Corman’s World

Corman’s World, directed by Alex Stapleton, is an inspiring and coherent film about the Director/producer Roger Corman. It features a handful of hollywood names being interviewed for and about Roger Corman and how he jump-started their careers in the industry, like Jack Nicholson and Peter Bogdanovich. It has short recaps of his filmography, discussing several of his most-known Poe adaptions, as well as showing the action on many of his sets, examples of his film style and guerrilla film-making techniques. The director uses a pretty standard documentary framework, but it’s well-paced and it certainly fulfills the task it sets out to do. Ultimately, it’s going to be mostly hardcore Corman fans that will really be interested in the doc, and it will assuredly remind them of why they love the man and his work in the first place.

Roger Corman is the rebel, they say. He’s the director who was fine with making his films under the million-dollar budget, and often is cited as an artist in how he was actually able to stay under such a tight budgetary ceiling. He test drove vehicles off the lot and filmed them in a race, returning them to the set promptly. He filmed in locations without the proper licensing. He used every tool a filmmaker used, but he used them like a sneaky con-man.

The films of Roger Corman are praised as pulpy and plain fun, featuring monsters from the deep and planets far away. He was the blockbuster man before George Lucas and Steven Spielberg commercialized the business: he’s the great artist of the affordable, but yet not lowly small-budget movie . Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, is a crowd-pleasing documentary, serving up a breezy walk-through of his films for newcomers, and many actor testimonials for the already dedicated fans of Roger Corman.

Death Race 2000

Director: Paul Bartel
Stars: David Carradine, Slyvester Stallone
Runtime: 80m

‘Death Race 2000’ is a must have for the Corman-collector, a slick and violent game with death and mockery. It features the desired manly quo from actors David Carradine and Slyvester Stallone, with punky sidecar navigating sweethearts played by Simone Griffeth and Mary Woronov. The premise in no way stifles or outweighs the characters, as they all have their own motivations and psychological tendencies that ensue later.

The premise of the movie doctrines Racers to garner points by driving through the city streets and highways and running over citizens with their alligator-jaw bumpers. The point-system gives the racer higher points for certain types of people, elder people being the highest amount of points possible, the second highest toddlers and babies. Frankenstein (David Carradine) is the notorious bad-boy of the race, masochistic and perverse in his grand theft killings. He must pair his jaded ways with his new navigator (Simone Griffeth), but little does he realize she too has a side-story of her own. Meanwhile, Machine Gun Joe (Stallone) remains the steady conniver against Frankenstein, his repeated one-upper, and turns maniacally set on wreaking him.

The film is structured well, with equal moments of race-time and driver/navigator off-road relations or public relations. The moments of rendezvous at dinner and resting time makes the audience a truly third-person viewer, watching the racers social-gesture for tense, ready to burst moments.

The film is a Corman-classic and demands a sense of pessimism from the starting-line; essentially, it is a fun romp through revolutionary-intrigue, character dynamics, and fast-paced, heavily-theoretical racing. But it is also a satire on what media shows and why they show it; for reasons we can’t seem to understand, but nevertheless like.