I came across ‘The Terminator’ at 30: An oral history article in Entertainment Weekly and I was reminded of how influential Roger Corman was to so many Hollywood heavyweights. I mean, James “Titanic/Avatar/Aliens/Terminator” Cameron came out of the Corman world as did Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson and many more. (You can actually see one of Nicholson’s earliest screen roles in The Little Shop of Horrors below.) He is one of the most prolific directors and producers in the business and his influence will probably be seen for generations.
If this is your first time hearing about Roger Corman, you should check out what he has done. He has, in some capacity, been part of 500+ movies. Perhaps you have not seen his work or realized that you have, but you probably have seen the remakes of his classics. Besides the aformentioned The Little Shop of Horrors, he produced the original Death Race 2000 with a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone.
Who would have thought that the man known for B-movies and cult classics would have such a major impact on some of Hollywood’s greatest contemporaries? Enjoy three of Corman’s classics below, available worldwide except for in Switzerland, Mexico and Colombia (sorry, guys).
Another of B-movie king Roger Corman’s “hits,” this ultra-low budget classic stars Susan Cabot as Janice Starlin, the owner of a cosmetics firm who teams up with mad-scientist Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark) to develop a youth formula with the jelly taken from queen wasps. When she fails to anticipate the side effects, Starlin transforms into a murderous wasp overnight—hence the title. Terrible special effects aside, the acting is way better then you would expect, and it’s got the best breakup line ever: “I got 3 words for you: drop dead..twice!”
Walter, an awkward and socially inept bus boy at a Boho artist café, accidentally kills his neighbor’s cat and hides his crime by covering the cat with plaster. When his artist regulars see what they think is a brilliant and hyper-realistic sculpture, they clamor for more of his work. Basking in his new found acclaim, Walter resorts to similar methods to create more work and soon people start disappearing.
Seymour Krelboyne thinks he has a peaceful life and a job at the flower store. All is going well until he discovers a new species all by himself that has to feed upon humans to be alive. It is Seymour’s little secret and should be kept so. He decides to do something about his new friend’s feeding habit. So, Seymour sets out on a killing spree to provide the much needed fodder for his plant. The town gets alarmed as people start missing all of a sudden.