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DVD Shopping Bag: Corman’s World Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

A documentary on the legend

By Robert T. Trate     February 28, 2012

 

“Not many 25 year old film buffs know who Roger Corman is”. This was said in the new documentary, Corman’s World Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel arriving at the end of March from Anchor Bay. I find this statement shocking since any true blue film buff as at least seen 4 or 5 of Roger Corman’s masterpieces. The new documentary by Alex Stapleton is a look at Corman’s humble beginnings in the industry up until the birth of Star Wars. Interviews from Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, William Shatner and Eli Roth highlight Corman’s effect on their own careers and his impact on the film industry. The entire documentary parallels Corman working on yet another Sci-Fi Channel original movie, Dinoshark, with the man in his eighties. Whether you are a fan of Corman’s work or not the documentary tells the story of a Hollywood rebel. The sad note to the entire piece is that many of his accolades made the next step and became movie stars or big name directors whereas Corman stayed exactly where he always was.
 
“Every Disney Movie brings out the kid in us. Well, so does exploitation” – Ron Howard. Like many of you I discovered Roger Corman late one Saturday night in a movie that involved boobs and explosions. After seeing that and saying “What the hell is this?” I stayed for the duration. My very first Corman film was Battle Beyond the Stars (see column). I loved it as a kid and felt it was as cool, though not as great, as Star Wars. It really is a poor man’s version of Lucas’ classic Sci-Fi Opera. Sadly, Star Wars meant the end of an era for Corman. From that point on, many of his films went straight to video.
 
Documentaries like Corman’s World Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel highlight and disappoint on a personal level. The highlights come from all the great film clips we witness on screen. Actors such as Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda discuss their early days working for Corman and what projects he passed on (Easy Rider). These backstories make many of the films mentioned curiosities. They become the new obsession and therefore must be seen. The disappointments come from not being able to find many of them. Here are several of the films mentioned in Corman’s World Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel and their availability.
 
Monster on the Ocean Floor (1954): Corman’s first produced film currently priced $29.99 on DVD.
 
Apache Woman (1955): Genre favorite Dick Miller shoots himself as two different characters in the finale. Sadly, it is only on VHS.
 
It Conquered the World (1956): Lee Van Cleef, Dick Miller, and Peter Graves battle an alien from Venus. Again, it is only available on VHS.
 
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964): Martin Scoreses’s favorite film of Roger Corman’s. This one is available on DVD with An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe (seen here on Amazon).
 
Gill Women of Venus aka Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968). The title alone makes it worth at least one watch. Multiple versions available on DVD and cheap, too!
 
This is only a sampling but with Amazon, YouTube, and a resurgence of these kinds of films it is only a matter of time before they are available again. In my five years of writing the DVD Shopping Bag, I have had the chance to get my hands on several of Roger Corman’s produced films which recently become available. His Galaxy of Terror (see column) supported not only a crazy cast (Robert Englund, Ray Walston and Sid Haig), but the future King of the World (James Cameron) was among the crew. Humanoids of the Deep and Piranha allowed me to sit and chat with Corman alumni and producer extraordinaire Gale Ann Hurd (The Walking Dead, Aliens, The Terminator) about something other than her current project. One of the most surreal moments of my life is her talking about which film she met her ex-husband Jim (James Cameron) on. 
 
Thank you for all the great films, Mr. Corman. Thank you for not only filling the nights with crazy cinematic wonders, but for helping all those filmmakers become who they are today. You are one of the lucky ones, as you are still out there producing and doing the thing that you love so much. At eighty years of age, I hope I can do the same.
 
Check out Shout! Factory for their complete list of Roger Corman produced DVDs and Blu-rays. Many of them are Criterion Collection worthy in both picture quality and bonus features.
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
1. Justice League: Doom (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
2. The Buccaneer [Blu-ray]
3. Vanya on 42nd Street (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
4. Spiders: Kino Classics Edition
5. Hugo (Three-disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
Answers to Nothing Starring Dane Cook and Zach Gilford
 
Beneath the Darkness Starring Dennis Quaid, Tony Oller, Aimee Teegarden
 
Beneath the Darkness [Blu-ray] Starring Dennis Quaid, Tony Oller, Aimee Teegarden
 
Bounty Hunters Starring Trish Stratus, Frank J. Zupancic and Boomer Phillips
 
I Melt With You Starring Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven
 
I Melt With You [Blu-ray] Starring Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay
 
