(May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993)
Here’s the great Vincent Price having a drink during the shooting of Roger Corman’s Pit And The Pendulum (1961). You get so thirsty in those crypts!
(February 13, 1934 – March 23, 2021)
George Segal, who made some damn good movies in a pretty long, busy career, has passed away at 87. The one that always stands out for me is Peter Yates’s The Hot Rock (1972), a crime comedy thing based on a funny Dortmunder novel by Donald E. Westlake. He’s on the right in the above photo, along with (L-R) Paul Sand, Ron Leibman and Robert Redford. (Moses Gunn and Zero Mostel are also in it.) The Hot Rock lead me to Westlake’s books, which worked around to the Richard Stark novels (Stark was one of Westlake’s pen names). By the way, The Hot Rock gives us an eerie helicopter ride around the World Trade Center when the towers were under construction.
George Segal was also in Ship Of Fools (1965), King Rat (1965), Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Roger Corman’s The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), Where’s Poppa? (1970) and Robert Altman’s California Split (1974).
He was also a really good banjo player.
Directed by Peter Bogdanivich
Starring Boris Karloff, Tim O’Kelly, Peter Bogdanovich
Targets tells the stories of a troubled young man with a thing for guns (Tim O’Kelly) and an aging horror film star (Boris Karloff). O’Kelly’s character is based on Charles Whitman, who shot a bunch of people from the tower at the University Of Texas in Austin in 1966. Karloff’s character is based on, well, Boris Karloff. The movie gets creepier, and more topical, as time goes on. It also illustrates the shift from Gothic horror to more contemporary horror in a very literal way.
Targets came about because Boris Karloff owed Roger Corman a couple days’ work. Corman let Peter Bogdanovich make a picture out of the two days of Karloff and some footage from The Terror (1963). Bogdanovich and his wife Polly Platt based the story on Whitman, which was then in the news. Samuel Fuller helped out on the script, without credit or payment. The director managed to sell the picture to Paramount, which landed Corman a profit before it was even released.
The British Film Institute is bringing Targets to Blu-ray in March 2021, which will give us all a good look at the cinematography by László Kovács. The BFI will certainly load this up with supplemental stuff, too, making for a terrific package, I’m sure (hopefully, they’ll keep Bogdanovich’s commentary from the Paramount DVD). Highly recommended.
Produced & Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson, Leslie Bradley, Mel Welles, Richard H. Cutting
Shout Factory has announced that Roger Corman’s Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957) will be released on Blu-Ray on August 25th (that’s next week) in a limited edition of just 1,000 copies. Act now, folks!
Made for just $70,000, Attack Of The Crab Monsters played in a double bill with Corman’s Not Of This Earth (1957) — which Shout Factory will hopefully get to soon, and made over a million bucks.
Attack Of The Crab Monsters was shot at Leo Carrillo State Beach, Bronson Caverns and Marineland by the great cinematographer Floyd Crosby, and it features a good score by Ronald Stein. The crab monsters were made out of styrofoam, so getting them to go underwater was tough (and destructive). Everything about this movie is terrific.
This Blu-Ray promises a new scan of a fine-grain print (in its original 1.85), a new commentary, the theatrical trailer and a tribute to Mr. Corman. It’s available exclusively through the Shout Factory website, and only 1,000 of ’em will be pressed. Highly, highly recommended. Click on the half sheet up top to order yours!
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Ray Milland, Diana Van Der Vlis, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles, Morris Ankrum, Dick Miller
Bring on the AIP and Corman! Second Sight out of the UK has announced a Blu-Ray release of Roger Corman’s X – The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (1963). It’s a terrific movie that does wonders with its small budget (you could say that about most Corman movies, I guess).
Ray Milland is researching ways to boost man’s eyesight, who in typical horror movie fashion, tries his serum out on himself — with the usual results.
One of Corman’s best, with outstanding camerawork from the great Floyd Crosby. And Milland is really, really good. Highly recommended.
Produced & Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Mike Connors, Paul Birch, Jonathan Haze, Paul Blaisdell
Scream Factory just keeps coming up with the gold! They’ve announced a March Blu-Ray release of Roger Corman’s Day The World Ended (1955). It’s got Corman directing — his fourth time at bat. It’s got a perfect B-picture cast — Denning and Nelson are both veterans of the Creature movies and Adele Jergens is always terrific. Plus, it’s got a great Paul Blaisdell monster, which he plays. What more could you want?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: seeing these cheap movies get the white-glove treatment on Blu-Ray makes my heart feel good. Glad there’s enough demand to make such efforts worthwhile — wish 50s Westerns had a fanbase of the same size (or, no offense, willingness to part with their money).
Not sure what the extras will be, but given Scream Factory’s track record, it’ll be quite a haul. And it’ll be a treat (maybe a grainy one) to see it in its original Superscope framing. Highly, highly recommended.
UPDATE: Evidently, that March date was announced too soon. No official release date has been given, but it’s coming — and that’s good news indeed!
Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith
Cinematography: Jacques R. Marquette
Music by Fred Katz
Film Editor: Anthony Carras
Cast: Dick Miller (Walter Paisley), Barboura Morris (Carla), Antony Carbone (Leonard de Santis), Julian Burton (Maxwell H. Brock), Ed Nelson (Art Lacroix), John Brinkley (Will), John Herman Shaner (Oscar), Judy Bamber (Alice), Myrtle Vail (Mrs. Swickert), Bert Convy (Detective Lou Raby), Jhean Burton (Naolia)
This is the kind of blog, read by the kind of people, where A Bucket Of Blood (1959) doesn’t require a lot of set-up. It was written by Charles B. Griffith, directed by Roger Corman for AIP, shot in five days for $50,000 (on sets left over from Diary Of A High School Bride), with the great Dick Miller in the lead. The end result is wonderful.
So, 60 years later, we get A Bucket Of Blood on Blu-Ray from Olive Films, part of their Signature series, and it’s incredible. You probably never thought you’d see this movie look like this. I certainly didn’t.
Sure, it’s still a $50,000 movie about a guy that kills people to make statues. But now we get a chance to really appreciate all that’s going on. We see Corman showing some real confidence as a director, displaying some real chops here and there — and turning out one of the better Horror Comedies, a very-hard-to-pull-off sub-genre. Dick Miller makes Walter Paisley both a lovable chump and a creepy killer. And everyone seems to be in on the fun when it comes to showing us how pretentious, cynical and hypocritical the whole Beatnik scene could be. The dime-store set design is really effective and fun to study in high definition.
Olive Films has given A Bucket Of Blood the attention I think it deserves. We’ve seen it looking so bad for so long — from muddy 16mm dupes to crappy PD VHS tapes and DVDs, it’s a bit of a shock to see it so crisp and clean. I found myself pausing it repeatedly to study things.
Along with the movie looking like a million bucks, a big leap from its $50K origins, we get a bucket-load of terrific extras, most courtesy of Elijah Drenner, whose documentary That Guy Dick Miller is a treasure. Drenner provides a new interview with Corman, an audio commentary and a wonderful visit with Dick Miller and his wife Lanie. This package is a joy from one end to the other, and a great way to revisit an old favorite. Highly, highly recommended.
Directed by David Kramarsky
Starring Paul Birch, Lorna Thayer, Dona Cole, Dick Sargent, Chester Conklin
The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes (1955), early effort from AIP (called American Releasing Corporation at the time), features Paul Blaisdell’s first monster, was partially directed by Roger Corman (who fired David Kramarsky midway through production) and stars the great Paul Birch.
It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing with a new transfer and a commentary by Tim Lucas. Can’t wait.