completion of this entry, and the results, all in all, make for depressing reading. The Corman system is obvious enough: first, you churn out a steady stream of formulaic fare, featuring lots of blood and lots of breasts, which can reliably earn money in venues like small-town theatres, foreign countries, television, and/or the direct-to-video market; in addition, you accumulate a library of other potential projects of every conceivable nature, and you always keep your eyes on the trade journals. Then, when Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER is set to appear in Red Sonja (1985), you unveil something called Barbarian Queen, and when Steven SPIELBERG is getting ready to release Jurassic Park (1993), you dust off a scenario called Carnosaur—confident that the massive publicity for the major releases will, as one side effect, generate a modicum of interest in your cheap knock-offs. Finally, to keep everyone on their toes, you occasionally toss out something completely unexpected—a biography of Albert Schweitzer? (Light in the Jungle: The Story of Albert Schweitzer [1990]?) Well, Corman may have said to persuade his skeptical colleagues, maybe we can take the high road for once while still slipping in some bare-breasted native women for our steady customers….

And let us put to rest one enduring myth about Corman's producing career: that he had a marvelous eye for spotting "new talent." All Corman has ever kept an eye out for is cheap talent, competent craftspersons willing to work for peanuts. Occasionally, of course, such a search will lead to people with genuine skills in directing (like Joe DANTE) or genuine skills in insinuating themselves into the Hollywood hit-making machinery (like Ron HOWARD, who launched his career with Corman's Grand Theft Auto [1977]); but Corman's roster of discoveries includes many others who have failed to distinguish themselves in any way (have you been to any Jimmy Murakawi film festivals recently?).

But again, I must back away from comments suggesting hostility to Corman to express appreciation for Corman's contributions in a third area, as a performer. It is not simply that, whenever he is asked to play a small role in a film, such as Dante's Looney Tunes: Back in Action, he consistently does a professional job; I am thinking more about his performances as himself, in interviews and documentaries, where he consistently emerges as a likable, down-to-earth person who genuinely loves bad movies and the people who make bad movies. I still recall with affection the time when he served as host to an AMC showing of some 1990s Godzilla films, noting wryly while introducing Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995) that the oxygen-destroying machine in the original Godzilla (1954) had "rather belatedly" resulted in the creation of a new monster; for Corman is a man who fully realizes that, if there is money to be made by creating a sequel, any premise, no matter how ludicrous, will suffice.

What finally protects Corman from harsh condemnation, then, is his complete lack of pretension regarding his chosen career and the world of second-tier filmmaking he has entered and mastered. After all, the man has never presented himself as a good director, or as a good producer, but only as someone intent upon creating profitable products that, now and again, might be worth a second look. And what's wrong with that? he asks. The would-be critic can say nothing in response.

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