Insight Starring Natalie Zea, Sean Patrick Flanery, Christopher Lloyd
 
King of Triads Starring Simon Yam
 
Mandrill Starring Marko Zaror and Alejandro Castillo
 
Mandrill [Blu-ray] Starring Marko Zaror and Alejandro Castillo
 
Runaway Jury [Blu-ray] Starring John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman
 
Tomorrow When The War Began Starring Rachel Hurd-Wood and Phoebe Tonkin
 
ANIME
 
A-Channel Complete Collection (2012)
 
Automobile / L'Automobile (2012)
 
Pokemon Dp: Sinnoh League Victors Set 1 (2012)
 
Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Series (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Maxey Whitehead, Josh Grelle, Jamie Marchi and Leah Clark
 
Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Series (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Maxey Whitehead, Josh Grelle, Jamie Marchi and Leah Clark
 
CARTOONS
 
The Angry Beavers: Season Three, Part 1 Starring Richard Steven Horvitz and Nick Bakay
 
Justice League: Doom (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy) Starring Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg and Nathan Fillion
 
Justice League: Doom (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) Starring Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg and Nathan Fillion
 
CLASSICS
 
The Buccaneer [Blu-ray] Starring Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston, Claire Bloom
 
The Buccaneer Starring Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston, Claire Bloom
 
The Idle Rich Starring Conrad Nagel, Bessie Love and Leila Hyams
 
Man To Man Starring Phillips Holmes, Grant Mitchell and Lucille Powers
 
The Mountain [Blu-ray] Starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Claire Trevor
 
Scarlet Street: Kino Classics Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea
 
Voice Of The City Starring Robert Ames, Jim Farley and Sylvia Field
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
Johnny English [Blu-ray] Starring Douglass McFerran, Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller and Greg Wise
 
Johnny English Reborn [Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet] Starring Rosamund Pike and Dominic West
 
Johnny English Reborn Starring Rosamund Pike and Dominic West
 
Criterion Collection
 
Vanya on 42nd Street (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, Brooke Smith
 
HORROR
 
Baba Yaga [Blu-ray] Starring Carroll Baker, George Eastman and Isabelle De Funes
 
El Monstro del Mar! Starring Norman Yemm and Nelli Scarlet
 
From The Inside Starring Dave Daniels, Brian Haggerty, Amanda Ladd
 
Rabies Starring Ania Bukstein, Lior Ashkenazi and Danny Geva
 
Wolftown Starring Josh Kelly, Levi Fiehler, Alicia Ziegler and Max Adler
 
MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY
 
Hugo (Three-disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy) (2012)
 
Hugo Starring Chloe Moretz and Jude Law
 
Hugo (Two-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Chloe Moretz, Jude Law and Asa Butterfield
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Spiders: Kino Classics Edition Starring Carl de Vogt and Ressel Orla
 
TV LAND
 
The Brief Complete Collection Starring Alan Davies
 
Here Come The Brides: Season Two Starring Robert Brown, Mark Lenard, Bobby Sherman and David Soul
 
Here's Lucy: Season Five Starring Lucille Ball, Gale Gordon and Lucie Arnaz
 
Land Girls Series 3 Starring Sophie Ward and Dominic Mafham
 
Law & Order: The Tenth Year Starring Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbach, Steven Hill
 
Midsomer Murders, Set 19 [Blu-ray] Starring John Nettles and Jason Hughes
 
Midsomer Murders, Set 19 Starring John Nettles and Jason Hughes
 
Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season Starring Bob Johnson, Peter Graves, Anthony Hamilton
 
Mission Impossible: The '88 & '89 TV Seasons Starring Bob Johnson, Peter Graves, Anthony Hamilton
 
Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil - The Complete First Season Starring Jason Mewes
 
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 3 of 3
1 
jerichoraine 2/28/2012 1:32:13 PM

How's it possible to talk about Corman and not mention his excellent 1994 Fantastic Four movie?!? We reviewed it on a podcast recently on Planet Kibi (google it) It's under the Trilogy podcast and it's titled 'Episode 17: Superman's Malaysian Underwear'. Geek out, have a listen!

themovielord 2/28/2012 9:30:26 PM

 If only they would have gotten to the FF Corman movie! That alone could be its own documentary. 

domino2008 3/2/2012 12:48:11 AM

Peter Fonda got the idea to make EASY RIDER , from a Corman movie called : THE WILD ANGELS  , it cost 100,000  bucks to make , because both Fonda and Hopper both were in Cormans motorcycle films , learn from his cheap an fast way of making movies , made a cult classic from their experence of working with him . Other remake of a Corman film was DeathRace.

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