#MICHIGANCONNECTION: The 10 Very Worst Films of Roger Corman

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Called “The Pope of Pop Cinema,”  American director, producer, and actor. Roger Corman was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1926.  Finding work at 20th Century Fox as a mail room orderly,  Corman worked his way up to a story reader.  When he wasn’t credited for contributing ideas to the The Gunfighter starring Gregory Peck,  he left Fox and decided he would work in film by himself.

Corman sold a script to William F. Broidy at Allied Artists, a story which was originally called House in the Sea, it was retitled as Highway Dragnet (1953),starring Richard Conte and Joan Bennett.  Corman worked as associate producer on the film for nothing, just for the experience,

Using this script fee and his personal contacts he raised $12,000, and produced his first feature, a science fiction film, The Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954).  This film did well enough that Corman was  encouraged to produce another film, the racing car thriller The Fast and the Furious (1955), directed by its star, John Ireland, and co-starring Dorothy Malone.

Selling the movie to a new independent company, the American Releasing Company, run by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, ARC advanced him money with which he made two more movies.  Thus starts Roger Corman’s illustrious career as a filmmaker, director and producer.

In 1964, admired by members of the French New Wave and Cahiers du cinéma, Corman became the youngest filmmaker to have a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française,[as well as the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art.

Corman was the co-founder of New World Pictures, a prolific multimedia company that helped to cement Fox as a major American television network, and is a longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award[8] “for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers.”

Corman mentored and gave a start to many young film directors such as Francis Ford Coppola,  Ron Howard,  Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme,  John Sayles, and James Cameron, and was highly influential in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 70s.

He also helped to launch the careers of actors like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Sylvester Stallone, Diane Ladd,  and William Shatner.

Known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film., much of Corman’s work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of low-budget cult films.   But he has  also produced a number of films which without a doubt can be considered nothing more than real stinkers.

Here is a list of the top 10 of his worst.

The Undead (1957)
Synopsis:  Two psychical researchers procure the services of a lady of the night and send her back in time under hypnosis. She finds herself in the body of a past existence – a woman in medieval times waiting to be beheaded as a witch. By avoiding this fate she unwittingly starts to alter history.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Pamela Duncan  •  Richard Garland  •  Allison Hayes  •  Val Dufour  •  Mel Welles
Genres Fantasy  •  Historical Film  •  Horror  •  Mystery  •  Psychological Horror  •  Psychological Thriller  •  Supernatural Horror  •  Thriller
Studios & Franchises Mystery Science Theater 3000  •  American International Pictures
Release Info March 1, 1957
B&W  •  71 minutes


Swamp Women (1955)
Synopsis: A plucky police woman infiltrates a group of hardened female criminals who are planning to break jail and retrieve their loot of diamonds from its swampy hiding place. Complications arise when the women abduct Connors and begin fighting each other.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Marie Windsor  •  Carole Mathews  •  Beverly Garland  •  Mike Connors  •  Susan Cummings
Genres Crime  •  Crime Drama  •  Drama
Studios & Franchises Mystery Science Theater 3000  •  American International Pictures Other Titles Swamp Diamonds
Release Info January 1, 1955

Color  •  67 minutes

Teenage Cavemen (1958)
Robert Vaughn stars as a white 25-year-old teenage caveman with styled hair who seeks to discover what is in the uncharted jungles beyond his tribe’s campsite. It is against the Word (and the Word is the Law), but he breaks it anyway. Soon he discovers a strange creature which kills with its touch.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Robert Vaughan  •  Darah Marshall  •  Leslie Bradley  •  Frank DeKova  •  Charles P. Thompson Genres Adventure Drama  •  Adventure  •  Drama  •  Fantasy  •  Post-Apocalyptic Film  •  Prehistoric Fantasy  •  Romance  •  Romantic Drama  •  Science Fiction  •  Survival Film  •  Teen Movie
Studios & Franchises Mystery Science Theater 3000  •  American International Pictures Other Titles Teenage Caveman
Release Info July 1, 1958

