Roger Corman - King of the Bs
1 - The Filmmaker Neil Breen, The Light of This World
1. Double Down (2005) 4.5
2. I Am Here....Now (2009) 4.9
3. Fateful Findings (2013) 4.7
4. Pass Thru (2016) 5.4
Brett Kelly, the David Michael Latt of the North
5. Hell at My Heels (2011) 1.1 - also first to check
6. Rise of the Black Bat (2012) 1.2
7. Jesse James: Lawman (2015) 1.9
8. Surfacing (Claude Jutra, 1981) 4.3
9. Underwater! (John Sturges, 1955) 5.2
xx. Atlas Shrugged: Part I (Paul Johansson, 2011)
10. Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (John Putch, 2012) 5.3
11. Atlas Shrugged: Part III (James Manera, 2014) 4.3
Don Emonds - Sultan of Sleaze
12. Tender Loving Care (1972) 4.2
13. Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. (1975) (re-watch) 5.1
14. Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976) 5.1
Alvin Rakoff - Canuck jack-of-all-genres
15. City on Fire (1979) 4.1
16. King Solomon's Treasure (1979) 4.2
17. Death Ship (1980) 4.9
18. DEFCON-4 (Paul Donovan, 1985) 4.5
Lloyd A. Simandl - lingerie, shower & leather fetishist, purveyor of awful cinema
19. Autumn Born (1979) 4.2
20. Ladies of the Lotus (1987) 3.7
21. Possession (1987) 4.2
22. Empire of Ash aka Empire of Ash II (1988) 3.8
23. Empire of Ash III (1989) 4.4
24. The Bloody Brood (Julian Roffman, 1959) 4.9
Rafal Zielinski - purveyor of generic 80s teen comedy schlock (25-29)
25. Screwballs (1983) 4.7
26. Loose Screws aka Screwballs II (1985) 4.2
27. Recruits (1986) 4.4
28. State Park (1988) 4.8
29. Last Resort aka National Lampoon's Last Resort (1994) 2.8
30. Starship Invasions (Ed Hunt, 1977) 3.8
more low-grade Canuck sci-fi
31. The Neptune Factor (Daniel Petrie, 1973) 4.5
32. The Shape of Things to Come (George McCowan, 1979) 3.1
33. Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (Damian Lee, 1990) 2.8
34. Replikator (Philip Jackson, 1994) 2.9
(I believe Roger's the guy on the left. The guy on the right looks just a little bit familiar as well, can't quite place it...)
(more on Corman, including a few that don't quite hit the requirements for this challenge, on Run the Director)
35. Swamp Women
A large diamond heist has never been recovered; cops suspect a gang of three women currently in prison, but can't get them to talk, so they send an undercover policewoman to help break the trio out of prison, and find the hidden diamonds, somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana. Marie Windsor (the Joan Crawford of the Bs) is the self-proclaimed leader of the girl gang, and Beverly Garland (who was to Audrey Totter what Totter was to Gloria Grahame) the bitchiest of the group. Along the way they pick up a man and a woman in a boat and force them to go along. This is quite short like most of these early Cormans - just over an hour - but feels a little draggy nonetheless as the constant bickering gets old, and it suffers a typical problem for this kind of B picture - a too-quick and unconvincing wrap-up. The cast isn't bad and it was shot on location so it has a little bit of authenticity to it, but overall just average at best.
36 . The Oklahoma Woman
The third of Corman's four westerns, which are underrated as a group - Corman had a natural feel for the genre I think and being able to do a lot on a small budget served him in good stead in a genre that didn't require lots of effects, and was still fairly commonly done cheaply and in black and white as in this case. Here we have Richard Denning as a man returning to his hometown after 6 years in jail, and getting involved in a feud between two women - one a former lover - who are trying to run the town through the mayor. The ex-girlfriend (B stalwart Peggie Castle) runs the saloon and the town more or less and has the current incumbent in her pocket, but her rival - good girl Cathy Downs - is running a strong opposition through her father. Of course Denning picks the right/moral side and there's lots of gunfights and sabotage and people going to jail or almost hung in this 73 minute oater. Once again mostly female-led, and a strong and somewhat unusual ending make this possibly the director's best western and best film up to this point.
37. Attack of the Crab Monsters
The first of nine films from 1957, this is a typical 50s atomic-energy-creates-monsters type flick, with a group of scientists and a couple of military guys and a radio man (Russell Johnson, in training I guess for his role on Gilligan's Island
) on an island with giant crab-like creatures (pretty cheesy looking - ok VERY cheesy looking, but in the context of low-budget 50s stuff probably just average) that slowly whittle down their numbers, and somehow also whittle down the island, meanwhile absorbing the memories of their victims and sending psychic impulses to the survivors to get them to go out and die as well. Not necessarily a bad premise but poorly done overall.
38. The Undead
The surprise pick not just of this Corman run but of the whole month as it turns out. I think part of what I loved so much about it is that it reminds me of Corman's heyday, beginning a few years later, with Vincent Price doing those Poe and Poe-ish films, though this is obviously much cheaper and in b/w and stylistically not really similar at all. It's also (sort of) a time travel film: scientist Val Dufour sends a hooker he found on street (Pamela Duncan) centuries back in time into her former life as a French woman accused of witchcraft, and about to be executed. But with the 20th century mind within her, she figures out a way to escape, and several adventures - and potential changes to her future timeline, her future lives as it were, occur. The medieval-set storyline is all done in a faux-Shakespearean language that I personally found delightful, and this is the earliest film in this sequence that offers much in the way of humor - something Corman was good at, but didn't always include; I find his less-serious or at least self-aware and sometimes self-mocking work overall his best. A terrific low-rent cast includes Dick Miller in a bit as a leper (cured by Satan don't ya know - oh did I forget that ol' Lucifer is a big player here? he is), Allison Hayes as a real witch, Mel Welles as a cheerful, rhyming gravedigger, etc etc. Huge fun if you can get past the cheap sets and all, and if you can't why are you watching Corman? Maybe his best film of the 50s (Machine-Gun Kelly
is it's only competition) and one of the most underrated films on IMDb if you ask me.
