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The 10 best Roger Corman films

Known for creating sensational films on low budgets and in short periods of time, Roger Corman is often remembered as the “King of B Movies.” As one of the leading directors of independent cinema in the United States, Corman’s influence and contribution to cinema goes far beyond this nickname.

Roger Corman not only produced and directed countless memorable films, but also helped launch the careers of numerous actors and directors. Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, William Shatner, John Landis, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich and Jonathan Demme are some of them.

In 2010, Corman received an honorary Oscar in recognition of his invaluable contribution to cinema. However, his greatest legacy is, without a doubt, his incredible films. Among his most notable works are his adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

To pay homage to him we list 10 notable works directed by the maestro.

Roger Corman was also a producer, discovering various talents in Hollywood. / Credit: Reproduction

Roger Corman: The best films

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967) / Credit: 20th Century Fox (disclosure)

This Corman film depicts the infamous event known as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” The incident concerns the murder of seven members of the “North Side” gang, led by Bugs Moran, allegedly perpetrated by members of the “South Side” gang, led by Al Capone. The massacre occurred on Valentine’s Day 1929 in Chicago, during Prohibition in the United States.

The film portrays the episode in docudrama style, providing authentic historical details. Jason Robards, Ralph Meeker, George Segal and David Canary star in the production.

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963) / Credits: American International Pictures (advertising)

Considered one of Roger Corman’s best works, “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes” is a classic of American B-movie cinema. The film mixes horror and science fiction and has a cast with great actors of the time, such as Ray Milland. Don Rickles, Diana Van der Vlis and Morris Ankrum make up the cast.

In the plot, a scientist (Milland) develops an eye drop that can increase the range of human vision, allowing us to see beyond the visible spectrum. However, to obtain more objective data, he tests the drops on himself. The formula gives him X-ray vision, but has serious consequences.

Frankenstein Unbound (1990) / Credits: 20th Century Fox (disclosure)

Based on the novel of the same name by Brian Aldiss, “Frankenstein – Terror of Darkness” is an unusual reinterpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic. Mixing elements of science fiction with horror, the film brings futuristic aspects. The film has a cast with big names, such as John Hurt, Raul Julia, Bridget Fonda, Jason Patric and Nick Brimble.

This film marks Corman’s return to directing after a hiatus of almost fifteen years. Furthermore, it is also the last film he directed.

In the plot, a scientist from 2031 (Hurt), working on a military project, opens a temporal rift. He travels through time and ends up in Switzerland in 1817. There he meets Baron Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Julia) and the writer Mary Shelley (Fonda). However, the region is hit by a wave of murders.

The House of Usher (1960) / Credit: American International Pictures (advertising)

Based on the story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, this was the first film in the “Poe Cycle”. This cycle consists of a series of feature films directed by Corman that adapt works by Allan Poe.

The film stars Vincent Price, an actor who participated in seven of the eight films of the “Poe Cycle”. The cast of the production also includes Myrna Fahey, Mark Damon and Harry Ellerbe.

In the plot, Philip Winthrop (Damon) travels to the Usher mansion to meet his fiancée, Madeline (Fahey). However, he is greeted by his brother, Roderick (Price), who informs him that Madeline is seriously ill and that the Usher family is cursed.

Selected by the National Film Registry, a list maintained by the United States Library of Congress that recognizes films of importance to the country.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) / Credit: American International Pictures (advertising)

The second film of the “Poe Cycle”, “The Pit and the Pendulum” is loosely based on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Vincent Price stars in another adaptation directed by Roger Corman, alongside Barbara Steele, John Kerr and Luana Anders.

The plot is set in 16th century Spain and follows a young Englishman (Kerr) who visits an ancient castle to investigate the mysterious death of his sister (Steele). Suspicious of his brother-in-law (Price), he discovers shocking revelations and begins to suspect that his sister may have been buried alive.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) / Credit: American International Pictures (advertising)

Based on the short story “The Masque of the Red Death” and incorporating elements of “Hop-Frog”, both works by Edgar Allan Poe, this is the seventh film in the “Poe Cycle”. The film once again stars Vincent Price.

In the plot, a tyrannical and Satanist medieval prince (Price) terrorizes the local peasants. He protects himself from a deadly plague in his castle, where he enjoys organizing parties.

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) / Credits: Anglo-Amalgamated, Warner-Pathé (advertising)

Adaptation of the story “Ligeia” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Sinister Tomb” is the eighth and final film of the “Poe Cycle”. This time, Vincent Price stars alongside Elizabeth Shepherd.

In the plot, a man haunted by the memory of his deceased wife remarries after meeting Rowena (Pastor). However, the man’s obsession with his dead wife does not disappear.

The Wild Angels (1966) / Credit: American International Pictures (publicity)

A feature film about the famous Hells Angels motorcycle club, “Wild Angels” was the precursor to the counterculture motorcycle films of the 1960s and 1970s.

Released years before “No Destination” (1969), this was the first film in which actor Peter Fonda played a motorcyclist riding a Harley-Davidson. The cast also includes Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd and Buck Taylor.

The plot revolves around a motorcycle gang called “The Angels”, led by Heavenly Blues (Fonda).

The Journey (1967) / Credit: American International Pictures (advertising)

With a screenplay by Jack Nicholson, “Journey to the World of Hallucinations” was one of the first American films to capture the spirit of the counterculture that emerged in the context of the 1960s.

With psychedelic moments and images, the film stars Peter Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern. The plot follows a young advertising executive (Fonda) who experiences his first LSD trip.

Bloody Mama (1970) / Credit: American International Pictures (advertising)

This film is loosely based on the true story of Kate “Ma” Barker and her children, who were famous for their criminal activities during the Great Depression.

Shelley Winters plays Ma Barker, a devoted but mentally unstable mother. She together with her four adult children forms a gang that commits robberies, kidnappings and murders. The cast also includes Bruce Dern, Don Stroud, Robert Walden, Alex Nicol and Robert De Niro.

The post The 10 Best Roger Corman Films appeared first on Olhar Digital.

Source: Olhar Digital

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