October Horrorshow: Piranha (1978)

What a classic drive-in schlockfest. From the Roger Corman stable, Piranha could have been just another cheap Jaws ripoff, à la The Last Shark. But Corman hired filmmakers with some genuine talent to write and direct. He was way too tight to give them a budget, but their skills allowed them to weave some shitty gold.

John Sayles wrote the screenplay and Joe Dante directed. This was very early in both their careers, and they have since gone on to greater things. But I wouldn’t call this a humble beginning. By 1978, when this flick was released, Corman had been in business for decades. The flicks he produces are not humble — they are just cheap. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Piranha (1978)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone

His name isn’t in the credits, but Roger Corman was an executive producer on this piece of shit, which means a viewer can expect a masterful showcase of parsimonious filmmaking. Director Fred Olen Ray wasn’t given two pennies to rub together to make this flick, and it shows. Just about anything of consequence in the entire film was shot in the same three locations: an industrial basement, a dive bar, and an alley. That’s it. And, despite this being made in the mid-1990s, Corman and company didn’t spring for anything remotely resembling contemporary special effects, instead relying on work that belonged in cheap sci-fi from twenty years earlier. Hell, it could even be cribbed from a different Corman movie. He did that all the time. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat

What a piece of trash. I’ve written before that it’s folly to impose present morality on the past, and that includes living memory. But in this day and age, should someone try and make a film like Caged Heat, they might end up having to register as a sex offender. At the very least, Twitter would be apoplectic…for perhaps a week, before moving on to the next outrage. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat”

Giant Monstershow: Attack of the Giant Leeches

What a ridiculous movie. I loved just about every shitty minute of it.

Released in 1959, Attack of the Giant Leeches comes to viewers from the Roger Corman stable. He didn’t direct, but he was the executive producer. The movie was helmed by Bernard L. Kowalski from a screenplay by Leo Gordon (who had a prolific career as a television actor). Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Attack of the Giant Leeches”

October Horrorshow: Humanoids from the Deep, aka Monster

A viewer won’t find his name in the credits, but Humanoids from the Deep, an exploitative schlockfest from 1980, was produced by Roger Corman. He didn’t direct it and he didn’t write it, either. Barbara Peeters did the directing (with reshoots handled by an uncredited Jimmy T. Murakami), and Frederick James did the writing. But Corman’s hand is all over this film. It fits his demands at the time that cheap horror should be bloody, and feature some rape. Bloody is fine. Bloody is fun. Rape is really only useful in a horror flick if the mood a filmmaker is going for is revulsion. In a stupid monster flick, it’s overkill. Still, it doesn’t ruin too much of the fun of this putrid mess. Other stuff is responsible for that. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Humanoids from the Deep, aka Monster”

October Horrorshow: Chopping Mall, aka Killbots

I think it’s about high time to feature a flick from the Roger Corman stable. Chopping Mall, also released as Killbots, from 1986, doesn’t have Roger Corman’s name on it anywhere, but it’s definitely one of his. It was produced by Julie Corman, who has been married to Roger for almost fifty years, and it’s an underfunded piece of shit. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Chopping Mall, aka Killbots”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars

Roger Corman was absolutely shameless. There wasn’t an idea he wouldn’t steal, nor a corner he wouldn’t cut to save a buck, in any of the dozens of films in which he had a part. He is hailed as a pioneering and legendary filmmaker. He launched the careers of numerous, better filmmakers and is showered with credit for their talents. And he did all this, and more, while cranking out a relentless stream of awful films. Terrible, unwatchable, dreadful sins against the art of cinema. And sometimes, he managed to make a shitty movie that was worth a damn. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars”

October Horrorshow: Galaxy of Terror

Roger Corman is a Hollywood legend. Some of the biggest names in the business went through his gristmill. Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, and more, all spent early portions of their careers under Corman. But, I’m not convinced that Corman is a visionary. His flicks represent the basest elements of filmmaking, crafted to make a quick buck, and not much else. Because of that, I would say that I find more Corman influence in films by The Asylum and their ilk, rather than Oscar winners like The Godfather. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Galaxy of Terror”

October Horrorshow: Attack of the Crab Monsters

There haven’t been a whole lot of giant monster flicks here in the October Horrorshow. There have been plenty of zombies, gaggles of slashers, a smattering of aliens, some killer viruses, and even a couple of vampires. But giant monsters, the bread and butter of classic directors of cinematic schlock such as Bert I. Gordon and Roger Corman, have been largely missing. There isn’t really any reason for this oversight. Maybe it has something to do with the heyday of the genre having come so long ago. Whatever the reason, for today, the oversight has been rectified. And what a doozy it is. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Attack of the Crab Monsters”

October Horrorshow: The Navy vs. The Night Monsters

What a putrid mess. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a cheap 1950s monster flick. They have a certain amount of kitsch to them that paid quite a lot of dividends back in the decade of above ground nuclear tests and Leave It to Beaver. Stylistically non-offensive but at the same time strangely subversive, a good monster flick can be a commentary on the creeping destructiveness of American power, the precarious balance of post Word War II peace, and the boring homogeneity of typical Hollywood cinema. All of this can be contained in a film that looks like it cost about five bucks to make. Yep, 1950s monster cinema was great.

Too bad The Navy vs. the Night Monsters was made in 1966. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Navy vs. The Night Monsters”