39. Naked Paradise
All right film about a trio of criminals who get a small boat captain to unwittingly help them in their escape from one island in Hawaii to another, where they're to rendezvous with a bigger boat. Unfortunately a tropical storm gets in the way of things, and the captain (Richad Denning) eventually figures out that these guys aren't the businessman and assistants that he thought they were, and that secretary Beverly Garland isn't exactly happy in her roles as arm-candy for boss Leslie Bradley. Dick Miller plays the more psycho of the two henchmen, and Corman and producer and longtime associate Samuel Z. Arkoff both have bit parts. Nicely shot - I guess, it was a rather poor copy - and a fun cast, but pretty ordinary overall.
40. Carnival Rock
Despite the title this one's not actually a juvie, instead a more overtly noirish story about a love triangle set in a carnival. Nightclub owner Christy (David Stewart), a big 50ish Greek guy has the hots for his much younger star, Susan Cabot, but she's interested in a young businessman (future director Brian G. Hutton) who's angling for Christy's place - and Christy's deeply in debt, and his right-hand man (Dick Miller) can't seem to do anything to help him out. This is a pretty nicely done and rather morose (though not quite tragic) story of failure and obsession, one of the more serious and less overtly genre-influenced of the director's works, and Stewart and Miller are both pretty terrific.
41. Teenage Caveman
Robert Vaughn is rather miscast as a loquacious and quite articulate caveman who's always wondering what's over the river or the next hill, even though it's FORBIDDEN! None of the people in this caveman epic have names so he's "The Symbol-Maker's Son" while his father (Leslie Bradley) is "The Symbol-Maker" and the chief rival to that personage's power is "The Black-Bearded One" (Frank DeKova). The tribe has discovered fire, and the wheel, and Vaughn figures out how to make a bow-and-arrow, but they're restricted to a very small area and The Black-Bearded One is willing to kill anyone who deviates from The Law. Shades of Bela Lugosi and The Island of Lost Souls
maybe? But as I said Vaughn - and the other cavemen - are surprisingly well spoken, and at the end of the film we find out why, which may not be any surprise to you if you've seen a certain rather more famous sci-fi film made 10 years later... Anyway, this is another film significantly better than it's lowly reputation - the conflict between the progressives and reactionaries is pretty well developed in the brief run-time, and the various monsters while not exactly impressive aren't as bad as they often are in these things - and they really aren't that important. Corman social science fiction in the end, and I like it.
42. She Gods of Shark Reef
And then we get this, which is one of the weaker films in the Corman canon. It's not really a fantasy or horror film as you might expect from the title, but a crime pic about a couple of brothers, one of them basically a good guy who believes in the good in the other one, misguidedly - who are stranded on an island run by women after escaping from the law. The good bro falls in love, the bad one plots to steal the pearls that are the women's livelihood. Shot in Hawaii, with a secondary (uncredited) cast that looks Hawaiian, but a Polish love interest (Lisa Montell) and Russian tribal leader (Jeanne Gerson). Montell can pull off the exotic look, Gerson definitely couldn't; Corman often does better in his casting of ethnic minorities than a lot of directors in this era, but not this time. Overall predictable and dull.
43. Last Woman on Earth
Exactly what the title implies. A businessman (Anthony Carbone), his wife (Betsy Jones-Moreland) and lawyer (Robert Towne, yes, the screenwriter of Chinatown
- and this film, his first writing credit) are out fishing off the coast of Puerto Rico and are all underwater when something happens that whisks away the Earth's oxygen apparently - briefly - and kills all humans and higher animals. At least that's what we experience - radios have gone silent and they have no way to communicate with the rest of the world, so it's never quite clear. But in any case when they get back to land they find everyone dead and, not surprisingly, a psychological battle begins between the three survivors. Shot on location (as was the subsequent Creature from the Haunted Sea
- Corman always liked to use a location twice, saved money and time), this makes excellent use of both the island's natural beauty and some interesting architecture, and while it's a familiar story it's pretty well done with a rather surprising ending. Not on the level of Five
or The World, the Flesh and the Devil
, but a solid enough entry in the "everybody's dead but us few" apocalypse sub-genre.
44. Ski Troop Attack
Yet another film that I found much better than it's IMDb rating would indicate (you just can't trust that site on Corman or most older b movies frankly), a simple hour-long "men on a mission" war movie about a squad of American troops during the Battle of the Bulge, Christmas 1944, who have to decide between going back to their troops and serious fighting, and moving in another direction to provide scouting reports. They choose the latter but get into plenty of trouble including running into a young Nazi woman in a hut, and eventually finding a bridge that needs to get blowed up real good. Pretty solid wintertime snowy mountain excitement here though it's hardly a masterpiece or anything. Good interpersonal conflicts, especially between the tall, cool lieutenant (sometime Corman regular Michael Forest, still acting today at 91) and the hotheaded sergeant (another Corman reg, Michael Wolff).