B&W  •  65 minutes


The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957)
Synopsis: A group of lonely Viking women build a ship and set off across the sea to locate their missing menfolk, only to fall into the clutches of the barbarians that also hold their men captive.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Abby Dalton  •  Susan Cabot  •  Bradford Jackson  •  June Kenney  •  Richard Devon
Genres Adventure  •  Costume Adventure  •  Epic  •  Fantasy Adventure  •  Fantasy  •  Historical Epic  •  Historical Film  •  Period
Film Studios &  Franchises Mystery Science Theater 3000  •  American International Pictures Other Titles The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
Release Info December 1, 1957

B&W  •  71 minutes

The Terror (1963)
Synopsis:  A young officer in Napoleon’s Army pursues a mysterious woman to the castle of an elderly Baron.
Directed by  Roger Corman
Starring Boris Karloff  •  Jack Nicholson  •  Sandra Knight  •  Dick Miller  •  Dorothy Neumann
Genres Drama  •  Fantasy  •  Gothic Film  •  Horror  •  Mystery  •  Thriller
Studios & Franchises American International Pictures  •  TCM Underground
Release Info June 17, 1963

Color  •  81 minutes

The Wasp Woman (1959)
Synopsis: A scientist develops a youth formula for a cosmetics queen from jelly taken from queen wasps, failing to anticipate the typical horrible side effects.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Frank Gerstle  •  Anthony Eisley  •  Roy Gordon  •  Michael Mark  •  Bruno Ve Sota  •  Susan Cabot  •  Barboura Morris  •  William Roerick  •  Lynn Cartwright  •  Fred [Anthony] Eisley
Genres Horror  •  Monster Film
Release Info November 2, 1959

B&W  •  73 minutes

Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
Synopsis: The ultimate weapon, which was meant to be safe for humankind, produces global side-effects, including time slides and disappearances. The scientist behind the project and his car are transported from the year 2031 to 1817’s Switzerland, where he finds Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his contemporaries.
Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Bridget Fonda  •  Raul Julia  •  Nick Brimble  •  Jason Patric  •  John Hurt
Genres Costume Horror  •  Horror  •  Monster Film  •  Period Film  •  Psychological Horror  •  Psychological Sci-Fi  •  Science Fiction  •  Sci-Fi Horror  •  Time Travel
Film Studios & Franchises Frankenstein  •  Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
Release Info November 2, 1990Color  •  82 minutes


Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)
Synopsis:  American crook Renzo Capetto sees a chance to make a bundle when a Caribbean island has a revolution. He plans to help loyalists (and the national treasury) escape on his boat, then kill the men and blame their deaths on a mythical sea monster. Trouble ensues when the  real monster shows up!

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Antony Carbone  •  Betsy Jones-Moreland  •  Robert Towne  •  Beach Dickerson  •  Robert Bean
Genres Comedy  •  Horror  •  Horror Comedy  •  Monster
Film Studios & Franchises Retromedia Entertainment
Release Info June 1, 1961
B&W  •  63 minutes


It Conquered the World (1956)
Synopsis: A well meaning scientist guides an alien monster to Earth from Venus, so that he can rid mankind of feelings and emotions – but only death and sorrow results.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Peter Graves  •  Beverly Garland  •  Lee Van Cleef  •  Sally Fraser  •  Russ Bender
Genres Alien Invasion Films  •  Drama  •  Horror  •  Monster Film  •  Science Fiction  •  Sci-Fi Horror  •  Thriller
Studios & Franchises Mystery Science Theater 3000  •  American International Pictures
Release Info July 15, 1956

B&W  •  71 minutes


Day the World Ended (1956)
Synopsis: In a post-Apocalyptic world after an atomic war seven disparate people find themselves in a protected valley in the home of a survivalist and his beautiful daughter.

Directed By Roger Corman
Starring Richard Denning  •  Lori Nelson  •  Adele Jergens  •  Mike Connors  •  Paul Birch
Genres Disaster Film  •  Horror  •  Monster Film  •  Post-Apocalyptic Film  •  Science Fiction  •  Sci-Fi Disaster
Film Release Info December 1, 1955

B&W  •  79 minutes

 

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