Roger Corman's low-budget vision stays sharp, busy
05:00 AM, Oct 01, 2013
Roger Corman would have a field day coming up with a title for this one.
It’s about an 87-year-old man who refuses to yield ground to the behemoths that have invaded his home world.
Corman, known for 60 years of low-budget films with titles such as The Navy vs. the Night Monsters and Attack of the 50ft. Cheerleader, concedes his own story is beginning to take on the tenor of one of his far-fetched films, which now number more than 450 that he’s produced or directed (he’s lost count).
And with the help of YouTube, the Syfy network and a resurgence of shoestring-budget cinema, Corman is back like a zombie with the munchies:
Corman is tickled that, in an era when breakfast cereal ads boast computer-generated effects, there’s a resurgence “in that camp quality” to movies.
“I think we’ve hit a saturation point with $150 million movies,” he says from his Los Angeles office, where he’s overseeing four films in production. “Lately, very few of them have been made well.”
Not that Corman made his own reputation producing Oscar bait. But in a frail economy, bringing a movie in under budget and on time has become a premium video service. And he’s scoring solid ratings with Syfy, producing original movies such as Dinoshark, Sharktopus and Dinocroc vs. Supergator.
Corman “has been pretty brilliant at finding an underserved audience that studios aren’t paying attention to,” says Crab author Chris Nashawaty. “The studios usually, eventually, take his lead.”
Horror, in particular, remains the province of cheap schlock, as movies like the $3 million The Purge outsell mainstream studio fare. Of course, $3 million sounds like a mint to the guy who shot The Little Shop of Horrors for $30,000 in 1960.
Corman acknowledges that his movies “maybe get a break” from viewers used to Hollywood blockbusters, but with good reason.
“There’s a David and Goliath element to the movies I make,” he says. “I think people look on those kind of films fondly. Plus, the movies are almost always entertaining. And every once in a while, they’re good.”