By Chris Nashawaty
Abrams – 2013
272 pages, $35.00
This book is so well put together that just from the outside, it’s worth getting. Slick paper sport glorious colorful photos that include both rare behind the scenes shots, frames from movies and movie posters from Roger Corman’s catalog of films. But this isn’t just a photo and poster book.
The text is really what matters, as Roger Corman’s story is told through candid stories and quotes from not only Corman himself but graduates of the “Corman Film School”; Allan Arkush, Peter Bogdanovich, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Joe Dante, Robert De Niro, Peter Fonda, Gale Anne Hurd, Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, John Sayles, Martin Scorsese, Sylvester Stallone, William Shatner and Mary Woronov (to name a few).
The way author Chris Nashawaty and Abrams designed this book makes it a treasure trove of information about the movie business. Starting out as an engineer, Corman gravitated into films when it gave him the opportunity to tell stories, entertain people and make him money at the same time.
Its’ obvious Corman is an innovator, not only as a film director himself but as a producer. Corman has the distinct ability to not only crank out pictures, but anticipate what the audience wanted to see that Hollywood couldn’t give them. Eventually Hollywood got with it and started making similar films on a higher budget (like Jaws), which caused Corman to adapt and ride the waves of the marketplace.
When drive-ins were taken away by the big studios, Corman focused his product for cable TV and home video. When those disappeared, he shifted into DVD. Corman has always stayed ahead of the curve, which is proven by his incredible longevity.
Countless people admire and respect Roger Corman for giving them an entrance into the industry. It’s like he had an open door policy for talent and allowed them to get their feet wet before they’d move onto to bigger things. Almost like a minor league baseball operation for the majors. I laugh and love Corman’s quote, “Just think. If you are successful enough, you won’t have to work for me again.”
What I really enjoyed besides hearing about Roger Corman, was everything about the movies I grew up loving as a teenager like; Piranha, Humanoids From the Deep, Galaxy of Terror, Slumber Party Massacre, and Forbidden World. Just hearing the stories from the people who made those movies was priceless for me.
Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of The B Movie exceeded my expectations and I loved every second reading it.